Exploring the motivations, satisfactions, and well-being of agricultural intentional community residents





Intentional Communities, Agricultural Intentional Communities, Intrinsic Satisfaction, Food System Engagement, Psychological Well-Being, Meaning in Life


Intentional communities have long provided an alternative living solution for those wanting to live with a group of others who share their values. Intentional community residents throughout the U.S. were surveyed to discover their intrinsic satis­factions and motivations, and community features they envision in their futures, as well as to investi­gate their psychological well-being and if they experience or search for personal meaning. Of the 204 U.S. communities identified with a gardening or agricultural focus, 83 agreed to be surveyed, gar­nering 259 responses. It was found that engage­ment in local food systems elicits intrinsic satisfac­tion in the areas of community food (such as growing and sharing food with neighbors) and participation (such as contributing to a larger goal or purpose). However, local food system engagement does not strongly increase psychological well-being, suggest­ing that those living in agricultural communities may have their well-being supported in other life­style areas. Recommendations for communication and recruitment are then addressed: it is important to emphasize communitarian and social values when advertising intentional communities to inter­ested parties. Secondary values, such as environ­mentalism, and the intrinsic satisfaction associated with participation can also be successfully used in communication, especially when paired with future-oriented envisioning of their communities.


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Author Biographies

Jess M. Lasoff-Santos, University of Michigan

Environmental Psychology Lab. Jess M. Lasoff-Santos is now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan.

Raymond K. De Young, University of Michigan

Ph.D.; Associate Professor, Environmental Psychology Lab



How to Cite

Lasoff-Santos, J., & De Young, R. (2023). Exploring the motivations, satisfactions, and well-being of agricultural intentional community residents. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 12(2), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2023.122.011