Unsurprising Community Anarchists
Often visiting students, media and family of members are surprised to find so many anarchist-identified people living in these communes. This is perhaps because of the common misperception that anarchists are all about chaos. Turns out this is fake news. Anarchists dislike government, especially non-representative governments. Which means they are especially fond of dual power.
Dual power is where you replace government functions by doing them yourself and then push the long arms of the state out of your life. Twin Oaks is pretty good at dual power; we build and repair our own buildings, educate our own kids, run our own sewage treatment plant, fix our own cars, bikes and tractors, grow much of our own food, cook our own meals, generate a (tiny fraction) of our own electrical power and run our own 7 businesses.
And anarchists have had a serious influence on the development of Twin Oaks’s own bureaucracies. This is especially true for the Twin Oaks Process Team. The Process Team has an important mission: to facilitate, mediate and negotiate communication between members of the community. If you have a problem with another member, it is the Process Team which you would go to first to seek mediators, advocates, and internal diplomats.
But the Oaker anarchists crippled the Process Team when it was being developed. To make sure this new group did not have too much power it was limited to intervening only when invited. This means if i am in an animated on-going argument with another communard, named Fulano, the Process Team can only mediate for us if we both agree to it. This means if i am being a total jerk and i don’t want to have to defend my terrible treatment of Fulano, i just decline the Process Teams request to mediate. It is worth pointing out, no other income sharing commune in the US permits disagreements to fester in this way.
In sharp contrast, when Twin Oaks created its Mental Health Team (MHT), we had just had a tragic suicide which many felt the community could have done much more to prevent. So instead of looking to limit this bureaucracy’s power, we wanted to make sure it could do whatever it needed to do its job and protect the community and its individual members. Thus, if you are having a manic episode, MHT can take you off the labor system until you’re better, and you have no labor obligation. MHT can give you money for travel and organize external care for you if needed. MHT (in conjunction with the planners) can force someone to leave the community if that is deemed necessary, to take care of someone they are in conflict with.
We don’t know all the answers to how to live together well. But when we observe that the events which sparked the creation of our bureaucracies we can see where we can create dual power successfully, and where we need to do more work.
NY Times article on Ira
Feb. 1, 2023
They Call Her the Godmother of Southern Seeds for a Reason
For a quarter of a century, Ira Wallace has nurtured seeds and gardeners: ‘When you say her name in our community, all this love comes up.’ Ira Wallace, 74, has played a key role at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for about 25 years, and is referred to by those she has mentored as a godmother.
By Margaret Roach Feb. 1, 2023 6 MIN READ
It was the allure of peanut seed that drew a big-dreaming beginning gardener to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog decades ago. I was madly imagining a zone-defying adventure with the tropical legume in my decidedly Northern plot.
What I found at Southern Exposure amounted to a lot more than mere peanuts, and way beyond the packets of collard seed and okra that I added to my order from their list of Southern specialties.
I began an education there — and at Seed Savers Exchange, and a few other like-minded catalogs that are no longer around — centered on the lesson that seeds are no mere commercial product, but the embodiment of our living history.
In those catalogs, I received encouragement, and information, to learn to grow each crop organically and save its seed, rekindling a traditional skill that empowers us to feed ourselves season after season, while helping to keep seed strains going.
For some 40 years, Southern Exposure has stewarded an ever-evolving list of regionally and culturally important seeds, now numbering around 800 varieties. And for about a quarter of a century, Ira Wallace, 74, has played a key role at the company, which has been owned since 1999 by the place she has long called home.
Peanut seed has been in the Southern Exposure catalog almost since the beginning, about 40 years ago. The Fastigiata Pin Striped variety has large, wavy pods, with nuts that have orange skins marked with purple when they’re dried.
The farm-based Acorn Community is a secular, egalitarian intentional community on 72 acres in Mineral, Va., that supports “radical sharing” and “encourages personal responsibility,” according to its website. Such ethics, and the energy forged by its communal spirit, have been assets in the face of the seed industry’s modern era of dramatic consolidation and its focus on the pursuit of patented varieties.
Four multinational giants that are also in the pesticide business now own much of the precious genetics of our agricultural crops; seed has become intellectual property.
But not here. Southern Exposure offers heirloom and open-pollinated seed, each variety with a story to tell — a link to those who grew it before, and the places it originated.
One that Ms. Wallace looks forward to each year is roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), a big, beautiful plant that produces “the zing in Red Zinger tea,” she said. It used to be grown in Florida, where she was raised. It’s sometimes referred to as sorrel or Jamaica sorrel; in the 1890s, it was called Florida cranberry.
Ms. Wallace screens seeds of her favorite Whippoorwill cowpea, an heirloom that traveled with enslaved Africans to the Americas and was eventually grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
‘Collaborators, Not Competitors’
Southern Exposure mails out about 80,000 catalogs each year. In 2022, it filled 52,000 orders, most to customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, with a segment of shoppers elsewhere wanting a taste of the region — as those long-ago peanuts promised me. Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato, with giant fruits exceeding two pounds and sometimes reaching four, is one such headliner.
As if her role there and as the elder at Acorn were not enough, Ms. Wallace applies her seemingly inexhaustible energy to other forms of nurturing as well, and to teaching. Prepandemic, she was a Girl Scout leader and “the math lady” at the local library, using math games to engage children with numbers.
She has also mentored countless grown-ups who were curious about seed farming, helping to connect them with other growers who could share information and equipment, improving their chances of success.
She even mentors other seed companies.
Okra, a mallow family member, has been part of the Southern Exposure assortment from the start. The current catalog lists 20 varieties, including Puerto Rico Everblush — early yielding, bountiful and delicious.
Credit…Chris Smith/Utopian Seed Project
“I remember a really early conversation, where Ira told me small seed companies needed to be collaborators, not competitors,” said Chris Smith, the executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a North Carolina-based crop-trialing nonprofit. He expressed gratitude for Ms. Wallace’s role in helping to jump-start the Heirloom Collards Project, which he is part of, and her early support of another small Southeastern specialist catalog, Sow True Seed, where he worked.
The role she has assumed has been described by many — including Ms. Wallace herself — as that of a godmother.
“When you say her name in our community, all this love comes up — a standing ovation every time, from all the young’uns and friends who sit at her feet, whom she has blessed,” said Bonnetta Adeeb, of Ujamaa Seeds. Ms. Wallace has advised Ujamaa, a collective of Black and Indigenous growers focusing on culturally relevant seed, which just introduced its second online catalog.
Witnessing this traction is joyful for Ms. Wallace, and even a little surprising, in the best way — particularly set against the backdrop of the last century’s sharp decline in Black-owned American farms, to fewer than 1 percent today.
“The seed world is a particularly white aspect of the sustainable agriculture movement,” she said. “Where Black people were coming in at all to farming was in CSAs and that aspect of the food system — not to grow seed.”
She is delighted to support Ujamaa’s young and emerging seed farmers, alongside retired educators and those in the BIPOC community who want to farm, she said: “This is definitely something I didn’t think I was going to see.”
Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato, an heirloom with giant fruits that can sometimes reach four pounds, is a longtime headliner in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.
Southern Peas, Greasy Beans and More
There are flowers and herbs in the Southern Exposure catalog, too, but it’s the traditional Southeastern vegetables whose stories pull me back every year.
This is where I met greasy beans and certain other pole beans, including Selma Zesta, whose pods remain tender even after the beans have swelled inside, providing green and protein in each mouthful.
Ms. Wallace has a special affection for the Whippoorwill pea, a Southern pea or cowpea — not the green shelling or English pea (Pisum sativum), but Vigna unguiculata, the same species as asparagus beans. Whippoorwill traveled with enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, where it was eventually grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Move over, kale: Collards are just as versatile. The Heirloom Collard Project, whose members include Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure, Ujamaa and the Utopian Seed Project, hopes to convince us all to grow some.
Credit..Chris Smith/Utopian Seed Project
Cowpeas, which grow on vines, can be shelled and eaten green or used as dry beans.
“I can’t do without them,” she said. “They remind me of my grandmother, who raised me, who always grew them, and they’re inexpensive protein. The vines build the soil, and you can feed them to your critters if you have animals on your farm. What’s not to like?”
A dozen collard varieties sport leaves ranging from green and blue-green to the yellow-green ones of Yellow Cabbage Collards, a North Carolina heirloom whose leaves form a loose head. Maybe the most striking is a variegated Florida heirloom; half of its leaves display white markings in winter.
And move over, kale: Collards are just as versatile, whether they are harvested young or fully grown, to steam or sauté; or serving as the wrapper for dolmas; or even dehydrated and crispy. The Heirloom Collard Project, whose members include Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure, Ujamaa and the Utopian Seed Project, hopes to convince us to make room for a row.
The South’s population has evolved to include new immigrant communities, and the Southern Exposure list has changed accordingly. Alongside longtime regional family heirloom peppers is Pimiento Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean sweet pepper with two-inch, pumpkin-shaped fruits.
Go Ahead, Try Some Okra
In the way that the South’s population has evolved, so has the Southern Exposure seed list. Alongside Doe Hill golden sweet bell pepper, a pre-1900 Virginia family heirloom, is Pimiento Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean sweet pepper with two-inch, pumpkin-shaped fruits. An Acorn Community member whose mother is from Latin America volunteered with Ecuadorean seed-saver groups, forging the connection.
“We realized that, just like the European immigrants spread their versions of different vegetables around, that the current immigrants have communities and varieties,” Ms. Wallace said. “We’re trying to make that a part of the web of American heirlooms we offer.”
Many gardeners, particularly Northern ones, may not have grown a single okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), a mallow family member. It has been in Southern Exposure’s assortment from the start, as if preparing the ground for Mr. Smith, whose book, “The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration,” became a 2020 James Beard Foundation Award winner.
The current catalog lists 20 okras, including the winner of Mr. Smith’s 2018 trial of 76 varieties, Puerto Rico Everblush — early yielding, bountiful and delicious.
“A lot are family heirlooms, like the Shows okra, which we sold out of the first year of the pandemic and just got back in,” Ms. Wallace said.
But some are “just fun,” she added, like Okinawa Pink, from Japan: “It’s such a bright pink color that kids come to it like bees to honey.”
One of Ms. Wallace’s must-have crops is the yellow potato onion, a perennial onion that Southern Exposure reintroduced in 1982, from a strain dating to before 1790.
Peanuts in Colors, Onions in Aggregate
The peanuts that first pulled me in have been there alongside okra since the start, or thereabouts — and not just familiar-looking reddish-brown ones, but those with variegated, striped and black nuts.
Also marking decades on the list are yellow potato onions (Allium cepa var. aggregatum), a favorite of Ms. Wallace’s that is also popular with customers, and is shipped out each fall as bulbs. Southern Exposure reintroduced that perennial onion in 1982, from a strain dating to before 1790. “That’s something that, every year, we never have enough of,” she said.
It’s one of her must-have crops — like a larger shallot, but with more true onion flavor. Adaptable to all of the United States, except for Florida and South Texas, its bulbs are exceptional keepers, lasting a year or longer under good storage conditions.
The last word of its Latin name, aggregatum, is a tipoff to the multiple onions that grow in aggregate — a group of individuals nested together. And one of its common names is mother onion.
Somehow it all seems to fit that this particular godmother to so many seeds, and seed people, would have a rapport with a mother plant that thrives, and produces, in community.
Margaret Roach is the creator of the website and podcast A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.
Running Program QuinkFair 2022
(not all confirmed*, times in flux)
* All of these presenters have indicated that they want to do a workshop. Some have specified these things, others are just known for these things and we are guessing.
Friday Sept 23, 2022
- 10am – Gates officially open / Orientation
- 12pm – Lunch
- 1pm to 5pm – Afternoon Workshops
- 5pm – Welcome and opening ceremony
- 6pm – Dinner
- 8pm – Talent Show – Jade as MC
- After the Talent Show – Dancing with DJ Arrow Chrome
- * * Temple of Oracles open into the wee hours of the morning
Afternoon Workshops 1pm – 5pm
- Call me by my name – new name workshop
- Storytelling Workshop by Paxus
- Starting a Black-led commune in Louisa by Moonseed Community
- Mushroom walk and discussion by Jules TO
- Ecstatic Dance
- Jamaica DC Micro Grid by Alexis LEF
- Temple of Oracles – open all afternoon
- Quink books dinner
- Intro to Fire Spinning by Wolf
Saturday Sept 24, 2022
- Morning- yoga with Sarah Haley
- 8am Breakfast
- 10 am Meet the Communities
- 12pm- Lunch
- Temple of Oracles open all afternoon
- 6pm- Dinner
- 8pm – Effigy Burn fire spinners and dancing with Rio as MC
- After Burn – Conscious Cuddle Party hosted by Wolf
- ** Temple of Oracles open into the wee hours of the morning
Workshops start at 1pm
- 1:30pm Learn to do Tarot readings for yourself – at the Temple of Oracles
- 3pm Liberation Arts and Capoeira by Macaco at Acoustic Village
- Community Singing: the Craft of Co-Enchantment by Craig & Cleo Green
- Plant Medicine by guest guide
- Quink Stories
- Future-proof Your Home with Corb
- Consent is Sexy – Playshop with Wolf and Kaviar
- Bondage to break thru sexual trauma by Gereldine
- Self Love Language by Joy Smith
- How metamaterials might save the world by Spiderman
- Authentic Relating games by Mike Jaboo
- Primitive WoodWorking by Kyle
- Can Anarchists work on Elections? by Carlos
Sunday Sept 25, 2022
- Morning Yoga with Coach Jade
- 8am – Breakfast
- 9am to 12pm – Sunday Morning Workshops
- 12pm- Lunch
- 1pm QuinkFair closing celebration, ritual and farewell
- 2pm – 5pm Open Space Workshops and other possible events
- 6pm- Dinner
- Temple Burn
Morning Workshops – 9am to 12pm
- Alleged Urban Squatting Workshop
- Honest Seduction Workshop by Angie
- Can Festivals Save the World – intro to funology
- Politics, oppression, and creative forms of liberation – Gil & Ella Cambia
- Quink Book Trade
- Kink Sharing Circle – Facilitated by Erin
- Ask a Dominatrix by Tarryn Torn
- Love Temple – Sacred Sensuality Collective Temple with Tantric Breathwork
- Sharing Quink Stories
Afternoon – Open Space Technology by you (you can present your own workshop)
Monday Sept 26, 2022
- Morning – Tours of local communities
- 12pm – Lunch
- 2pm- General attendees depart, some volunteers stay to help clean up
If this is compelling to you there is still time to buy tickets, until Thursday morning. We also have
discount and scholarship tickets available, call 541-505-0803 for more information.
Workshops at the Communities Conference
Approved Workshops for Twin Oaks Communities Conference September 2-5, 2022
These are the approved workshops for this year’s Communities Conference, with links to the community or organizational affiliation of the presenter under their name.
- Aging in Community – Raines Cohen
- Alleged Urban Squatting Workshop – Peaches
- An FEC Community in Costa Rica? – Keenan Dakota & Lyndya Geiger Ross
- Apocalyptic Wakanda & Zion Building a New World – Aleta Toure
- Authentic Relating in Community – Mike Jadoo
- Biophilic EcoVillage Design & Building – Fred Oesch
- Can You Power Your Community Entirely With Renewable Energy? Alexis LEF
- Collaborative Community Design – Moonraven
- Community Business: Making Money Together! – Xander Astra
- Community Legal Workshop – Jenny Hoffpauir
- Community Singing: the Craft of Co-Enchantment – Craig & Cleo Green
- Funding ICs thru Airbnb Rentals & Retreats – David Vanderveer & Victoria Bryant
- I Didn’t Mean It That Way: Identity-Related Harm in Cmty – Crystal Farmer
- Panel: Starting POC Communities
- Panel: Stump the Chumps
- Politics, oppression, and creative forms of liberation – Gil & Ella Cambia
- Quilombos Culture for EcoVillages & Intentional Communities – Macaco
- The Revolution Will be Indigenized – Roberto Mendoza
- Transforming Founder’s Syndrome – Cecile Green
- Travelers in Community – Ozgard
Below is the summary workshop description and presenter biographies.
Aging in Community
Whether or not your community is (or plans) to be intergenerational or senior-focused, you need to be preparing for members getting older — it’s a natural part of all our lives. By consciously approaching aging and building collective community consciousness about it, you can make it much more likely that you and your neighbors will be able to not just stay in their homes longer, but also help everyone, from birth on up, experience longer, healthier, richer lives.
While many traditional approaches to “Aging in Place” focus on the “deficits” and physical, social, financial, and mental issues, ICs are full of opportunities for “positive aging” where our unique lives as elders and age diversity can become a strength..
We’ll look at examples from many different kinds of communities that have successfully laid the groundwork, share what we’ve seen in (or anticipate in) our own communities, and together help each other create a plan and path to take home. Join us for lively discussion, role-playing, and simulations, plus sharing of established and home-grown resources to bring back to our communities and a network to support each other in continued connection.
Raines Cohen is a Community Organizer. Facilitator. Cohousing Coach. EcoVillage Ambassador. Aging-in-Community Author. Certified Senior Advisor. Certified Sage-ing Leader. Founding Member, Elders Action Net. Past board, FIC/Coho/US. Leader, East Bay Cohousing/Cohousing CA. Living in community in Berkeley, CA.
Alleged Urban Squatting Workshop (draft desc)
Squatters have no rights in the US, but some tenants pay no rent – and tenants do have rights. This workshop explores no rent and low rent tenancy in metro areas like DC which have good tenant protection legislation.
How can you find such a place? Public records and other no rent pioneers can be some of your guides. How to respond to aggressive landlords to your legal advantage and how to maintain good relations with neighbors who are burdened with conventional rents.
Peach’s will share the short version of how they landed in a lovely home in DuPont Circle for the cost of parking and how they are sharing this bounty.
Peaches is the only sales rep for Southern Exposure Seed Exchanges Wholesale business and runs a bike repair service in DC. They are also the driving force behind Casa Peaches which houses activist, abortion refugees and legally disadvantaged international. They have lived in several intentional communities and communes.
An FEC Community in Costa Rica?
There is a 200 acre of land in Costa Rica that has two houses and a big concrete dome. A group of people are going to try to start an FEC-style community on that property starting October 1st 2022.
Keenan has lived at Twin Oaks for 35 years.
Lyndya Geiger Ross: Lyndya lives in Costa Rica. She is associated with La Finca de La Tierra Nueva. Lynda is also associated with the Foundation that has been developing this property for 20 years. She will happily answer questions about westerners choosing to live in Costa Rica.
Apocalyptic Wakanda (Panther) & Zion (Matrix) and Building a New World
We are not going back to normal. African Americans are reviving the Black Cooperative Movement by replacing our assimilation amnesia with a Liberated Zone training ground. Some call it Beloved Community, Some call it African Time banking Village. We call it LandCorps. Hear from three cooperative members of Parable of the Sower Intentional Community as they build it (community) so they will come.
Aleta Toure homeschooling mother, community organizer, filmmaker, Mindfulness practitioner, dancer, & visionary.Yehudit Chef, clothing designer, Peoples, jewelry franchise owner, youth organizer, & dancer. Justice – Kayaker, environmental justice worker, cooperative bicycle worker & gamer.
Authentic Relating in Community
Authentic Relating (AR) is the practice of freely expressing yourself with others in order to bring about a richer human experience. This practice of free expression to bring about a more truthful human experience builds on the Quink community of self-reflection and positive shifts for one’s own life and community.
Expressing in a more truthful way enables connections in the world based on who you really are.
When practicing Authentic Relating we keep the 5 Practices of Authentic Relating in mind:
1. Welcome Everything – We welcome everything that arises in our field of awareness, in ourselves, in others, and in the world
2. Assume Nothing – We notice our assumptions of people and situations, and check them out with others
3. Reveal Your Experience – We let ourselves be seen, known, heard, and touched as who we really are, and invite others into our worlds
4. Own Your Experience – We take full responsibility for whatever we experience, and for having an impact on others
5. Honor Self / Honor Other – We honor our own needs and wants while also honoring the needs and wants of others
Mike Jadoo have over participated in many Authentic Relating workshops. He recently completed the Authentic Relating Training (ART) Level 3 and is ready to serve the community by providing AR games. He has previously hosted many NVC practice groups and book readings.
Biophilic EcoVillage Design & Building
Earth’s climate and our man-made environment is at a tipping point. Intentional Community designers and builders must embrace a more urgent and far reaching purpose and responsibility, in ways that nourish and regenerate the health and beauty of our built environment and planet. This presentation will cover EcoVillage state-of-the-art practices and conceptual future systems and methods needed to create a regenerative built environment and organic buildings that embrace accountability with respect to climate change and quality of life. Inspiring current opportunities and evolving case studies will be explored.
Fred Øesch (“Esch”) is the principal of Øesch Environmental Design in Charlottesville, VA. An award winning Design / Build firm, Øesch has produced EcoVillage Master Planning, Architecture, and Interiors utilizing healthful, energy efficient, regenerative organic materials and methods.
Collaborative Community Design
Many people think about or try to start communities by putting out all the things that they want. In this workshop, a small group of participants will design a potential community by each putting out a few things they want and seeing what collective design emerges.
Raven is a long time communard (Common Threads, Ganas, Cotyledon, Glomus Commune) now attempting to build an income-sharing community in New England. Also 70 yo white cis man.
Community Business: Making Money Together!
Want to know how to start a community business!?
Want to make your existing businesses more profitable?!
Too frequently we see communities fail over getting the bills paid or just never start for lack of funds!! Let’s talk about how you can hate capitalism and still make that money.
The history of intentional communities is filled with fascinating examples of communal businesses! Let’s learn from other communities successes and failures!
Leverage the skills, knowledge, and support of the amazing people around you!
Learn about some the newest tools and cutting -edge concepts from Startup Culture!
Running a local small business and regional manufacturing can be a radical act!
Leave this workshop with a new business plan that will align with your community values, make the world a better place, and pay the bills!
Xander Astra is a Designer and Inventor from the San Francisco Warehome Communities.
He has launched 60+ Mass Products, Started 3 Community Businesses, Won National Business Competitions, Blah, Blah, Blah… He thinks we should steal some ideas from Silicon Valley to make Capitalism suck less!
Community Legal Workshop
When should a new community seek tax exempt status? Is an LLC enough legal protection for the members to pool money and start covering expenses together? Do we have to be religious to be a monastery? What are the advantages of a land trust? We are doing public service work in our community, should we become a B corp? These questions are examples of what you might be interested in exploring in this legal clinic.
This workshop is designed for people who are in the forming stages of an intentional community or wish to understand these legal and tax structures. Jenny will start with a basic presentation and then take questions from the attendees, answering both specifics and sharing general principles which are more broadly applicable.
Jenny Hoffpauir is a lawyer and experienced communard who helps forming communities navigate the various legal, financing and other landscapes to create lasting structures which reflect community values. Jenny has particular expertise in the structures and agreements which enable income sharing communes.
Community Singing: the Craft of Co-Enchantment
Joining voices in song can nourish intimacy, enthusiasm and shared vision in community life. In this workshop we’ll explore the craft of growing co-empowering vocal communities in diverse contexts of work and play, celebration and grief. We’ll practice co-enchantment, sharing dynamic and easily learned songs accessible to all. If you can talk you can sing!
Craig and Cleo have spent decades living and singing in community. Out of this experience they’ve grown “The Contemplayful Songbook: a Field Guide to Co-enchantment.” They are members of Charis, a small regenerative community near Charlottesville.
Can You Power Your Community Entirely With Renewable Energy?
Energy Permaculture means energy embedded in a community context. Living Energy Farm has pioneered energy systems based on battery-less solar power, as well as durable battery systems, biogas, woodgas, and other durable, affordable renewable energy technologies, all in a context of self-sustaining community. No energy bills, no battery replacement costs, energy systems that last the rest of your life. Ask questions, find answers, and grow our community’s future.
Alexis Ziegler is the founder and chief technologist at Living Energy Farm in Louisa Virginia. LEF is working both locally and internationally to bring appropriate, low cost, clean energy solutions to individuals and intentional communities.
Funding Intentional Communities through Unique Airbnb Rentals and Retreats
We will explain the history of the White Lotus Eco Spa Retreat and how it has evolved into a community of people that work and live together. Community members contribute by helping manage, repair, and expand the retreat center and Airbnb units. We also provide space for events and retreats as well as creating our own. The community began with just 5 people and one building on 3 acres and now have a full time community of 13 people, 17 Airbnb units, and 125 acres. As we develop spaces on the land, we rent them out and use that income to add more spaces on the property that are both for the community and guests. Some of the amenities we have for our community members and guests are a sauna, cool dip pool, movie theater, meditation room, massage room, conference rooms, kitchens, ponds, gardens, frisbee golf, outdoor fire place, paddle boat, and nature trails. Our community organically grew out of friendships and part time guests that decided to make this their permanent home. Community members all have unique talents and skills that are given opportunity to flourish and contribute to our lives as well add to our guests’ experiences while they are here.
David VanDerveer, founder and architect of The White Lotus Eco Spa Retreat has worked professionally as an electronic technician, D.J, videographer, chef, yoga instructor, builder, and heavy equipment operator, but he is best known as an international comedy juggler.
Victoria Bryant is an educator, performing artist, and serves as the event manager at the White Lotus. She has been a resident there for almost two years and enjoys planning as well as hosting events that bring the community and guests together to celebrate and connect with one another.
I Didn’t Mean It That Way: Identity-Related Harm in Community
When marginalized people experience harm in a community, they often withdraw from community life or leave altogether. If you’re a community member who wants to know why, take this workshop. We’ll discuss the common types of harm that occur around identity (microaggressions) and tools for addressing the harm in the moment and after it has occurred. We’ll also cover ways to initiate accountability processes and healing around specific incidents.
Crystal Byrd Farmer is an organizer and speaker in the intentional communities movement. She serves as a board member with the Foundation for Intentional Communities and serves as Co-President for the BIPOC Intentional Community Council.
Panel: Stump the Chumps
This is a Q&A panel of experienced communitarians who take on the toughest audience generated inquiries about how to build and maintain intentional communities. Panelists will be announced shortly.
Politics, oppression, and creative forms of liberation:
a Live Action Role Play on the ins and outs of both national and international politics, and whether we can change the course of history.
this is will be a simple game with very complex strategy of how to create international solidarity against oppression, while taking a deep dive into the nature of oppression, power, conflict, facism and pacifism.
Gil Benmoshe has been living in intentional communities for over 20 years. with a strong focus on permaculture, natural building, and education. in his professional life he works in facilitating teams towards effective communication, leadership, and conflict resolution. these teams often include academic, professional, athletic, military, and government agencies.
Gil has a specific interest in “imagineering” a post-national future and how people can self organize without the state or capitalism.
Quilombos Culture for EcoVillages and Intentional Communities
Learning that happens deep inside each of us during group activities.
Liberation Arts (LA) residencies offer
Joy and celebration that energizes everyone
- Arts and fitness education for children
- Tools for synergy between children, adults and elders
- Dynamic schedule options for meetings, classes and events.
Macaco is an expressive arts facilitator helping people experience warrior arts culture. He is a Contremestre in the Afro-Brazilian art of Capoeira. He is one of the lead members of Grupo Liberdade de Capoeira and received his Capoeira artist name Macaco (monkey).
The Revolution Will be Indigenized
We all need to reclaim our Indigenous values, in order to build the foundation for a new equitable and sustainable society. We start by decolonizing our minds from Capitalist values, like individualism, competition and exploiting the Natural World and embracing community, cooperation and living in harmony with the Natural World.
Roberto Mendoza is a native (Muscogee tribe) and Mexican Indigenous (Purepecha). Born in Tulsa, OK. Lived in NYC, San Francisco and Maine. Part of the occupation of Alcatraz Island by Indians of All Tribes, AIM, the Bioregional Movement, the Greens and founded Cooperation Tulsa, an intersectional, ecological movement.
Transforming Founder’s Syndrome: An Exploration of the Territory and the Ways Through
Founding a community is an enormous challenge and requires a tremendous investment well beyond the financial resources. Once more people are involved, many communities struggle with the power dynamics of founder’s syndrome, a complex set of interactions which often result in community stagnation, high turnover, isolated and overworked founders and cliques.
We’ll start by examining common issues that communities and founders face. We’ll look at a workable definition of “founder’s syndrome”, including some of it’s key symptoms. Then, we’ll dig into specific practices and tools for navigating out of founder’s syndrome.
An intentional community enthusiast and founder, Cecile Green has a passion for helping humans share power more effectively. She synthesized her experience in intentional community with the research she’s done into power and organizational development into a set of communication tools called Collab.
Travelers in Community
Exploring the possible mutually abundant relationships between travelers and communities, including methods and wisdoms on community traveling.
✨Ozgard✨ (they/them) is some sort of fae critter of many names, who has been a community traveler for roughly a decade, having visited over 40 intentional communities of varying forms across the US.
If you are interested in attending the Labor Day Weekend Communities Conference at Twin Oaks in central Virginia you can find tickets on Eventbrite
Transformus Post Office
Transformus is a regional Burning Man influenced event which used to be on a glorious site near Asheville, NC and has moved to a different beautiful place near Masonville, WV. Rick from Happy Hill came for the first time to this location and observed things i never would have noticed. Specifically, that the huge fields were not actually a monoculture, but a complex mix of different types of plants as part of a sophisticated wildlife and field management program. There is a huge need nationally for this type of soil regeneration and specifically Rick pointed out that they had planted Asclepias which are critical for supporting monarch butterfly populations.
Transformus was the first time i really got to see Dash (our new conference intern) shine. Dash is a gifted cook out of Boston who is helping to organize the Communities Conference and they put out impressive meals on the Camp Contact stoves. No matter where people were in the sprawling Tranformus campus, pretty much everyone made it back to camp around mealtime, despite there being a lot of great food all free at the festival.
Jason Taylor is a hero of mine. A Louisa local who did not discover the communes til he was a teenager, he is now an integral part of holding them together. From building the replacement Llano kitchen (after the actual Twin Oak tree fell on it and crushed it), to repairing the Twin Oaks sawmill and kiln, to repairing and running the seed packing robot machine at Acorn – Jason is our favorite handy person who keeping the communes operating. Jason is the site manager for QuinkFair, last year in that role he manifested all manner of elements from designing and wiring the solar system to leading the effort to build and burn the effigy.
At Transformus he led the screen-printing workshop, using Acorn’s new screen-printing device. This was a test run for the Communities Conference where we plan to print dozens of participants’ clothes (as we successfully in some years ago).
In the above picture Jason is paying for his postage due, by stuffing a huge pineapple top in his mouth. Which requires me to explain a bit about the post office.
The post office is a Burning Man inspired activity, which we ran at Transformus back in 2013 when i was a dual member at Acorn. Burning Man influenced events discourage the use of money internally (as does QuinkFair). Instead of monetary transactions they encourage cultural and comic exchanges. So to get a inter-festival letter sent, you need to pay into the post office with perhaps a skit or a joke or a dance. Similarly, your incoming letter is “postage due” and the postal carrier may try to get you to perform out of character. Asked to “read something that moves you”, a postal customers name Snax who was working registration at Transformus read the section of the Velveteen Rabbit on being real and started crying during their rendition – momentarily all activity stopped at the busy registration to witness this dramatic rendition.
The power of a post office funologically, is it can bring a little culture bomb into a camp. Another postal recipient asked for one of our “Daring” cards and got. “Make out with someone you have never kissed before, consensually, for 30 seconds starting now.” The dare was heard by a lovely person named Freefall, who after a short discussion about risks and STIs, they kissed. Somehow the 30 seconds recommendation got blown threw.
One of the modifications we tested on the regular post office format is we developed a number of postal challenge cards. These including Daring, Beautiful, Funny and Wild Cards. This allows the postal customer to think about what type of way they want subsidize the mail service by delivering a tiny cultural performance of these different types.
Spacious is the principal organizer of the Camp Contact theme camps within several regional burns and at the big burn in Nevada. To the untrained eye, his principal contribution is a tremendous amount of specialty hardware – kitchens, giant shade structures, domes, chill spaces, solar powered refrigerators, drinking and cleaning water systems, showers, bikes, trucks, hand tools and much more. If you are a decerning organizer, you know that the inter-personal stuff is more complex than even the most sophisticated of these inanimate objects: lovely attendees, who can’t afford camp fees or telling prospective participants who make people uncomfortable that they cannot be part of the camp or figuring out how to cover an internal camp task which someone promised to take responsibility for, and then they flaked on it or dealing with people who promise to pay their camp fees and then do not or getting exhausted campers to break down many structures before the rain hits at the end of the event or figuring out just how much the camp attendees are open to building without deciding not to build it or not to come back to the next camp ‘cos it was too much to build.
Camp Contact would not exist without Spacious, the hardware (as complex as it is) is the easy part, creating a harmonious, financially viable, well-equipped camp with a bunch of diverse participants who are not always reliable – that is the heavy lifting of an organizer.
Perhaps because i am so disorganized, one of the things i appreciate in other organizers is being nimble. Being regularly interrupted and still being effective, being able to change plans gracefully on short notice, rapidly adopting to the shifting variables are all signs of a nimble event organizer. Orion Posey is the son of one of my favorite activists Susan Posey and the generous traveling electrician Milo MacTavish. Orion was supposed to be performing in a play near Norfolk, a few days before Transformus, but the play got cancelled and Orion reached out to me about being a conference intern. He agreed to come to Transformus, without really knowing what it is, but knowing that their festival activities would be secondary to the networking and outreach work we wanted them to do. Orion delivered a bunch of mail, dispersed a number of fingerbooks, acted as an ambassador from our events to workshops on topics we are interested in. With Twin Oaks population the lowest it has been in years; we can use all the help we can get, and Orion is the addition of a nimble set of hands.
If you are interested in our small regional burn in Virginia Sept 23 thru 26 – check out QuinkFair:
- Tickets (discounted til Aug 15th)
- Report from last year
- Inspiring influences
- What is a Quink?
If you are interested in intentional communities, consider our Labor Day (Sept 2 thru 6) event, the Communities Conference:
- Tickets (discounted til Aug 1st)
- Call for Presenters (til Aug 1st)
- Better than Burning Man
- Meet the Communities
Call for Presenters -Twin Oaks Communities Conference
Should you offer a workshop at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference? [deadline Aug 1, 2022]
Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC) is looking for some compelling workshop presenters on the topic of intentional community. Perhaps you are asking yourself “Am I a talented workshop presenter?” Here are some ways you can tell:
“Truth is in the room”: What we’re looking for are interactive workshops that draw from the participants and the collective truth from the room. We’re hoping for workshops that introduce participants to ideas that they perhaps have never considered before or advance beliefs which are challenging or engage everyone in the space, including the presenter. We’ve found that open-ended questions and role plays are methods that work well with our participants.
The room has no walls, but the truth is still in there
Flexible We’re looking for workshop facilitators that can sense the energy level of the participants. Does it look like a playful group? Perhaps games and simulations will be helpful. Is this a serious (perhaps intense) group or topic? Maybe perhaps a Q&A or a hotseat format will benefit. Conversely, perhaps the opposite prescription will work – the serious and intense folks could lighten up with games. The point is that you as the workshop presenter want to build a good connection with your participants and tailor your presentation to the group you have before you. You could do a go round (if there are less than 20 people) and ask everyone for a single sentence about why they are in the workshop. Their answers will help guide you to adjust your presentation for their level of expertise and their areas of excitement.
Reflect on Impact: Is it possible that you are going to share an exercise that will engage your participants beliefs or behavior? Is it likely they will be amused and entertained? We’re looking for workshops that will lead participants towards a greater understanding of themselves and how they present in community. How can we have more healthy and transparent relationships with fellow communitarians? How can libraries of shared material goods be created so we are living more sustainably and cooperatively? Can we be in romantic relationships with more than one person, in the same place? What are the details we can learn and share to live together more cooperatively? Perhaps not as fun as a beautifully illustrated atlas or teaching haddocks (or goldfish) to jump through hoops, but definitely a bigger takeaway.
The conference itself can provide some chairs, and, with advance notice, some sound system, but we’re in quite a rustic environment. Your powerpoint presentation, for example, might need technology that will take a while for us to assemble. If you cannot provide what is needed for your workshop, please let us know well in advance.
It’s important to us to maintain the low cost and low overhead for this conference, so we cannot afford to pay you to present, although we can provide approved presenters with a free or reduced cost ticket.
If you are convinced, here is the Call for Presenter form to complete, and the deadline for submission is Aug 1st. If you just want to buy a ticket and come to the event here is the link. If you want to read about how to get the most out of this conference check out this article. If you would like the irregular updates about this event you can either write to firstname.lastname@example.org or RSVP on the event facebook page
Apologies in advance if you are really into teaching fish to jump thru hoops.
Communities Bounce Back – 5 Events
Most intentional communities took a population hit during the pandemic. Germs and illnesses spread quickly in communities because of how much we share- food, homes, bathrooms, work spaces, etc. With this in mind, most communities that those regular visitor sessions canceled them (at least until there was a vaccine) to protect their more vulnerable members. It was likely the best, safest choice, but meant that members who left communities during the pandemic weren’t replaced with new folx and populations dropped significant. At Twin Oaks we went from 85 members to 63 members at the lowest point (we are back up to 78 now).
The pandemic also forced many to deal with unusual isolation and question our relationship with groups and what people in close orbit are important to you. Intentional community is an invitation to being part of a group designed to foster and take care of each other, and while it does not always succeed the intention and results are favorable (or prove worthy .. or something)
This summer and fall there several events which showcase these intentional communities which are bouncing back or in the case of Serenity Community springing forward from the George Floyd energized racial justice movement.
These events are celebrations of many different identities all seen through the lens of intentional community. If you want to feel what it is like to live with others cooperatively, this is a glimpse.
The Community Festivals, Gatherings, and Conferences are Coming Back!
Mark your calendars, there are several different weekend events which you will want to consider.
- Serenity Food Sovereignty Festival June 24 thru 26
- Twin Oaks Queer Gathering Aug 5 thru 7
- Twin Oaks Women’s Gathering Aug 19 thru 21
- Twin Oaks Communities Conference Sept 2 thru 5
- QuinkFair Sept 23 thru 26
All of these events are happening in Louisa County and the first 4 of them are all happening at Twin Oaks. Here are the brief descriptions of the events and how to RSVP.
Serenity Food Sovereignty Festival June 24 – 26
Learn about mutual aid and BIPOC centered intentional communities that focus on restorative agriculture and ecovillages. BIPOC activists and organizers are working in conjunction with the central Virginia income sharing communities movement to host BIPOC participants and our allies, to bring incredible food and learning opportunities to attendees. POC farmers will discuss their techniques and challenges and participants will learn about income sharing communities and Serenity Community projects.
White allies can attend this event if they are genuinely interested in this cuisine and culture. We ask white participants to step back and let BIPOC participants drive the conversations and workshops. This could mean your question might not get answered in the workshop or you should hold off on getting seconds.
RSVP via this free ticket survey required (or via Facebook optional).
Twin Oaks Queer Gathering August 5 – 7
Join us for a weekend of queertranstastic fun, learning, workshops, networking, revelry, and more! This is a participant-led/co-created event, so while the organizing team will set up the event site and create a general schedule of activities, the content is largely up to YOU! There is opportunity to lead a workshop, DJ some of the dance party, bring your instruments to jam, offer an interest/identity-based meetup (BIPOC dinner, non-binary lunch, comic book breakfast, etc), and more! Registration fee is suggested at $80 (sliding scale – pay what you can : $40-$140) includes all meals and tent space. Work trade available. No one turned away for lack of funds. BIPOC travel stipends available by emailing us at email@example.com.
Get all the details at www.twinoaksqueergathering.org
Please RSVP by pre-registering at our eventbrite page!
Twin Oaks Women’s Gathering
The Women’s Gathering is back in 2022! The event will be a three day conference on themes ranging from sex and sexuality to positive relationship building to DIY music, art and movement. There will be scheduled workshops and performance spaces, as well as lots of free time to network, drum, dance and play. Registration fee $85 (sliding scale – pay what you can : $80-$160) includes meals and tent space.
Learn more at womensgathering.org
RSVP via Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Twin Oaks Communities Conference
If you are looking for an intentional community, or if you are in a community looking for new members, this is the event for you. The Twin Oaks Communities Conference brings experienced collectivists and communitarians to central Virginia over the Labor Day weekend. We expect at least 40 different communities to be represented, workshops in intentional community specific topics, and open space so you can bring your own content.
There will be an opportunity to tour the communities of Louisa county (including Acorn, Cambia, Community of Peace, Living Energy Farm, Serenity and Twin Oaks). There will also a separate Monday (Labor Day) program hosted at least at Acorn and Cambia.
The Twin Oaks Communities Conference is a kid friendly event which can accommodate many different dietary needs- meals and tent space are included in the registration fee. Full price adult registration is $125, full price youth ages 6-17 is $40, kids 5 and under are free. Early bird discounts, work exchange, and scholarships are available.
RSVP via Facebook or buy tickets at our eventbrite page.
QuinkFair! is a celebration crafted to spark personal and collective positive change and healing. Through a colorful and chaotic mix of exhibits, interactive art, music, guides & readers, workshops, dance, books and your own curiosity, we will seek experience and insights as a catalyst for personal growth and cultural change.
Inspired and influenced by several festivals, QuinkFair asks every participant to step away from being an amazed audience and into being an inspired co-creator. If you want to be entertained enjoy a music festival, if you want to become someone new come to QuinkFair.
Adult tickets are $160 (or $128 if you buy early) and kids between 6 and 17 are $80 (or $64 if purchased early). Kids under 6 are free. This is a camping event and food is provided.
QuinkFair takes place not at the Twin Oaks Conference Site (like all these other events do) but instead at the beautiful Happy Hills land in Mineral VA.
RSVP via Facebook or Pre-register on our Eventbrite page. Tickets go on sale June 1.
If you are interested in supporting the first 4 events all hosted at Twin Oaks you could apply to be a Conference/Gathering Intern If you want to help manifest the QuinkFair celebration consider applying to be a Festival Intern
“You want me to first build the tree houses and then design them?” Pilgrim said, but he was not surprised. It was just this type of impossible task he was good at. And thus i would often ask him for these things.
6 weeks later with the help of all manner of volunteers and Acorners there were 7 different tree houses in the Acorn backyard. Pilgrim was never shy of work, because he was so fast at so many things, he reveled in it. It defined him as someone who could get things done, including difficult things often with surprising haste.
Pilgrim came to Twin Oaks in the late aughts and we became fast friends. In his relatively short time at Twin Oaks he did many significant construction projects at several of our buildings. Basically single handedly he did a major overhaul of Degania, our principal education building. He tricked out various rooms, including his own, which had a Hawaiian theme and fancy stairs to the loft. Later, in a too-short visit, he taught us how to mud drywall in our hospice-style addition, as we marveled at his speed and patience with our technique.
It was not his handiness or speed he will be remembered for though. His name gave the biggest clue. He was a Pilgrim, he was traveling from place to place looking for the truth, his truth. A place that could accommodate him as the hard working, hard partying person he was. He lived in a bunch of communities and tried to start some in this search.
He lived at Twin Oaks for a while, but ultimately the rules and bureaucracy got him down. He moved to East Wind where he helped build the ambitious but ill fated Villages in the Sky festival project. East Wind’s more pioneering mindset and rugged living was closer to Pilgrim’s style. As Deborah (who founded East Wind and Acorn and lived at Twin Oaks for many years) was fond of saying “I know there are problems at East Wind; they are just problems I am better at managing than the ones at Twin Oaks.” Pilgrim’s hard partying style fit comfortably at East Wind, where his ability to repair buildings quickly elevated him to minor hero status. But he was not through searching.
Pilgrim wanted a place which would model sustainable living and while East Wind (like Twin Oaks) is dramatically more sustainable than almost any place in the US, Pilgrim was looking for more and went to Ecuador with a shipping container of tools and supplies in hopes of building a better world there. He learned a bit of Spanish, directed international crews of volunteers working on tropical gardens and other sustainability measures. But too many variables were out of his hands for this situation to work for him, he was dependent on land owners being generous, had to balance tricky visa situations, and was perpetually willing to do too much work for too little compensation.
He returned to the States, where a new possibility called. Pilgrim had a famous green thumb. In Florida where he spent a bunch of time, there were all manner of impressive gardens he had started and developed at family members’ houses. So when Colorado decided to legalize recreational marijuana he called me up and said he wanted to try again to start a community, with cannabis growing at the center and the US based Stardust project was born. Pilgrim chose the name.
Despite his significant skills and an impressive crop in the first season, there are way too many ways to fail at growing pot and we hit a bunch of them, including theft. Stardust collapsed and our ragtag collection of members scattered across the country, many returning to the communes from where we had drawn them.
Turns out i don’t have any pictures of Pilgrim, which is a bit ironic because i have a bunch that he took. He was a gifted photographer amongst his many other talents. But he was not interested in capturing images of himself, he was modest in this way.
I have clear memories of both sides of Pilgrim: the guy who got me to build a heavy fence with him in Savannah, faster than i think i have ever worked before, and the guy kicking back with a beer at the end of the long day, enjoying the music and conversation. He was only a part time workaholic, who understood that you needed to relax deeply to appreciate what the work brings. In the end, i fear those beers took Pilgrim from us too soon.
In an effort to travel cheaply, I skipped my last chance to see him in Florida this last Christmas. I will always regret not seeing him one last time. And now finally, after years of fixing, building and making things better this craftsman can take his well deserved break.
Support the Vegan Festival
I’ve long believed that the only thing which stops us from a vegan revolution in the US is more dedication to cooking as well as training great cooks. Serenity Community for Peace And Justice are testing this proposition by hosting a Vegan Festival April 30th and May 1st. This event will serve vegan food, do workshops on compelling vegan cooking and examine the veganism through the lens of people of color. This event is BIPOC centric in both it’s organization team and it outreach and recruiting, white allies are most welcome and of course you need only be vegan curious to sample to food.
Twin Oaks has stepped up to help this festival in several big ways. First, the event will be hosted at the Twin Oaks Conference site, which has the necessary infrastructure to support this type of event. The second is over a dozen Oakers have already committed to all kinds of labor for supporting the Vegan Festival. Specifically, Twin Oaks has agreed to do social media promotion, site preparation, fundraising, workshop development, the child care program, vegan cooking, site breakdown and more. [This labor is being funded internally in the Twin Oaks labor economy by drawing to down movement support hours which are earmarked for racial justice work. This allows members to satisfy their labor obligations to the community while helping bring vegan cooking and BIPOC culture to the communes.]
I am honored to be an ally working on this event. I have a big birthday coming up, which is an arbitrary important number. I am hoping my friends and readers will donate to the fund which is providing travel assistance (via Facebook, via PayPal) to people of color who want to attend this event but it is financially inaccessible.
Before i met Cassandra i had already lost a bet because of her.
It was Acorn’s Land Day, perhaps 15 years back. Suwelo and i were talking when this young woman walked by and Suwelo said to me “i bet she is an air sign.” In a world in which you believe in astrology, this comment made perfect sense. The woman in question seemed to float by more than walk, aided by flowing garments and the perfect light breeze of the Acorn’s early spring Land Day. But in the world of probability, there was a 3 in 4 chance Suwelo was wrong and i said “i will take that bet.”
Then having made the bet, we had to find out, so we chased after her around Heartwood and Suwelo asked without prompting “What sign are you?” and then realized the question without prompting was presumptive and followed it up by saying “Don’t worry, i am harmless.” To which i reflexively replied. “I am not.”
Cassandra successfully backed the conversation up to something more civil. She got us to introduce ourselves and then she explained that she was in the region having returned from a long trip to India. A trip which would change her life forever in a tragic way.
When she did finally confess her astrological sign, it was Aquarius and i thought i had won the bet, because that was clearly a water sign. Again i was wrong. But the clumsy introduction won Suwelo not only the bet with me, but the attention of Cassandra and they were happily involved for many years after that, and i visited them in several residences in Cville.
Cassandra was unsure of her taken name because it felt too heavy and she could not live up to the embedded assumption that the person with it would have prophetic, if not tragic capacity. Suwelo and Cassandra stumbled for some days trying to find a name (i of course suggested a naming party, but that was not what she wanted). And finally in frustration Suwelo said “i am going to open the dictionary, point my finger blindly into it and we are going to choose the name closest to my finger.” He did. And he pointed at the name Cassandra in the dictionary. She let go of her concerns and embraced it.
Cassandra always wanted to live in community, and many of us wanted that to happen as well. She was an enchanting personality, funny, caring, and empathic. But in India she had contracted an illness she could not shake, nor i believe was it ever really properly diagnosed, which fatigued her in a way that prevented her from working quota (a requirement for these communes). We discussed several different approaches to the problem, but the nature of Twin Oaks and Acorn egalitarian policies made it impossible to swap disability payments for quota. I’ve rarely been so saddened at the ableist policy of my home communities.
Cassandra was a facilitator of lovely small gatherings. My path continued to cross with her’s from the organizing she did with the local poly group in Charlottesville. Mac and i attended a couple of these gatherings back when i was a dual member at Acorn. One thing we lose with her passing is her mastery of how to make people comfortable talking about intimate things. In her more artful way she was gifted in inspiring participants into informal transparency games.
Cassandra also looked at my OKCupid profile and started to tell me all the things that were wrong with it. I realized that i had done it poorly and she offered to help fix it, including answering questions for me to filter out non-poly people from finding high matches with me. Unsurprisingly, after she answered a bunch of questions for me hers and my profiles matched much better.
Cassandra was easy to love and taken from us too soon. She died quietly, in the company of her new husband Randell and old friends from Acorn, Flame and Raven. Thus in essence with the community she always sought.
Cassandra saw a world of people living in harmony in community. She saw and crafted intimate groups taking care of each other in mundane and profound ways. She saw something possible and beautiful. But most people did not believe her, perhaps fulfilling her legendary name. It’s now up to the rest of us to continue her work and dreams.