One option might be to have several families pitch in equal amounts of money (in the thousands of dollars) to buy a property, form a community land trust organization, then give themselves long term leases on equal sized pieces of the property, using the remainder as common space. This is problematic in that there would exclude people with less money than others who are interested.
A non-profit organization may be able to get a mortgage. If we formed and incorporated the community land trust first, then developed a business plan about how we are going to pay the mortgage (perhaps an organic farm business owned by the community land trust and operated by us), we might be able to convince a bank to give us mortgage to buy property and build houses with natural building methods (considerably cheaper than conventional methods, especially with us helping each other build, which will save us all labour costs). Then the community land trust will pay on the mortgage with profits from the organic farm or whatever the business happens to be.
Another possibility, but a long shot, is to make an effort to find an aging farmer or farming couple who want their land to remain a farm, and to strike a deal with them to integrate them into our community through their retirement and steward their land as they want it to be stewarded in exchange for them donating their land to our cause. It doesn't hurt to ask around.
When Nikita and I are ready, we could approach people who are selling large tracks of land and ask if they would be willing to sell portions of it to community land trust members as they join, starting with us. The problem I see with this is that splitting and registering new land could get expensive and tedious, especially if people join one at a time. It would be even more expensive and tedious if we end up combining the land in the end and registering it again with one PID number. If we were to take this route, we may want to abandon the community land trust idea, or have the community land trust own all of the little, separate parcels on paper but treat it as one piece of land in everyday life.
Another option is that, when Nikita and I are ready, we could approach people who are selling large tracks of land and ask if they would be willing to do a lease-to-own deal with us for the whole property. One problem with this approach is that land owners see this as an opportunity to exploit us for all they can get, and the land may cost us twice as much or more than the asking price if we were to buy it outright. But let's assume for the moment that we find a kindly land owner who wants to sell, doesn't see much of a possibility of selling the property any other way, and likes what we intend to do. Still, another problem with this approach is that it could get complicated to work out who owes how much per month once others start to join the land trust and move on to the property. Perhaps a business-oriented mathematician would have a formula for that, though. Even still, complications may arise from people leaving or being unable to make their share of the payments. I suspect that we would have to find a rather flexible land owner for this to work.
Community Land Trust Issues
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's research highlight entitled 'Critical Success Factors for Community Land Trusts in Canada' warns: "A clear vision of the CLT objectives is necessary for ensuring commitment to this vision. The lack of a clear vision can create problems with securing buy-in from stakeholders to the goals of a CLT. Some CLTs invest in on-going education and outreach to maintain the commitment to a common vision".
On the subject of 'not-in-my-backyard' opposition, the same report suggests: "it is essential to remember not to overlook the importance of
community outreach to build support for a CLT, and to use a collaborative approach for resolving issues".
Community Size and Constitution
What is the minimum population needed to be self-sufficient for basic needs?
Should we concern ourselves with needs beyond the basic and attempt to recruit certain specialists to our ecovillage?
Is it best to see who hops on board and base the scope of the ecovillage on that group's aptitudes?