AGAPE: A residential settlement established in Liberty, DeKalb County, Tennessee, in 1972 by members of the Russian Orthodox faith. The community prefers primitive living conditions and a diet and daily life conditioned by the discipline of the church. Members operate a small religious press and publish a bimonthly magazine, Living Orthodoxy.
AMISH AND MENNONITE COMMUNITIES: These communities consist of Anabaptists who have set themselves apart from modernized society for religious reasons. Among the many Amish and Mennonite communities scattered throughout Tennessee are three Old Order Amish settlements: one in Lawrence County (est. 1944), one in Carroll County (est. 1975), and a third in Hickman County (est. 1982). There are also several Tennessee communities classified as Beechy Amish or Mennonite Fellowship: four in Paris (est. 1971, 1985, 1986, and 1992), and others in Crossville (est. 1970), Perry County (est. in the 1970s), Whiteville (est. 1977), Monterey (est. in the 1980s), Belvidere (est. 1986), and China Grove (est. 1996).
The Amish are often referred to as the “plain people” because the Amish way of life is a simple one. Most groups do not approve of electricity, automobiles, bodily or household adornments, mirrors, or photographs. A peace-loving people, the Amish do not allow their members to join the military. They refuse government assistance and Social Security, and they see no need for insurance, since the entire community comes together to help anyone in trouble. The Amish place little emphasis on education, and few of their children attend school beyond the eighth grade.
DUNMIRE HOLLOW COMMUNITY: A community established in 1973, its members live on 163 acres of orchards, gardens, woods, springs, and creeks, with a woodshop, a sauna, a food co-op, and family houses. Dunmire Hollow is located in Waynesboro, Wayne County, Tennessee.
HARRIMAN: This Utopian community was built on principles of social temperance during the period when the Great Land Sale of 1890 brought thousands to settle the area in Roane County. It was organized by Frederick Gates, a former Methodist minister and founder of the East Tennessee Land Company.
IDA: This all-purpose queer/gay arts community was established in 1993 on 250 acres in the backwoods of Dowelltown, DeKalb County, Tennessee. Residents describe it as an ever-changing community trying to create an alternative to “consumerist, corporate-controlled spirit-numbing culture.”
JUMP-OFF COMMUNITY LAND TRUST: This community was formed in 1990 and established in 1992 with the aim of promoting and encouraging environmental awareness by maintaining the land for wilderness, educational, and homestead uses. Members live on 30 cleared acres of a 1,110-acre property in Sewanee, Franklin County, Tennessee; the balance of the property is woodland that has been protected for over 55 years.
MOONSHADOW-SEQUATCHIE VALLEY INSTITUTE: Set within 300 acres in an Appalachian valley, Moonshadow lies on the side of a forested mountain in Whitwell, Marion County, Tennessee. The community was established in 1971 as a small eco-village committed to exploring the practicality of sustainable agriculture. The mission of Sequatchie Valley Institute is to offer society an opportunity to experience and learn by providing education, art research opportunities, and land conservation and restoration skills through a model residence and learning center.
PUMPKIN HOLLOW: This community is set on 120 acres of rustic and remote land in Liberty, DeKalb County, Tennessee, which was obtained in November 1996 with the intention of maintaining a rural residential community practicing sustainable agriculture, ecological living, art, and education. Members use an old barn as residence, recording studio, library, and the Fifth Estate book store. They believe in radical activism and practice earth-bound spirituality in carnivalesque festivals.
ROSE CREEK VILLAGE: Situated on 100 acres in Selmer, McNairy County, Tennessee, this religion-based intentional community of about 200 members formed in 1989 (established in 1996) from a core of 17 families moving from Geneva, Florida, to Bethel Springs, Tennessee. Offering Rose Creek Village midwifery and childbirth services, the community also supports five other businesses: commercial and residential painting, construction, Solar Tint installation, a restaurant (Another Realm), and a distribution center offering office and warehouse services. Derived from the “Twelve Tribes Communities,” members express beliefs centered around God and a desire simply to be the people of Jesus Christ.
SHORT MOUNTAIN SANCTUARY: This collective provides “queer safe space” for rural gay men. Formed in 1979 and established in 1980, it is the first and longest-running radical faerie commune. Residents grow most of the food and herbs, and also raise goats for milk and chickens for eggs. The community publishes a newspaper, RFD: A Country Journal for Queer Folk Everywhere, and hosts two annual ten-day faerie gatherings, in May and October. Short Mountain Sanctuary is located in Liberty, DeKalb County, Tennessee.