Your Green Homestead announced the winner of 2020 Highest Rated Entry Award

Story about the first cohousing community in Nashville, TN inspires intentional community movement in the area


Brentwood, TN – March 1, 2021 – Your Green Homestead, an online educational and entertainment platform dedicated to inspiring sustainable design, one household at a time, announced today the winner of the 2020 Highest Rated Entry Award set at $1,200.00.

As usual, the highest number of popular votes in four categories determined the winning essay in 2020, “Hold the Vision and They Will Build It” – How Germantown Cohousing Community appeared in Nashville, Tennessee (Founder’s account) by Diana Sullivan, the Principal commercial real estate developer at New American Villages. The description of the early stages of a current living and breathing cohousing community in the heart of the Tennessee capital proved to be inspirational for 18 contest voters out of the 55 total registered account holders on Your Green Homestead. Diana shared in her essay how the core group was formed with an intention to design, fund, and build a 25-unit townhouse community according to a collective vision and many critical decisions along the way. After the cohousing community was built several years ago, the consensus discussion process and various collective decisions by its residents continue to this day in this community.

The other contest entries in the 2020 YGH contest included a description of an ancient food preparation by Tony Amezquita, a poem about finding peace and stillness in a storm by Natalia Smothers, a story about a school project Sunlightenment for bringing sunshine into buildings in addition to regular windows by a group led by Riddhi Singhania, and beautiful photos with wise words about our respect for nature by Josiah Patrick. All the contest entries were great but couldn’t match the popularity of Diana’s essay posted in January 2020 – early in the contest period of a calendar year. 🙂

As many people noticed, 2020 was a busy year for a lot of the sustainability oriented groups and organizations, including registered members of YGH online community. Just the number of the event posts on Your Green Homestead tripled in 2020 compared with 2019, and many of these events contained multi-day gatherings and summits produced in cooperation with numerous groups and experts.

“It has been inspirational to witness the enthusiasm and dedication of all our continuing and new partner organizations putting together exciting events and voting for the contest entries!” said Natalia Smothers, founder of Your Green Homestead. “Each organization is bringing its unique perspective and contribution to the overall sustainability effort creating a synergistic effect that is greater than the sum of the individual programs. It is clear that the sustainability movement is gaining its momentum!”

In April 2020, Your Green Homestead launched a YGH newsletter and increased the list of YGH subscribers by several hundred in addition to sharing the event posts in various groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Later in the year YGH opened its account on Instagram too.

As it turned out, Diana Sullivan’s post “Hold the Vision and They Will Build It” inadvertently set the tone for the whole year on Your Green Homestead platform. The right people and resources appeared at the right time – similar to what happened in the case of the Germantown cohousing community almost a decade ago.

Following Diana Sullivan’s example, advice, and experience, another group in Nashville area, New Hope Village and Farm, began its community building activities in 2020. NHVF combined the search for the right property with a series of educational weekly cohousing discussion group meetings on zoom dedicated to the topics of the community vision, personal growth, inclusivity, financial issues, and consensus 101 training for communications and decision making. Some of these topics are also described in the YGH post Competition vs Collaboration.

“I am greatly humbled by the exponentially growing interest in cohousing and other forms of intentional communities in the Middle Tennessee area,” said Diana Sullivan, the recipient of the 2020 Your Green Homestead Award. “I am aware of at least five groups that already began the initial community planning process in Cheatham, Robertson, Lewis, and Lawrence Counties in Tennessee in addition to New Hope Village and Farm. This is exciting! I am especially grateful to the New Hope Village and Farm group for doing an excellent educational program for several months in 2020 about important principles of cohousing. I would like to give back to our incredible local community and contribute $200 from my award to New Hope Village and Farm.”

Diane Scher is accepting the check for $200 on behalf of New Hope Village and Farm

When Germantown cohousing was under construction, according to the International Consultants, only seven percent of the population was interested in alternative community living. By 2019 it surged to 27 percent, and by 2020 reached 47 percent.

Diana’s New American Villages in cooperation with New Hope Village and Farm advise anyone who wants to learn some basics about cohousing communities to start by reading the book Happily Ever Aftering In Cohousing: A Handbook for Community Living by Charles Durrett. They contacted the author directly and are offering this book for sale at a discounted price in the New American Villages Shop on Your Green Homestead.

Diana’s updates after the contest entry

Diana Sullivan’s vision for 2020 to finish and publish her book Vision Is the Way: Love Is the Destination also materialized for her in October 2020 and became an International Best Seller in a number of categories on Amazon. “Hold the Vision and They Will Build It” remained as Chapter 6 of this book. Congratulations, Diana!

The other chapters of Diana’s book are focused on her inner transformation from living in a passive, people-pleasing box of “should be” life to discovering her own outrageous self that dares to ask provocative questions and search for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. After visiting the Gurukal School of Nithyananda in India several years ago and witnessing first-hand the students practicing the spiritual gifts of mind reading, levitation, teleportation, scanning for healing, materialization, and the powers of the activated third eye, Diana got inspired to bring these teachings to the United States and open a retreat center here.

Both Charles Durrett’s and Diana Sullivan’s books were part of the reading list for the newly formed in 2020 Permaculture and Spirituality group associated with Your Green Homestead. Diana attended several meetings of this group and is a member of the group’s discussion circle. When the Permaculture and Spirituality group finished reading the book The Magic of Findhorn by Paul Hawken in 2020, all group members noticed the described “greenhouse effect” of it. Please feel free to join us for the current Findhorn Foundation initiative Living the New Story: Myth, Magic & Miracles included at the end of our YGH post The Greenhouse Effect from The Magic of Findhorn. All of us are ready to live with Love as the Way and the Destination! Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

About Your Green Homestead

Your Green Homestead [YGH] is an online educational and entertainment platform dedicated to inspiring sustainable design, one household at a time. YGH accomplishes its mission through a yearly contest of creative works featuring sustainable design ideas and stories for the chance to win YGH Highest Rated Entry Awards rated by YGH registered members. The members of YGH online community also post their news and events and participate in YGH forum discussions.

About New American Villages and New Hope Village and Farm

For more information about New American Villages, please visit its website. The best way to get in touch with New Hope Village and Farm is via their Facebook page.

Media Inquiries

Natalia Smothers, YGH Founder | (615) 538-7360 | Email

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“Hold the Vision and They Will Build It” – How Germantown Cohousing Community appeared in Nashville, Tennessee (Founder’s account)

Germantown Commons, the first cohousing community in Nashville, TN, was a result of over five years of research, planning, capital raising, and construction. The Founder of this community Diana Sullivan is sharing with the readers of Your Green Homestead her personal journey of struggle in the early stages of the development process and how she was able to overcome the obstacles by focusing and holding a powerful vision that attracted the right people and resources at the right time along the way.