In the good ol’ days, people with basic skills could exchange their work and knowledge for basic life necessities, and sometimes even places to live.
Now, did you know there are places spanning all over the United States that will actually give you a spot to live there, in their community, if you have one of their most-needed-skill sets?
How does this work? There are places, usually known as communes, communities, or settlements, that are constructed of a group of individuals who live on the same land. Usually, but not all the time, these groups either hold similar political or religious beliefs; but not always. That is important to remember here. It is common for each individual to have a set of duties surrounding their skillset, in order to contribute to their society as best as possible.
It can be admittedly difficult to wrap your head around the idea of a modern settlement. It’s easier to imagine a Little House on The Prairie farm than it is to imagine the reality of liberation and modernity that one finds in settlements.
These communes are not limited to extreme political ends of the spectrum but range from a variety of ideals. The Citadel Institute in Southern Oregon accepts their members on a basis of what skills they can bring to the table, and their monthly dues depend on the value of their contributions.
It may be quite surprising to see what kind of skills these communities are typically looking for.
So, here we go! Let’s get into the good stuff!
The top 5 skills that communities are looking for:
Woodworking is a skill that, despite often being mistaken for a hobby, is invaluable to settlements. Most settlements begin as a fresh plot of land and a few passionate, driven people. Woodworking is not a skill that can be developed overnight or in a few short months. Good woodwork takes years of practice, dedication, and study. Constructing buildings and infrastructure is necessary to the success of most communities. They know it. And as long as you know it, you may be able to find (no… barter) your way into one of the communities.
Gardening, a magic-food-creating practice, is another one of those life-preserving skills that people claim as just a hobby. I’ll say it right now, you may see a theme. These “skills” as we call them are often mistaken as hobbies. They very well can be, but they are also essential to the wellbeing and survival of communities.
Gardening is vital. Many communities strive to be as entirely self-sufficient as possible, leaving no necessity only available in the outside world. Thus, producing their own food is crucial. Gardening, while it can be somewhat easy, is taken to another level in these communities where greenhouses are open to the members. So, calling all gardeners and greenhouse adepts, you may find a welcoming home in a community that fits exactly your lifestyle goals.
Now is a good time to mention that fluent food preservation is a skill not taken lightly in independent societies. The biggest reason is this: Preserving food allows for healthy nutrients to last years. It’s a magical practice that turns fresh produce into a shelf stable provision. Those healthy fruits and vegetables that were harvested in the spring? Looks like you have something to eat mid-December!
By firebuilding, I don’t necessarily mean constructing wood in a teepee shape over twigs and leaves. It couldn’t be that easy! Fire Building involves finding worthy firewood, chopping it down, chopping it into manageable pieces, constructing it, and yes, actually beginning the flame! While this skill might not land you a spot, it is definitely something worth mentioning.
Animal Keeping and Processing
Ah, the big one. The one that community members drool over, wish for, beg for. Many communities have/want animals to either have them graze and tend to their gardens, or to eat. If you have the knowledge, the heart, and the stomach to raise and nurture animals on a commune, you should start packing.
This list is not comprehensive. It is meant only to give you an idea of what communities are looking for and how you may fit in. Many people are finding communes and settlements to be the key to their freedom and safety during these times of uncertainty.