According to the August/September 2006 issue of Mother Earth News, Fairfield is a progressive little town worth visiting—if not packing up altogether and moving to!
In “12 Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of,” writer Lynn Byczynski lauds Fairfield’s eclectic, eco-conscious character,describing the community of 10,000 as “a surprisingly sustainableand cosmopolitan town.”
Byczynski’s article highlighted 11 other progressive yet little known communities in the U.S., including Ithaca, New York, and Sitka, Alaska. “We[at Mother Earth News] didn’t choose these towns based on a statistical analysis or scientific survey,” she writes, “Instead, we brainstormed standout towns we’ve visited, lived in, or heard about from readers.”
Qualities that met the Mother Earth News seal of approval were “beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities; civic pride and a healthy economy;and a community of people who care about the environment, sustainability,alternative energy and fresh, wholesome food.”
Readers in search of sustainable communities were encouraged to visit or relocate to Byczynski’s top 12 picks—or at least draw inspiration on ways to improve their own locales. Here’s what MotherEarth had to say about Fairfield.
“Your image of southeast Iowa probably doesn’t include the world’premier ayurvedic health spa, more restaurants per capita than San Francisco, or 25 art galleries on the downtown square, but these are justsome of the many features of Fairfield, a surprisingly sustainable and cosmopolitan town.
“Since 1971, Fairfield has been home to Maharishi University of Management, founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. What began as an effort to teach India’s ancient principles of health and peace to Americanhas spread into many aspects of life in the community. Fairfield hosts an Eco-Fair every year, and has the most homes with solar energy or othergreen building features in Iowa. The county has the most acres of organic cultivation in the state. It also has earned praise for its entrepreneurial spirit—many small businesses thrive there.
“Two miles north of Fairfield is Maharishi Vedic City, where all homes are designed and built according to the principles of ayurvedic architecture,in which each building faces east and has a central silent space called a Brahmasthan and a golden roof ornament called a kalash. Construction recently began on greenhouses that will be powered by wind and solar energy for the year-round production of organic food.”
Climate: hot summers; cold winters; rainy
Cost of living index: 79.7
Median home price: $96,200
Alternative energy: net metering and renewable energy incentives
Don’t miss: Maharishi University’sGolden Domes
Of the 12 towns selected, Fairfield topped all others for the lowest cost of living index and the lowest average home price.
The 11 other 2006 winners are Ithaca, New York (population 19,896), Blue Hill Maine (2,345), Athens, Ohio (21,824), Wimberly Texas, (2,724), Decatur,Georgia (18,251), Northfield, MN (18,567), Grand Junction, CO (44,693),La Grande, Oregon (12,371), St. George Utah (59,780), Grants Pass, Oregon(27,195), Sitka, Alaska (8,986).