March 6, 2017 // 4:25 PM

Cooperative Living: A Recipe for the Future

Written by Juanita Fox

Garden Spot Communities, in partnership with local businesses, churches and nonprofit organizations, broke ground on the Cooperative Living House in mid-December. Held at the site of the new home on Ranck Road, the event marked the transition of the project from vision to reality.

The idea began with visionary Victor Weaver and his son, Garden Spot Village Founder Dale Weaver, who saw a need for a community that would serve everyone, regardless of means. Dale passed the vision to others on the leadership team, and after many years of research and brainstorming the idea for a Cooperative Living House began to form.

The Cooperative Living House will offer affordable housing for four to five members of the local community and will not rely on government programs or subsidies for funding.

Desiring a grassroots approach to this project, Garden Spot Village leadership invited residents of Garden Spot Village as well as the greater New Holland community to embrace the vision too. CrossNet Ministries, Weaverland Mennonite Church, SFCS Architects and Musselman Homes, LLC., are just a few of the groups that joined the project, offering expertise, materials and volunteers.

EJ Rittersbach, Garden Spot Village resident and member of the board of directors, said, “When this project was presented, I immediately became excited and agreed to become involved, as I saw the need being great not only in Lancaster County, but the entire country. Being a grassroots project, I saw it as an exciting, rewarding venture, which in the end, would help many who needed help.”

“Volunteers will have a huge part in the project,” said Brian Martin, lead pastor at Weaverland Mennonite Church. “If the costs of skilled labor needed to be included in this project, it is doubtful that it would ever occur as planned. Involving the community at a grassroots and volunteer level brings a deep sense of ownership and partnership of our community coming alongside the mission and vision of the home.”

Next steps for the project include fundraising and continued volunteer recruitment. If you would like join the vision, contact Linda Dodge at [email protected] for more information.