Another video by Maximus:
In which Ella, Avni, Telos, and Maximus pick beans at Living Energy Farm.
This video comes out of an ongoing conversation we are having at Cambia about minimalism and functionalism. The two ideas are not necessarily opposites, although sometimes a minimalist ethos can prevent things from being as functional as they could otherwise be. But is function always necessary? How much skill, and sophistication, and access to resources do we really need to live a good life? Perhaps, if we focus too much on function, we miss opportunities to connect with each other.
But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if we build our community according to minimalist or functionalist principles. Either would be fine. What matters is that we take the time to really listen to each other, and develop robust empathy for each other’s values. That’s what community is all about.
The first video I’ve made at Cambia since I moved in.
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
The start of a long term academic video blog about Cambia by Maximus:
A few days ago we arrived to a magical place called Cambia. We are three Israelis girls in our 20s who decided to travel and learn about different communities in the states. We decided to do that so we could learn about other ways of living, to learn some new skills, and to meet inspiring people. Our stay at Cambia so far gave us all of the above and more!
First of all Ella, Gil, Maximus and Avni welcomed us to there house with an open heart, and treated us as part of the family, with great meals! The space here itself is so beautiful, cozy and comfortable.
Other than that we got the opportunity to learn how to build and use wood tools, we build some staircase and shelves and a table. We are very happy to now know how to build things, and hope to use that knowledge back home. We got to learn also more about the environmental issues. There are some great small models here which explain in a very simple way about how normal lifestyle affect the world. They also taught us how to dumpster diving, which was a very exciting and educating experience. Also in every meal we get to some very interesting conversations about different topics and issues which also taught us a lot.
In the weekend we also got the chance to go to the conference communities that was happening near by. There we met some great people and got to see even more the communities around and other ways of leaving, it was very inspiring.
Our stay here in the farm so far is amazing! One of the best things here is how warm and friendly everyone is, and how much love and care we get. We are very grateful for the opportunity to be here and looking foreword for some more great days.