Green Acres Village, early February: Pace of life quickens . . .

Geez, it’s only one/third of the way through February and we’re already rollin’ — and in a much more decidedly communitarian manner than prior years when Rebecca worked either alone or with one other helper to get seeds started in the greenhouse. This year, by defining the seed planting occasions as parties, we’ve seen an uptick in participation. YES!

The thing is, so very few of us grew up in homes where people still grew their own food! My own parents grew up in households that did, with World War II “victory gardens.” In fact, Dad told me he was the kid in charge of their garden. But my parents and other vets, after the war, in the push west out of close extended families into more and more isolated “nuclear families,” did not grow food.

Instead, the women did what they were programmed to do by advertisements on newly minted television: they washed and waxed floors to spic and span, cooked three meals from scratch and the grocery store, and vied with each other for the latest and greatest new-fangled appliances.

The next generation of women, those who came of age in the late ’60s and ’70s, were differently brainwashed: we newly minted “feminists” were programmed to “go to work” like the men did (and do), pretend we were “just as good as” the men at often soul-killing jobs, for, of course, much less pay. The result? Well, the home, rather than spic and span, became either a shambles, or cleaning was outsourced, or the women tried, in a frenzy, to do it all. Children were scheduled into group events after school before dinner, which itself morphed into take-out, store-bought frozen or canned, or “let’s eat out” at usually some fast food place; thus did extended family dinners gradually dissolve, to be replaced by simulacra on screens with first computers, then ipads and cell phones.

So here we are, currently suffering from the accelerating atomization — and virtualization — of society, and in the midst of this devolution, Green Acres Village is focused on recreating that forgotten, life-enhancing virtue of connectedness as a profoundly valued aspect of daily life again — both with the Earth and with each other.

All of which brings me to today’s post, documenting events of the past 48 hours!

Remember our first planting day? That was just this past Monday, when a bunch of us converged in the morning to mix  soil ingredients in a wheelbarrow, and then Rebecca, Nathan and Tina remained to plant lettuce.

Yesterday, Dan and Logan, (our “Boonville Boys,” who have hung out with each other since grade school) worked with Rebecca’s guidance to plant lettuce and turnip seeds in soil blocks.

One flat of lettuce, and five flats of turnips! Why so many turnips? I asked Rebecca today. “To use for ferments,” she replied, “and that made Dan very happy.”

Here are the two goofballs, in the greenhouse, after their labors were done.

Then came last night, when we converged for another of our weekly Thursday Community Dinners. But first, and for one hour every two weeks prior to the dinner hour for the foreseeable future, the newly forming Board met again, this time with an attorney present who could at least explain a few things to us. Mariella had discovered Peggy at some recent event, and begged her to come. She and her husband David loved the gathering, and plan to return.

Here we are, looking somber again, but this time twice as many present as the first time.

Two others are still in the wings: John is ill, and Kevin is otherwise engaged for the next several months. My son Colin, busy working on another invention to make the growing of food easy, this time with hydroponics, solving three problems people and stores encounter with hydroponics, completely forgot about the meeting. I called him. He apologized, and took me out to lunch today to make up for it. Now I will remember to remind him on the day of the Board meeting rather than call and ask where he is when we’ve already begun . . .

BTW: the Garden Tower Project has completely revamped its website, plus Colin got word today that yesterday they sold the most individual Towers in one day ever: 118, all from the website. YES! So the GTP is ramping up too. Oh, and recently they did a growing study and found that if you grow herbs in the Tower, you can pay for the Tower in only one year; if you grow vegetables, two years. Either way, it’s well worth the initial cost.

Okay, back to the Board, which has now agreed to set a date for a four to six hour retreat when we will forge the official name, vision statement, mission statement, and all the other material to get formalized before we apply for whatever legal structure we finally decide most fully meets our needs. We are also going to call on the help of both the non-profit center at the IU Law School and interns at SPEA at IU. For the next meeting we’re each to bring one example that we personally appreciate of an existing land-based community, finding out about as much of it as possible. We also agreed to get a google doc going whereby we will each put our “truths” up as a sort of white board to seed further discussion. For example, here are a few of my core “truths,” principles that I’ve been holding consciously and setting into motion all along as we have grown since 2009 from nothing into something:

  1. Most important: There will always exist a tension, or dynamic balance, between the two poles of any polarity; in order for evolution to occur, both poles need to be consciously acknowledged and integrated, over and over again. For example, the shifting relationship between conscious and unconscious (shadow) parts of our individual selves, and of the group; or, again, the shifting dynamic between community and individualism itself. Too much of one, and the individual is swallowed into faceless communism; too much of the other, and community gets lost in the typical zero sum game played by predatory capitalists. Both poles of any polarity (any contradiction, or paradox) are essential, and need to be equally valued and continuously recalibrated within emerging conditions.
  2. Our “bottom line” is not money, but energy, Human energy and Earth energy.
  3. As individuals, we encourage each other to follow and express our unique natures. We assume that “if each of us follows our nature, then Nature takes care of us” — both as individuals and as a community. In short, do what you feel most passionate about! That’s guaranteed to be of great value to the entire community.
  4. In any encounter with “the other,” focus more on what’s going right rather than on what’s going wrong. I.e., appreciate, more than criticize!
  5. Above all, remember: assume good will, everybody’s doing the best they can, and we’re all suffering souls.

Okay, on to last night’s dinner itself, this time followed by a spontaneous concert, involving Alex on her bassoon, Logan on guitar, and Nathan on harmonica. Nathan, afterwards, grinning: “That may be the first trio with those three instruments . . . ever!” They sounded great together. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics of this momentous occasion, but I did walk around and shoot a few of the, as ever, copious dinner offerings and conversations that, this time, had an excited, intense quality, which began immediately as we wrapped up our extremely focused, searching, and gratifying second Board meeting.

Amazing, how we can now segue effortlessly from one atmosphere to another!

Okay, final event of this series: this morning, another seed planting day, with Payton and Tina, who biked from several miles away to work with Rebecca planting pea and lettuce seeds in soil blocks.


Getting ready, and keep an eye on that empty table . . .

Just before lunch with Colin, I came back out to see how they were faring, and caught them in the act, made them hold that pose . . .

Voila! Done!

Aha! Just got word from Nathan (who has been traveling here for the past month from Terre Haute once or twice a week) that he got the job with a restaurant downtown and will be moving into the vacant room at the original DeKist house next Wednesday! YES!

Or, as my friend Judy used to say, “Moving right along . . .”

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