At 7 AM on May 13, 2014, a group of Amish community members gathered on a construction site in rural Ohio. Their goal was to erect a massive, multi-structure barn for a neighbor. By 5 PM that afternoon, a mere 10 hours later, the completed barn stood atop its foundation.
The entire process can be seen in this time-lapse video:
Barn-raising, a practice popularized by 19th-century U.S. farming communities, accomplishes several things. Most obviously, it quickly creates a barn where one hadn’t stood before. Less obviously — but perhaps more importantly — it leverages community intelligence to produce the best barn design possible, and also creates and reinforces collaborative connections crucial for success in farming communities. At the end of the process, the family that initiates the activity not only has a new barn to use, with the wisdom and insights of the broader community baked into the design, it also has new and stronger ties to the community that will help ensure its future activities are fruitful.