Small Footprint Community is an eco-community founded in the end of 2012 and since 2014 it is located in Mõisamaa manor, Mõisamaa village, Märjamaa parish, Rapla county, Estonia. Small Footprint is a member of the Network of Estonian Eco-communities. The founding members of the community were brought together by the summer gatherings of the Network of Estonian Eco-communities, Ecovillage Design Education (Gaia Education) course in 2010 in Lilleoru, community building training Rising Together in 2014 in Esna.

We in Small Footprint believe that the creation of new and sustainable life is possible through practical everyday life experience, by living and working in an intentional community. The members of Small Footprint are connected by a common understanding of the sustainable operation of community through all four aspects – economic, ecologic, social and worldview.

Who is welcome to become a member of Small Footprint community

We expect that people wishing to join the community are balanced in their personal life – they have well-working relationships with themselves and others and a wish to cooperate with other community members. We welcome people who have a deep interest in sustainable life and self-development. The core principle of Small Footprint community is creating cooperation and trust with people and nature. See also our vision.

Applicants should note that we are located at countryside and we are creating a totally new model for living: it takes energy and time – community members contribute every week at least 7 h of their personal time for community development – housekeeping and garden work, maintenance of territory and houses, heating, cleaning, cooking, etc.

Community members are responsible for their own income. Gradually new jobs are also created in the community. Our goal is to enable most members to earn their living on site.

In addition to work there is much more in our lives: we do daily or weekly practices, e.g. dance journeys, talking circles, celebrations, etc. Community members can participate our exciting courses and events and have a chance to operate in different roles to enhance their personal abilities. We celebrate holidays like solstices and equinoxes, etc.

Memberhip process and statuses:

  1. Guest. People interested in community life and future membership first participate in our work parties, trainings or events, to gain an overview of the community and its operation. E.g. at experiential weekends or work parties we introduce the community, we experience common works and activities and guests can get to know the people in the community.
    In case of a more serious interest in us or to visit us more often, please contact us and come introduce yourself at our big circle (a common gathering of the community).
  2. Volunteer. You can get a better overview of community life by contributing with volunteer work and living in the community. Helping hands are welcome in construction, gardening and household works and also in community school. You can come to volunteer for a weekend (also repeatedly), a week or longer. Volunteers can participate the community’s everyday life, weekly rhythm and events. Work is contributed 6h/day. Lodging (a bed in shared room) and food: 10 € day (at least 3 days at a time)
  3. Community friend – supporter. Community friend is a person who is interested in contributing to the development and activities of the community but doesn’t wish to live on site all year round. (S)he is supporting the community with a monthly fee of EUR 30-50 (depending on possibilities) and has the possibility to visit Mõisamaa at 11€ / day (food and lodging). A suitable accommodation is found from among the available spaces. Work is also contributed similarly to the residents (at least 7h/week) or by special agreement with some specific skills. Community friend can also participate events at a reduced price. The contribution fee is used only for major community development projects.
  4. Touching member. Touching member is a person who wishes to test if co-living and cooperation in a community is for him/her. The pre-requisite of becoming a touching member is previous repeated and longer guest or volunteer status. Touching period can be from 1 to 2 years. Touching members have a mentor together with whom common goals are set for the touching period and questions regarding acclimatizing in the community can be discussed. Touching member has the obligation to pay monthly rent and food expenses and to contribute work at least 7h/week. Touching members have a word when taking community’s strategic decisions. Touching members will participate an introductory training introducing community life and sustainability, they take part in common talking circles, etc.
  5. Committed member. After the touching period it is possible to take the decision to become a full member of the community and enter into the status of a committed member. Committed member is eligible to vote, (s)he has a sincere desire to contribute to the creation of sustainable living and working environment and to help the community with making the common goals and dreams come true. A committed member will become a member of the cooperative MÜ Väike Jalajälg and pays the entry fee – EUR 10 000. This payment can be agreed to be paid gradually. The entry fee is a contribution of all committed members for improving our common living conditions. With this money we are able to invest in the building, renovation and maintenance works of the real estate owned by our cooperative and to ensure that both the cooperative and NGO can fulfill their decreed goals to create an economically and ecologically sustainable ecovillage. After a member has left the ecovillage, the cooperative will return the entry fee within 3 years.

From people wishing to become members we expect readiness to contribute to realizing our vision.

About the organization

Community Small Footprint operates as two organizations:

  • Economic cooperative (MÜ) Väike Jalajälg, that owns our real estate
  • NGO Väike Jalajälg, that operates our everyday life, training center and community school.

Today 4 adults and 5 children are living in the community, additionally 4 members are contributing to the community while living outside. We have 33ha of land and 5 residential houses that we are renovating as ecologically as possible. In a more distant future we wish to build new eco-friendly buildings.