PLAND is a multidisciplinary organization that supports the development of experimental and research-based projects through a variety of on and off-site programs. Headquartered off-the-grid in Tres Piedras, New Mexico, PLAND is a hands-on, exploratory approach to Do-It-Yourself, alternative living.

Founded in 2009 by Erin Elder, Nina Elder, and Nancy Zastudil, PLAND finds its inspiration in a legacy of pioneers, entrepreneurs, homesteaders, artists, and other counterculturalists who — through both radical and mundane activities — reclaim and re-frame a land-based notion of the American Dream. PLAND brings artists, students, innovators, and others into a direct experience of limited natural resources via its rural, off-grid locale and minimal amenities.

While producing open-ended experimental projects that facilitate sustainability, collaboration, and hyper-local engagement, PLAND is a constantly evolving outpost in the New Mexican high desert. Participants are encouraged to marry survival-based goals with big ideas and experimental methods through project-based residencies and work parties. Each of PLAND’s programs prioritizes direct experience of the grid or lack thereof, with all the challenges and surprises that might entail.

PLAND sits on 1.25 acres of sagebrush-covered land near Tres Piedras, New Mexico. Once a boomtown, Tres Piedras is now home to only a few hundred residents who live primarily off the grid and in poverty. Areas of Tres Piedras were initially parceled off and given away as door prizes at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. The dream of suburban development never took shape and today the area is home to a smattering of off-the-grid dwellers who, like us, bought the land in more recent years at auction and attempt to carve out an alternative to the mainstream. The neighborhood is a refuge for contemporary back-to-the-landers, many of whom live in campers, buses or have built their unique homes by hand. The town is void of amenities, 30 miles from the nearest town. Water is hauled from elsewhere; electricity is self-generated through solar or wind or forfeited altogether.

Through the direct experience of intentional living, PLAND illustrates that eggs come from chickens, the sun produces energy, poverty is not necessarily a prison, and life can be rich beyond the grid. People can do amazing things when supported and encouraged in new contexts and there is no context like that of the Taos mesa. Part alternative school, part laboratory, part homestead, part art studio, PLAND is an active solution for merging art and life.

Contact PLAND at pland.info@gmail.com

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