(Editor’s note: This is a repost from Paxus’s blog. Check it out http://funologist.org/ )
Part of what is exciting about living in the central Virginia communities these days is the network is actually growing. After almost two decades of there being only two income sharing communities in the region (Twin Oaks and Acorn), three years back Living Energy Farm popped up nearby. Last week Acorn moved members into Sapling (aka Tranquility Base) which is the house we bought in late August. It is starting out as a simple residence for Acorn, but we have already agreed that it will ultimately become a new income sharing community.
Part of what is so exciting about this is that often times communards don’t find the right community to start with. Sometimes this is resolved relatively quickly, like with my dear friend Belladonna Took who was rejected by Twin Oaks and is now a happy member of Acorn (she is referred to as Abby in this post http://funologist.org/2013/01/24/pocket-dramas/ about her rejection). Other times it takes one or more memberships at “the wrong community” before the person finds their place. With three, soon to be four affiliated but independent communities all in the same county there are lots of possibilities for synergy including clever membership solutions. [And a more fertile soil for my own Chubby Squirrels dreams.]
Communities have their own personalities. Twin Oaks is what i call a clockwork community, where there is a more regular procedure for things to happen. Hundreds of work shifts are scheduled, meals show up on time and reliably, you better not be late for your tofu shift – because people are depending on you. Acorn is somewhat more chaotic. Things happen when people get inspired to make them happen, very little is scheduled (small dozens of jobs, mostly related to cooking and cleaning, contrasted with hundreds to perhaps a thousand jobs weekly at Twin Oaks).
East Wind is a thousand miles away in the Ozarks of Missouri and i have always thought of it as the “wild wild west of the communities movement” (despite there being important income sharing communities further geographically west). East Wind is physically more rugged, without indoor plumbing in many buildings and more demanding physical work than Twin Oaks (but not Living Energy Farm). East Wind has huge tracks of beautiful land, over 1000 acres that they control and neighboring state parks which are even larger. Their decision making system is a strange anarchist-democratic model which is more flexible and volatile that either Acorns or Twin Oaks.
But what has inspired this post is a cultural difference between East Wind and all her sister communities, in my never humble opinion. East Wind is the community you can depend on if you are in a jam. East Wind will send out a group of members to help out almost any of the FEC communities when they really need it. Got a sorghum harvest beyond your capacity? East Wind will send a van load of people. Need some willing kids to help with a barn raising? East Winders are there. Arsonist burns one of your buildings? East Wind can be relied upon to dispatch a crew, even if it is a thousand miles away.
It is this generosity of spirit and willingness to help that makes me (and the rest of Acorn) especially happy to welcome the 7 East Winders who traveled far to help out with the fire recovery, straw bale work and dozens of other tasks we need help with going into winter and the busy season. Viva East Wind!
~East Winders help tear out the damaged floor in Heartwood at Acorn~