The DIY Survival Community: Is There a Better Way?

A popular topic on survival forums, blogs, and websites is the concept of the DIY survival community.  Here’s the concept.

Every self-reliant group should have a doctor, a dentist, one or two former military personnel, an experienced gardener or farmer, maybe a teacher, and an assortment of others with strong practical skills, such as hunting.  To form your own survival community, you should begin seeking out like-minded people who fit these specific slots and begin making plans for establishing an actual survival retreat as a group.

There are some downsides to this plan.  First, with opsec always on the fore-front of the minds of most preppers and survival-types, how will you know exactly who is like-minded and also interested in joining with you?  Instinct?  And, do you really want to cast your family’s future into the hands of virtual strangers?  A few conversations in a Meet-Up group can hardly establish the deep trust necessary for banding together in order to survive.  Think about it.  If this is your plan, you are placing your family’s security in the hands of people you may not know very well.

Who’s to say everyone will be in agreement when it comes to making hard decisions?  And what will happen when the doctor’s son and his family show up at the retreat after TSHT?  Will the group be given a vote as to whether or not to accept these new arrivals or will the doctor, because of his or her importance to the community, be given a free pass when if a steady stream of their loved ones starts arriving?  Just how long do you think the cohesiveness of the group will last if the majority votes to send away your parents?


In a way, the idea of establishing survival communities along these lines is reminiscent of the efforts in the mid-19th century to create utopian societies, such as the Icarians.  Eventually, the groups disbanded, sometimes after just a couple of years.  Usually, this was due to disagreements about how money was handled, who was in charge, how decisions were made, etc.  Wherever there are people, there will be conflict.

In theory, I really like the idea of the make-your-own survival community. On paper, it looks great.  The reality, though, could be very, very different. Even establishing rules, procedures, and a chain of command early on won’t guarantee a survival paradise with everyone emerging on the other side of the S hitting the F, as a cohesive group with everyone safe and healthy.

One of my friends who is quite active in prepper circles told me of an experience in which she and her husband were seriously considering joining a prepper group that was forming. The leader had sought them out because of her training as a nurse. At first, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The other group members were all highly motivated, the location was within a short drive of their rural homestead, but then something happened to change their minds.

She told me, “What he talked most about was how members of the group would be punished if they went against his rules.” This little prepper group was on its way to becoming a dictatorship, and my friend was glad she found out in time!

Dr. Bruce Clayton, a well-known survival expert and author of eight books, has a different take on the DIY survival community.  He claims these communities already exist. They already have a doctor, a dentist, farmers, food preservation experts, security experts, and teachers. This community is called a village.  Dr. Clayton recommends doing some research and finding one of these villages in your preferred area, and then just…moving there.

Yes, you’ll be the outsider, but the essential pieces required for a self-reliant community are already in place.  It will be up to you to establish yourself as an integral part of the community, but it will also save a lot of time. If your family members show up after the SHTF, you have every right to bring them into your home without consulting The Leader or The Committee.  In the meantime, you can begin growing your gardens, planting your fruit trees, and start prepping to your heart’s content.

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