A couple of weeks ago, Caroline (from the Midden) wrote on Commune Life about attending the Communities Conference and then visiting Acorn and Compersia. I also attended the Communities Conference and did some commune visiting. This is my report on the conference and spending time at the new communities of Mimosa and Cambia.
The Communities Conference is an amazing collection of people from various communities, people looking for community, and lots of workshops. My favorite part is the Saturday morning Meet the Communities event. This year there were lots of new communities that I learned about, many talking about income sharing, and some of which I hope that we’ll feature in upcoming posts.
After the conference, I hung out in Louisa. I’ve spent a bunch of time at Twin Oaks (and did more on this trip) as well as Acorn and have had several visits to Living Energy Farm. This year I decided to spend significant time at the two newer communities, helping out and learning more about them from being there. Here’s my report on them:
More than anything, Cambia is an experimental and educational community. This makes it sound a little like Living Energy Farm, but Cambia has a whole different flavor. Where LEF use unusual technologies to move past fossil fuels and demonstrate how we could move past their use, Cambia has set up a series of kid friendly (but adult interesting) hands on exhibits in their forest, to show things like how much land each American requires to live, how our carbon usage could be balanced, how the ground and water table work, and (on a very small scale) how to use various alternative construction techniques. (The last was in an exhibit called ‘Barbie’s Ecovillage’ which featured a timber framed doll house that you could create straw bale or cob walls for.)
The boat at Cambia
Cambia is a community that seems to attract academic types. Ella and Gil are lovely folks who are focused on how to educate others, especially children. (And they have one child, Avni, who also lives there.) Maximus, the newest member, is a grad student who is studying communities as an alternative to mainstream life, and using Cambia as a case study. And, former member Telos, was there visiting while I was there–and he is very interested in the social and political aspects of community.
One of the biggest things about Cambia is their willingness to try all sorts of things. There was the cute little pond they built to demonstrate how plant can clean water. I helped them work on the boat they bought to use as guest space. They seem to have endless ideas on how to repurpose everything.
Where Cambia is relatively new (two years old at this point), Mimosa is brand new. Mimosa took over the buildings and land of a commune that didn’t make it (Sapling). It’s located almost halfway between Twin Oaks and Acorn.
Me with Aurora of Mimosa–picture by Peggy Brennan
Mimosa is focusing on the work of agriculture, seed growing, herbalism, and activism. They only have a few members at this point and are trying to figure out their membership policies.
I got to hang out with them and help out. The place is beautiful and they are creating new spaces where people could stay.
I felt very welcomed at both Cambia and Mimosa and I was excited to learn the nitty-gritty of running a small new community.
Another picture showing the boat and the main house at Cambia, sent by Telos