Vignette > AMARANTH

Amaranth today - click to enlarge

Amaranth today – click to enlarge

In 1971, twelve families formed a housing cooperative with a vision of living lightly on the land, reducing consumption of resources, and creating an interdependent community.  The land would be owned in common, each family would live in a separate house, and a central lodge would provide such functions as laundry, cooking and dining. There would be a central garage with community-owned cars, a co-op nursery school and a community garden.   Work parties would preserve food from the garden as well as food bought in bulk.   Different families taking turns would prepare community meals.  Gray water would be used for the garden and the toilets.  Parking would be along the main road and in the central garage. Footpaths would lead to the houses.  In 1972, Amaranth Cooperative purchased 12 acres on Sequoia Valley Road and chose the name Amaranth, an imaginary undying flower (also a grain called quinoa). But things didn’t work out exactly as envisioned. Banks would not finance a Cooperative.  Amaranth Cooperative became Amaranth, Inc.  Twelve conventional homes were constructed, but several housing cooperative concepts survived. There is no central lodge, but homeowners share maintenance responsibility for the jointly owned portion of the 12-acre parcel.  None of the homes has a garage.  There are two parking lots.  Amaranth, the imaginary undying flower lives on.

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