Milking cows at East Wind Community in the summer of 2018. This dairy provides all the milk and many of the dairy products for a 70+ person community. You can learn and gain experience in dairy management, dairy processing and other practical skills by checking out East Wind. http://eastwind.org/
To appease the Gods of Insurance, our Gasoline Altar is complete. Though we’re always seeking to be more self-sufficient, East Wind is still reliant on the system. For the foreseeable future, our agricultural and cooperative systems are made possible by our successful business, East Wind Nut Butters. We drive cars and use tractors. Hopefully one day we won’t need to.
Lots of people are drawn to community by the dream of living sustainably and autonomously. East Wind Community does better than most at actually actualizing these ideals. But the state is pervasive, as are fossil fuels, and neither can be escaped entirely. So sometimes you gotta build a gasoline altar to appease the insurance gods…
I was talking with Ryn, who had been staying here at East Brook Community Farm for several months but is also an Associate member of East Wind. East Wind is one of a few communes in the FEC that has an Associate status. I know that Acorn used to have Associates (and may still have them) and they are considering creating this status at East Brook.
Ryn sent me a copy of the East Wind policy on associate members. East Wind has had Associates for a long time, perhaps dating back to the 1980s. Basically an Associate member is required have a room at East Wind for at least 60 days during any given year and to be away from the community for at least 60 days during a year. An associate member is therefore a part time member in a community. Being part time at one of the communes allows you to spend significant time at other communities.
Associate members at East Wind can own their own cars and vehicles and they can hold jobs outside the community, something that full members at East Wind can’t do.
Being an Associate member gives you a lot of freedom to go back and forth between various communities and therefore Ryn believes that it creates the “social glue” that can hold the communes together. Associate membership allows you to hang out for decent periods of time with people from different communes and get and spread the news about what is happening at various other communities.
Ryn pointed out that when there was at least one member that went back and forth between East Wind and Acorn, the two communities grew closer together, and when that communard settled into one of the communities and dropped membership in the other, there seemed to be more tension between the communities.
I am always a believer in creating more options for people. Living part time in several different communities is an important alternative that some of the communes offer. It’s not for everyone (I wouldn’t want to live part time in several places) but I think that it’s an important and useful option that benefits not only the people who take advantage of it, but the income-sharing communities at large.
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Boone making mozzarella and ricotta in the summer of 2018 at East Wind Community. Do you want to learn how to make cheese? You can learn all about dairy processing and other practical skills by checking out East Wind. http://eastwind.org/