Founded in 1937 by Arthur Morgan, Celo Community, Inc. is a land trust that runs its internal government by consensus. The community is based on ideals of cooperation between residents and care for the natural environment. In this land trust system, members may own their personal homes, but the land itself is owned by the community. The land is entrusted to members’ stewardship but never sold to individuals. Much of the 1200 acres owned by the Community is designated as wilderness preserve or for communal use.
All Community members are economically self-sufficient. Many are self-employed. Some work within the Celo Community at Camp Celo, the Arthur Morgan School, and the Celo Health Center. Many members also work outside of the community. There is no requirement that members belong to any particular religion or ideology. About 40 households currently belong to the Community as active members, and there is a waiting list for interested families. Many families that have settled on the outskirts of the official land trust community also participate in most of the community events and projects that characterize life in Celo.
Some of these cooperative endeavors include the local food co-op, an adjacent cooperative crafts shop, and Cabin Fever University, a series of events proposed and hosted each winter by individuals interested in sharing their skills or interests or simply in organizing social occasions. The Celo Community Center provides a venue for many of these and other events and also offers a lending library, a playground, and internet access to the local community on a daily basis. There are several Quaker families in the area, and the land trust is home to the Celo Friends Meeting as well as the Arthur Morgan School, Camp Celo, and the Rural Southern Voice for Peace.