Blog | Federation of Egalitarian Communitieshttps://www.thefec.org/blog/BlogenAcorn CommunityBaltimore Free FarmCambiaCompersiaCotyledonCRIC HouseEast Brook Community FarmEast Wind CommunityEmma Goldman Finishing SchoolGanasLe ManoirLiving Energy FarmMimosa CommunityOpen CircleOran MórQuercusRainforest LabSandhill FarmStillwater SanctuarySycamore FarmTerra NovaThe Chocolate FactoryThe MiddenThe MothershipTwin Oaks CommunityWalnut Street Co-opSun, 01 May 2016 23:01:17 +0000Commune Starter Kithttps://www.thefec.org/blog/commune-starter-kit/b'<p>At our annual assembly, the Federation was inundated with new, freshly-forming communities.  It was amazing!  It was overwhelming!  And it was viewed by many as a valuable opportunity to reinvigorate a stalled project...</p> <p>"Community in a Box" has been a project fantasized about by FECers for many years in order to solve a reoccurring problem.  In fact, you can tell how old it is by the original name, conceived of at a time that the word "commune" was considered out of favor, despite our orientation in the project being specifically about communes.  There's plenty of information out there about how to start ecovillages, co-housing, and other community-building movements... but egalitarian, income-sharing communities?  There isn't much. </p> <p>So it's not unusual for the FEC to receive e-mails or other inquiries asking:  "How do we create an egalitarian, income-sharing community?  How do we get started?  How can we transform an existing community into an income-sharing one?  Can you help us?"  Our answers have been slow, faltering, and dependent entirely on who gets the message, how much time and energy they have, how much experience they have, and whether they can recruit anyone with more experience and energy to help.</p> <p>But, we thought, we could make a box.  We could put all the required information in the box.  Then we could simply hand the box to new communities and stand back as they flourished!</p> <p>A grand idea.  Perhaps too grand.  The project stalled, occasionally to be picked up and dusted off by new delegates before being gently placed back down.</p> <p>But this year, we shall strike!  and triumph!</p> <p><img alt="The Point A DC crew: ?, Steve, ?, Paxus, Jenny, Conner, GPaul, and Anita" height="304" src="http://frompointa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/group-shot-cropped1.jpg" width="679"/></p> <p>Our fearless leader is GPaul, an eleven-year veteran of rural Acorn Community, who struck out into the wilds of Washington, DC over a year ago to gather comrades together in order to create one of our new communities in dialog, ACDC.  GPaul has been one of the organizational leaders of <a href="http:///frompointa.org">Point A</a>, an ambitious project that aims to create a network of egalitarian income-sharing urban communes.</p> <p>Through his work in Point A and forming ACDC, GPaul gathered a wealth of information--interviewing community members and founders from across the globe, analyzing corporate structure and court cases on tax structures, seeking financing and grant opportunities, gathering existing policies in different communites, and more.  In doing so, he realized two things:</p> <p>1.  This information is useful to everyone tooking to start a commune.<br>2.  This information is still not complete.</br></p> <p>On the first day of our annual FEC assembly, GPaul led us in a brainstorming session:  What is useful for forming communes to know?</p> <p>Our delegates and forming communities had a lot to say.</p> <p><img alt="" height="1664" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/05_commune-starter-kit-brainstorm-a-small.png/05_commune-starter-kit-brainstorm-a-small-936x1664.png" width="936"/></p> <p><img alt="" height="1066" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/06_commune-starter-kit-brainstorm-b-small.png/06_commune-starter-kit-brainstorm-b-small-600x1066.png" width="600"/></p> <p>And how could we possible present all of this information?</p> <p><img alt="" height="801" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/07-commune-starter-kit-brainstorm-c-small.png/07-commune-starter-kit-brainstorm-c-small-702x801.png" width="702"/></p> <p>Whew.  That's a tall order.</p> <p>But here we go.  We held our first organizational meeting on Sunday, April 24th at Acorn Community.  I didn't manage to take any pictures of the meeting itself, which was held in our beautiful herb garden, but here's the herb garden shortly after the meeting ended.  Okay, obviously this is the obligatory photo of my favorite creature in the world, who incidentally made me miss the last half-hour of the meeting by wandering out of the field and trying to walk onto the half-finished handicapped ramp in front of our kitchen.  She is, in this photo, safely contained and posing in front of the herb garden.</p> <p><img alt="The meeting was held in the beautiful herb garden behind the wandering heifer who made me miss the last half-hour of meeting time." height="407" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/april24_dorie-outside-herb-garden.png/april24_dorie-outside-herb-garden-563x407.png" width="563"/></p> <p> Attendees discussed their commitment to the project, their relevant skills, and where they'd like to focus their efforts.  We decided to divide ourselves into some subcommittees in order to gather information more intensively, based roughly on the following flowchart:</p> <p> <img alt="" height="497" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/april24_flowchart-for-commune-starter-kit.png/april24_flowchart-for-commune-starter-kit-406x497.png" width="406"/></p> <p>And hopefully small groups of us will work together and reconvene back with information and awesomeness at our next meeting.</p> <p>Our next meeting is going to be held in Louisa county in the morning of Sunday, June 12th.  If you'd like to attend, or get involved remotely, or if you think you have resources that we want, please send a message to GPaul @frompointa.org or Rejoice @acorncommunity.org.  If you want to make information available to the entire working group, contact us at <a href="mailto:in.a.box@thefec.org">in.a.box@thefec.org</a>.</p>'RejoiceSun, 01 May 2016 23:01:17 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/commune-starter-kit/Acorn CommunityCompersia2016 Assembly of the Federation of Egalitarian Communitieshttps://www.thefec.org/blog/2016-assembly-of-the-federation-of-egalitarian-communities/b'<p>The annual assembly for the FEC takes place during March, in an attempt to happen at the beginning of the year when it's least inconvenient to everyone.  We have gardeners whose season hasn't yet kicked into high gear, a goat herd who's fielding baby goats (conveniently within range of the assembly), outdoor workers whose season hasn't totally started yet, and people to whom the changing of seasons has absolutely no effect.</p> <p>"I don't understand agriculture.  I eat trash." - Alex of the Midden</p> <p><img alt="" height="351" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/feb19_meet-the-communities-crowd-a-alex-jillian-dan-darles-davi-suzy-carlos.png/feb19_meet-the-communities-crowd-a-alex-jillian-dan-darles-davi-suzy-carlos-624x351.png" width="624"/></p> <p>We come together with two main purposes:</p> <p>(a) to discuss common challenges, provide mutual aid, discuss problems beyond our reach, relate to each other as individuals and cooperate beyond our essential cooperative venture as a federation.</p> <p>(b) to set our annual budget, including reoccuring costs of maintaining our obligations as an organization (labor exchange travel subsidy, mutual aid scholarships...), and proposals brought to us as an organization.</p> <p> <img alt="" height="351" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/feb19_agenda-choosing_reynaldo-drew-dez-brie-rayenbo.png/feb19_agenda-choosing_reynaldo-drew-dez-brie-rayenbo-624x351.png" width="624"/></p> <p>For our 2016 assembly, we declared the first three days to be "New Communities Weekend", and the following three days to be oriented towards our business and budget.  During this assembly, we accepted five new communites as being "communities in dialog" with the FEC.  This is the largest single-year increase in community-building that anyone can remember, and we are heartened that each community has experienced communards to shepherd them along the path towards egalitarian living.</p> <p><img alt="" height="596" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/feb20_how-to-be-fec_rejoice.png/feb20_how-to-be-fec_rejoice-438x596.png" width="438"/></p> <p>Our new communities in dialog include Cambia Community of Louisa county, AC/DC of the Point A DC project, Quercus Community as an offshoot of Acorn Community in Richmond, Sycamore Farm Community established by ex-Twin Oakers near Arcadia and the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, and the Chocolate Factory as established by former members and residents of the Mothership also in Portland, Oregon. These communities are largely income-sharing already, or have a strong understanding that this is their community goal.  (AC/DC just started sharing income on Thursday, the day after the assembly completed and <em>before</em> they all begin living on the same property.)</p> <p><img alt="" height="372" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/kids-cluster-around-ruty.png/kids-cluster-around-ruty-499x372.png" width="499"/></p> <p>It seems likely that at least some of our new communities will follow the path of Sapling Community, the newest full member community in the FEC, which fully joined at the federation during the previous year's assembly at Sandhill in 2015.  The purchase of the Sapling land was internally financed by Acorn Community, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and PEACH, instead of bank loans.  The community was established by five experienced communards in October 2014, with <a href="http://gardenmedicinals.com/">a cottage industry</a> incubated by Twin Oaks and Acorn Communities, and has already weathered the turnover of all of its founding members and is still the most rapidly successful new community in the movement in the last five years.</p> <p> </p> <p> <img alt="" height="347" src="https://www.thefec.org/static/media/uploads/blog/.thumbnails/feb19_meet-the-communities-crowd-b-heike-sumner-petey-reynaldo-steve-jennyskid-edmund-debbie-belladonnatook-rayenbo-drew-cel-reagan.png/feb19_meet-the-communities-crowd-b-heike-sumner-petey-reynaldo-steve-jennyskid-edmund-debbie-belladonnatook-rayenbo-drew-cel-reagan-675x347.png" width="675"/></p> <p>Some goals and plans of the upcoming year as we established during the assembly:</p> <ul> <li>Continue to support developing communities, especially by encouraging work and cultural exchange between communities who share egalitarian values.</li> <li>Persue the development of a "Commune Starter Kit," a collection of information for forming egalitarian and income-sharing communities so that each one doesn't have to perform the same research, and to get an intern via <a href="https://www.nasco.coop/">NASCO </a>who will help us present this information as a coherent package.</li> <li>Collect information about communities developing in our midst to understand common problems of forming communities and what information is of use to a developing community.</li> <li>Increase our effectiveness as an organization by having multiple interested friends encourage each other to engage with other communities as a federation and keep our finances in order.</li> <li>Support <a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/frompointa.org">Point A</a>, a targeted program by communards and friends to seed egalitarian, income-sharing communities in urban centers along the East Coast.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>'RejoiceSun, 27 Mar 2016 11:40:31 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/2016-assembly-of-the-federation-of-egalitarian-communities/Acorn CommunityBaltimore Free FarmCambiaCompersiaEast Wind CommunityLiving Energy FarmMimosa CommunityOran MórQuercusSandhill FarmStillwater SanctuarySycamore FarmThe Chocolate FactoryThe MiddenThe MothershipTwin Oaks CommunityThe Leaves of Twin Oaks #116https://www.thefec.org/blog/the-leaves-of-twin-oaks-116/b'<div><br> <table align="center" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <div align="center"><img alt="The Leaves of Twin Oaks, Winter 2013/2014 Issue #116" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/header.jpg"/></div> </td> </tr> <tr> <td><center> <table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td><!----content----> <p>The Wheel has been turning at Twin Oaks, as we've marked both birth and death in the community.</p> <br> <p>We welcomed two new babies into the community, Sylvia and Grace (in June and October). Both are healthy, glowing baby girls, and many communards are happily taking turns ooh-ing and aah-ing over them. We also lost a member, when Piper, aged 89, died during the night in early November. Piper was the member who had moved here earlier than anyone else, in the late 60's. At her funeral at our graveyard, many members spoke about her intense dedication to The Reading Window, a program she had developed to help children learn to read effectively. Piper was also a pioneer in helping Twin Oaks approach issues of aging in the community, and her presence is missed. (Read more about Piper and how Twin Oaks deals with death elsewhere in this issue.)</p> <br><center><br> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <figure><br><img alt="Piper" height="281" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/piper.jpg" width="250"> <p>Piper</p> <br>(photo by Aaron Cohen)</br></img></br></figure> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </br></center></br></br></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </center><br> <p>We've had a lot of inter-community connections recently. Our sister community Acorn had a fire that took out their main community kitchen and severely affected their primary residence. We've been helping by sending over our own members to do repair work and also offering housing (which Acorn is now short on) for outside friends who are donating their time and construction skills. We also sent a group of members to East Wind Community in Missouri to help with "Tahini Week". As part of East Wind's nut-butter business, they have a "push" to process a lot of tahini (sesame paste) all at once. Lastly, several ex-Twin Oakers who have been living at Acorn founded a fourth community in Louisa county, branching off from Acorn into the appropriately-named "Sapling" community.</p> <br> <p>We've also had some international connections. Each year, we host about 75 people in our Visitor Program. This year we were blessed with visitors from France, Korea, Lebanon, Canada, the Cayman Islands and the Czech Republic. Also, all three FEC communities in the Louisa, VA area (Twin Oaks, Acorn and Living Energy Farm) have a representative at the South Pole this winter! A member from each community (the three of them are friends) is spending several months working at the South Pole, doing cooking and IT support work.</p> <br> <p>Publishing Mania: we've had several people here publish what might be described as their Magnum Opus. Ira has published <a href="http://www.southernexposure.com/vegetable-gardening-in-the-southeast-the-timber-press-guide-to-p-1722.html"><em>Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast</em></a>, based on her decades of experience growing food. Alexis-X has published an updated and revised edition of <a href="http://conev.org"><em>Integrated Activism: Applying the Hidden Connections Between Ecology, Economy, Politics and Social Progress</em></a> which contains a large portion of all the cultural analysis your heart could desire. And Cameron is working on a webpage (<a href="http://kayakgreenland1959.wordpress.com">kayakgreenland1959.wordpress.com</a>) about his experiences in Greenland in 1959, where he spent three months learning kayak hunting from the native Inuit. He has documented his experiences, with a great many of his photographs, for others for others to learn from.</p> <br> <p>Other random happenings: our annual Communities Conference and Women's Gathering both happened, and over 250 people attended those events. Our Yard Manager has taken a new approach, and the courtyard is now graced with some outstanding boxwood topiary, including a five-foot high cat, a two-foot high chicken, and a peaceful Buddha greeting people as they enter the Herb Garden. In December, our one-month Dominion (the card game) tournament held its opening ceremonies, complete with outrageous outfits and silly speechifying. About 20 members are playing, each with their own Dominion alter-ego name they'll use for the duration of the tournament.</p> <br><center><br> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><center><br><img alt="Cat &amp; Chicken" height="281" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/cat_chick.jpg" width="250"> <p>Cat and Chicken Boxwoods outside Llano Kitchen</p> </img></br></center></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </br></center></br></br></br></br></br></td> </tr> <tr> <td><br><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/arrowup.png" style="border: 0px;" width="32"/></a></center><br><hr width="75%"><br> <p><a name="death"></a></p> <br> <h1 align="center" style="margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 0; vertical-align: top;">The Alternative Culture of Death</h1> <br> <p><br> by Valerie</br></p> <br> <p>In November, Twin Oaks lost a brightly-shining star from the constellation of our membership. Our oldest member, Piper, was discovered having died in the night. At age 89, this was not entirely unexpected, but Piper had a particular zest for life. She was a powerful force for her various passions. A life-long teacher, she had developed a system for teaching children to read called "The Reading Window", and you only had to spend a short time with her before you'd be hearing about her latest students' successes and her fierce pride in them. She was very political, and was active in local politics up until the election that occurred only days before her death.</p> <br> <p>We buried Piper in our graveyard, as we've buried members before her. We work with our local funeral home so that people can be buried without embalming, in a wooden coffin that we have built ourselves (both of which Virginia laws allow). In our practices with death as in life, we do not want to be putting chemicals or substances into the ground that are not healthy for the earth.</p> <br><center><br> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><center><img alt="Piper's burial" height="261" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/burial.jpg" width="197"/></center></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </br></center><br> <p>For a burial, we'll prepare ahead of time by digging a grave either by hand or with our backhoe. On the day of the funeral, we gather and process from the main community to the graveyard. Generally, the group is made up of community members, family, and ex-members and friends from off-the-farm. As with so many aspects of Twin Oaks, a funeral here is a relatively collectively-organized affair. Each person who wishes to will talk about their favourite memories of the person, share what they learned from that person or what they'll miss about them. Then the coffin is lowered and we all help with the actual burial, using shovels to cover the coffin with dirt, perhaps tossing in some flowers. Afterwards we'll have a gathering, a "wake", which often functions as a reunion of sorts, as funerals everywhere tend to do.</p> <br> <p>Each person that is buried in the graveyard marks a loss for the community. But we can take solace in the fact that we are able to mark each person's final connection to the community in a way that is in line with our values. If we really want to create an alternative society, we need to include all stages of human life. Most mainstream institutions that deal with various life stages--hospitals for birth, schools for education, businesses for employment and funeral homes for death--have other (often financial) interests to maintain and often place those priorities above the health of the individual, the earth and wider society. At Twin Oaks we are grateful to be able to engage in these life stages in ways that are firmly rooted in our alternative values. And in this case, it is once again Piper who is leading the way, bringing us ever closer to the revolution.</p> <br><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/arrowup.png" style="border: 0px;" width="32"/></a></center><br><hr width="75%"><br> <p><a name="library"></a></p> <br> <h1 align="center" style="margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 0; vertical-align: top;">The Twin Oaks Library</h1> <br> <p><br> by Mala</br></p> <br> <p>After I graduated college (with a highly employable degree in literature / gender studies), I did the standard post-college thing of working random office jobs while thinking about what I actually wanted to do with my life. The two options that interested me most were moving to community or going to school in library science. I looked into some MLS programs but was intimidated by the way they were morphing into Information Technology programs. I'd naively imagined that library school would offer classes like "Helping People Find Books They Like"; instead, the classes all had titles like "Database Architecture." Yuck.</p> <br><center><br> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><center><br><img alt="Mala" height="336" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/mala.jpg" width="450"> <p>Mala</p> </img></br></center></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </br></center><br> <p>So community won out. When I moved here Jake had been the community librarian for about 25 years with no sign of leaving. When he eventually did decide to leave the community, we were all heartbroken; but my heartbreak was leavened with glee at getting to combine the two life paths I'd contemplated.</p> <br> <p>The first task I took on was reorganizing our collection of slightly over 11,000 books; I decided to Dewey Decimalize them. The library has a small labor budget, only an hour or two a week, so I projected that my reorganization would take 5 years, but it only took 3. (People thought I was insane for doing this. Maybe I am. But having it all Dewey Decimalized makes me very happy.)</p> <br> <p>The library functions in typical Twin Oaks style, in that the boundary between public and private is deliberately very porous. There is no catalog or sign-out system; members help themselves to whatever they want, keep books however long they want to, return them if and when they want to. We don't have to be controlling with the books, because my main job as librarian is creating enough space to handle the steady influx of donations from members, ex-members, and friends. (Please don't respond to this article by sending books without getting in touch first!) When I first became librarian, it seemed that every new member moved here with a dowry of Tom Robbins and J.D. Salinger books; in the past year, the book that's been donated most frequently is the *Tao Te Ching*, in various translations and editions.</p> <br> <p>The books are shelved in the halls and living rooms of our residences, with different sections in different buildings. The most heavily represented subjects are Buddhism, paganism, and sexuality. A few years ago we had enough romance readers that I grudgingly created a romance section, but that trend seems to have peaked and the romance novels are gathering dust.</p> <br> <p>Many Twin Oaks managerships are pretty stressful, and I felt lucky as one of the few managers who never had to deal with anything urgent. Then came the 2011 earthquake, when about half our collection (approximately 5500 of our 11,000 books) flew off the shelves. It was a library crisis! But very few books were actually destroyed, and with the help of many people, we got the books back in place surprisingly quickly.</p> <br> <p>Here I don't have to deal with Database Architecture and I get to help people find books they want to read. At Twin Oaks, I get to be the kind of librarian I dreamed of being.</p> <br><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/arrowup.png" style="border: 0px;" width="32"/></a></center><br><hr width="75%"><br> <h1 style="margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 0; vertical-align: top;"><br><a name="forestry"></a></br></h1> <br> <h1 align="center" style="margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 0; vertical-align: top;">Sustainable Forestry at Twin Oaks</h1> <br> <p><br> by River</br></p> <br> <p>In the waning days of Autumn when most of the outdoor work is wrapping up, a small group of communards ventures into the woods to begin the annual firewood harvest. The approximately 50 cords of wood that are hauled in from Twin Oaks' 450 acres fuels the boilers and wood stoves in 12 of the community's buildings, as well as providing supplemental water heat to the tofu business.</p> <br><center><br> <table border="1" cellpadding="5" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td><center><br><img alt="winch" height="450" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/winch.jpg" width="389"> <p>The Winch</p> </img></br></center></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </br></center><br> <p>The Forestry Crew, as this group of workers is called, does not just go out and clear-cut the desired harvest but rather practices sustainable management of the wood lot. Permanent, well-maintained skid roads are installed which allow us to access the wooded areas and have the added benefit of providing pleasant walking paths. Small-scale power tools such chainsaws and a tractor-mounted winch/skidder help get the job done easily and efficiently (50 cords of firewood is too much to do by hand!) Care is taken to select dead and diseased trees as well as the occasional thinning of an overcrowded stand. The highest quality logs may be sent to the community's sawmill to be made into dimensional lumber for domestic woodworking projects. Some standing dead trees are left for wildlife habitat. By keeping these different practices in mind when we harvest, we are able to leave the forest in a healthier condition than when we started.</p> <br> <p>After the selected trees are felled, debranched and cut to a manageable length, the winch/skidder drags the logs to a central location where a tractor loads them onto a trailer. When the trailer is full, it is hauled to the various buildings in the community where the logs are cut to woodstove length and split using a power splitter. The firewood is stacked and left to dry/cure for a whole year before it gets used. This long period of curing allows the firewood to have as much as 20% more of its fuel energy made available.</p> <br> <p>Although Twin Oaks has a very sizable woodlot, the harvesting process requires a large amount of labour and fuel resources. By utilizing scrap wood from our woodworking businesses (sawmill, hammocks and chairs), we have alleviated some part of our firewood needs. As well, the purchase of high-efficiency wood boilers, passive solar building design and improved insulation have also gone a long way to reduce firewood consumption. In addition, solar clearing maintenance has yielded a substantial quantity of fuel.</p> <br> <p>Even with these improvements, we still get to spend plenty of time out in the woods engaging in the harvest, a job that the crew finds very enjoyable in the temperate Virginia winter (as demonstrated by the approximately 20-year average length of membership on the crew). Using sustainable forestry, we hope to keep the buildings of Twin Oaks warm for many years to come.</p> <br><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/arrowup.png" style="border: 0px;" width="32"/></a></center><br><hr width="75%"><br> <p><!----end-content----></p> <br><center><img alt="" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_116/footer.jpg"/></center><br><center></center><br><center></center></br></br></br></br></hr></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></hr></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></hr></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></br></hr></br></br></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </br></div>'ValerieThu, 13 Feb 2014 18:45:16 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/the-leaves-of-twin-oaks-116/Fun Facts About Twin Oaks Energy Consumptionhttps://www.thefec.org/blog/fun-facts-about-twin-oaks-energy-consumption/b'<p>I am working on my <a href="http://www.nasco.coop/institute/">NASCO Institute</a> presentation for this year, and came up with these figures. Enjoy!</p> <p><h2>Gasoline:</h2></p> <p>The average American uses about 500 gallons per year.(1)<br/>Twin Oaks consumed about 15,267 gallons of gas in 2007.<br/>With an average population of 87 adults, that would put our consumption at 175 gallons per person.<br/>That is <b><i>65% less gas consumed!</i></b></p> <p><h2>Electricity:</h2></p> <p>The average American uses 11,000 kWh of Electricity per year.<br/>Twin Oaks consumed 268,065 kWh in 2007.<br/>With an adult population on average of 87 adults, that would put our consumption at 3,083 kWh per person.<br/>that is <b><i>73% less electricity consumed!</i></b></p> <p><h2>Natural Gas:</h2></p> <p>The average resident in Virginia uses 767 therms of natural gas.(3)<br/>Twin Oaks consumed 16,221 therms of natural gas in 2007.<br/>With an adult population on average of 87 adults, that would put our consumption at 186 therms per person.<br/>that is <b><i>76% less natural gas consumed!</i></b></p> <p>This is a great example of the power of sharing.<br/>Cheers!<br/><!--break--><br/>Sources:</p> <p>1 - http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/saving/efficiency/savingenergy.html<br/>3 - http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/ng/ng_cons_num_dcu_SVA_a.htm</p>'AdministratorSat, 13 Jul 2013 11:15:26 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/fun-facts-about-twin-oaks-energy-consumption/Leaves of Twin Oaks #114https://www.thefec.org/blog/leaves-of-twin-oaks-114/b'<p><title>Leaves of Twin Oaks #114</title></p><br/><body bgcolor="#ffffce"><br/><table bgcolor="#ffffff" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0" width="504"><br/><tbody><tr><td><div align="center"><img alt="The Leaves of Twin Oaks, Winter 2012/2013 Issue #114" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/header1.jpg"><br/></img></div></td><br/></tr><tr><td background="leaves108_files/bg.htm"><center><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="485"><br/><tbody><tr><td><br/><center><table !bgcolor="#FFFFFF" border="0" cellpadding="3" width="485"><tr><td colspan="2"><br/><a name="top"></a><br/><b>Table of Contents:</b><hr/></td></tr><br/><tr valign="top"><td><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#news">News of the Oaks</a> </td><td> by Valerie</td></tr><br/><tr valign="top"><td><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#arrive">Beginnings and Endings: Arriving at Twin Oaks</a> </td><td> by Ali</td></tr><br/><tr valign="top"><td><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#leave">Beginnings and Endings: Leaving Twin Oaks</a></td><td> by Janel</td></tr><br/><tr valign="top"><td><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#dining">Dining in Community</a></td><td> by Valerie</td></tr><br/><tr valign="top"><td><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#cows">Cows in Community</a></td><td> by Keegan</td></tr></table></center><br/><hr width="479"><br/><!--break--><br/><a name="news"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">News of the Oaks Issue #114</div></b></font><br><br/>by Valerie</br></hr></td></tr></tbody></table></center></td></tr></tbody></table></body><br><br/>With autumn comes harvest season, and there is a lot of Farm and Food news to report. Our intrepid Garden Crew harvested over 4,200 pounds of potatoes this fall, a higher-than-average yield. In October, we had 7 cows pregnant at once - a rare occurrence - and so we can expect a bounty of milk in the coming months. In addition to drinking the milk, we use it make a variety of dairy products including Romano, Stilton, cream cheese, yogurt, butter and for special occasions, ice cream! (more about our Dairy Program in this newsletter) There are several fruit orchards throughout the community and this year we were lucky enough to be eating hardy kiwis (the most northerly-growing variety) into November. We also picked a single pomegranate off of the tree outside Morningstar, and look forward to more as the tree matures in coming years. <br/><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="hardy kiwi" height="408" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/kiwi.jpg" width="520"><p><br/>Hardy kiwis grown at Twin Oaks. They are the most northerly-growing variety of kiwi<p></p></p></img></center></td></tr></table></center></br><br/>The community is still, 15 months later, experiencing the effects of last summer's earthquake. When the water flow of our well began losing volume, apparently from underground shifts due to the quake, we researched the problem and found a surprising solution. Many people are familiar with the practice of fracking, notably in the news these days related to natural gas extraction. But it's also used to restore and improve water flow in potable (drinkable) water wells, using less pressure and no chemicals. Now, three months post-fracking, the well is performing normally and we're able to meet all of our own domestic and industrial water needs once again. <p>Twin Oakers were active in a number of events these last few months. We held our annual Communities Conference, a weekend event for people interested in ecovillages, cohousing, communes, and all forms of cooperative living - we had a record 185 people in attendance! Sadly, we had to cancel our herstoric Women's Gathering this year. A number of members took part in the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, a huge sustainable food event co-organized by Ira, a long-time Twin Oaks member. And lastly, a number of members were active in local and presidential election campaigning - the community has a policy that members cannot engage in political activism in the name of Twin Oaks, but members can be active as an individual.</p> <p>On the internal political front, we've had a few happenings in both the money and labour scene. We raised the amount of our personal spending money to $90 per month - an all-time high in our 45-year history! The amount is tied to our quarterly income, and when our collectively-owned businesses earn more, the bulk of that money goes to our communal expenses, but individuals also receive an increase. We've also agreed to experiment with altering our communal labour system. In 2013 and 2014, we will be trying out using "Flex Hours". In Twin Oaks jargon, instead of people claiming "over-quota" labour credits for any work done over and above our 42-hour-per-week work quota, all work will be done "in-quota" and each member will have 60 "Flex Hours" that can used to do extra work in the area of their choosing.</p> <p>On-the-farm activities of the last few months have included an all women's ultimate frisbee game, which was well-attended including some new recruits. Thanksgiving brought the Twin Oaks "Turkey Bowl", a touch-football game with a half-time show featuring our ad hoc Marching Band playing the theme from "Rocky". We also had a musical extravaganza "Oakstock", a one-day concert show-casing many members' musical talents. We hosted an evening of "The Music of Winter", all songs with a winter theme. And lastly, this winter Tuesdays mean dueling D&amp;D;, with two different Dungeons and Dragons games happening the same night.</p> <p><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/arrowup.png" title="" width="32"/></a></center><br/><hr width="75%"><br/><a name="arrive"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">Beginnings and Endings</div></b></font></hr></p><br/> <p><i>Due to our size and demographics, Twin Oaks has a certain amount of turnover, with people arriving and leaving with some regularity. This is a significant part of life here--new people bring fresh energy into the group, but it can be difficult to say goodbye. Here Ali and Janel share their experiences from both ends of the spectrum.</i></p> <p><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">Arriving at Twin Oaks: Ali's One Month Perspective</div></b></font><br><br/>by Ali (member Nov. 2012-?)</br></p><br/> <p>As a new member at Twin Oaks, a question I get a lot is, "What work are you going to be doing?" and by this they mean "Where are you going to focus?" It seems that most people here do several things, but have a few areas where they focus and get most of their labor credits from. It's fairly typical for new members to have lots of different jobs and then find a few things they like as they age in membership. This may happen to me, but at least for right now I'm loving the variety. I found myself entirely bored in my last job in "the mainstream," doing the same thing all day every day and the work variety is one of the main things that drew me to Twin Oaks. Since arriving, I have done at least 15 different jobs including cooking, cleaning, childcare, making pillows, tofu &amp; hammocks, splitting wood, hanging drywall, gardening, caring for the chickens and milking the cows. Some are jobs I actively enjoy and some I feel are a contribution I make to the community, but doing so many things keeps me interested and excited.</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Ali" height="450" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/ali.jpg" width="300"><p><br/>Ali</p></img></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p>The other question I get a lot is "How are you adjusting?" and this I take to mean "Do you have any friends yet?" and "Are you okay with your room/the bathroom/the kitchen/living in community?" I have been in group living situations before, so sharing space and being around other people all the time feel normal to me. As for my room in Ta Chai, it's far nicer than many places I've lived (which include an old horse stall and a broken down bus). In terms of the social scene, I've been blown away by the amount of fun things to do here and cool people to do them with. When I moved to Pittsburgh last year it took me weeks to meet my neighbors and a month before I was invited over for dinner. At Twin Oaks I just check the Today Board, wander around looking for people or express an interest in a plan and I end up with more things to do than I have time for. As I was warned about, the challenge here seems to be saying "no" (both to work and play) and getting enough sleep! From dance parties to bonfires to board games I don't have nearly as much time for reading as I expected.</p> <p>The question I get from friends and family "on the outside" (and one I regularly ask myself) is "Are you happy at Twin Oaks?" When I have days where my face hurts from smiling so much, I think I can safely answer that with a yes.</p> <p><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/arrowup.png" title="" width="32"/></a></center><br/><hr width="75%"><br/><a name="leave"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">Leaving Twin Oaks: Janel's Retrospective</div></b></font><br><br/>by Janel (member Sept. 2010-Oct. 2012)</br></hr></p><br/> <p>Moving to Twin Oaks was a pure leap of faith. After working at sea as a cruise ship singer, all I wanted to do was live on a farm, taking in the pleasure of land and the homegrown food that came with it. I didn't really understand this yearning (and my parents certainly didn't). But the heart understands things long before the head does.</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Janel" height="450" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/janel.jpg" width="338"><p><br/>Janel</p></img></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p>When I became a member at 23, I was sure of only two things: that I wanted A) to have an adventurous life and B) to challenge the status quo. Up to that point, I had the adventurous part down. Living in an alternative society certainly seemed to satisfy the second life requirement. Little did I know that Twin Oaks would challenge me. No one expects that they're going to move to a commune and learn more in two years than in eighteen years of school. Twin Oaks is where I learned to discipline myself and be my own boss. It's where I learned that I have the entrepreneurial energy to take a floundering project and turn it into something new. (Few are the places you can be a manager at 24.)</p> <p>Twin Oaks is where I figured out why I moved there in the first place - that I have a deep passion for sustainably produced food. I guess it took one ultra-processed cruise ship meal too many to set me on a journey to figure that out. After working with the community poultry program and gaining networking skills through the Communities Conference and Acorn's Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, I realized that my goal is to propagate the local food movement currently sweeping the nation. After two years at Twin Oaks, I decided this goal would be best fulfilled in California, the agricultural heartland of the U.S. and location of my childhood home.</p> <p>I know it can be hard on Twin Oaks when members come and go. But as much as it is a home for 100, Twin Oaks is an incubator - of new ideas, of skills, of people who think outside the box. Twin Oaks is where my understanding of my ideals, talents and dreams crystallized. Twin Oaks is where I truly grew up. If there's one way that the community challenges the status quo, it's through people who's worldviews have been rocked; people who take what they've learned at Twin Oaks into the wider world and do their part to transform it. My hope is to do exactly that.</p> <p>A few years before he died, Steve Jobs said it was only in looking back on his life that he could "connect the dots" and understand the implications and effects of every action he took. I already feel this way about my time at Twin Oaks - it illuminated the direction I want my life to take. And for now, that direction is west. But a piece of my heart will always lie in Virginia.</p> <p><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/arrowup.png" title="" width="32"/></a></center><br/><hr width="75%"><br/><a name="dining"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">The Community that Dines Together, Aligns Together</div></b></font><br><br/>by Valerie</br></hr></p><br/> <p>Ah yes, the community meal table. Communal dining can be a glorious bonding experience, as members recreate the feeling of an earlier era when the tribe gathered at the end of the day to share the fruits of their bounty. On the other hand, it can also bring out certain aspects of the cook's personality, as sure as Myers-Briggs. Here is a sampling of the "<i>Cook du Jour</i>". </p> <p><b>"Le Chef"</b> - Before joining community, this member ran their own French restaurant. They know that presentation makes the meal, and people ooh and aah over their concoctions. Their cooking is generally well-appreciated, with the exception of people who like their green beans other than dripping with butter.</p> <p><b>"The Ethnic Specialist"</b> - Thai, Indian, Chinese, Ethiopian - it's a geographical whirlwind as each week we're whisked off to another exotic food locale. The underlying theme: more spice is twice as nice. Bland is banned, so it's peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich night for those with sensitive palates.</p> <p><b>"Food as Art"</b> - This member doesn't see any reason why their creative, whimsical side needs to be left at the kitchen door. Tofu sculpted to resemble a recent guest or a Thanksgiving turkey, a rainbow salad including beets, carrots, peppers, kale, blueberries and grapes, or a cake in the shape of a body part - their creativity knows no bounds on the serving table. (Results may vary, depending on actual cooking skill)</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Dining together" height="208" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/dining.jpg" width="250"/></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p><b>"Agit-Prop Cuisine"</b> - When politics and food collide (think Chairman Mao with a measuring cup). All-vegan-all-the-time, no refined anything, no profit-mongering corporate ingredients to be found in any dish. The heart and mind can enjoy this meal, but the stomach may stage it's own protest....</p> <p><b>"Locavoracious"</b> - A lighter-hearted version of the above, this cook sources their food from within 100 miles, or better yet, 100 yards of the communal kitchen. No flora or fauna are exempt, and dinner may include what you previously thought were weeds growing beside the porch or the groundhog that was last seen invading the garden.</p> <p><b>"The Mess Hall"</b> - Prior military, cafeteria or summer camp experience informs this cook's style. Mass-produced and designed to appeal to the masses, these meals are heavy on the mac-and-cheese, gravy-laden entrees, and all things carbohydrate.</p> <p>Regardless of style, as we sit down to a meal together in accordance with our own community traditions - be that thanking the cook, saying a prayer, or simply digging in - we can appreciate that the simple act of sharing food is an important part of the "community glue" that holds us all together. <i>Bon Appetit!</i></p> <p><i>(Valerie has eaten more than 14,000 communal meals over the course of her 20-year membership.)</i></p> <p><font size="-1">(Copyright 2010 Communities Magazine and Valerie Renwick. This article first appeared in the Fall 2010 "Power and Empowerment" issue of Communities: Life in Cooperative Culture [#148]; see <a href="http://www.communities.ic.org">communities.ic.org</a>)</font></p> <p><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/arrowup.png" title="" width="32"/></a></center><br/><hr width="75%"><br/><a name="cows"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">Cows in Community: Our Dairy Program</div></b></font><br><br/>by Keegan</br></hr></p><br/> <p>Being able to work in the dairy was one of the primary motivations for my move to Twin Oaks. As a city kid woefully unskilled in practical work, the possibility of shifting from an uneasy off-and-on consumer of meat products to raising, milking, slaughtering, and butchering my own cows was intoxicating. My enthusiasm was well-timed, and within months of joining, I was made the dairy manager.</p> <p>For me, the greatest part of working in the dairy, besides the pleasure of working with such characterful creatures, has been the experience of eating animals that I have personally cared for; of facing the ethical problem of eating an animal without hypocrisy. This is not to say that I believe eating local meat with the appropriate labels cleanly resolves the problem of killing, but that knowing the animals I am to eat is the bare minimum required for me to do so with dignity.</p> <p>Our dairy program is unique even compared with other small organic operations. We do not sell our products, and so our considerations are primarily quality-of-life. For instance, it's illegal in Virginia to sell raw, unpasteurized milk, and yet we consume it here in large quantities every day. The food we make with it would be ludicrously expensive in the mainstream: imagine seeing icing in a store made with raw milk from grass-fed cows raised in a local, worker-owned dairy. Such luxurious and ethical goods are standard fare here.</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Pipestone" height="206" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/pipestone.jpg" width="274"><p><br/>Pipestone (aka Mr. Pipes)<p><br/>Each year calves are named after a theme - this year it's national parks</p></p></img></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p>Many of our cows are also of a rare breed known as Dutch Belted. Though unpopular with commercial dairies (probably because milk production is lower than with commercial breeds), they are extremely well-suited to our purposes: they survive very well on grass (other breeds require lots of supplementary grain), are long-lived, get big enough to be useful for beef, and have a higher conception rate and fewer birth complications than other breeds. For us, this means less money on grain (our biggest dairy expense), less money on vets, and less stress.</p> <p>Our milking shifts are pretty big tasks: a single individual is responsible for herding, milking, caring for calves, checking for cows in heat, and cleaning the barn. There's a lot that can go wrong. But this level of responsibility means that the burden of running a dairy is shared. We all get vacations. We all get to sleep in if we choose. And despite being the manager, there are days every week when I'm not in the barn at all. It's a good and balanced life.</p> <p><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/arrowup.png" title="" width="32"/></a></center><br/><hr width="75%"><br/></hr></p><br/><br/><tr><td><center><img src="http://www.twinoakscommunity.org/images/stories/leaves_114/footer.jpg"><br/></img></center></td></tr><br/>'EthanMon, 04 Feb 2013 20:34:38 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/leaves-of-twin-oaks-114/The Leaves of Twin Oaks #112https://www.thefec.org/blog/the-leaves-of-twin-oaks-112/b'<p><title>Leaves of Twin Oaks #112</title></p><br/><body bgcolor="#ffffce"></body> <p><tbody><tr><td><div align="center"><img alt="The Leaves of Twin Oaks, Spring 2012 Issue #112" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/header.jpg"><br/></img></div></td><br/></tr><br/><a name="news"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">News of the Oaks Issue #112</div></b></font><br><br/>by Valerie</br></tbody></p><br/>What's a commune to do when a number of their musical instruments are stolen from the music room? Our answer: use the remaining instruments to hold a Benefit Concert to raise funds to replace the ones gone missing! Six different acts performed to a packed house at a local live-music venue (owned by an ex-member), and donations totaled just over $1,000. The acts included Oakers performing klezmer music, covers of the Grateful Dead, our all-women's barbershop quartet, belly-dancing and more. We're grateful to everyone who chipped in to help keep the music flowing into the future. <p>Despite an unseasonally warm winter, we've found various cozy activities to keep us occupied. We currently have a Philosophy Study Group, a Latin-language Study Group, and a Sunday afternoon "Young Adult Fantasy Read-Aloud and Knitting (And Other Crafts)" group. So far they've gone through all 3 books in the Philip Pullman "His Dark Materials" trilogy, and are working on Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series.</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Young Adult Fantasy Group" height="364" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/Young_Adult.jpg" width="485"><p></p> <p>Young Adult Fantasy Read-Aloud and Knitting Group</p></img></center></td></tr></table></center></p><br/>We've also revived Dungeons and Dragons, which hasn't been seen here since the 90's. Our new DM has been hosting a game, and every other Saturday night finds various Oakers out on adventures, gaining experience points, and helping build our "geek-chic" reputation.<br/> <br/>One of our members has been keeping busy in a more solo pursuit. Pam, our long-time Garden Manager, has been hard at work in the final stages of editing her book, "Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres". The focus is educating people about how to grow food for a large number of people, using only a few acres of land, which is exactly what Pam and our intrepid Garden Crew do each year for the approximately 100 people who live here. The book draws on the work Pam has done writing articles for "Growing for Market", a national magazine about market gardening, and will be published by New Society Publishers this autumn. <br/><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Sustainable Market Farming" height="320" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/Sus_Mrkt_Farming.jpg" width="277"><p><br/>The cover of Pam's book</p></img></center></td></tr></table></center> <p>Another way in which we are revamping the past is that we have brought back "satellite shops" for our hammocks business. We did so well at the annual Casual Furniture Trade Show last fall, and garnered so many new accounts, that we now have more hammocks to make that we had planned for! And so we have engaged two of the other communities in Louisa County, and they have begun to make some of those hammocks for us, so that the hammocks will be ready to go by the required ship-date. </p> <p>Other Random News of the Commune: Our group home-schooling project aka "Unicorns" (featured in a previous issue of the Leaves), just celebrated it's one year anniversary and is ramping up to 5 days a week. Earthquake repairs continue slowly but surely. The 10 kilo-watt array of solar panels we installed in 2010 is performing well-it provides power for 3 buildings and our community wellhouse, and additional energy is channeled into the mainstream / corporate grid. We save over $2000 each year in offset energy costs, and also we earn about $1500 each year in solar energy credits.</p> <p>And finally-Save These Dates! You are cordially invited to participate in our annual events: <br/><p><br/><div align="center"><b>August 17 - 19: Twin Oaks Women's Gathering:</b><br/></div> <br/>Celebrating Ourselves and Our Strength in Community: Workshops, Yoga, Song, Dance, DIY, Sweats, Empowerment, Creativity, Drumming, Sharing and Laughter! <a href="http://www.womensgathering.org">www.womensgathering.org</a><br/><p><br/><div align="center"><b>August 31 - September 3: Twin Oaks Communities Conference:</b><br/></div><br/>This Labor Day weekend, join us for workshops, community-building and culture creation. We'll explore topics such as group decision-making, intentional relationships and sustainable living. We welcome community seekers and members alike. Register now for early bird savings! <a href="http://www.communitiesconference.org">www.communitiesconference.org</a></p> <p><p><p><a name="truth"></a></p> <p><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">Truth and Fiction Can Both Be Strange: A Cultural Reality Check</div></b></font><br><br/>by Valerie</br></p></p></p></p></p><br><br/><i>It's said that it's a sign of a well-developed sense of Self when you can laugh at your own quirks and foibles. Perhaps this is as true for a community as it is for an individual. Here, as with any sub-culture, stereotypes abound, and sometimes they're actually or at least partially based in reality. Even we roll our eyes at times....</i></br> <p>Some of the statements below are true at Twin Oaks, and some are made up-see if you can distinguish fact from fiction: Answers below (no cheating!)</p> <p>A) We've had members named Bucket, Bok Choy and Free Radical-Twin Oaks is a social experiment, and as part of that, members are free to experiment with any name they like.</p> <p>B) We have a publicly-posted menstrual calendar--all menstruating women can write their name in each month and track their cycle. </p> <p>C) We have a Tree Sanctuary-a portion of our 450 mostly-wooded acres that is purposefully set aside and no trees can be cut for firewood from that section of forest. </p> <p>D) We have no cats or dogs as pets--our value of egalitarianism doesn't allow for one living being to own another living being. </p> <p>E) We have a Nudity Policy that allows members to be naked, anywhere outdoors, during a thunderstorm. </p> <p>F) We have a Saturday Tour Policy that requires men wearing a dress to explain themselves to the people on the tour. </p> <p>G) We have a Housing Policy that requires every member to change bedrooms once a year, to overcome attachment to materialism. </p> <p>H) We don't use diapers on our babies - instead we toilet train them with methods based on ones used by indigenous people. </p> <p><font size="+2"><b><div align="center"><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#answers">Click HERE for the answers!</a></div></b></font></p> <p><a name="chair"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">More Than A Place To Sit</div></b></font><br/></p> <p>by Brittany</p><br/> <p>In kitchens and living rooms across the community, the rickety store-bought chairs of earlier decades are disappearing, and original creations, from rough log bench to delicate Windsor, are taking their places. Ten-year member Purl is behind this change. His first experience with the craft of chair-making came from repairing a commercial chair. The experience was satisfying-until the chair broke again. Factory made. Purl thought he could do better. </p> <p>"How hard could it be to make a chair? It's just four legs and a back and a seat. That ignorance and a willingness to make crap kept me going."</p> <p>And he has kept going. He spends a great deal of his free time in the woodshop cutting, shaving, chiseling, and weaving. And while he has attended two out-of-state chair schools to refine his craft, he is mostly self-taught. "Real woodworkers would think that what I am doing is just silly," he remembers thinking at first. "I've gotten over that." Now he teaches his craft to other community members and gives public demonstrations on and off the farm, including at Monticello.</p> <p>The craft itself reinforces the community's values. One is sustainability: Often the wood itself comes from our forestry program, or it is scrap from our hammocks business. Purl uses mostly hand tools rather than power tools, reducing his dependence on nuclear energy. Another value at Twin Oaks is <br/>community. With the quiet and clean precision of hand tools, Purl can carry on a conversation while working or attend the Read Aloud and Knitting group with his project; no cloud of sawdust or scream of an electric motor interfere. He speaks often of his admiration for the Shakers, an American Christian sect founded in the eighteenth century. Perhaps best known for their work ethic and communal living, the Shakers' resourcefulness and tendency to craft material goods to last demonstrated their devotion to each other. So Purl adds understated details to his work-a hand carved scroll, or a horseshoe-to show the unknown future occupant that this work was done by a person, here, in this community.</p> <p>"Human hands made this, which I think appeals to people. It appeals to me. We have so little of that now." Keeping these crafts alive, insists Purl, "preserves pieces of our culture, craft, history-all different pieces of our humanity."</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Chair" height="364" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/chair.jpg" width="485"><p><br/>One of Purl's Chairs</p></img></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p><a name="trail"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">The Longest Dirt Road</div></b></font><br><br/>by Tony</br></p><br/> <p>I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2009 and then joined Twin Oaks. Even while on the A.T., a 2000 miler is relatively rare and often enjoys a sort of celebrity status. Off the trail, most people don't know that the term "thru-hiker" means someone who is hiking the whole trail--Maine to Georgia.</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="AT Start" height="364" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/AT_start.jpg" width="485"/></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p>Day One - Maine</p> <p>But here at Twin Oaks, three of us have hiked the whole trail. Twin Oakers are therefore 1,000 times more likely to have hiked the A.T. than the average American! Additionally, we have three others on the farm who have hiked over half of the trail, and dozens more who have hiked portions of it. Why does this connection exist?</p> <p>A fun, anecdotal similarity is the fact that both Oakers and hikers sometimes acquire new and often colorful names. Here on the farm, we have Sunshine, Firefly, Summer, etc. A notable difference is that on the trail, one usually does not choose a name but is assigned one. For example, my name was bestowed upon me after I missed a fork in the trail and walked an unnecessary two miles over miserable terrain, then angrily constructed what was deemed by my cohorts an impressive six foot rock cairn--no one will ever miss that turn again. I was therefore dubbed "Mason." You might use your imagination to divine how the other five Oakers who contributed to this article got their names: Ezra became Staggerin' Willie; Aubby, Cayenne; Edmund, Cherokee Tears; Elsa, Black Eyed E; and the always-serene Brittany, Bar Fight.</p> <p>But why are we all living on a commune? When we talked about it, these were some of the notable thoughts: The A.T. is also a community of equals, "We all hike the same miles." The trail is a "linear community" with wonderful people, hikers and also hundreds of trail maintainers and bunkhouse operators. Most hikers walk alone, but eat meals together at the shelters along the trail.</p> <p>Mostly, I believe, the A.T. and Twin Oaks both offer an alternative to commercialism. My moment of clarity came when I stood at a New Hampshire overlook, happier and healthier than I'd ever been. I smiled and became conscious of just how close I felt to nirvana, and also that all I had, materially, was my gear and the clothes on my back, yet I wanted nothing. </p> <p>I suspect that the biggest reason for the overlap of my two favorite communities is that we are the lucky few who recognize that the meaning of life is not for sale.</p> <p><center><table border="1" cellpadding="5"><tr><td><center><img alt="Beard" height="364" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/icy_beard.jpg" width="485"/></center></td></tr></table></center></p> <p>Icy Beard - First Day in the Smokies</p> <p><center><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#top"><img alt="" border="0" height="32" src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/ArrowUp.png" title="" width="32"/></a></center><br/><hr width="75%"> <br/><a name="connections"></a><br/><font size="+2"><b><div align="center">Other Community Connections</div></b></font><br/></hr></p> <p><i>We are connected to a few other communities who are currently seeking new members. We encourage you take a look at any of these if they are potentially of interest to you:</i></p> <p><font size="+1"><b>The Midden (Columbus, Ohio)</b></font><br><br/>We are building a life together around the principles of egalitarianism, sustainability, accountability, justice, and cooperation. We're a group of six, experiencing the rewards and roadblocks of a young egalitarian community - property ownership, building cultural norms, etc.<br><br/><a href="http://themidden.wordpress.com">themidden.wordpress.com</a></br></br></p> <p><font size="+1"><b>Camphill Soltane (near Philadelphia)</b></font><br><br/>We have openings for community members (particularly male volunteers) who wish to live and work with individuals with developmental disabilities. We have an emphasis on sustainable living, and foster an active cultural and spiritual life for community members.<br><br/><a href="http://www.camphillsoltane.org">www.camphillsoltane.org</a></br></br></p> <p><font size="+1"><b>Ganas (Staten Island, NY)</b></font><br><br/>We are an urban community that has been going for over 30 years. We focus on problem solving and sharing resources as foundations for a strong and sustainable community. We are looking for people interested in working in our second hand furniture store (someone strong) or our thrift and vintage clothing store.<br><br/><a href="http://www.ganas.org">www.ganas.org</a></br></br></p> <p><a name="answers"></a><br/><font size="+1"><b><div align="center">Answers to the Truth or Fiction Quiz</div></b></font><br/></p> <p>A) True. We've also had Winter, Summer and Autumn; Bubble Fiddle, Ghost, and Sunshine Chap (1 person, 3 different names over time), Lotus Vortex, Delicious, Lady Stardust, and a member named "Name".</p> <p>B) True. Each year, a member hand-makes a beautifully-decorated Collective Menstrual Calendar, correlated with the moon phases, with space for women to write in their name on the day their period starts. The calendar is posted in the bathroom in the dining hall. </p> <p>C) False. Each year, we selectively cut storm-damaged or over-crowded trees from different sections of our forest, rotating sections over the years. We do have about 10 acres that are difficult to access, so we generally don't harvest from there, but that section is not formally designated as a Sanctuary. </p> <p>D) False. Our Pet Policy allows for a limited number of cats and dogs to live here as pets. </p> <p>E) False, sort of. This was true in our former Nudity Policy, but was left out when we updated the policy a few years ago. </p> <p>F) True. "Addressing The Dress", as we call it, is an effort to educate people about our alternative gender norms while at the same time acknowledging what might be an unusual sight for new people visiting us for the first time. </p> <p>G) False. Members live in their room as long as they want. It's not uncommon for people to change rooms a few times, looking for a different size of room, or a change in social scene by moving to a different building. </p> <p>H) False, somewhat. While babies at Twin Oaks wear (generally cloth) diapers, some parents use Elimination Communication. This is a practice of "natural" toilet training which uses observation, sound cues and intuition to train the child to eliminate when encouraged (ie. when they're not wearing diapers), and is based on the methods of some earlier cultures. </p> <p><font size="+1"><b><div align="center"><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/#truth">Back to the Quiz</a></div></b></font></p> <p></p><br/><br/><tr><td><center><img src="http://www.twinoaks.org/community/leaves/leaves-112/footer.jpg"><br/></img></center></td></tr><br/>'EthanWed, 18 Apr 2012 00:11:19 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/the-leaves-of-twin-oaks-112/Apeckalypsehttps://www.thefec.org/blog/apeckalypse/b'<p>By Janel Twin Oaks</p> <p>In just a matter of weeks, Twin Oaks’ 150 laying hens have become frozen fodder for future community meals.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thefec.org/node/2636"><img align="right" alt="Janel and the Chickens" class="image" height="264" src="http://thefec.org/system/files/images/janel_chickens.preview.jpg" title="Janel and the Chickens" width="400"/></a> </p> It all started late in the summer when new member Sapphyre and I decided to fill the much-needed poultry management position. We started doing research about proper chicken care--and the answers we found left us shocked. Suddenly, aspects of our fenced-in chicken yard that once seemed benign to my untrained eye began to pop out at me--the lack of top soil due to vegetation depletion, for instance, or the broken feathers on birds’ backs (indicating a possible feather mite infestation). Not to mention we realized that many of the hens were too old to efficiently produce eggs anymore.<br/><!--break--><br/>Coincidentally, around that time I began devouring The Omnivore’s Dilemma at Valerie’s recommendation, and the picture that animal-pasturing expert Joel Salatin painted of a “happy chicken” began to haunt me. In the book, Salatin tells author Michael Pollan that fowls were meant to flit from area to area, scratching and pecking at the ground for bugs and tasty weeds. They were not meant to be confined, eating nothing but industrially-farmed corn and grains. Of course! Learning this was like unlocking a primordial instinct in me that had long been buried by civilization. After much deliberation and a few tears, Sapphyre and I decided the best thing to do would be to kill the birds and start over in the spring, hopefully purchasing eggs from local farmers until a Twin Oaks pastured poultry program is fully underway. <p>Luckily, we had former Oakers Jim and Shana to turn to. Jim and Shana dabbled in raising poultry for profit and built an impressive slaughtering station in their back yard--which happens to be two miles from the community. In exchange for LEX hours (labor IOU’s traded between communities) and a few chickens, Jim and Shana agreed to help us turn the entire flock into tomorrow’s main course, 50 birds at a time. Thus, every Monday in October became a meat processing field trip.</p> <p>Halloween day marked our final slaughter with Jim and Shana. The air was warm and crisp as June, Valerie, Kele and I took off down the road, five pens of chickens in tow. Once at Jim and Shana’s, I stood next to the crowded cages of birds awaiting their fate and surveyed the scene: the upside down traffic cones in which the birds would “bleed out,” the de-feathering machine, the stainless-steel evisceration table. Trying to calm myself in the face of the lurking question, “Is this the right thing to do?,” I put my hand on a pen and whispered a thank you to the birds whose bodies would feed me throughout the winter. Then, I moved to my position at the evisceration table.</p> <p>A couple hours later, 50 carcasses were cooling in vats of ice water, and Kele, Valerie, Shana and I were peeling the tough inner tissues from gizzards to prepare them for consumption. Our rambling conversation turned to the subject of birth and as I listened to the others swap stories of the human births they’d experienced, I was struck by the irony of discussing new life on a day of death. Yet the subject was comforting. It reminded me that spring will bring with it a rebirth of the Twin Oaks poultry program--and that I’m a part of that rebirth. I took a deep, healing breath, and I allowed myself to smile.</p>'EthanThu, 01 Dec 2011 01:05:17 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/apeckalypse/Twin Oaks Earthquake, announcements on quake dayhttps://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-earthquake-announcements-on-quake-day/b'<p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_7IUoWSUwA&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/B_7IUoWSUwA/default.jpg"/></a><br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_7IUoWSUwA&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Twin Oaks Earthquake, announcements on quake day</a><br/><br><br/>Valerie and Alexis stand up to make various important announcements related to the quake to communards sitting outside ZK at dinner.<br/>From:<br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=jmccunepr">jmccunepr</a><br/>Views:<br/>0<br/><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"><br/>0<br/>ratings<br/>Time:<br/>03:03<br/>More in<br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=22">People &amp; Blogs</a></img></img></img></img></img></br></p>'McCuneSun, 04 Sep 2011 23:53:17 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-earthquake-announcements-on-quake-day/Twin Oaks Community Earthquake, dinner line after quakehttps://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-community-earthquake-dinner-line-after-quake/b'<p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmOGKyK3gr8&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/NmOGKyK3gr8/default.jpg"/></a><br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmOGKyK3gr8&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Twin Oaks Community Earthquake, dinner line after quake</a><br/><br><br/>We ate dinner the first night outside, cooked by Lish. We were uncertain if it was safe to re-enter our buildings yet. There are some quick interviews with people in line for dinner: person on the path, experience of the quake.<br/>From:<br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=jmccunepr">jmccunepr</a><br/>Views:<br/>0<br/><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"><br/>0<br/>ratings<br/>Time:<br/>02:23<br/>More in<br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=22">People &amp; Blogs</a></img></img></img></img></img></br></p>'McCuneWed, 31 Aug 2011 20:35:02 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-community-earthquake-dinner-line-after-quake/Twin Oaks Community Earthquake, damage to MThttps://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-community-earthquake-damage-to-mt/b'<p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7FhxERddHE&amp;feature=youtube_gdata"><img alt="" src="http://i.ytimg.com/vi/_7FhxERddHE/default.jpg"/></a><br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7FhxERddHE&amp;feature=youtube_gdata">Twin Oaks Community Earthquake, damage to MT</a><br/><br><br/>Our auto/metal/farm/etc shop building, Modern Times (MT), was badly damaged by the quake.<br/>From:<br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=jmccunepr">jmccunepr</a><br/>Views:<br/>0<br/><img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"> <img align="top" alt="" src="http://gdata.youtube.com/static/images/icn_star_empty_11x11.gif"><br/>0<br/>ratings<br/>Time:<br/>00:56<br/>More in<br/><a href="http://www.youtube.com/videos?c=22">People &amp; Blogs</a></img></img></img></img></img></br></p>'McCuneWed, 31 Aug 2011 20:35:01 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-community-earthquake-damage-to-mt/Emma Goldman Finishing School is Seeking New Membershttps://www.thefec.org/blog/emma-goldman-finishing-school-is-seeking-new-members/b'<p>We are looking for new members at the Emma Goldman Finishing School (an egalitarian housing community in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle). We are, like a lot of people all over the place, trying to figure out how to have different relationships with each other and the world. We think the world is burning and the time to collaborate and try and struggle and work is now. We would love for a group of 2-5 people who know and love each other to move in, as this has worked well in the past and we have a number of openings. Individual members would be great, too.</p> <p>Our community started fourteen years ago when a bunch of radicals pooled their resources together and bought a funky old twelve-bedroom house. They turned it into an egalitarian commune where people lived together and experimented with different economic and political models. For example: we save up money every month in the hopes of seeding other radical and egalitarian communities in Seattle, and have a time-based micro-economy where everyone's time is valued the same as everyone else's. Core to our project is that people need a strong home-base to be effective and healthy activists, organizers, and humans, and that we should try to live with each other in more egalitarian and humane ways. To that end, everyone who lives here has healthy food, transportation, health care, and a safe and cozy place to call home.</p> <p>We are just one strategy amongst many social justice projects in this town, this country, and this world. We don't have all the answers. We don't even know all the questions. We are messed up and problematic in interesting and specific ways, and could write tell-all books about the missteps and heartaches of life at Emma's. Another way of saying this is that we are a human project made up of humans. At the very least, we are an excellent training ground in direct democracy, and all the messiness that horizontal structures bring. And on our good days, we're a lot more than that.</p> <p>We would love to explore membership with you if any of this sounds interesting, and you're interested in communal living with others.</p> <p>In the past, we've had some communards who do all their community labor working at Emma's. Currently, with the economy how it is, everyone who lives here has to have some form of outside income. Sucks, but true (at least for now.)</p> <p>Last, our house has lots of delicious queers. If that's a problem for you, go away. Far far away. Similarly, racists, fascists, patriarchs, <br/>bigots, vanguardists, and anyone who doesn't see the need to examine their own privilege in the world are not a good fit. Sleepy dreamers, wise fools, and fellow travelers are always welcome.</p> <p>If this sounds interesting, check out our website at egfs.org. We hope you will consider becoming part of our community.</p> <p></p>'RebeccaMon, 16 May 2011 18:45:51 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/emma-goldman-finishing-school-is-seeking-new-members/New Communities Directory!https://www.thefec.org/blog/new-communities-directory/b'<h4 class="topContainer">Communities Directory - print edition</h4> <h2> </h2> <h2 style="margin: 0 0 0 5px;">Cover price: $35 with special price of $28 at <a href="http://store.ic.org/directory/">store.ic.org</a>.</h2> <h4 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-left: 5px;">Also available at a further discount when purchased with <a href="http://store.ic.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=344"><em>Communities</em> magazine</a> or <a href="http://store.ic.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=367"><em>Finding Community</em></a>.</h4> <p><a href="http://store.ic.org/directory/"><img align="right" alt="Communities Directory 2010 Cover" border="0" hspace="5" src="http://images.ic.org/www/images/Communities-Directory-2010-med.png" vspace="5"/></a><br>The sixth edition of the Communities Directory: A Comprehensive Guide to Intentional Communities and Cooperative Living is the essential reference tool for those interested in finding or creating community. Compiled by the nonprofit organization the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) from <a href="http://directory.ic.org">directory.ic.org</a>. This is the eagerly awaited new edition for 2010. Paperbound, 8-1/2 x 11 inches, 512 pages, ISBN 978-0-9718264-5-8.</br></p> <p><br>The Sixth Edition is in stock and can be <a href="http://store.ic.org/directory/">ordered now!</a></br></p> <p> </p> <p><br>The Communities Directory is the door to an amazing range of choices in cooperative living today - some of which have been tested by time, and others that are on the cutting edge of experimentation. The Communities Directory is an encyclopedia of positive alternatives to a mainstream culture that is often fragmented and alienating. It is the inspiring stories of groups all over the world pioneering ways to share resources and live cooperatively.<br><!--break--><br>Whether used as a reference, educational resource, or a road map for a personal quest, the Communities Directory is a comprehensive and easy-to-use tool offering the following:</br></br></br></p> <p> </p> <table cellspacing="10"> <tbody> <tr valign="top"> <td> <p><strong>LISTINGS:</strong><br>Descriptions from over 1000 intentional communities in North America and over 250 from around the world. Entries offer contact information, core values, availability for visits, and a glimpse of the vision that holds them together.</br></p> <br> <p><strong>MAPS:</strong><br>For the first time we've included maps showing locations of communities throughout the world. See at a glance what’s happening in your area or plan your community-visiting adventure.</br></p> <br> <p><strong>CHARTS:</strong><br>A fast and easy reference. Searching for a large, urban ecovillage? A community with lots of children? Just use the handy chart to quickly find the community that meets your needs.</br></p> <br> <p><strong>ARTICLES:</strong></p> <p>Covers the basics of intentional community including what they are, how to visit, and the state of the communities movement.</p> </br></br></br></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h3>Praise for the Communities Directory</h3> <p>"There’s never been a moment when we need connection quite as badly: connection between people who<br>have figured out new/old ways of living on this planet. This book is a resource, because the communities<br>in this book are a resource. I mean that quite literally — the wisdom embedded in these communities is<br>one of the few forces strong enough to make a real difference in the epic fight for the earth’s future."<br><br><strong> — Bill McKibben, environmental educator and author of Deep Economy and Eaarth</strong></br></br></br></br></br></p> <p><br>"The Communities Directory is a vital reference for anyone seeking, living in, doing business with, or<br>studying intentional communities or collective working endeavors."</br></br></p> <p><br> <strong> — Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance and The Fifth Scared Thing</strong></br></p> <p> </p> <p>"The Communities Directory is no mere catalogue or book. It is already a profound and shining artifact of our transformative age. It is a map of social vision and leadership that will help us thrive right now and in the times ahead."<br><br><strong> — Mark Lakeman, Director of City Repair in Portland OR</strong></br></br></p> <p> </p> <p>"The Communities Directory is a map to getting out of social isolation and into connection — doing<br>something good for yourself, others, and the environment . . . and have fun doing it." <br><br><strong>— Chuck Durrett, co-author of Cohousing, which brought the Danish import to the US</strong></br></br></br></p> <p> </p> <div style="border: thin solid black;"><a href="http://images.ic.org/www/images/charts_big.png">Example Chart<br><img alt="Communities Directory 2007 Chart Example" border="1" hspace="5" src="http://images.ic.org/www/images/charts.png" vspace="5"/></br></a></div> <p> </p> <div style="margin-top: 10px; border: thin solid black;"><a href="http://images.ic.org/www/images/map_bigger.png">Example Map<br><img alt="Communities Directory 2007 Map Example" border="1" hspace="5" src="http://images.ic.org/www/images/map_small.png" vspace="5"/></br></a></div> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h2>Available at <a href="http://store.ic.org/directory/">store.ic.org</a> for special price of $28.</h2> <h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-left: 5px;">Also available at a further discount when purchased with <a href="http://store.ic.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=344"><em>Communities</em> magazine</a> or <a href="http://store.ic.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=367"><em>Finding Community</em></a>.</h3>'EthanWed, 26 Jan 2011 16:27:08 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/new-communities-directory/2010 Fall Assembly a Rousing Success!https://www.thefec.org/blog/2010-fall-assembly-a-rousing-success/b'<p>The 2010 Fall Assembly took place at East Wind, and as the title of this post indicates, it was a rousing success! The FEC fall assembly is a time for delegates from FEC communities to get together to both review the activities since the last assembly and look at our goals and plans until the next time we meet. This year at assembly, there were delegates attending from member communities Acorn, East Wind, Emma Goldman Finishing School, Sandhill, and Twin Oaks, and from Community-in-dialogue Community Autonomy.</p> <p>To read more about the 2010 fall assembly, including a review of our activities since the spring assembly, PEACH news, the status of Community Autonomy, and the exciting world of the FEC 2011 budget, click below.<br/><!--break--><br/>Half Year in Review</p> <p>We spent some time talking about our goals and plans for the assembly, then we got to work. We reviewed the progress made on FEC projects since the last assembly, which include the following: * LEX trips between Acorn and Twin Oaks, Acorn and EW to Sandhill for Sorghum harvest, and EW to TO;<br/>* Writing and passing a Mutual Aid Scholarship Fund policy;<br/>* Work on expanding FEC membership, including talking to the Living Energy Farm, a community that aims to be fossil-fuel free and an ongoing educational project; Patchwork community in Louisville, a community that has sent delegates to past assemblies that is not currently income sharing; and Community-in-dialogue Community Autonomy in Columbus, OH, a project that does not currently have a permanent home (more on this later).<br/>* Presentations on the FEC and member communities at U.S. Social Forum, Twin Oaks Communities Conference, income-sharing presentation at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair, Williams College radio interview, and an upcoming presentation at NASCO.</p> <p>PEACH Tax Status</p> <p>The FEC delegates also talked about an issue that has arisen in regard to PEACH. PEACH’s operations may not be allowed under the FEC’s organizational tax status. (PEACH functions mostly seperate from FEC operations, but operates under the umbrella of the FEC).<br/> The FEC delegates decided to investigate this issue and find out from an expert whether or not PEACH’s operations are legal under the FEC’s tax status. We have identified various people to assist us.<br/> If PEACH is not in legal compliance, it must become compliant. This may require separate tax status for PEACH. The FEC will continue to work closely with PEACH MELBA’s on this issue.</p> <p>Community In Dialogue: Community Autonomy</p> <p>Community Autonomy (CA) of Columbus, Ohio sent Mattie to the FEC assembly for the second time. CA is a Community In Dialogue (CID), a status given to communities that are working towards becoming FEC member communities. CA currently has 4 members, three of whom live in a house with other non-members (the fourth member does not live in the house for personal reasons). The community hopes to acquire a property that can be a permanent home for the project.<br/> CA plans to utilize an income-sharing system that utilizes outside income, similar to EGFS. They are committed to providing for the needs of all members, including communalized transportation, healthcare, education, and childcare. They also compost, make humanure, keep bees, and have a greywater system. The vision is to have a community of 7-35 people that includes some sort of cottage industry for members to bring in income.<br/> Community Autonomy is already engaged in many practices that embody FEC ideals, and the FEC is committed to supporting the project as they search for a permanent home. We are all excited about this collaboration, and to see the way that the project develops.</p> <p>Mutual Aid Scholarship Fund</p> <p>This is a new fund for 2010. The FEC has set aside $500 to aid individuals from communities in obtaining training in ways that will benefit home communities and/or the FEC. Applications - which should be short and sweet - can be sent to Rebecca at rmh@riseup.net by November 25 (Thanksgiving). Contact your delegate or Rebecca with questions.</p> <p>FEC Propaganda and Media</p> <p>The FEC delegates made plans to come up with two versions of a ‘Master’ presentation on PowerPoint that can be used in various settings. There will be a short presentation (around 30 minutes) and a longer one (1 1/2 to 2 hours). It can be tweaked to be presented in different situations. There will be a DVD version available eventually as well.<br/> We are also in the process of creating a Media Archive of pictures and video for use in FEC promotion materials.<br/> We also talked quite a bit about fair use of pictures in FEC materials. We are aware that some FEC’ers do not want their image to be used. We have come up with a system that ensures that any pictures or video from the last 20 years in which individuals are identifiable will only be used if the people depicted are OK with their image being used.<br/> Talk to your delegate if you would like a copy of the PowerPoint presentation in slide or DVD form, FEC business cards, or a fingerbook (smaller than a handbook, get it?) on the FEC for events or presentations.</p> <p>PEACH: the Ava House</p> <p>The FEC delegates also had an opportunity to visit the house that PEACH owns as a result of a bad loan in Ava, Missourri. To make a long story short, the house is not useable unless there is a group of dedicated folks who want to spend a great deal of time fixing it up. The delegates recommend selling the house as soon as possible. A report with photos from Ethan (Twin Oaks) is forthcoming.</p> <p>Budget Review</p> <p>We approved a 2011 budget! Most of the FEC income comes from member communities. In addition to usual expenses (LEX, assemblies, expansion fund) we reserved money for site visits for future potential FEC communities (including Community Autonomy, Patchwork, Living Energy Farm, and Teaching Drum); and bought 15 FIC print directories and donated $300 to Communities Magazine. We also reviewed our changes in income for the year.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>The FEC delegates made a lot of decisions, and came up with some good working plans for the next year. We are excited about what is going on in our home communities, and look forward to the time that we can add Community Autonomy to our member list! We will have another assembly at Twin Oaks during the period of March 25th-April 1st, and will continue to work on various projects until that time.</p> <p>To get involved in the FEC, contact your community’s delegate.</p>'RebeccaTue, 23 Nov 2010 18:22:41 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/2010-fall-assembly-a-rousing-success/Boats, Ferns and Biomimicryhttps://www.thefec.org/blog/boats-ferns-and-biomimicry/b'<p><p><img alt="" class="alignright" height="306" src="http://go635254.s3.amazonaws.com/gas2/files/2010/05/Fern-Hydrophobic_Boat_2.jpg" title="Ferns and Boats and hydrophobia" width="400"/>I’ve been following the blog <a href="http://gas2.org" target="_blank">Gas 2.0</a> recentlyas I’ve been doing research on electric vehicles and alternative fuels and they do a great job of giving the latest news.</p><br/><p>They had a recent post on how the hairs on ferns that help it shed water could be used to make boats more fuel efficient, potentially saving as much as 1% of the fuel used worldwide!</p><br/><p>Since I know Jacob loves biomimicry, I thought he’d want to read the article so I figured I’d share it with everyone. Here’s a <a href="http://gas2.org/2010/05/04/amazing-coating-on-ferns-could-make-boats-much-more-fuel-efficient/" target="_blank">link to the blog post.</a></p></p>'tonySun, 13 Jun 2010 13:26:12 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/boats-ferns-and-biomimicry/2010 Communities Conference!https://www.thefec.org/blog/2010-communities-conference/b'<p>The <a href="http://communitiesconference.org">2010 Communities Conference at Twin Oaks</a> will help you learn more about communal living, connect with potential and current community members, and give you the opportunity to play and celebrate with others who believe in communal living.</p> <p><a href="http://communitiesconference.org"><img align="right" src="http://communitiesconference.org/files/images/laird%20singswithshirt.jpg"><b>The Communities Conference</b></img></a> is a networking and learning opportunity for anyone interested or involved in co-operative or communal lifestyles. Join us for a weekend of sharing and celebration! </p> <p><b>Friday August 13 through<br/>Sunday August 15, 2010<br/>$85 (sliding scale) includes<br/>meals and camping</b></p> <p><a href="http://communitiesconference.org/?q=registration">Register now!</a><br/>http://communitiesconference.org/?q=registration</p> <p>With workshops and events focused on<br/><li>Intentional relationships<br/><li>Group process<br/><li>Collective child raising<br/><li>Creating culture <br/><li>Forming communities<br/><li>Sustainability<br/><li>Appropriate technology </li></li></li></li></li></li></li></p> <p><li>Community economics <br/><li>Music<br/><li>Dancing<br/><li>Slide shows<br/><li>Campfires<br/><li>Swimming<br/><li>Magic<br/><li>More!</li></li></li></li></li></li></li></li></p> <p><b>Respond to:</b><br/>Twin Oaks Communities Conference<br/>138 Twin Oaks Road, Louisa, Virginia 23093<br/>540-894-5126<br/><a href="http://communitiesconference.org">http://communitiesconference.org</a><br/>conference@twinoaks.org</p> <p><img align="right" src="http://communitiesconference.org/files/images/2inhammock.jpg"><br/><b>The Schedule:</b> The conference begins late afternoon/suppertime on Friday. Activiites are scheduled throughout the weekend, and will either be posted elsewhere on this page, or email us for details.</img></p> <p><b>Facilities And What To Bring:</b> Our gathering site is rustic but has showers (often hot), hammocks, picnic tables, a fire circle and a kitchen. There are tent sites in the woods nearby (and space for a few small RVs, but call ahead). No electricity for individual use. You will need a tent, sleeping bag, toiletries, flashlight, towel, rain gear, mixed-season clothes, and good natured flexibility. No pets, please. You may want to bring musical instruments, toys, games, and any outreach literature (brochures, feature articles, slideshows, photos, videos, etc.) you might have about your community, if you live in one. Child care will be cooperative: we will arrange space for parents and others to share child care.</p> <p><b>About Food:</b> Food will be predominantly potluck. Twin Oaks will provide breakfasts, bread, milk, yogurt, salad, and much more. We ask you to bring three things to share:<br/>1.) a refrigerated covered dish (stew, casserole, soup, but not chili), preferably frozen, <br/>2.) some fruit, and <br/>3.) a snack item or juice. <br/>Each should be enough for 10 hungry people. </p> <p><img align="left" hspace="10" src="http://communitiesconference.org/files/images/thea.jpg"><b>What to Expect:</b> We invite people to get together and talk about intentional community of all sorts. We expect about 200 participants including members of many communities: large, small, spiritual, secular, tightly communal, loosely cooperative, and so on. We also welcome people looking for a community, and those just interested in the idea of cooperative living. This conference will be lightly structured. Everything is optional. There will be workshops and sharing circles, but also lots of time to just hang out, meet people, network and play together.</img></p> <p><b>What is <a href="http://www.twinoaks.org/">Twin Oaks</a>?</b> This conference is hosted by <a href="http://www.twinoaks.org/">Twin Oaks</a>, a community of 100 people living on 450 acres of farm and forestland in central Virginia. Founded in 1967, we share communal income and property, a labor credit system, and a self-sufficient economy. Tours will be available during the conference. The community is off-limits except during tours.</p> <p><b>Who we are:</b> This conference is sponsored by two different inter-community organizations. The <a href="http://www.ic.org/">Fellowship for Intentional Community</a> (FIC) is a loose organization of almost 100 communities in North America. The FIC publishes the Communities Directory and Communities Magazine (you can order them through Twin Oaks). <a href="http://www.thefec.org/">The Federation of Egalitarian Communities</a> (FEC) is a network of groups which hold their land, labor, and other resources in common and are committed to equality, participatory government, ecology, and non-violence. </p> <p> <img align="right" src="http://communitiesconference.org/files/images/groupwatchingpavillion.jpg"><b>Benefit Auction:</b> As one of the conference events, we will be holding a fast-paced, high-energy benefit auction for the Fellowship for Intentional Community, publisher of the Communities Directory. Proceeds will help the FIC continue to bring the exciting news of community to a world hungry for it. You can help in two ways: 1) bring items to donate to the auction-- products, crafts, services that can be delivered locally, a weekend stay for two at your luxurious home... use your imagination! 2) bring your wallet--there will be bargains galore, and every dollar spent will be used to make community that much more accessible to those seeking it.communities conference</img></p> <p><b>Where:</b> We are located near Interstate 64, between Charlottesville and Richmond, VA, 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. We will send you a map and directions after we receive your registration. If you want to carpool, we will try to match drivers and riders until August 19.</p> <p>To register, <a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/registration">complete the registration form</a><br/>and send it to Twin Oaks. </p> <p>The conference is often full to capacity--please send your registration form and fee before August 1. We cannot guarantee space to late registrants.</p> <p><b>To Contact Us:</b><br/>Twin Oaks Communities Conference<br/>138 Twin Oaks Road, Louisa, Virginia 23093<br/>540-894-5126</p> <p>conference@twinoaks.org<br/><!--break--><br/></p>'AdministratorSun, 30 May 2010 17:58:24 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/2010-communities-conference/Twin Oaks on CNNhttps://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-on-cnn/b'<p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" height="356" id="ep" width="384"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><param name="movie" value="http://i.cdn.turner.com/money/.element/apps/cvp/4.0/swf/cnn_money_384x216_embed.swf?context=embed&amp;videoId=/video/news/2010/04/19/n_communal_vision.cnnmoney"></param><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"></param><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#000000" height="356" src="http://i.cdn.turner.com/money/.element/apps/cvp/4.0/swf/cnn_money_384x216_embed.swf?context=embed&amp;videoId=/video/news/2010/04/19/n_communal_vision.cnnmoney" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="384" wmode="transparent"></embed></object></p>'AdministratorFri, 28 May 2010 15:54:42 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/twin-oaks-on-cnn/East Wind Community in the news:https://www.thefec.org/blog/east-wind-community-in-the-news/b'<p><object height="385" width="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/dZmfyk2pmTY&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="385" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/dZmfyk2pmTY&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480"></embed></object></p>'AdministratorTue, 11 May 2010 01:38:50 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/east-wind-community-in-the-news/ Experienced Organic Gardener Wanted at Skyhousehttps://www.thefec.org/blog/experienced-organic-gardener-wanted-at-skyhouse/b'<p>Experienced Organic Gardener Wanted at Skyhouse</p> <p>Our organic vegetable gardens Do you love to grow organic food?</p> <p>Do you want to garden with friends and share the fruits of your labor at every meal?</p> <p>Would you like to experience community life in an off-the-grid, sustainable ecovillage?</p> <p>If you answer yes to these questions, then you should be interested in this work exchange opportunity.</p> <p>Come Garden with Us</p> <p>Skyhouse is looking for an experienced gardener to join us in growing food for our table for the 2010 season. Our ideal person would have some experience in growing organic vegetables and interest in fermentation, dehydrating and canning. We are looking for a gardener from April to November (shorter positions may be available). Ability to work independently and collaboratively a must. We have currently been growing and storing most of our vegetables for our group of approximately 8 and hope to continue that this year.</p> <p>In exchange for your work in the garden we would provide organic vegan meals, tenting accommodations, and basic expenses. You'd also help out with cooking, cleaning and other rotational chores and could of course join in with other work that interested you (food processing, natural building, etc.)</p> <p>Skyhouse is a small income-sharing communal group within the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. In many ways you would be joining both communities for the duration of your stay and would be part both of our tight-knit household and our ecologically focused village. While Skyhouse is a small group now we are looking to grow so long-term membership is also an option.</p> <p>For more information see http://www.dancingrabbit.org/social_change/interns-organic-gardening-skyhouse.php</p> <p>For an application <a href="mailto:dancingrabbit@ic.org">Contact Dancing Rabbit</a>.</p>'tonyTue, 13 Apr 2010 20:03:49 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/experienced-organic-gardener-wanted-at-skyhouse/East Wind Nut House Expansion!https://www.thefec.org/blog/east-wind-nut-house-expansion-1/b'<p>As some of you may know East wind is expanding! For those who have been to East Wind throughout the years we have watched this little nut butter business grow. </p> <p>At this point we are expanding our building for a third line that will be a production line for our jars and 5# tubs. The reason we are expanding has to do with the equipment we use: lidder-capers, labelers, jar bander's. These pieces of equipment hate being moved - and we move them a lot! The third line will all but eliminate the need to move these heavy boehemouths that ain't supposed to move around.</p> <p> hold on a sec let me step back in time for a minute. When I moved to E-dub in 93 Nut butters was not the most popular job but for some reason (maybe not as social as hammocks or to noisy or oh yea its a factory job) but I always liked it so I became a roaster helper and worked at least once a week making some butter<br/><!--break--><br/>At this time there was only one line we roasted and produced all of our products on what is now line 1</p> <p><a href="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/?q=node/330"><img align="right" src="https://www.thefec.org/blog/feeds/rss/?q=system/files/images/new+080.thumbnail.jpg"/></a>What is now line 2 was our cold storage but the writing was on the wall and expanding was getting important. Sooooo at the time we knew we had to get a larger cold storage building and we decided we could build it.</p> <p>At the time Carlos was running a little crew of builders like a machine and most of us in the "crew" where learning and building stuff like mad! We tore down the old trustardy and built a new one and an exercise building all in that same summer. </p> <p>We where on a roll and at this time the we was Carlos, David Clague, Che Hsh Na', Qix, Zeke and myself. We worked from 8-5 5 days a week and if it was raining we made hammocks because Carlos told us to and at this time we where all learning so much we did whatever he said. (we got over that a little.) </p> <p>So we started on Siberia we built a retaining wall and poured a 60 by 64 slab in three 20' wide strips which because our come along was down they hooked up a harness to me and I dragged the screeds across the stretch. Ahh it was good to be young . We had the traditional party on the slab... well traditional for E-dub. </p> <p>We had a wedding on the slab the groom wore a beautiful wedding gown he found in commie clothes and the bride wore a smile and some flowers in her hair the clergy for the event was Hoyt who was wearing his habit and had rewrote the vows in Dr. Suess language. Those in attendance where wearing roller skates and children where pulling wagons with tricycles. Ahhh hippies. </p> <p>Now that the traditional "slab party" has happened were ready to move forward. We had the building delivered. It took all day to unload and many of us still are trying to forget that day. </p> <p>Then of course the building of the building we had a crane that Carlos *traded* (give Carlos 4 hammocks and a case of peanut butter and he could come back with a giraffe if you needed one, just don't ask to many questions.) The crane was a little short and our bolt patterns where wrong. OH MY GAWD Carlos made a mistake. Well, I ended up lifting each pillar up 6 inches so that Qix and Zeke could scamble with tools to make the bolts fit. </p> <p>Now this day goes down as one of the hardest days of my life. we really should have been injured that day. We where hippie-ing our way through heavy, heavy big steel things and we where scared. Lots of people watched that day. I always think about that, like did they know this was dangerous and where watching for the whole train wreck effect. Well, we built it. I left shortly before the completion and maintained my relationship with East Wind and I would come to visit and see the line 2 completed and the dry storage built for us. </p> <p>Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when the expansion building was delivers after lots of prep. I sat with Zeke and Qix and Ryan and we kinda where gloating about our success's to date with the expansion. We have poured allot of concrete and have redone many things for the expansion. Our laughter went into nastolgia as it often does, the thought of how much of this some of us have have built and the fact that we all sit here 15 years latter and laugh about the fact that we are now the old guys. But its not about age or sex or knowledge, as we stop work so the kids can come by and play on the slab, as we yell at each other, as we congratulate each other, as folks come by and ask questions, as Kris comes by and does magic welding jobs as we finish our day and slowly walk home, or go to my Tuesday morning roast/roaster helper shift that I still do at the nut house. It's not about the radiant floor or the plumb steel frame or the drain holes in the floor, its about community... well, not just any community its about East Wind community -- our home.</p>'LionTue, 13 Apr 2010 19:49:35 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/east-wind-nut-house-expansion-1/East Wind Nut butters gets some press!https://www.thefec.org/blog/east-wind-nut-butters-gets-some-press/b'<p><object height="344" width="425"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/BTngJkVWuXw&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="344" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/BTngJkVWuXw&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425"></embed></object></p> <p>East Wind community has been very shy about the press since the National Geographic article came out and although the article was accurate in many ways it was at one of our hardest times in community. Its kinda like a national report on your dirty laundry. Needless to say we just didn't want any press, So when Rob Evans of KOLR 10 came to us about doing a show on our nut butter factory our spines tingled with fear, after much debate parameters where set and he was allowed to come here and present an article for the Springfield area on our Nut butter business. I walked him around showing some of the buildings speaking on East Wind and even got interviewed along with a couple others when all was said and done this video appeared today and we are very happy. </p> <p>Thank you Rob.<br/>Enjoy<br/>L~ </p> <p>http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=42509731151&amp;h;=FYFMG<br/><!--break--><br/></p>'LionTue, 13 Apr 2010 19:49:07 +0000https://www.thefec.org/blog/east-wind-nut-butters-gets-some-press/