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In theory, a sustainable community can live independent of all other people and communities; it needs nothing from outside its borders. In practice, this is not a likely scenario. Sustainable communities usually interact with the outside world, especially with other communities. A community can, nay, will produce something in excess that it will sell in order to buy lesser comodities from outside. Many sell handicrafts, nut butter, etc. The products are more successful if they are planned to be sold ahead of time.
Here we would have people put down the experiences of their communities, ideas for such and so forth.
- Single-Source Cocoa for chocolate bars and cocoa powder
- Spices - $5 for 2oz of smoky paprika
- Exotic Wood Crafts - Zebra wood bowls
- High-end exotic herbs and vegetables for local restaurants
- Organic Beef/Chicken/Mutton, in combination with a local steak house
The Tropic/Temperate distinction is somewhat arbitrary. EastWind sells cashew butter - but they don't grow those cashews in Missouri. I don't know that it works quite as easily the other direction. Can a third-world tropical community import from the first-world and sell locally ? Probably not.
This model also assumes that financial independance is implemented hand-in-hand with life-style independance. There is no reason that every person must be employed by a community enterprise. In some communities, everyone will have 'outside' jobs, returning to the community to live and love and raise their families. Most communities fall somewhere between the two extremes.