Archive for June, 2009

Villages in the Sky (Acorn version)

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Villages in the Sky, a festival in development, is using Acorn as a testbed for treehouse designs. According to the design blog, “The vision is to create a village of treehouses, in age appropriate loops- one for the adults and one for kids- to be enjoyed and played in by all.”  The Acorn project will work out the  kinks for a larger scale project for the week-long Villages in the Sky festival planned for the end of August 2010.

As described to us, Villages in the Sky seems to have three major goals- to be an “air” festival analogous to Burning Man (fire) and the Rainbow Gathering (earth); to promote wind energy as an alternative to nuclear and carbon fuel; and to move beyond the “leave no trace” ethic of those festivals by having a concrete impact- namely, leaving behind fun, attractive energy-generating wind structures.

Pilgrim, formerly of Twin Oaks and East Wind, has been directing a crew  clearing out debris from some old, fallen down trees and preparing the site in the woods behind Heartwood. Meanwhile, Gpaul, Ginger, Shal, and others are working up designs. We expect a lot of bustle this summer building the treehouses and getting ready for the Natural Building Workshop in October. And then a new seed office for SESE in 2010?

Propaganda, Ho!

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
ken, with flowers

ken, with flowers

In the last year, a strong membership group has coalesced at Acorn in a way it hasn’t been able to boast since its founding. The current membership of fifteen has over a hundred-fifty years of community experience, gathering together former members of Twin OaksEast Wind, the Catholic Worker, Dandelion, and Ganas. Many of us knew each other long before joining Acorn. We are excited by the expanding possibilities of a groovy seed business, our proximity to the increasing critical mass of the central Virginia communities movement, to the beautiful land, to our extended network of friends who live nearby, and to our previously existing strong personal bonds.

For Acorn, this has meant a new sense of stability and progress. New projects are more possible than ever and heighten our sense of energy and accomplishment (and sometimes, the feeling of being over-whelmed)- the Heritage Harvest Festival; building new buildings; expanding into medicinal and culinary herbs with the purchase of another small seed company, Garden Medicinals; working with new growers; incorporating our lovely and steadfast friends at Twin Oaks into our business; creating a fun, new culture on our farm; and deepening ties to Woodfolk House, Diamond Grove, Twin Oaks, and the Urban Evolution project.

Where is it all heading? How long will it last? What problems loom? And what fresh excitements?

Well, for one thing, we now have a blog. So, if you don’t want to come and see first hand, you can read about the Acorn experience here. And, if you do want to witness the what-not of what’s happening- please check out our visiting page.

Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism at Acorn

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
paul in the back field

paul in the back field

This is a quote from the interview Paul did with our friend Joanna for her senior project (a broad study for psychology of several secular intentional communities). It’s one member’s neat summation of “the essence of Acorn” or rather, one essence, since he himself claims a certain anti-essentialist temper:

Please tell a story about something that has happened here that you think illustrates the character of this community.

“Uh, I don’t know. For the past several months, I’ve decided what I want to do every day and then done it. So does everybody else. I don’t know, I’m not much into deciding what community is like in some sort of essential way. I guess the thing that sticks out most for me is that we’re a pretty self-directed group of individuals who then have conversations with each other in order to bring ourselves into alignment. And the best example of that is that everybody’s sort of doing what they think they need to do and then talking to each other about it and it keeps going. Like, the community keeps going. The things that need doing mostly get done. It’s been steadily improving. Progress. The business has been growing. You know, order’s arising out of chaos. Maybe that’s what Acorn is all about. Order arises out of chaos.”

Natural Building Workshop At Acorn

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Acorn will be the work site of a 3-day intensive workshop on straw bale construction the week-end of  October 23rd-25th organized by Twin Oaks.

Twin Oaks Community would like to invite you to attend a three day earth shelter workshop. Come learn about straw bale construction from expert instructors while experiencing our legendary hospitality. Our workshop will be a fun and informative experience you won’t soon forget!

We will present both hands-on experience opportunities and “classroom” style learning while we build and learn together. We will give you the explanations you need to understand not only what you are physically working on, but will also help you grasp the wider perspective on how to build as a whole, with an emphasis on natural building and green design, including passive solar.

Our instructors, Steve Kemble and Mollie Curry, are professional teachers and experts in the field of natural building design and construction. Together. they form a team where your learning style is respected, your questions get answered, and you have a good time learning effective ways of building energy- and material-efficient, beautiful, connected-feeling shelters!

In this workshop. you will come away with a solid introduction to the basics of straw bale building construction, earth plaster application and passive solar design.

Workshop features include:

  • Comprehensive instruction on straw bale construction and earthen plaster application
  • Lessons and hands on instruction from professional teacher with over 3 decades of experience
  • A round table discussion on natural building and communal living
  • A full tour of Twin Oaks Community & Acorn Community
  • Demonstration of solar hot water heating
  • Delicious home cooked meals
  • Sleeping accommodations
  • Steve Kemble has been involved in the straw bale building revival from the beginning. Since 1991 he has produces several videos on straw bale construction and taught numerous workshops.

    Mollie Curry got involved with natural building when she moved to Earthaven EcoVillage in 1996. She has taught natural building workshops since 1998.

    The workshops are being organized and hosted by Twin Oaks Community, 45 minutes east of Charlottesville, Virginia and 7 miles from Acorn.

    Cost: $325 for the full 3-day workshop. Food & lodging provided.

    Register before July 1st and pay only $285!

    Register now through Pay-Pal for just $285.

    If you would like to pay by check or by phone, or if you have any questions, just email us:

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