East Wind to the Rescue
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 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!
[Edited by Judy Youngquest]
14 responses to “East Wind to the Rescue”
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Pax, is there a population limit to an income sharing community? Does everyone have to personally know everyone else in the community for it to work out? Twin Oaks seems to be the largest secular income sharing community around, at 100 people. No where else even comes close. The tendency seems to be to form a new community when additional people come, rather than grow the existing community bigger.
Would a community of 500 or 1000 or more people be more in the realm of fiction, or would it be possible?
Dearest North Star:
So i am not aware of a secular income sharing community which is larger than us (East Wind ad 70 members is the closest). The spiritual communities (even income shring ones) regularly get larger than us. There are dozens of them in North Dakota and south central Canada.
I dont think there is an actual limit. And income sharing is a terrify idea to most US Americans. Personally i think this is because they have not tried it and cant imagine trusting other people this much. But i am perhaps not as charitable as i should be.
Certainly it feels safer in a smaller community like Acorn to be income sharing, especially when you have a consensus decision model and feel like you can blog decisions.
But the short answer is “no” there is no theoretical limit to the size of these communities. But the large ones do only appear in fiction stories.
Paxus at Twin Oaks
9 Piper Passing 2013
Dancing Rabbit in Missouri (which is *not* an income sharing community) wants to be between 500 and 1000 people. (Those are the actual numbers that they quote.) However, they are only around 70 to 80 people now.
When I lived at East Wind, which was in the 70’s, the goal was to be 750 plus or minus 10% (exact quote per the bylaws). As far as I know, this goal has not been changed. I don’t believe that East Wind has ever been larger than about 70.
My understanding is the current construction project sequence is 1) replacement for RB, 2) replacement for the burned down shower house 3) a new residence. That is likely a few years off.
“…huge tracts of beautiful land…” I’m not chiding or being pedantic, OK?
I’m so happy to hear that some East Winders came! If not for other commitments, I would be there now.
Are you planning on a blog post focused more on Sapling/Tranquility Base at any time in the near future? 🙂
I’ll echo that. Please let us know more about Sapling/TB when you know.