Formed: 2010 Established: 2013
This page last updated:1/13/2013
Bitternut Collective on Otisco St
Syracuse, New York,
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The Bitternut Collective (named after the Native American Iroquois word Otisco, or Us-te-ke, meaning "bitter-nut-hickory") is a 4 bedroom home in Syracuse's Near West Side (NWS) just off of downtown. Syracuse is a city of 145,000 people, and the NWS is an urban community with high racial, but low economic, diversity - a median income of $25,653 exists in the bottom 3.5% of national zip codes.
The house at 717 Otisco St is a 100-year old renovated Victorian purchased in 2010 for $1 from Home Headquarters (HHQ), a local quasi-governmental/non-profit housing agency. The house had been vacant for 3-4 years at the time of purchase, and required new plumbing, electric, heating, hot water, structural repairs from water and animal damage, and major interior and exterior finish work. For instance, all window glass was broken and would be replaced while preserving the original wooden frames and sills. There was also no front porch, it having rotted away and been demolished by HHQ during holding of the property.
Residents of the Collective live and "act" together, a primary strategy for creating community. Shared chores include cooking, shopping, cleaning, trash/recycling, gardening, and other tasks including a spring and fall cleaning day, and a spring and fall gardening day. The grounds are landscaped acording to Permaculture principles & design, the original owner Frank Cetera beinig a local Permaculture educator and designer. The Collective also houses the operations desk/office of The Alchemical Nursery, a non-profit organization working to create "Regenerative Landscapes and LIfestyles" utilizing strategies from the realms of Permaculture, mutual aid, eco-socialism, social justice, & ecovillage philosophies & methodologies.
Natural building & simple living are also strategies being utilized. Heating is currently through electric baseboard heating for instance. Although electric heating is initially more expensive from the supply side, it was chosen because it is less expensive to install, allows zoned control in each room, can be supplied by solar panels in the future, can be secondary/supplementary only when wood burning appliance is installed, and to keep natural gas out of this "Anti-Fracking House". Other techniques include interior natural clay plastering and homemade paints, hugelkultur garden beds made from downed woody debris, hand finished floors (scraping, sanding, treating with linseed oil & beeswax).
Community location is placed at the center of the zip/postal code, city/state, or city/country (not based on street addresses)
This page last updated:1/13/2013
Visitor Process: Contact us through IC.org or listed contact individuals to arrange for a visit. Walk-ins are welcome, but cannot always be expected to be accommodated if residents are busy with life. Visitors are also encouraged to come to regularly scheduled events for visiting such as our monthly potlucks or Permaculture/Natural Building educational workshops and hands-on work days.
Statement of Housing Non-discrimination:
Because our housing is a single housing unit and requires the sharing of bathroom, kitchen and common space membership/residency may be restricted based on sex/gender in accordance with the law. Our community does not discriminate based on race/color, national origin, religion, family status (i.e. having children, not having children, or being pregnant), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, source of income, age, creed, personal appearance, political affiliation, HIV infection, military/veteran status, unfavorable military discharge, gender identity or expression, receiving public assistance, or domestic abuse.
Members(adults and children):
Leadership Core Group:
(The residents of the Collective are considered the core leadership.)
Labor and Money
Members have independent finances
Open to Members with Pre-existing Debt:
(Shared chores, and quarterly work days.)
Land and Buildings
0.1 acres (0.0 hectares)
Land Owned By:
Individual community member(s)
Percentage of Food Grown:
Share Community Meals:
Dietary Choice or Restrictions:
There are some dietary restrictions
(The kitchen is considered to be meat-free. Potluck dishes are encouraged to be vegan.)
Common Spiritual Practices:
(There is one common room that is set aside for spiritual and holistic practices such as yoga, meditation, music/drumming, and chanting.)
Which Spiritual Traditions(s):
Eclectic (integrates pieces from many religions)
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Current editor(s): franklen
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