Started by environmental activists from Stanford University, Dancing Rabbit sprang to life in 1997 after its utopian-minded founders took a road trip looking for land more affordable than what they could find in California. Northeast Missouri’s cheap farmland and amenable building codes were ideal for the low-footprint community they envisioned. (California has since opened the door to straw bale, cob, and passive-solar architecture.)
Today, 50-plus members live at Dancing Rabbit, and during the visitor’s season (April through October), tours are given twice a month. There’s even a four-room eco-inn called the Milkweed Mercantile that proudly offers massages and wood-fired pizza.
“We don’t get the typical doily crowd,” says Alline Anderson, a transplant from Berkeley who built a bed and breakfast here with her husband, Kurt. “We get families, people investigating different lifestyles, people wondering what sustainable living looks like. We built the Milkweed Mercantile to show that living sustainable life is not about deprivation. There is joy and happiness and beauty in living lightly.”
Indeed, Dancing Rabbit is legendary (in Missouri, at least) for its ultimate Frisbee matches, weekly song nights, community potlucks, rowdy dance parties, and twice-monthly game nights.
“We don’t have leaders, there’s no shared religion, but we live together under agreed-upon ecological covenants,” Alline says. “And I love knowing that an entire community has my back.”
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