Odd Culture

Life on the Mesa – Living Off The Grid

posted by Chris Valentine

There is an amazing documentary called Life on the Mesa – Living Off the Grid. It’s about a group of 400 people or so who live in New Mexico, “off the grid” as they say, on a strip of land called, naturally, “The Mesa”.

Off the Grid - Life on the Mesa Documentary

Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa

The documentary, made in 2007, was written/directed by Jeremy Stulberg and Randy Stulberg. The movie examines the lives of some residents of the community, which is located close to the Rio Grande and about 25 miles away from the nearest town.

Some stories told in Life on the Mesa: Living off the Grid:

  • A resident’s home is destroyed in a government raid (looking for pot) and he must now build a new one
  • An alcoholic Gulf War veteran loses custody of his three children to his estranged wife in the northeast
  • A veteran makes the decision to forego his cancer treatment and stay in the Mesa
  • A pig farmer takes in a teenage runaway
  • “Nowhere Kids” (called “vegan anarchists”) start robberies in the area. The community resolves the situation peacefully.

You can purchase the DVD of Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa or watch it online for a small fee:

It has been speculated that “the mesa” is Two Peaks, an area located west of Taos between state highways 64 and 285. There was a website (now defunct) that said:

In 2006, a brother and sister from New York decided to make a so-called documentary about a few of the people in the neighborhood. It’s really not an accurate view of anything. It will be interesting to see the effects of this documentary on the area.

Other communities in the general area include the Earthship community and Tres Orejas.

We close with a quote from a sign we saw in a place called Sidewinder Pass, Felicity, California:

The desert creeps into our souls
Strangely beautiful
Very remote yet very friendly
A place not quite in this world
Fascinating frightening
At once a glimpse of the beginning
And the end


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