Putting the Farm to Bed

by Raven

I am currently up at East Brook Community Farm and it’s late autumn. East Brook’s major source of income is from their agricultural work. At this time of the year, that work is finishing.

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Dried up tomato vines.

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Corn stalks. I will be taking them down and using them for compost to help grow new plants in the future.

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These are potato beds which have been dug up. Garlic will be planted in them soon.

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The kale is still being harvested. I think that they look like tiny palm trees.

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This is frost damage on the cabbage plants. The good parts will be used to make sauerkraut.

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Dried Echinacea. The birds apparently love the seeds.

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Thanks for reading! This post was made possible by our patrons on Patreon. The Commune Life team works hard to bring you these stories about our lives in community, and that work couldn’t happen without support from our audience. So if you liked this article, and want to help us make more like it, head on over to https://www.patreon.com/communelife to join us! 

Deep gratitude to all of our patrons:  

Communities

  • Acorn Community
  • Compersia Community
  • East Brook Community Farm
  • The Federation of Egalitarian Communities
  • Twin Oaks Community

Communards 

  • Aaron Michels
  • Brenda Thompson
  • Cathy Loyd
  • Em Stiles
  • Jenn Morgan
  • Jonathan Thaler
  • Julia Elizabeth Evans
  • Kai Koru
  • Kathleen Brooks
  • Laurel Baez
  • Lynette Shaw
  • Magda schonfeld
  • Michael Hobson
  • Nance & Jack Williford
  • Peter Chinman
  • Sumner Nichols
  • Tobin Moore
  • Warren Kunce
  • William Croft
  • William Kadish

Thanks! 

 

Putting the Farm to Bed

Join the Next Generation of Ecovillage Builders

by Thumbs

EP2020 LOGO 2

“You’re real, and you’re bigger than my laptop screen!”

We’ve converted a bedroom at East Brook Community into our retreat center headquarters. The walls are covered with butcher paper and the faint scent of colored markers permeates the room as we graffiti the walls with flow charts and picture notes manifesting from our brainstorm. This year we’ve been meeting weekly through virtual conference calls, but that can’t compare to the thrill of collaborating in person.

The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), and its youth oriented sub circle of North America (NextGENNA) are currently buzzing with growth and opportunities.  This weekend 5 members of our team came together to use this potential energy to update our organizational structure and create strategies for our shared projects.  We did this with the goal of creating clear new ways for people like yourself to plug into our network and feed your community passion.

emergent octopus photo

Following the unconventional passion of community building on your own is difficult and ironic, so our team shared the value of trusting their own insights more when part of a like minded team.

Before expanding our team we need to understand what each of us are doing this for, because like all mostly volunteer non-profits time is limited so the work must nourish our higher selves.  A series of memes we drew capture what part of our heart song this work helps play.

A focus of this retreat was also planning Ecovillage Pathways, an intimate annual event which combines ecovillage education with a community experience.  Ecovillage Pathways 2020 will center around “Healing in Community” and how it shows up in the four pillars of community: social, culture, economy, and ecology.  We will introduce various community tools which ecovillages can use to address these four pillars. With a balance of intellectual discussion, heartfelt connections, and hands on practice this will be an experience of community from the very start.

The experience of designing, organizing and facilitating workshops at this event is in and of itself an incredible learning experience for young people interested in applying professional skills to their ecovillage passion.  However, we’re also ready to serve a broader audience by fostering an online community of ecovillage enthusiasts. We’re lucky to be friends and partners with the already vibrant virtual community network, but are discovering the unique niche we can serve as well.  For example, would you be interested in a monthly virtual discussion group on ecovillage life, opportunities and challenges?

ecovillage skills draw

A unique gift of NextGEN is to expand ones ecovillage education through immersive experiences, and also to invest in trainings which will help you fuse community passion and career.

There are many ways for you to become part of the NextGENNA team, and the best way to learn more about all of them is to join our Welcoming Meeting in November.  It’ll be an opportunity for us to get to know you, and for you to learn about how to plug into the rich global network of ecovillage builders. Please email us at NextGenNorthAmerica@gmail.com to receive an invitation for the Welcoming Meeting.  This event will also appear on our Facebook Page, and sign up on our website to receive infrequent but exciting email updates!

 Watch our Welcome to Ecovillage Pathways 2020 Video

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Author 

Team Photo

Next GENNA team

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Thanks for reading! This post was made possible by our patrons on Patreon. The Commune Life team works hard to bring you these stories about our lives in community, and that work couldn’t happen without support from our audience. So if you liked this article, and want to help us make more like it, head on over to https://www.patreon.com/communelife to join us! 

Deep gratitude to all of our patrons:  

Communities

  • Acorn Community
  • Compersia Community
  • East Brook Community Farm
  • The Federation of Egalitarian Communities
  • Twin Oaks Community

Communards 

  • Aaron Michels
  • Brenda Thompson
  • Cathy Loyd
  • Em Stiles
  • Jenn Morgan
  • Jonathan Thaler
  • Julia Elizabeth Evans
  • Kai Koru
  • Kathleen Brooks
  • Laurel Baez
  • Lynette Shaw
  • Magda schonfeld
  • Michael Hobson
  • Nance & Jack Williford
  • Peter Chinman
  • Sumner Nichols
  • Tobin Moore
  • Warren Kunce
  • William Croft
  • William Kadish

Thanks! 

 

 

Join the Next Generation of Ecovillage Builders

Garlic Scape Tempura

Garlic Scape Tempura

East Brook: How We Choose Our Members

from the Commune Life tumblr account

Membership processes are often in flux. Below is the membership process document for East Brook Community Farm, as of February 2019

Below is an outline of the process which begins with you not being a member and ends with you being an income sharing member.

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Step 1: Introductions

  • You learn about East Brook, and then ask to come visit for a short period of time (can be a day, a week, or a month).
  • You come visit for this short period.
  • You leave.

Step 2: Formal request to begin the membership process

You write a letter to East Brook asking to live with us for a long but finite amount of time (between 6 months and 1 year), as a residential member.

This letter should describe why you want to live here and what kinds of things you want to do with us.

We respond. Possible responses include:

  • Yes! Lets live together for that amount of time!
  • We need more info! We are interested in what it would be like to live with you, but don’t know you well enough yet to commit to a multi-month stay. Why don’t you come back for a few weeks or a month and we’ll get to know each other better?
  • No! We don’t think East Brook and you are a good match right now.

Step 3: Roles and Goals

After your residential membership request has been accepted, you write up a roles and goals document. This should happen either before you move in or within the first month of living together.

  • This document outlines the roles you see yourself playing in the community during your residential membership period, and describes the goals you have in those roles by the end of the period.
  • Your roles and goals arrangement may include a stipend for you, or it might not. Either way, at this stage, while we live together, we make most decisions together but you do not share income or make long term financial decisions with us.

Once the roles and goals document is written, we have a meeting to talk about it. Changes to the document might be suggested, and consensus is reached. General excitement is had. We live with you now! We will definitely live with you until your residential membership period finishes!

We schedule your membership check-in meeting, which will happen about ⅔ of the way into your residential membership period.

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Step 4: The Membership Check-in meeting

Near the end of your residential membership period, we schedule this meeting to review how your time here has been, and what the future might look like.

If you want to continue living here, you bring a revised copy of your Roles and Goals document to the meeting, and we discuss what it would be like to live with you as an income-sharing member for the upcoming year

You may decide to remain a residential member of East Brook and not move forward into income sharing with us.

This meeting should be celebratory, not judgmental. We appreciate our time together and collectively imagine a path forward.

Step 5: Income-sharing membership consensus

The current income-sharing members meet without you and reach consensus about if we want to live with you and share income with you.

This meeting may happen before Step 4 in some circumstances.

Possible decisions include:

  • Yes! Lets live together for another year and share all our income!
  • We need more info! We are interested in what it would be like to live with you more intimately, and share our incomes together, but some concerns have come up during your time here and we need more experience living together before we explore the income-sharing path. Let’s revise your roles and goals to fit the next 6 months, and then after that we’ll check in again and re-explore income-sharing membership.
  • No! After living with you for the last several months, we’ve decided that it is not best for the community to continue to live together. We ask that you find somewhere else to live after your residential membership period is complete.

Step 6: Income Sharing

Once we have reached consensus on income-sharing membership, the details of the income-sharing agreement need to be worked out.

Income-sharing agreements at East Brook are modular, and tailored to the needs and resources of each individual. Our income-sharing agreements have four parts:

  1. Financial disclosure – this part describes your savings, material possessions, and expected income over the next year.
  2. An explicit agreement that all the money you make in the next year will be shared with East Brook, and all expenses you might incur in the next year will be paid by East Brook.
  3. A budget – This part details how the money you earn will be allocated by East Brook, and how East Brook will meet your needs.
  4. An exit agreement – some amount of your income is allocated towards exit savings, so that you have resources should you choose to leave. We make arrangements for cars and other material possessions to facilitate amicable leaving.

Once this agreement is made, next we take actions to implement it. Actions might include:

  1. You get access to East Brook bank accounts (either by being added to the account or getting a credit card which East Brook commits to paying)
  2. Any paychecks you receive from outside income are designated to be deposited into East Brook accounts.
  3. Any regular bills you have are designated to autopay from East Brook accounts.

Once income sharing is implemented, you are now an income-sharing member for the next year.

Step 7: Following Up

Income sharing members are members “indefinitely” but their membership is subject to regular conversation and exploration with the other members.

One year after you become an income-sharing member, we all meet and once again review and revise your roles and goals document.

  • This is a time to reassess your experience in community. Is it living up to your expectations? Are there things about your life or your relationships which you would like to work to change? How can we improve things? Might it be time to leave soon? Do you want to change your roles? Did you achieve the goals you set? What new things would you like to accomplish in the next year? How can you be supported in personal growth?

Unlike the first check-in meeting, there is no follow-up meeting after this one where all members besides you are present. (Unless someone wishes to trigger our expulsion process, which should almost never happen). However, this meeting is a time for everyone to seriously consider how our lives are affected by living together, and to explore all options available to us to continue to support each other and the community we live in. The meeting should encourage discussion of radical changes to our roles and relationships, if they are needed.   (Default is you continue to live here, this is just a chance to explore your options and figure out if your life is on a path you truly want blah blah blah etc.)

The meeting concludes with consensus on your updated roles and goals document. Then we schedule your next check-in meeting for a year or two from now. This process repeats indefinitely.

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East Brook: How We Choose Our Members

Harvesting Nettles at East Brook

From the Commune Life Instagram account:

Harvesting Nettles at East Brook