Buffalo Commons Cohousing

Northfield, Minnesota

Buffalo Commons Cohousing is envisioned as a cohousing community of about 30 to 35 households on 21 acres adjacent to the city limits of Northfield, Minnesota (about 40 miles south of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul). Northfield is a vibrant college community with a strong local economy; an engaged populace; highly regarded public, charter, and private schools; an historic downtown; an active local arts community; a large arboretum with hiking and cross-country ski trails; endless miles of quiet country roads for bike riding; and wonderful canoeing on the Cannon River.

The land includes five acres of wetland and nine acres of oak woodland that will be protected by a permanent conservation easement. The site also has room for a large open green (play) space and a community garden (one to several acres). The community will be developed according to the following guiding principles:

• Consensus decision-making in design and operation
• Intergenerational, mixed income, and ethnically diverse community structure
• Mixed use: residential, food production, and possibly commercial
• Minimum environmental impact
• Maximum protection of natural and agricultural land

The following sustainable design elements are envisioned:
• Carbon-neutral/zero net energy cohousing clustered on approximately three acres of land
• Modest square footage in private homes
• Maximum use of reused, recycled, local, and non-toxic materials in construction
• Highly water-efficient design (with graywater and rainwater use for toilets and landscape/garden watering)
• Bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly design (the site is 1.25 miles from downtown, St. Olaf College, and Carleton College, and about half a mile from an elementary school)
• Pervious road and walkway surfaces
• Community garden space (about one to two acres), compost site, greenhouse, chicken house and community root cellar
• Permaculture landscaping
• Common house utilizing reassembled barn-timber frame
• Commercial greenhouse for 12-month production of hydroponic vegetables for the community and local market

About fifteen households comprise our current forming group. We vary in age from 20-somethings to 70-somethings, with households comprised of singles, couples, and families with children (newborns to adult). Most are from the Northfield area, but several are from farther afield. All of us are interested in creating a supportive, sustainable community in a beautiful semi-rural setting right on the edge of a wonderful community. We welcome you to join us!

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