Anarres 2 cooperative community

September 19, 2012

Saskatchewan, Canada

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ed @ 9:34 am

I’ve found a more than 30 acre abandoned rural home site north of Moose Jaw SK, Canada. It has an abandoned house (state of repair unknown) and a non-functioning but apparently repairable well. Electricity is also available, but needs to be reconnected. There seems to be a significant amount of surface water, but I’m not sure if it is mostly marshy or not. They have lowered the price to $25,000. It will be expensive to visit to check it out, but I really should see it before buying it. The price is suspiciously low, but it’s in the middle of nowhere. I assume it is too marshy to farm with a tractor.



  1. I was out to SK, Saskatoon, this spring and it looks to me that this picture was take in the Spring when there is lots of ground water from winter snow melt. It probably dries up in Summer, I saw this in many places, the land is flat and the water has nowhere to run to. To be profitable in this area farms which do traditional agriculture have to be thousands of acres, I don’t know what kind of alternative agriculture could be done on this land, but you would be a long way from any substantial market for produce like Saskatoon or Regina. Socialism in Canada is burned out and pretty much moribund, you would be better off to move to a place where people are more open to alternative culture than an isolated farm like this. The Kootenays of BC are like this and some other places. I am interested in starting an anarchist eco-village in my area.
    But if you feel that a different project would better appeal to you that is great, then what I could offer is support in various ways such networking support, skill/labour exchange, supply/exchange of materials and product, sharing of equipment, or even support financially or in kind. There are anarchists in both Regina and Saskatoon to network with. I feel that alternative communities should network together irrespective of the differences because what they have in common is still greater.

    Comment by dimar6 — September 20, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    • Hello Dick, Well having someone to work with would be a huge plus! We’ve known each other for a long time, and it would be odd if we couldn’t work together on something like this, but I sort of got the impression that you weren’t especially keen on collaborating with me…. My only reservations are 1) although technically I’m an anarchist, I’m not particularly keen on the “anarchist movement” as a whole, 2) although I try to be as ecologically responsible as the next person, ecology would not be my personal main motive, and the term “ecovillage” seems to imply that (I’m more into the cooperative side of it, but you’ve got that covered in your statement), and 3) although Eyebrow is about an hour from Moose Jaw and an hour forty-five minutes from Regina, Argenta is 8 hours from Calgary and 5 hours 45 min. from Kelowna! How do you get to and from the larger cities? Do you get many visitors?

      Comment by Ed — September 20, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

      • It looks like Spokane is actually the closest large city to you, “only” 4 hours away! I don’t understand why it costs $1500 to fly RT to Spokane from Japan, and $1700 to fly to Regina, but only $1400 to Toronto! Plus I’ll have to rent a car…. Vancouver $1400. Calgary $1600. Kamloops $1700. Now I know why the airlines are losing so much money – no one can afford to fly anymore. When I came to Japan 7 years ago, it was $700 or $800 RT!

        Comment by Ed — September 23, 2012 @ 12:52 am

      • It would take a lot to get me to move from the Kootenays as I am so settled here, own land – 14 acres, the wood workshop and the Argenta land Co-op share not to mention the social connections here. I think we agree on a lot but not every thing so if we were to work together it would have to be on a practical level. I know what you mean about the “anarchist movement”, I just figure that I am an anarchist I can determine what it means, and besides there are some reasonable people, many of them are young and idealistic, and it is a means to network the communitarian project. The term eco-village is to capture the public imagination, there is no clear definition as what an Eco-village is, it could be any common land share that grows a garden, although I would want it to be much more than that, as a social alternative with non exploitive economics, and human scale technology. I like a lot of things about Twin Oaks community or the Federation of Egalitarian Communities.

        Spokane would be a good way to get here but it would still be a long drive to Moose Jaw, I was once in Spokane with out a car so I thought I might get a Greyhound bus back, but there is no direct route to Canada from Spokane so I would have had to go West to Seattle then to Vancoiuver BC then East to Nelson BC, it would have taken over two days. We mostly connect with Nelson, Castlegar and Trail otherwise one has to go the miles to get to Vancouver or Calgary. I think the biggest challenge is finding people who will work together in the right way. Until I tried to work with people to form a community I did not realize how compromised our world view is, how the system of social authority has taken control of everyones beliefs and social values. Finding enough people who understand the vision of a new social paradigm will be most difficult and one must expect it to take years to even form a core group that can begin.

        My situation here is that I have 14 acres unzoned land I could put into trust if I was satisfied that a sincere effort was being made, or I could write it into my will that the community gets the land and what ever other assets. So this would make it easier to start but that takes us back to getting the right people. I don’t get many visitors but this could improve if there was more accommodation, so this si what I am working on. I have mostly lived below the poverty line for the last 30 years and haven’t had much income to develop housing and facilities so there is much to be done. The Kotebays are an economically depressed area.

        Comment by dimar6 — September 23, 2012 @ 4:11 am

  2. I agree with most of the FEC statements, but I think dividing up the cooperatively produced income on a per hour worked basis is more fair and flexible than a pure communist approach. If someone wants to write a novel, that’s fine, but that’s a hobby, not a job, and it shouldn’t count as work time, at least not at first. I’m really interested in solar water and space heating – I have an idea about building a cottage out of straw bales (the big, round ones) and using passive solar heating to reduce amount of fuel needed for heat, and I’d like to make a solar water heater for the shared/public shower, so the ecovillage thing would be fine, but some people are really strict and want to be completely off the grid, which might be a long term goal, but seems unnecessarily difficult when you’re starting out.

    Well, if you already have land, that would free up money to spend on infrastructure. If I buy two separate tickets (using 3 different airlines, from the same web site!) I can get to Spokane for about $1300, and then I could rent a car and drive the 4 hours north from there. Are you going to be around in early October? But actually, I really don’t HAVE to visit if I’m not going to check out the land in SK. It would be a good time to build a straw bale house though!

    Comment by Ed — September 23, 2012 @ 5:19 am

    • Hello Ed,

      Dick led me here and told me that you were interested in or at least thinking about starting a cooperative in SK. Funnily enough if I would have come across you a year ago I would have been all over this like white on rice but I am now planning to leave SK next fall and tour down into the states to visit/work with some friends doing alternative building (earthships) and who own farms (I’m the daughter of an accountant and a nurse.. I don’t actaully think I’ve planted a seed in the soil and grown a thing). I’m a journeyperson carpenter and have a little experience with earthships and am just beginning to think about what I want to make my dreams real. Getting out of the long cold SK winters is the first step though..bbrrrrr. I work at the potash mine in belle plaine which is very near Moose Jaw. If you are planning to buy the land I know that I could locate people who know the country and they could give me the lowdown on what it is like. Let me know what your thoughts are.


      p.s. were you teaching Engrish? I did the same for 6 years in korea and taiwan. I said I wouldn’t come home until I had a plan – SIAST and carpentry was the plan. Are you from Saskatchewan? And if not what would compel you to start a cooperative here? Ok, that is more than enough for a p.s.

      Comment by Shannon McIvor — September 24, 2012 @ 3:54 am

      • Hi Shannon,
        Actually, it’s not the weather that attracted me to Saskatchewan, it’s just that the land prices are lower (well, sometimes) and that Canada is not quite as dysfunctional and out of control as the U.S. The plane is going down in flames, and the crew is fighting over the controls on the way down. “I know, let’s start another war!” That seems to be the only thing the politicians can agree on…. That and tightening up the police state. Plus, health care is a major expense for communities in the U.S. (Obama’s reform plan – make everyone buy insurance from private companies – but at least they can’t discriminate against you anymore). If you haven’t seen Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”, I highly recommend it (except for the less than objective portrayal of the Cuban medical system – I’ve heard Cubans can’t even get aspirin). And no, I’m not from SK, I’m from Kansas, but I’m not a farmer either. Growing crops and making a profit is not easy, but growing things for yourself is not rocket science.

        Yes, I’m still teaching English here. If I came back to the States or to Canada I could continue to do proofreading via the internet, but that’s only about a quarter of my income now. But I can bake and cook, and I have an idea for turning empty bottles in vases. Would have to see what goods or services are in demand in the local community.

        But now I’m seriously looking into participating in Dick’s project in BC. He’s got land already, but it sounds like they need people and money to get it off the ground. I don’t know which is colder, the plains of SK or the mountains of BC!

        Do you know where Eyebrow is? This piece of land is south of Eyebrow and west of Brownlee: If you’ve got time on your hands, you could check it out, but if I can work things out with Dick, that is probably a better option. It’s just south of this GPS location: 50.746666, -106.146498 (you can find it on Google Maps).

        Comment by Ed — September 24, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  3. Howdy Ed,

    I hypothetically know where Eyebrow is… the wide open plains of SK and the constant sunshine are the big attractions here. I’ve lived in the mountains and i missed the big views. Same in Kansas?

    I’ve seen sicko and yes, there are problems and opposing views. The more I see and hear the more I want to be on the outskirts of it all, the peripheral. I’ve been active in things and the time has come to leave all of that and see what I can do with my life… it sounds like you are in the midst of this also.

    You can bake and cook? I can do both under duress. I can build and chop and quite like them both if they are for a purpose – shelter and warmth. I agree that growing your own food isn’t rocket science but I haven’t done it…. that makes me feel kind or queasy just saying that… i’ve never grown my own food. ridiculous that we’ve come this far and educated self sufficient intelligent beings have no idea how to feed themselves. I also would like to see what Dick has happening in BC also… maybe there would be enough sun and wide open spaces as to not feel hemmed in.

    I don’t have time at the moment (and by moment I mean the next few weeks) to go and see where the property is and I am not sure what you would want to hear even if I did. It will be dry now as we haven’t had rain in weeks..

    Keep me posted on your thought pattern. And, for your edification, Canada is going to the dogs too.


    Comment by Shannon McIvor — September 27, 2012 @ 4:31 am

  4. I’ve never grown much of my own food, just tomato plants, strawberries and green peppers, and as a complete amateur the results were very good. Tried corn once, but it was a dismal failure (not enough sun I think). I seem to have good luck with trees, too. I planted an apple tree in front of my former home in Kansas, and I hear it’s bearing lots of fruit. Just put it in the ground and watered it a lot at the beginning. Pruned it a little. After that, it’s been doing all the work.

    I would image SK would be a better spot for solar stuff than the mountains.

    I’d just be interested to know if the land is a swamp, or just soggy in the spring. I’d also like to know what condition the house is in, and if there are any obvious reasons the price is so low, like a pit filled with toxic waste or something. The realtor said “no” though, and no hog farms next door. Maybe drifters live in the house or there was a murder…..

    Comment by Ed — September 27, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

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