Low Ebb for the Communes

by Raven Glomus

The Federation of Egalitarian Communities (otherwise known as the FEC) is a network that tries to keep the communes connected with each other.  We have a once a month call where the delegates from various communes talk with each other.  Last month, on the call, someone joked that the FEC currently was five folks, the same five folks (representing four communities) that had been on the call for several months.  (Fortunately, this month, we had six folks on the call, including someone from a west coast community that hadn’t been on the call in several months.)

We generally have an assembly for the FEC every year (although, due to the pandemic, it may not happen this year).  I was looking at the essay I wrote for the assembly that was held in December, 2018 ( published in January, 2019 ).  I am struck by the number of attending communities that are now no longer with the FEC.  Part of it was the demise of the three urban communes that were part of the FEC.  But while the urban communes spectacularly fell apart, it feels like there are many rural communes that are just fading away.  

I think that Oran Mor, where the assembly was held, is now down to one member and her family.  Sadder to me is that Sandhill, which had been an income sharing community since 1974 and was one of the founding members of the FEC, is also down to two families and my understanding is that they are no longer income sharing.  Ionia, in Alaska, is still around, but they no longer seem interested in the FEC.  There are a few other rural communes that are still ongoing but, since they are in sparse to no contact with the FEC, it’s hard to tell what condition they are in.

The pandemic, of course, figures into this, but so does the regular boom and bust cycle of commune building.  It seems like 2018 was the end of a boom cycle and we seem to be in a bust cycle now–with the pandemic on top of that.  Twin Oaks, the biggest and longest running of the secular communes, is at their lowest membership in many years and, with the pandemic, they aren’t able to bring in a lot of new members.

Still, the term “low ebb” comes from a discussion about the tides, and describes the point where things are farthest out.  What happens next is that the tide begins coming back in.  Similarly, I have chosen to use low ebb in the title just because I think things will begin changing soon.  

In spite of how it feels, the pandemic won’t last forever.  The 2018 Assembly was not a happy occasion.  Things were very difficult at both East Wind and Acorn Community.  A year later, both East Wind and Acorn were on the upswing, while it was Twin Oaks that was having difficulties–and just before the pandemic hit, they started getting some new folks in.  Here at Glomus Commune (formerly East Brook) we are having a very good year this year in spite of the pandemic.  We have four income sharing members (the FEC now requires a community to have five in order to be a full member community) and I think that we might well have six income sharing members by the end of the year.

Finally, I think that in the long run, the pandemic may well benefit the communes.  This seems true economically: Acorn’s seed business is booming and I also think that some of Twin Oaks and East Wind’s businesses have actually done better because of panic buying.  More importantly, the FIC (Foundation for Intentional Community–the larger communities organization) reported a “sharp uptick” in searches for communities following the onset of the pandemic.  People have been realizing the benefits of communal living and I would not be surprised if membership in the communes grows as the pandemic ebbs, and I also think people who have been thinking of starting a commune or community may well decide to just do it once they can.

I would like us to find a way of moving beyond the boom and bust scenario and figure out how to stabilize the communes, but for now, I think that it’s important to build and maintain what we have and look hopefully at the future.

Low Ebb for the Communes

Oran Mor Dawning

by Desiree

Oran Mor Community is currently shaking off the ashes of a previous transitional phase.  Oran Mor is now sprouting with signs of potential renewal and simultaneously preparing for the Autumn season fast upon us.  We have collectively learned lessons of patience and the wisdom of allowing and perceiving the solutions that arise out of every situation.  In our continued resilience we have adopted the motto of doing what we can, where we are at, with what we have. We stand together in appreciation for the perspective birthed out of much unexpected contrast.

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Inanna Acorn helping us with cob.

What We Are Doing

Native Missouri Trees

We have ordered 250 native Missouri trees, just a few for example – Hickory, Persimmons, Black Gum and Witch Hazel.  Ordered from the Missouri Department of Conservation, they are due to arrive in February. Excitement is mounting as we contemplate positively adding to the health of the forest that so abundantly provides for us. As planting time draws nearer, we will be planning and announcing a tree planting party and potluck to share and rejoice with our tribe!

Canning

To date, we have canned a total of 18 Gallons of tomatoes.  Last year 25 gallons of tomatoes were canned, 100 jars. We are confidently progressing as we learn efficiency by learning the ins and outs of effective canning techniques.

Gardening

We have planted greens and root crops for our fall harvest.  To name a few: Radish, Turnips, Beets, Swiss Chard, Kale, Chinese Cabbage, etc. .  Members have daily diligently given the garden loving care and attention. Innovative ways have been discovered to keep the garden watered in the face of lack of rain and other long standing water challenges.

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Some of our members built this smoke/hangout ledge in the woods.

In Progress

Cob: Clay & Straw

We have successfully procured a significant load of  straw and promising resources for clay. We have also begun digging sand from Little Creek and bringing it up. Winterizing of existing domiciles on the land is a priority.

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Cobbing the ceiling cracks of the Ringing Cedar

Recycling & Land Cleansing

Oran Mor has been long plagued with the neglect of previous unconscious residences, disrespect of Makha Ina (Mother Earth).  We have been reveling in the momentum that has continuously been building in our opportunities to remove long buried, rusted, metals, aluminum and other non biodegradable pollutants from the earth.  Still to be removed are numerous tires, vats of used cooking oil and abandoned metal/plastic fencing material. If anyone has connections and resources that will aid in these endeavors, we greatly appreciate your assistance.

Ceremonies and Workshops

Our last Sweat Lodge & Cacao Ceremony was a beautiful success. This month we are holding it on the grounds of Oran Mor itself. We have dubbed it  “The Great Song Cacao & Sweat Lodge Ceremony” after the Celtic meaning of our name “Oran Mor”. The ceremony is to be held on September 20th, at 8:30 AM.  Come out to share a beautiful heart space of healing and awakening with us! For more information, see our facebook event page

https://www.facebook.com/events/376300033030436/

More amazing events will be happening in the near future!

Support Us

We operate an apothecary on the farm selling bulk herbs, smoking blends, tinctures, teas, infused oils, and balms all sourced from this land and made by hand by the Oran Mor tribe. Check it out here – rootsapothecary.etsy.com

We also make kombucha and naturally fermented sodas that we sell by request.

Donations are much appreciated and can be sent via PayPal to greenearthalive@gmail.com

Oran Mor Dawning

Oran Mor Ripple

by Desiree

Thank you so much to everyone who is welcoming the news about Oran Mor and all of the amazing support that you give us!!
Who We Are
We are a small Ozark tribe living in close relation with each other and with the land we inhabit. Dedicated to a primitive and simple lifestyle, we have a daily practice of conscious intentional responsibility to ourselves and the ripples we create. We are an egalitarian tribal village building an entirely new paradigm of conscious co-creation.
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Monarda Fistulosa / Wild Bergamot
A New Day
Oran Mor Community recently went through a dark phase and to some it felt like the tower had fallen and everything was lost. Oran Mor went back to the womb space of deep introspection in that darkness to prepare for a great renewal – the birth of a phoenix rising from the ashes welcoming a new dawn! Here we are – bolder, stronger, and more grounded than ever before. All of the things that have happened here over the years have brought wisdom, perspective, and dedication to a higher purpose. We are grateful for every single moment of it, even the hardships, but we are most grateful for the drive to continue this vision and dream together.
What We Are Doing
A Chicken Pen
Our lovely hens have spent years happily free ranging to their hearts content. It was great not having to feed them much for most of the year, but they terrorize our outdoor kitchen and hide their eggs all over the land…. so we made them a chicken pen! In one beautiful morning, three of us came together and diligently put up a fairly large pen, and we already got some delicious eggs the next morning! Now we just need to grow a field of amaranth to help feed these ladies.
Cleaning and Cleansing
Our community was founded in 2003, and from the very beginning the space came with baggage. A burnt down house and not so useful “resources” just about everywhere you looked. This year, we are finally putting the finishing touches on getting it all moved and cleaned up so the space can fully breathe into the divine purpose of what Oran Mor was always meant to be! After being here five years myself, I feel so much clearer and calmer now than I ever have here. Our outer world reflects our inner world and vice versa so we are devoted to deep clearing. In doing that, the demons come out and we have to face them to become higher versions of ourselves!
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Kikinda Gourd
In Progress
Cleaning the MOLD
The Catbox is our main common house where all our members spend time relaxing, doing yoga, connecting, sharing, playing games, eating, and using certain technologies (like wifi to stay connected with the outside world). We have reoccurring mold problems in this building that we have diligently been remedying. We cleaned the walls, ceiling, got rid of moldy furniture, cleaned all the nooks and crannies. The concrete floor still needs to be sealed and the walls need to be repainted. Our future holds a strawbale / cordwood community building on another foundation so we can transform the Catbox into something else entirely… to be continued…
Ringing Cedar, the tiny house
Our greatest accomplishment over this past year (other than our awesome gardens) was erected at the beginning of 2019. The Ringing Cedar is a 12×16 foot tiny house made of roundwood timbers, reclaimed lumber, cedar siding, and the north wall is a tire earth berm to help retain heat. We built the house for under $500, but it’s not finished yet! We still need to insulate the ceiling, the walls, and lay a floor… and maybe a rocket mass heater!? We will be making a cobblestone floor from river rocks on top of the current gravel. The ceiling will probably be stuffed with wool and the walls we plan to cob. So that’s a big project to get accomplished before winter sets in and ya’ll will definitely be hearing about some work parties once we get a load of clay delivered!
Ceremonies and Workshops
We will begin hosting ceremonies and workshops regularly on the land. Our August ceremony will be held at the Goolsby Farm, one of our extended tribe. We are hosting a Cacao and Sweat Lodge Ceremony on August 17 starting at 9am. Come out to share a beautiful heart space of healing and awakening with us! For more information, see our facebook event page
More amazing events will be happening in the near future!
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Our first Pecans!
Support Us
We operate an apothecary on the farm selling bulk herbs, smoking blends, tinctures, teas, infused oils, and balms all sourced from this land and made by hand by the Oran Mor tribe. Check it out here – rootsapothecary.etsy.com
We also make kombucha and naturally fermented sodas that we sell by request.

Donations are much appreciated and can be sent via PayPal to greenearthalive@gmail.com

 

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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
  • Cotyledon 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! 

Oran Mor Ripple

A Bit about Oran Mór

by Raven Cotyledon

Oran Mór means ‘Great Song’.  It comes from the Celtic creation myth of the melody that sang the world into existence and continues to co-create it.

Oran Mór community was founded in 2003 by two couples from East Wind who wanted to live a more sustainable life.  Both couples are gone, but the community continues.

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The Catbox, where the kitchen is

I visited Oran Mór in December when the Federation of Egalitarian Communities held their assembly there.  It seemed a sweet place.

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Ish and Desiree

.

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Carlos

Current residents include Desiree, Carlos, Opa, Chris, and April, as well as goats, ducks, chicken, geese, guinea fowl, cats, and dogs, and a deer who has adopted them.  Ish lives nearby and visits frequently.

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Opa

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Chris and April

Oran Mór community is still committed to living harmoniously with the land and each other.   It’s very apparent if you spend any time there. I’m glad that I got to spend time with them.

____________________________________________________________________________

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

Communards

  • Tobin Moore
  • Kai Koru
  • Jenn Morgan
  • Jonathan Thaler
  • Nance & Jack Williford
  • Julia Evans
  • William Croft
  • Aaron Michels
  • Cathy Loyd
  • Laurel Baez
  • Magda schonfeld
  • Michael Hobson
  • Sasha Daucus
  • William Kadish

Thanks!

 

 

A Bit about Oran Mór

Call for Workshops: Twin Oaks Communities Conference

May is the month when the organizers for the Twin Oaks Communities Conference ask people to think about Labor Day weekend.  Specifically, we ask people what types of workshops they might be interested in offering at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC).  These come in two broad types.

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Fixed Time Workshops:  This is the collection of 16 (or sometimes 20) workshops which are selected in advance and are all relating to intentional communities.  We are exploring different themes and it is likely we will choose a couple of them.  If you are interested in presenting on an intentional community related topic we would encourage you to submit this workshop proposal form.  The deadline for proposals is May 31st.  These workshops happen Saturday, Sept 1st and Sunday morning. Workshop presenters who are selected for these fixed time slots will get their registration fee waived.  And if you are coming from NYC metro area (or south of there) you might be able to come on our totally groovy bus.

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Open Space Technology Workshop:  There are way too many clever and interesting people at the TOCC to not provide a forum for them to demonstrate or propose their own workshop even if it has little or nothing to do with community.  The problem (from an organizers perspective) is which ones do you choose?  Fortunately, this problem has been well worked by others and there is a democratic, self selecting mechanism called Open Space Technology.  These workshops are giving Sunday (Sept 2) midday into the afternoon and typically we do between 10 and 20 workshops ranging in size from 25 participants (like at a urban squatting or polyamory workshop) to just a couple of excited participants (bird watching or Python blockchain programming).

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Even if you don’t want to offer any workshop there are three types of people who might want to come to this annual event, which often has over 150 participants and 40 plus communities represented:

  1. You want to find an intentional community to move into
  2. You are starting a community with friends
  3. You live in a community and are looking for new members

If any of these three things is true for you, then you can register for this event here.  If you want to see who is already coming and who is interested go to the Facebook event (35 attending and 215 interested so far (May 1), and we have just started our outreach).

Call for Workshops: Twin Oaks Communities Conference

A Cornucopia of Communes

Pictures of most of the communities featured in Commune Life over the last year.  (All communes are in US states unless otherwise noted.)

Acorn, Mineral, VA:

acorn-family-portrait

Baltimore Free Farm, Baltimore, MD:

https://i1.wp.com/www.baltimorefreefarm.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Untitled-1-copy.jpg

Cambia, Louisa, VA:

Cambia 4

Compersia, Washington, DC:

First1

East Wind, Tecumseh, MO:

ews2

las Indias, Madrid, Spain:

LIWint5

Living Energy Farm, Louisa, VA:

LEFEH1

Oran MórSquires, MO:

Summer OM5a

Quercus (disbanded), Richmond, VA:

Porch music jam on our snazy palette-finished porch

Rainforest Lab, Forks, WA:

rfl

Sandhill Farm, Rutledge, MO:

Sandhill 1

Sycamore Farm, Arcadia, VA:

s-farm4

The Common Unity Project (TCUP),  Gitxsan Territory, Hazelton, BC (Canada):

tcup8

Twin Oaks, Louisa, VA:

ZK

 

 

 

A Cornucopia of Communes

2017 FEC Assembly

From the East Wind Community blog, March 24, 2017

The 67th annual (previously biannual) Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) assembly was hosted by East Wind this year. In 1977, the very first FEC Assembly was held on East Wind’s land and forty years later both institutions stand as a testament to the durability of income-sharing and communal living. In mid March FEC delegates and people interested to visit East Wind traveled from Twin Oaks, Acorn, Sandhill, The Midden, and Sapling communities to review the state of the communes and plan for the upcoming year. Communities that wish to become full members of the FEC (known as ‘Communities in Dialogue’) that were in attendance included Stillwater Sanctuary/Possibility Alliance (La Plata, MO), Oran Mor (Wasola, MO), The Mothership (Portland, OR), Rainforest Lab (Forks, WA), Cambia (Louisa County, VA), Le Manoir (Quebec, Canada), and Ionia (Kasilof, Alaska). The Assembly consisted of five days of meetings, land tours, and social gatherings in the evenings. A number of topics were discussed, ranging from financial goals and better ways to support Communities in Dialogue to mediation workshops and how best to communicate the benefits of income-sharing.

FEC 2017A
Delegates engaging in a meeting on the Music Room lawn

The Assembly agenda flowed smoothly and a lot of ground was covered. The budget required a lot less time to finalize than last year and everyone was grateful for it. A new addition to the budget is ‘mini-grants’ which is a program that allows any member of a FEC community or Community in Dialogue to make a requests for small amounts of money ($50-$300) to make travel, education, and outreach opportunities become reality. The existing budget for full member scholarships was also approved and Joston of East Wind is receiving the first $500 grant for the budget year for an intensive permaculture training he will be attending next month right here in the Missouri Ozarks.

The FEC’s annual budget is paid for by member dues equal to 1% of net income for each full member community. In addition to access to the FEC funds for promoting the ideals income-sharing community, inclusion in the FEC also allows communities to become members of PEACH which is the catastrophic health insurance fund for East Wind and its sister communities.

FEC 2017B
Petey leading a discussion on outreach

The Assembly isn’t all meetings, of course. A tour of Oran Mor and a land walk at East Wind were some highlights of this year’s Assembly. Oran Mor is a Community in Dialogue that is about forty minutes from East Wind. They value living a low consumption life style and avoiding the use of fossil fuels. Last year, when East Wind ended its goat program the remaining goats were gifted to Oran Mor and they are healthy and happy. This year, in return, Oran Mor gifted East Wind with some of their ducks. Thanks Oran Mor!

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Dan of the Possibility Alliance pets a baby goat at Oran Mor

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FEC delegates and visitors walking along Lick Creek at East Wind

This year the FEC accepted Compersia as a full member community. Compersia is an urban commune based outside of Washington DC. Steve, Compersia’s ever energetic and upbeat delegate, is excited to participate in outreach by getting people interested in income-sharing and communal living. He emphasized the fact that people with careers in an urban setting can mutually benefit from income-sharing and that communes don’t have to manifest in the form of ‘back to the land’ rural arrangements such as East Wind and Twin Oaks. Also during the assembly, Davi of The Mothership finalized a purchase of a neighboring house in Portland. They are interested in expanding and having the infrastructure for population growth. Urban and rural communes unite!

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Dez and Carlos leading delegates around Oran Mor’s land

The Assembly was a great time to meet new people and strengthen the bonds between the FEC communities. Everyone can agree that East Wind was a generous host. Thank you to all the East Winders who served up delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners each day and made all our visitors feel welcome! As usual, the quality and abundance of food found in East Wind’s meals amazes everyone who visits. And of course, upon departure copious amounts of nut butters were distributed to be enjoyed by all of our sister communities. All in all, hundreds of pounds of almond, cashew, peanut, and sesame seed butter left East Wind’s warehouse to be consumed by our fellow communards across the continent. East Wind is grateful to be able to share such bounty. The next FEC Assembly will be held in Virginia on Acorn‘s land. Looking forward to it!

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2017 FEC Assembly delegates: East Wind’s delegates, Petey and Sumner (your faithful blog reporter), are in the top right

Post written by Sumner

Photos taken by Rejoice (thanks Rejoice!)

 

 

2017 FEC Assembly

Summer at Oran Mór Community

by Desiree
Summer OM1a
Our new cob oven in the Outdoor kitchen. Several East Winders and some locals came by to help stomp cob and put it together.
Summer OM2a
One of our rocket stoves in action.
Summer OM3a
Kalani likes to help, here he’s watching the fire for us.
Summer OM4a
Our neighbor George came by with his tractor and some friends from the ONE group to pick up these grain bins. We donated them to ONE to store local grains.
Summer OM5a
Well pumping party! Our well operates with a windmill and when the wind isn’t blowing, we use our backup hand pump.
Summer OM 1
Just the beginning of out annual elderberry harvest!
Summer OM 2
Here is one of our veggie gardens growing tomatoes, peppers, zinnia, amaranth, cucumbers, squash, lambs quarter, basil, sweet potatoes, melons, and a peach tree! We always practice companion planting and permaculture methods in our gardens.
Summer at Oran Mór Community

Herbs at the Oran Mór Community (Missouri)

By Desiree

We here at the Oran Mór Community have been busy harvesting herbs from the gardens and the wild for our cooperative community business. We call ourselves Rising Roots Collective and we are a group of herbalists, gardeners, carpenters, fiber artists, musicians, and primitive skills craftsman. The collective is made up of our communards at Oran Mór, as well as other local folks in the area who we work together with. Currently we have been most busy with plentiful plants! These are some of the plants we have been busy harvesting:

OM1

Motherwort

 OM2

 Red clover

 OM3

 Mullein

 OM4

 Comfrey

OM5

Valerian

 OM6

 Lemon balm

 OM7

 Chamomile

 We would love to have an herbal intern for the season to help with drying, harvesting, preparing herbal oils, tinctures, and teas, cultivating, and more! You will learn a lot about edible and medicinal plants of the Ozarks including identification, uses, and preparations. We currently have a room available and camping is amazing this time of year. Interested folks can email us at oranmor@speedymail.org or call 417-250- 9252, also check out our website www.oranmorcommunity.org

Herbs at the Oran Mór Community (Missouri)