Let’s address the last part of the title first. And that’s what to call ourselves. I’ve noticed recently that some people refer to the Village as a “commune.” WHAT?
I think of a “commune” as a group of people who subscribe to the same values, pal around together, and live an enclosed life within some kind of larger order. This kind of a group can easily turn into a “cult,” which, frankly, alarms me greatly. I think of the Netflix special on Osho’s ranch in Oregon, and I shudder. See my review of that amazing series.
I much prefer that we call ourselves a community, an intentional community, carved out within an existing suburban neighborhood. Yes, we tend to have shared values — respecting the individuality, mutuality, and teachings of both each other and the Earth beneath our feet — but we do not all “pal around together.” In fact, I, for one, need about 75% of my time alone! Rebecca tells me her alone time is about 65%. Were one of my sisters to move here, she would need at least 85% alone time! Others who live here do need more together time — and so they carve that out for themselves, whether with one or two or three others who live here, or with people in the larger community. Our opposing needs for both individuality and community constitute a dynamic balancing act, both within ourselves and with each other, and with the larger community.
On the other hand, I can see why the word “commune” was used. And that’s because, especially if you look at the blogposts on the GAV, what do we focus on? The community aspects! Haven’t spent any time at all documenting people’s alone time, because, hey, they want to be left alone, and that usually means also, private, no pictures please!
So, just to be clear, while we do have weekly gatherings, they are open to the larger community; the membrane that encloses this little experiment in cooperative living is porous, open to the outside. And we do also have be-weekly meetings, just us, to work through whatever comes up inside the group, and make plans for the future. And we do have a CSA together this growing season, harvesting on Friday evening at 5 p.m., for 7-9 p.m. pick-up. And yes, we do have Saturday and Monday morning work parties, which some people show up for, some don’t; they would rather do their two hours of work per week at some other time; plus, others from the larger community also volunteer to work with us at those hours.
So, despite these regularly scheduled community events, I repeat, Green Acres Permaculture Village is NOT a commune!
Here are pics from last week’s cooperative events:
Dan and Alex teamed up to make a giant lasagna:
The table was definitely laden with goodies.
Ooooo . . . what’s on that arm?
I asked Solan the other day, is that some kind of Biblical quote? Nope, he tells me it’s author was a man named Henley.
The evening gets going:
Two new folks joined us, as usual. You never know who will pop up. Here’s Terry, a stone cutter, who hails from nearby Brown County, on the right, talking with Shi, a regular.
And here’s Shantelle, who walked right in, held out her hand, and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Shantelle!” Wow. So direct and open! “How did you find us?” I asked. From the internet, she merrily replied. Dan says she reminds him of women from his small Indiana town. Direct and forward, and full of energy. Shantelle has just moved to Bloomington, and says she’s going to get a job, “but I will not get a factory job. “Enough of that. Too much repetitive motion.”
Welcome to both of you!
Oh yes, here’s a shot of Emily, a permaculturist and friend of Dan who has been here quite a bit, but I think this is her first Community Dinner.
Meanwhile, here are a few more pics:
“The Aunties,” Wanda and Sophia, who (“thanks to Sophia,” Wanda says: “I clean up after her, so we’re a good combination”) consistently arrive with the most interesting dishes.
Dan and Duncan.
And, for me, the most wondrous surprise of the evening, an aubergine colored calla lily that Rebecca motioned to me over outside the greenhouse to view:
Harvest was finally getting hefty this past week, with the larger vegetables beginning to fill in the gaps.
This week’s harvest crew included a new friend of Solan’s. Darn. Can’t remember her name! Cassie? (On left.)
Mariella sent me a picture of her 1/2 share, this week, laid out as if an altar offering. Yes!
Oh, I know I know. You’d probably rather I just end it here, with such a wonderful food offering. But I can’t help but go behind the scenes, to the compost, alchemizing every second of the day and night. I think this pile is about two weeks old. Or is it three? Anyway, not very long, when you also layer each pile with manure. Thanks to Solan and Dan, who keep the compost going.