Acorn is located in Louisa County in the heart of Central Virginia. Before Acorn was founded our land was an old homestead that was owned by relatives of our present day neighbors. Left behind were the remnants of a much loved garden which still provides us with irises, daffodils,day lilies and wild black raspberries. The original barn and farmhouse were renovated and still serve as living spaces for our members today. Our 72 acres of beautiful rolling land borders the South Anna River. The South Anna, a lovely addition to our landscape, provides us with transport from Twin Oaks by way of a scenic canoe ride. The river is also home to a heron rookery and various other types of wild life.
The field that lies parallel to the river is home to various native plants including paw paws and persimmons. We garden about four acres of land for community food crops as well as for seed for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. We have a growing orchard full of raspberries, apples, pears, service berries and blackberries. We have a beautiful herb garden with tea, medicinal and culinary herbs. We also have many flower gardens spread throughout the land. They hold beautiful flowers such as hollyhocks, coneflowers, vincas, and pussy willows. In 2000, we were pleased to certify the land organic.
The original farmhouse, over 100 years old, was completely remodeled in the first year houses several members in addition plenty of community living space: living rooms, clothes washing, and a recently renovated kitchen and bathroom. We had to install a new well, septic system, bathroom fixtures, wiring, wood heating, carpets, paint, gas stove, water heater, washer, dryer, and much more – but the original building remains much as it was.
The barn, another relic of the past, was remodeled early on to provide more usable space for the community (using mostly material from another barn that fell down shortly before we purchased the property). The downstairs contains our camping supplies library, where visitors can borrow tents, sleeping pads, and other miscellaneous camping supplies (some left by previous visitors).
Our first new building, Heartwood, provided much-needed space for expansion. Almost all of the work was done by people in the community: planning, blueprints, foundation, framing, finishing, painting, etc. It serves as a multi-purpose residence and community center with member bedrooms plus a main kitchen and dining area. Heartwood was badly damaged by fire in October 2013, but has since been repaired. For many years, Heartwood held the office for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, but recently the business has expanded into the Ark, our new office building.
The Seed Office was built with timber frame and a living roof (among other eco-groovy building attributes) in order to house Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, our collectively owned seed company. We moved in in the beginning of 2014 and have been filling it with things ever since.
The steel building, a Quonset hut set behind the seed office, was the home of our woodshop and auto bay before it caught fire and its contents were destroyed. Our next big building project will be to replace the steel building. In the meantime it continues to function much as it did before (one benefit of metal buildings – they aren’t as easily destroyed by fire).
The Recollective is a strawbale building that houses Acorn Community’s craft supplies and public instruments. During the winter, the well-insulated strawbale building is sometimes used for housing guests and visitors. During the summer, it is often used for mosquito free and earth cooled gatherings. The strawbale building was created by Bucket, a former Twin Oaker.
The drying barn is where we store our agricultural supplies–including tractors, shovels, hoes, rakes, animal feed, row covers, shade covers, fencing, and more! During the fall, the top of the drying barn is filled with our seasonal crop of garlic and perennial onions, plus seeds, vegetables, fruits, and herbs to dry in the breeze.