Frequently Asked Questions

1. If I leave, do I get my Membership Fee or Site Lease Fee back?
The Membership Fee and Site Lease Fee are non-refundable. However, The Source may choose to buy back your Site Lease, but only if the community can afford it. The Source would not buy back a Site Lease in one lump sum, but over time, in payments. Please note, The Source Farm Foundation is not obligated to buy back anyone’s Site Lease, but may choose to do so. You have the right to sell your Site Lease (and the improvements on your homesite) to an approved incoming Full Member with Council approval.

2. Does it cost less to live at The Source?
Living at The Source can be both less and more expensive than living in mainstream culture. While the up-front costs may be more, ongoing livings costs may be less. Depending on the size of home you build and the materials used, it can cost more up front because bank loans aren’t available and people need to use existing funds or personal loans. Many homes here are relatively small for this reason. In general, professionally built houses at The Source have cost less per square foot than conventional homes of similar quality due to using Natural Building methods such as Earthbag/Super Abobe or other natural building methods. In addition to providing for water and waste treatment, site holders need to set up their own energy infrastructure (off-grid electric windpower, propane gas, etc.). This usually entails one-time costs for photovoltaic panels, batteries, an inverter, professional services, etc., which can be expensive.

Building a very small home without electric power is one way to save money. If you choose to go in with others to build a multi-family residence, it can cost less per household. The Source homes must meet building codes; parish council building inspectors have been supportive of our using natural building materials and methods as long as we demonstrate that the buildings meets requirements for strength and safety. Once people live here, monthly expenses tend to be lower than elsewhere (but this doesn’t include the cost of commuting if they work off-site

3. Do Source members own title to their sites?
All Full Residential Members own all The Source property in common through The Source Farm Foundation Land Trust. Members lease sites through 59-year renewable, transferable lot Leases with the Source Farm Foundation Land Trust.

4. Do you have to purchase a Site Lease, or can you rent?
From time to time there are rental units available such as the Gate house. However, rentals only last a maximum of one year.

5. Can more than one member own a site together?
Up to four adults can share a full site.

6. What fees are required for children?
A member’s child under 18 may live with the member without paying dues, a membership fee, or a site fee. At age 18, the child is eligible to go through the membership process. Dues, fees and community service requirements begin to apply at age 18.

7. At what point is the membership fee required?
The membership fee is required after the Council agrees for full membership for the applying person.

8. At what point do new members pay the Residential Lot Lease Fee?
Members pay the Residential Lot Lease Fee within 30 days after they have been confirmed as a Full Member (unless they have an approved payment plan). A new Full Member doesn’t have to choose a site immediately, but can take several months to get to know and understand the community.

9. What are new full members paying for when they join?
They get co-ownership and enjoyment of the whole property and the right to help determine its future; the right to develop and build on their own home or business site; their share of all physical labor and materials costs to develop roads, bridges, and community buildings; and their share of all the years of administrative and social/cultural work of creating an intentional community.

About The Source’s Financial Structure:

10. Does The Source have outstanding debt?
The land was completely paid off in 2007. The Shirley Family will be paid off for the land in a scheduled payment arrangement over a 5 year period or as soon as lots are leased.

11. What are The Source’s expenses?
Annual Operating Expenses: Property taxes; insurance; repair and maintenance of community buildings, roads, bridges, equipment; promotions; administrative costs of committees (such as office equipment and supplies, printing, photocopies, postage, food for workers in work parties, and any paid services); and legal and accounting services. One-time Expenses (Capital Expenditures):Clearing land; building new buildings, roads, bridges, power systems; improving/remodeling old ones; buying new equipment; repaying the Shirley Family for purchasing the land.

12. What are The Source Farm Foundation’s sources of income?
Non-recurring income sources are new members’ membership fees and Lot Lease Fees. Recurring annual income comes from monthly dues and fees from non-member residents; all members’ annual dues and fees; fees from special events; agricultural lease fees; apiary lease fees, sewing cooperative lease fees, workshops; and grants and donations.

13. What did the property cost?
We paid approximately $150,000.00 US total for our 63 acres, including interest.

14. If The Source disbanded as a community, would the property be sold and the profits divvied up equally between all members?
The Land Use and Common Rights Agreement of The Source Farm Foundation Land Trust requires that if we disbanded as a community and sold the property we’d set aside 10% of the proceeds to go to a new ecovillage effort. The portion of the sale income derived from the land value would be divided among all site holders according to fractional ratios of their site holdings and the amount they originally paid as Site Lease Fees. All the rest of the proceeds, from the value of common buildings, equipment, and other assets, would be divided equally among the members.

15. How are Site Lease Fees determined?
Fees were determined by an estimate of the expected total capital costs for property ownership and development vs. total capital income. More specifically, it’s a kind of artful guess about the following factors: the property’s actual purchase cost, including principal and interest; the cost of materials for developing our physical infrastructure (community buildings, roads, agricultural clearing); the cost of labor we have to hire for infrastructure development; and the potential for receiving Membership Fees and Lot Lease Fees from our total future number of members. The Finance committee can propose changes in the amount of the fees every year, which Council can adopt, amend, or reject.

16. Where will The Source get revenue once it has leased all residential and business sites and has all of its planned members?
Future revenue will be from annual dues and fees; grants and donations; income from visitors and students; special assessments; and other sources.

17. What kind of legal entity does The Source use to own its property and assets?
The Source Farm Foundation Land Trust is a nonprofit corporation. The members lease a lot or site and the lease is then legally attached to the Land Title. This will ensure that the member lease takes precedence over any sale if the land ever was put in the position to be sold.

18. Who keeps track of all this?
The Finance Committee and other agents of council keep track of all this. All Source members (including Applying Members and Friends of the Source) are welcome to attend committee and council meetings.