Community & Culture A welcome sign in front of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Published on September 11th, 2008 | by ziggy


One Year Living Off-the-Grid at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

A welcome sign in front of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Hi. I’m Brian, a new writer here at Planetsave. For the past eighteen months, I have been living off-the-grid at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, a rural intentional community located in northeastern Missouri.

Dancing Rabbit is a community composed of 45 individuals dedicated to sustainable living and creating cultural change. Renewable energy from solar panels and wind turbines powers the entire village, which is made up of natural buildings constructed using earthen (such as straw bale and cob) and reclaimed materials. All drinking and cleaning water is collected using rain catchment systems, and three biodiesel-fueled vehicles provide the entire group with transportation needs. Much of our food is grown in our organic gardens.

It is from this unique perspective of living in an ecovillage that I hope to share with you dear readers the experience of living sustainably. Having been here for nearly 18 months, I am fully settled into this off-the-grid lifestyle. I’m even now busy building my very own cob house. Things you might find me talking about are natural building, sustainability in daily life, local foods, community, and a myriad of related topics.

Thanks for having me and look forward to more musings from off-the-grid!

Image Credit: pjchmiel

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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at:

  • kiou5

    I live pretty close to your area whats it take to live thier? Like as in the next few months if possible

  • Wulfscry

    Does anyone know of a community like dancing rabbit in north carolina? My wife an I have purchased a 10×16 barn and have insulated it and put paneling up, we need some form of electricity, but we are planning next paychecks to buy a woodstove with an oven its made by the amish and its not too expensive that will serve as our heat and for cooking. Also can anyone recommend the best way to wash clothes without a washer, we have to haul water in for now until we get a well dug or decide to go with county water dont know yet.

  • http://ecovillageSouthFlorida Nia

    Hey all, I am really interested in being a part of an off the grid eco village community here in SoFlo if anyone knows of one anywhere in Florida I would greatly appreciate the info. Thanks

  • crow

    Usually going off-grid requires not using most of the modern appliances you are referring to. Tv???washer/dryer???You will need lots of money to power that many appliances! Going off-grid is to conserve and live a more natural life, while not abusing the earths’ natural resources for AC, etc…It kind of defeats the purpose. you would need tens of thousands of dollars to power all that stuff. There are gas powered appliances, wind turbine generators & such. However, most ppl live with less-and live simple & small. One is able to enjoy nature & live in harmony with the earth. You want to live cost effective, but not give up any of your modern energy-sucking convienences.You could do this so much easier & economically-but smaller space= less energy. That is the whole concept-use less energy. By using less, it takes less to generate.Unless, of course you are wealthy. I knwo a guy who spent 65k on panels & appliances.The batteries are very expensive & he spent thousands on them as well. All that he did was complain about how his AC didnt put out as much cold air as he wanted, & when he had more than a couple of things going at once-the whole power grid shut down & he didnt have any power-then he had to wait til his batteries recharged, while in the meantime sitting in the dark…he was defeating the purpose. A man of greed, who didn’t want to let go of his worldly enrgy sucking devices-who soon learned that he couldn’t have his cake & eat it too. Good luck to you, young whipper-snapper. Get back to nature, lose the tv, keep the computer(less energy)-build your own panels, composte toilet, on demand hot water heater, etc…that will cost enough. Have plenty of land to grow your own food & have a well.

  • Justin Schweiger

    I would like to build a self sustaining solar powered grid so that I can watch TV heat my house and cool ot , heat my water, and do clothes , wash dry and cook all using solar power… I am a student and want to know all that there is to know I am a human sponge .. I want to spead my discoveries to mainstream american culture and get this thig jumpstarted in MAIN Stream Culture making students aware of this free energy that is available to us NOW so we can work on ways to improve the existing forms of free solsr energy at our finger tips I know BIG Business wants to STOP US but We NEED To FIGHT For The Righjt To PARTY FOR Free using the sun… Harness the massive solar energy that comes to earth every day from the sky and it can and is being don NOW IT IS TIME FOR ALL OF US TO Hold Hands and get this out into MAINSTREAM POPULAR CULTURE !!! pLEASE hELP uS ( jUSTIN & cANDACE ) tO BECOME FREE FROM THE ELECTRICAL tITtY !! if there are any grants available that you may know of that I can appply for also after watching your little show about a year 30 days offf the grid w/ vito and the other guest i want to make my home a self sustaining household and reduce my carbon footprint to ZERO is it legal in Memphis tn, can I get any grant money I am a stdent living on low income I will scrap aluminum cands and copper wire if I have to i am very inspired and deicated to making this happen CAN YOU HELP ME — Any advice that you can supply will be graetly appreciated How Much Solar energy must I produce to make my house a self contained unit Off of the GRIS and is it economically feasible for me to do this in stages I would like some help starting this project means alot to me my girlfriend was a st jude patient she had brain cancer and i want to do this for us so we can makle a better world for future generations by setting examples that they can follow PLEASE send any info that may be helpful like what is the most economical means to start out and where can I aquire what I will need for rock bottom prices … do you build your own panels or should I spend money for premade panels which way will be the best and … what can I expect to power how much energy must I produce to make my whole house self sufficiant, The wATER HEATER, FRIDGE, MY tv cOMPUTER WASHER dRYER … CAN i GET APPLIANCES THAT WILL WORK BETTER WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY AND SAVE ME MONEY ON HEATING & cOOLING MY hOUSE i AM VERY INTERESTED IN DOING THIS AND DANCING RABBIT INSPIRED ME can you help me //???? e-MAIL me at I would be so Happy if you can help me achieve my goal without making the cost economically non feasable … there must be help out there as far as government grants and such and people that are willing to help please help me network as you have already made the steps in the right direction can you give me some aims and goals !! Much Appreciated Justin & Candace WE WANT TO BE OFF The GRID Self Sufficfient but in a cost effective way !! Thank You !!! please i AM GRASPING AT STRAWS HERE AND WANT TO BE ABLE TO HOLD SOMEHING IN MY HAND THAT SAYS yes I CAN DO THIS !!! PLEASE Help Me A dedicated Student .. Willing to devote my education for renewable solar panels that are cost effective !!! Any Recent breakthroughs … How do you get funding for a project such as this from my community or federal Government I want to start a Home Based Solar Powere Business helping others achieve their goals of electical freedom but first I have to do it for myself so I am not completely full of shit and know nothing about what is invoved … we can make this technology BOOM if we just work together Hand in Hand to escalate the curnet technolgy to a affordable price for everyone !!!! Please any ideaws on what my 1st step should be and how much $$ I will need as a start up base to at least get something going on at my home would be graetly apreciated … DESPERATE Dedicated Interested … Intelligent Justin Schweiger I await a response from Dancing Rabbit .. PS are you the guy w/ the FRO I wish I could remeber your ]name you are such a god person God Bless Please help Me & Candace Thank You

  • Ruth

    I would like to know if there are any off the grid communities in North Carolina and Illinois. I am interested in researching them to see if living in such a community will work for me. One of my thoughts is I would like to live in a community, believing it takes a village to raise a child. Not being the best at internet research, I haven’t had success in my search. Thank you for your feedback.

    • Marianna Music Village

      There is one in Asheville, North Carolina…I can’t remember the name right now–but they do have one… :-)

    • Zachary Shahan

      Earthhaven in NC. I’ve been there. It’s one of the older, more “build out” ones I’m aware of.

  • Pingback: Dancing Rabbit Eco Village: The Inside Scoop : Planetsave

  • Lee Allmond

    Hello to all. I am retireing soon (2 years) and am looking for “off the grid community” in the mid-atlantic, or SE. I you know of anything where an old geezer would fit in let me know.

  • Dezert Don

    Hey want to live off grid? buy my home and solar isntallation on 10 ACRES only 90 min from downtown LA.

  • lisa mccollum

    are you allowed to have children? i am 31 years old and have a 6 yr. son. I have always wanted to do this but thought it would be too difficult independently with a child. an ecocommunity may be what im looking for. Please Respond!!!

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  • Will Engel

    Back in 1989 I paid $800 for two 50 watt panels and a charge controller that…well lets just say they don’t make them anymore! Now we are up to 450 watts and about to do a huge revamp, adding three new buildings and a lot more solar panels, wind and maybe even geo thermal if we have enough cash left over!

    “The important thing is to take the first small step” then we can work out the next one, but tomorrow if everyone that saw this changed one light bulb!

    the world would be 132 watts greener!

  • Denise

    Hi there,
    I am also interested in a cob house, off-the-grid community. Florida might be great. I live in Sedona but have recently been staying in nearby Clarkdale in solar house. Need water and warmth so time to leave desert. Please keep me posted on Florida.

    • crow

      Everyone is leaving Fl-not a good place to be. Way too many ppl & land is very expensive here. Taxes are high & so is insurance.It is collapsing as we speak. Get to the country/rural areas. No trees here, lots of pollution.

      • Marianna Music Village

        It’s a much different scene now… :-)

    • http://whenureplyjustputinsubboxecovillage Nia

      If you hear anything about Florida please do let me know. This is what Iam looking for. I live here in Florida and do not want to leave. But it seems that all of the established eco villages are else where. If I had the money then I would start my own but… Anywho don’t listen to crow. While yes the taxes and stuff here are expensive, it’s just beautiful here and many love it and stay and no not every one is leaving and no its not collapsing if anything is collapsing it is our entire nations structure not merely Florida’s economy.

  • Kim Laurie


    We are a family of four looking to settle off the grid. I am thinking that being part of a community would suit us. Does anyone know of any communities (now or soon to be) in New England? Thanks so much.
    The Laurie Family

    • Phoenix

      Hi Kim, my family & I just started looking into of the grid community type living & we're from New England too, so far we haven't found any established communities. However, after talking with a few friends of ours we've discovered that they too are interested in off the grid living so I think your best bet might be to find friends who have the same mind set & would be serious about building a community of your own.
      Sadly it seems we're one of the few families that want out of this rat race & out of Big Brothers spying eyes.
      Good Luck

  • rick

    there is one fixin to be built ib st augustine from what i have been told

  • Jami

    Hi All ,
    If anyone knows of an “off-the grid” community in Florida could you post info here or email it ?
    Thanks in Advance !

    • Marianna Music Village

      Marianna Music Village is 30 minutes North of Panama City, Florida.

  • Tony

    Brian does all his blog posts via carrier pigeons we raise here at Dancing Rabbit :-)

    Actually we have DSL provided by our rural phone co-op.

    While Brian spends his day building his house out of mud and straw, at night he’s blogging about it all on his lap top via solar power.

    Low tech meets high tech everyday at DR.

  • Liat

    this article has been posted less than 24 hours and already two friends I know not from here have told me about it. crazyness!

  • Melinda Hall

    applause! the only way I could move in is- if it’s handicapped-accessible?

  • Andrew Wheeler

    Does Dancing Rabbit have internet connectivity?

    • Marianna Music Village

      Marianna Music Village does, so I imagine Dancing Rabbit does?

    • Zachary Shahan

      Yes, definitely.

  • karl

    hey – thankyou for promoting living a good way

    I’m from South Africa and we’re on the brink of having our transkei coastline mined away. It’s a beautifully untouched area of the world and it breaks my heart to know that people think they can just sell it for money. it makes no cosmic sense really.

    we’ve a petition running at

    if you could sign it and spread the link you could help us preserve a beautiful, unique place of the world.

    This is no joke. we are desperate and all our government sees is the money.

    any help will probably go a long way

    peace and love k

  • Neil DiMuccio

    Hey Brian, what a fun and coincidental stumble.

    I just met Liat at Burning Man and learned all about DR – hope to visit you all sometime. :)

  • Karmalily

    I can’t wait to read your posts. Dancing Rabbit must have been a wonderful experience. It’d be great to hear about what life was like at an ecovillage.

  • Kelli Best-Oliver

    Great to have you here. I’ve visited DR (I went to Truman and one of my best friends interned there one summer). It’s truly an amazing place, and my first visit there is probably the catalyst that opened my eyes to sustainability. So glad you’ll be giving us updates of what’s going on up near Rutledge!

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