15-0202 v2.1/Dancing Rabbit Common House/Depleted Prairie As Developed?


Does land previously 'developed' (dramatically altered from its natural state) for agriculture constitute a grey- or brownfield site?

Our ecovillage is located on 280 acres near Rutledge, northeast Missouri. The area is historically prairie, although it has been subsequently developed for agriculture by previous landowners. The heavy use of mineral fertilisers and monoculture farming has left the soil depleted – with only a few inches of topsoil left in places.

The project site's surrounding 1km area is almost exclusively farmland with some scattered dairy buildings, barns, houses, etc. The surrounding land not owned by Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage (DR) is almost exclusively farmland for mono-crop agriculture and cattle.

DR currently has 50-60 permanent residents with much more passing through on work exchanges, visitor programs, workshops, etc each year. The village plans to grow to 500+ (assuming the purchase of some additional land) so as to become a largely self-contained, car-free, sustainable town.

DR has a number of covenants restricting the use of non-biodegradable products, enforcing organic compliant farming, etc. DR is also actively working to restore topsoil and restore and manage a large proportion of the 280 acres as prairie - carrying out controlled prairie fires, removing invasive plants, etc. Some of this land is held within the Federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Without DR occupying the land, it would be used for corn, soybean, or cattle. The whole 280 acres are held by Dancing Rabbit Land Trust (DRLT). DRLT has owned and managed the land for close to 15 years now.

Can you please confirm that this land would be considered “developed” and that our site is acceptable?

Also, what if any special documentation do we need, in our particular case, for this Imperative?


"Yes, based on your description (and in seeing the aerial view of its surroundings - Google Earth screenshot attached), the site would be considered to be 'previously developed' and is acceptable. Refer to these related Dialogue threads for further information about the Institute's definition of the land types you mention: "Technically a Greyfield?" initiated June 11, 2011; "Technically Brownfield?" initiated June 9, 2010; and "Definition of Virgin Prairie" initiated March 2, 2011. Given the intended primary function of the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage and its context/neighbors, this site is most aligned with Transect L2. To document this Imperative, the team should include the information listed in the Documentation Requirements, items I01-1 through I01-3. The historic image required as part of item I01-1 should show the previous use phase as monoculture farming. If a photograph is not available from this time frame, it is also acceptable to provide other third-party substantiation of this use phase as noted in item I01-a. (Please note that there are other items to identify on the historic photograph that should still be included, even if the image used shows a more recent view of your project site). At the team's option, additional data may also be submitted that document the research and exploration process as noted in item I01-c."

Post ID 2102

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