Utah’s biggest Off-Grid Community Sets the Standard for Preparedness Living

In a world where unforeseen challenges and emergencies can strike at any moment, one extraordinary Utah community has taken proactive steps to ensure its self-sufficiency and resilience. Nestled away on an old alfalfa farm in the West Desert, far from the uncertainties of mainstream living, the off-grid community of Riverbed Ranch serves as a model for preparedness living, ready to face most any natural or man-made disaster head-on. 

Riverbed Ranch’s version of ultimate preparedness is for every family in town to set themselves up in a position to produce all their own life-preserving food, water and power. Then, when a crisis hits, they just keep doing what they’re doing – producing food and raising resilient children. Riverbed Rench founder, Philip Gleason, said that his goal in creating the community was to make self-sufficiency a way of life.

“Creating a community that can thrive in the face of uncertainty has been our guiding principle from the very beginning,” Gleason said. “We aimed to build a haven where people could live with confidence, knowing they are developing the skills, resources, and support needed to navigate any challenge that comes their way.” 

Since Riverbed Ranch has opened, there have been many great things that have happened. The ranch has over 30 permanent families, most of whom are working diligently to finish their passive-solar homes, erect their greenhouses, and install their septic, solar, and water systems. A few have completed most of these things and are already producing food.

One of the most helpful accomplishments for the community was when a resident built a rock quarry and concrete plant on the site. Typically, it takes weeks to get concrete delivered along the Wasatch Front. At Riverbed Ranch, residents can usually get a load of concrete or rock delivered the next day.

Residents have reported enjoying a healthy social life, which could be due to many things including spring and fall festivals in the community and weekly meetings. In these weekly meetings, residents share progress, what works and doesn’t work, and sometimes ask for ideas and assistance. Often one will see residents helping cover a newly-constructed greenhouse, raising rafters, helping can vegetables, or even teaching foreign language classes, among many other things. 

The resident members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have also been organized into a new branch. Over 100 people attended their first Sacrament meeting. Former Elk Ridge resident Russ Lundberg was called as Branch President. 

The adults are quick to organize to fulfill needs that most towns already provide, like education. Riverbed Ranch residents united to organize a homeschool co-op where parents and students meet weekly for special classes from gardening and animal husbandry to history and foreign languages. Ranch resident Emily Satterthwaite said she was happy with the success of the homeschool co-op, and looks forward to it growing along with the community.

“We had 11 families participating last year, and we met half day once a week from September through March,” Satterthwaite said. “We anticipate it growing to a longer season once more families have homes [completed].”

Two babies born at the ranch this year, and shareholder, midwife and Springville resident Richelle Jolley helped deliver one baby, and birth mentor Kim Lundgren assisted with the other delivery during the worst snowstorm of the year.

The Juab County Fire District provided training in fire suppression and rescue methods for five residents, and also gave the ranch two work trucks. The Riverbed Ranch fire crew has used those vehicles to scout out potential fires in the region. The state and county emergency crews have used water from the ranch’s wells to put out fires as well. Not only does having trained professionals help the ranch itself, but these newly trained members can assist the Fire District in the West Desert when necessary.

The community plans to create a cooperative store where residents can sell their surplus fruits, vegetables, and purchase imported goods. Currently, that store only sells gasoline and diesel fuel. Many locals hope it will eventually host an ACE Hardware franchise. 

In an unpredictable, changing world where preparedness is paramount, Riverbed Ranch off-grid community serves as an inspiring example of self-reliance and resilience. Through their focus on producing all their own life-sustaining food, water and power, they are building a haven capable of weathering just about any storm. This off-grid community offers valuable life lessons and guidance for those seeking to enhance their preparedness and embrace a lifestyle that prioritizes self-sufficiency, adaptability, and unity in the face of uncertainty. 

For more information, go to riverbed-ranch.com

Submitted by Jesse Fisher

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