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From Twin Oaks to Acorn – A Study in Community

Hello all,

Sorry that I have been quiet for a while, but we have been scrambling to get our spring planting, apple thinning, and hay cutting done between the raindrops. This looks like this will be out third month in a row with over 7 inches (17.7cm) RAIN PER MONTH! This is 175% of what we usually get in the spring, and I am sure glad we are growing most of our spring greens in hoop houses, that shed the deluge, so our greens are not rain-hammered down into the mud.

Our farm-sitter, Courtney ran the place this week-end, and we jaunted off on another of our series of spring pilgrimages to regional communities, with three close friends. We got to visit the Charlottesville, Virginia, Farmers Market and were really impressed with the variety and quantity of Local Loods there. We then drove down to Louisa County to visit Twin Oaks Commune, and enjoyed their tour and we thank them for feeding us and for putting us up to spend the night. Their level of industry (especially their hammock works) really impressed me; as did their large gardens and the pathways wandering thru their sustainable forest. The next day we visited Acorn Community, and again really appreciated their on-site business, a thriving regional seed company. We also thank the Acorn-ites for their tour, and for the great lunch from their garden. We drove back feeling much better about the human race than we have felt in a long while.

Since some of my family belonged to the Harmonites Old Economy Community, (in what is now Ambridge, Pa.) in the late 19th century, I have always been drawn toward communal life. The Harmonites were well known for their technology and craft, as well as for their esthetically and spiritually coherent lifestyle. In a few weeks I will be spending a weekend there, to attend the Old Economy Descendant’s Reunion. My historical search to discover my lost family (I was functionally orphaned at four) lead me to self-publish a small book: “Rusted Dreams-Busted Lives” concerning my family’s tragic search for the American Dream. Doing this research has filled me with a sense of belonging that i have not had for fifty-five years.

Judy and I had once hoped to begin a communal farm with two other couples in the early 1970’s, but it did not work out. So we set up BVO on our own, and now consider our CSA shareholders to be our communal family. Now that we are getting older, we are planning on finding a young couple who would like to purchase BVO, and we plan to take off in search of our “elder hippie commune”. The way the American Economy (and esp.spirit) is crashing is giving us renewed energy to find others who want to experiment in a sustainable lifestyle, and the related spiritual benefits.

I recommend that kindred spirits begin visiting your local co-housings and intentional communities to learn about them. It is a path that can lead to sanity, happiness, and health in our dysfunctional materialistic society.

Thank You
Thom Marti

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