Commune Roundup: Corn Tools, Rainbow, Outing, Planting Kale

Here’s what’s been happening on the Facebook feed. A little snippet of life on the communes.

At Acorn, the infatigable Ira shows off a tool to get corn off the cob.

Here’s a link to the original on Instagram, where (if you poke around a little) you can watch and hear her demonstrate it.

Meanwhile, at East Wind, someone photographed this rainbow above the community.

At Twin Oaks, as beautiful as their community is, sometimes they just want to get away and explore something else. Here’s a crew on a spring outing.

And at Glomus, they are out in the fields planting kale.

Commune Roundup: Corn Tools, Rainbow, Outing, Planting Kale

Healthy Communities and Community Memes

by Raven Glomus

I am tending to use Friday posts on here to summarize or showcase posts from the Facebook site. This past week has not been a good week for that.

I recently wrote what I thought was a good question on the site and it got an okay number of views, but no one commented on it. What good is writing an interesting question if no one responds to it?

Here’s what I wrote:

I also reposted a provocative meme from the Twin Oaks website and it didn’t get very many views. It did get two comments but neither felt particularly on topic to me.

Here’s the couple of comments:

I don’t know. Maybe folks are getting bored with the content. Or, perhaps more likely, it’s spring and everyone is just too busy to respond. Let’s see what happens from here.

Healthy Communities and Community Memes

Many Alternatives

by Raven Glomus

A little over a week ago, I was on the panel about Urban Communities.  Someone I knew from the co-op household scene in the Boston area made a comment that implied that I wanted to turn all the co-ops into income-sharing communities.  I think that she was exaggerating for effect, but it was true that she had gone to a talk I had sponsored on how co-ops could become communes.  However, I want to be clear, I like co-op houses and I don’t want them to all turn into income-sharing communities.

A Boston area co-op house

In fact, I think that all forms of communities are great: communes, co-ops, ecovillages, hybrid models (like Ganas), spiritual communities, even co-housing (which I regard as a toe-in-the-water for many folks who would be otherwise scared of any form of community living). What’s more important is that I don’t think that everyone should live in community.  Ironically, two of the folks that I built my first income-sharing community with in the 1990s now live by themselves.  I don’t think that everyone is suited for communal living, and the longer that I do it, the more I think that’s true.  I envision (and see myself working for) a world with many forms of community–and also, people living by themselves, with partners, with random strangers (if that appeals to them), in nuclear families, in extended families, etc.  Diversity is wonderful and I think that the end goal for me is, as I have written here, creating more possibilities.  I want to see a world with, not only more communities, but more co-operative and worker-owned and run businesses, and small businesses, family businesses, and cottage industries, and municipally run businesses, and alternative forms of agriculture, energy, and even government.  We need many, many alternatives.

So, why am I so focused on communes in this blog?  Because I think that communal living is one of the more radical ways to see how change is possible.  The Foundation for Intentional Community already covers the wide spectrum of the communities movement.  If you want to know more, you should check out their website, which I have already written about in this blog.

My goal here is not that everyone should live in a commune, but that most people should know that they exist, and they actually work, and anyone who is excited about them should be able to try one out and live in a commune if they like.  But they can’t do that if they don’t realize that it’s possible.  I want to see a world with many alternatives, and have communal living be one.

Many Alternatives

The Work of Community

by Raven Glomus

Here’s some of our recent posts on Facebook. I noticed that a bunch of them are about the day to day work that goes on in the communes.

Here’s Andie at Glomus Commune drilling holes in a log so that we can inoculate the log with shiitake spawn.

Ira Wallace is justly famous for her books and work in behalf of communities, but here she is working in Acorn community’s high tunnel.

Moving money. Each month at Glomus Commune, Theresa, Cicada, and Raven get together to do the Financial Flow, where we track all the income and expenses for the month and compare them to the budget.

And at Twin Oaks, they boast about how little commuting time it takes to get to work. The community is small enough but they have bikes to make it even easier to go from place to place.

The Work of Community

A Community of Communities

from the Spring, 2021, Leaves of Twin Oaks newsletter

by Valerie 

Photo (clockwise from top left): Acorn, Cambia, LEF, Little Flower (Catholic Worker logo).
If variety is the spice of life, then life is good for community living in Louisa. In addition to Twin Oaks, there are several other intentional communities in the county.

How did these all arise? In early 1967, a supporter of the ideas of Twin Oaks donated the land we now live on—that is why we are located here. In the early 90s, we helped found Acorn, as a way of providing a communal living option for the 25 people on our Waiting List. In 2010, two ex-members founded Living Energy Farm, a fossil-fuel-free farm and community. And within the last 5 years, Cambia has sprung up nearby as well. We’re also connected with Little Flower, a Catholic Worker community that offers radical hospitality and does various anti-poverty, anti-military and anti-oppression activism. All of these communities are within 10 miles of us, and it makes for a great “community of communities”.

The advantages of this inter-connected network are many. Most of the other communities chose to settle here due to proximity to Twin Oaks, in order to take advantage of the social and skill-sharing abilities due to that closeness.

We collectively engage in various cooperative activities, including both work and play. If one community needs a skilled person such as a conflict resolution facilitator, or someone with experience repairing a broken well-pump, they need only look as far as the next community over. In this way we provide mutual aid. We share the work of Acorn’s Southern Exposure Seed Exchange business. We have developed a Labour Exchange Program amongst all the communities. It can be fun to spend time working at another community and sometimes very helpful to take a break from one’s home community, for example following a relationship break-up or similar community stress.

This broader network also provides a larger social pool and increased options for inter-community friendships and relationships. One family was “bi-community” for a few years and eventually settled into the one community that they decided fit them both best.  On major community holidays, we provide communal shuttles and send people back-and-forth, so we can celebrate with each other without each person having to take their own vehicle.

And when it comes to membership, each community has its own unique commune “flavor.” If a given visitor interested in communal living isn’t quite the right fit for one community, there are several similar-but-just-different-enough options nearby. It’s also not uncommon for members to move back and forth between communities either as dual-members, or, if they realize they are better suited to another commune, to make a more permanent move over to that one, while still maintaining their existing friendships and connections.

We know that diversity is strength and we are grateful for these diverse communities that share this piece of earth with us.

Twin Oaks: An income-sharing, egalitarian ecovillage of 100 people supporting themselves on 500 acres.

Acorn: A consensus-based community sharing income generated from the sale of heirloom seeds. 

Cambia: Focused on co-creating a culture of social sustainability and harmony that nourishes us as well as the earth.

Living Energy Farm: (LEF) A zero-fossil-fuel education center developing sustainable technologies that are accessible to all, regardless of income.

Little Flower: A Catholic Worker homestead that practices hospitality and does resistance work around issues of militarism and social injustice.
A Community of Communities

Spring Comes to the Communes

by Raven Glomus

It’s been a winter, but spring is finally coming. Here are a bunch of little snippets from the Commune Life Facebook posts showing spring’s arrival at some of the communes.

One of the first and happiest signs of spring are the flowers.

But even here at Glomus in the cold northeast, the flowers are slowly arriving:

At East Wind, Sumner did a nature video about bats, but a spring peeper (a tiny frog) made a guest appearance. The spring peeper’s high-pitched call marks the beginning of spring:

And at Twin Oaks, the somberness of winter seems to have given way to a spring giddiness.

Like trying to figure out how many communards can be stuffed into the hole in the center of their outdoor tables:

Or someone hanging a whole bunch of wigs to air out on a line.

Frogs, flowers, or even wigs on a line, we are more than grateful for the arrival of spring at the communes.

Spring Comes to the Communes