In 1977, a group of students and Dr. Bob Alrutz, a biology professor at Denison, began an experiment. Their mission was to create an agriculturally based, self-reliant, democratic community. The land would serve as the experiment station; and they would test environmentally sound materials, agricultural and living practices. Faculty and students worked together performing research and constructing buildings. Homesteaders initiated seminar projects with a variety of teachers including Dr. Bob Alrutz and Dr. Paul Bennett. The original founders built three cabins to house twelve students, with the expectation that those cabins would come down and new ones would be built about every three to five years.
Today, the Homestead is a living-learning experience unique among American colleges and universities. It is a student-run intentional community with a focus on ecological sustainability.