• Shawn Hosford

Community Living

Updated: Apr 3, 2018

A gathering of friends and colleagues were recently discussing ways to improve living conditions for the majority of people in our country. My two favorite go-to ideas are to promote employee-owned enterprises and co-op community housing.

When suggesting these ideas, one of the people in the room looked at me and asked, “Do you live in co-op community housing?” My quick and immediate answer was that I didn’t and that there was no opportunity for this 26 years ago in North Seattle. He commented that West Seattle has had this model for longer then 26 years. I truly appreciated his candid question and information. 

Since that conversation I have been playing with what my preferred community housing might look like. First and foremost, Mark and I have been dreaming of life on a farm for some time now. Beyond ourselves, our consideration is for our mothers and how best to accommodate them as they age.

On one of our many road trips Mark and I talked about the possibility of including his sister and her family in our future farming dream. We fantasized about her sons playing on the acreage, learning to love and care for the land, and the benefits of being surrounded by elders and family. We chatted about the fellowship and conflict that could come with such a living situation. We talked about whether our moms could share a space and tending for the two of them if nursing or other special care was needed — this would be easier if they were both in one place. 

After our many conversations with each other and with the family above my mind wandered to the housing arrangements of such a place. Lucky for me my imagination loves to wander through such rooms with these types of puzzles.

In my mind’s eye the farm is well on its way to being complete. The dream includes fruit trees, a large vegetable garden, bees, chickens and a community food prep area for sorting and processing. It also provides space for our larger community and gathering. 

I am so thankful for the man who inspired my musings by asking his question about my way of living. At any gathering I do may best to find a seed that was given and find a good place to plant it. His seed is firmly and lovingly being planted at our farm. 

Do you have ideas that could improve the lives in your community? Can you plant seeds of imagination for your ideas? Are there other people you can include when planting your seeds? When someone asks you a question while reflecting your goals for the future what do you do?