Dear Twin Oaks:
Corb here… I’m an ex-member (circa ’79-84), former farmer, EC wizard, cook, meta and papa (Leah was born in Morningstar in ’82). I was a planner when my partner, Linda announced she and Leah were leaving. So I left, but part of me has never been the same. TO has significantly shaped how I run one of the most envied teams of engineers at UVa Medical Center. As I get ready to say goodbye to over 30 years at UVa, I’m determined to return to community.
This Spring, as I was caring for my 89 yr. old Mom who got a new hip, it dawned on me that here I am…
- a community-loving ex-hippie in love with a super-long-term T.O. member who’s vowed to always live in community
- a privileged white male with better than average earning/saving opportunities
- keenly aware that the outside world’s approach to elder care has major defects
…surely there must be others who resemble at least some of the above and are willing to pitch-in to build an intergenerational, elder-friendly community with the goal of becoming an FEC community?
I’m writing to propose that Twin Oaks and “Full Circle Community”, (which Aurora DeMarco, TO member Jeli’s Mom, and I are founding), jointly purchase the Purcell property with the intent to:
– allocate some land for the expansion of T.O.
– allocate the rest of the land for “Full Circle”.
Full Circle can likely afford the property ourselves, but we understand that TO has interest in acquiring at least a buffer beyond the graveyard (perhaps more) and thus we hope to purchase the land in a mutually beneficial manner, with a deeded division.
The ~100 acre tract in question was logged last winter. It is adjacent to T.O., and drew several Twin Oakers’ interest in acquiring it. After a community meeting, the Planners reportedly did a survey of the community that found significant support for acquiring at least part of the property using a combination of donations and TO’s resources.
A group of members (Keenan, McCune, Trout, Paxus, Puma for Planners) and I have been meeting regularly most of 2017 to sort out the many facets of this opportunity. We hope to come to terms on a property boundary before any purchase takes place, and execute a contract to legally divide the tract as agreed, upon purchase.
Map #1 – How the adjacent properties nestle…
The aerial above shows a proposed pond site, the “Emu neighbors” and accurately depicts Tupelo in-line with the northernmost border of Purcell/Full-Circle. The county’s hand-drawn rendering on the next map doesn’t pretend to reflect accurate placement of TO’s existing buildings.
Yellow, brown & blue dashes mark 3 possible borders between T.O and “Full-Circle” Communities.
Green shading = most level, Orange = next-most level, Burgundy = medium sloping
Blue proposed pond = ~3 ac.
Light blue ovals = possible construction sites. Larger = community site, smaller= 1-3 unit home sites.
The second map shows 3 possibilities for future boundaries between Twin Oaks and Full Circle, who is flexible about how much land Twin Oaks may choose to buy.
Here is a Twin Oaks member’s synopsis of the three scenarios for TO acquiring part of the land:
- 20 acres: This would buy us up to the crest of the ridge, and some of the best sunsets you will see at Twin Oaks. You can think of this is a buffer if you like. This could also be used as agricultural land in the near future, as tree removal has already occurred. Perhaps a combination of hay fields or future increased whey spraying from increased Tofu production and/or pasture.
- 40 acres: From there, our land would sweep down the hill to a small, stream that originates on the property and tends to flow year-round. Crossing the stream, the boundary would encompass a group of small, isolated knolls with a lot of forest still standing. With access to small timbers, sunlight, shelter, clean water, low and high ground, and being relatively isolated yet nearby, this area would be ideal for a future primitive living group. If a footpath were extended to this area, it would be approximately the same distance from the Courtyard as Tupelo.
- 60 acres: In this scenario, Twin Oaks would surround Full Circle on 3 sides. Additional open areas with some forest and some building potential on W. Old Mtn. Rd. Twin Oaks would border some larger tracts of neighbors’ land that may become available in the future as part of creating a larger “neighborhood of intentional community”. Possible recreation path from the river to W. Old Mtn. Rd. along the stream that divides us from our neighbors. Hold section for possible sale to future community venture.
There are, of course other possibilities, including “do nothing” and “buy it all”.
So that we are moving forward in a way that continues to be consistent with the desires of the community, and in order to narrow down to realistic possibilities, we are asking for
community comment at this time. Your thoughts will help this process along to a
reasonable conclusion. Clarifying questions are welcome, as this paper has skipped over many specifics that you might be interested in knowing.
A Recent “Help Wanted” sign seen in the area:
Wanted: Fun-loving, hard-working people, experienced with group/community governance, ideally current or former F.E.C. members with at least modest funding, who are interested in pursuing land acquisition adjacent to Twin Oaks with the purpose of building, governing, serving and sharing per a variant on the following: (Here’s one vision… far from cast in stone!)
- Residences – private and shared. Over time, shift to all community-owned.
- Common land, hopefully including:
- light agricultural
- recreational (i.e. walking trails)
- pond to service both of the above
- Income-sharing community, focused on supporting elders in their later stages of life, likely following the co-housing model with elements of a “Generations of Hope”-like mission to serve those in need.
- Hybrid, off-grid energy production systems centered around solar electrolysis of hydrogen +fuel cells.
- Governing: Sociocracy seems one of the best models to guide us. We’ll build a three-tier structure to both participation and governance incorporating private, non-profit and income-sharing:
- Private residences for initial land owners who contribute labor and capital to the above building efforts, and the following operational efforts. All members donate time in service of others.
- A non-profit entity whose mission is:
- Formally: to research, document and teach best practices regarding these community resources:
– Ourselves, including our elderly – supporting aging in place as long as possible.
– Our land, including sustainably providing food, energy, recreation and wildlife.
– Our residents and staff who provide the care for the above.
- Informally: to maintain the standards of care, policies and cultural continuity as we provide for both out patients and the land.
- An income-sharing community of:
- Permanent members and floating residents from other FEC communities who comprise the staff that live and work together, caring for the community and each other.
- Residents receiving care who, if from non-FEC communities, pay a sliding-scale entrance and monthly fees and if from FEC communities, enjoy a waiver of costs commensurate with their home FEC community’s participation in the labor pool.
- Serving and Sharing:
Sharing and caring feels good; growing old, in isolation and pain doesn’t. Living in balance with Nature is essential to survival. A caring and ecologically sensitive community that’s accessible to people of all ages and economic backgrounds sounds like more than a mission statement, it sounds like home.
I hope to build upon the best we’ve learned in community as we prepare to accommodate those that we’ll all become: our elders. If you are interested, please contact Aurora Demarco and Corb Ardrey at: Corb@Virginia.edu.
There are over 23 (non T.O.) people eagerly waiting to read the next installment of the Full Circle update… let’s give them something to talk about!
– Corb Ardrey