My name is Valerie and I live in a tribal village of 100 women, men and kids. We are Twin Oaks, an intentional community and EcoVillage in central Virginia. We have 450 acres of land, and we live together in homes which we built ourselves. We grow our own food and share our meals in a large central dining hall. We make our own art and music, and we have great parties!
We're egalitarian and income-sharing. This means that we make our decisions as a group, as opposed to one person deciding for the rest of us. We accomplish this through discussions, written input, etc. All the income we make from our businesses is shared equally among members. We receive housing, food, and money from the community--no one has more or less than anyone else. We also believe in non-violence. We have no TV, as many members want to live their lives in a culture free of the influences of TV-mass-media. (we do have videos though) We are secular and non-religious--we leave the choice of a spiritual path (if any) up to the individual. In general, we strive to live our lives in a culture rich in cooperation and mutual support.
Most members work within the community. People can choose whatever jobs they enjoy (except for dish washing, which everyone takes a turn at!). There are hundreds of jobs to choose from, and most people choose a variety, mixing work thatís challenging and relaxing, physical and intellectual, social and solitary. Each individualís contribution keeps the community going.
Each member works 45 hours a week (this may seem high, but it includes dish washing, housecleaning, and other jobs that people usually need to do after they've already worked a 40 hour workweek). Some of our work is done in our community businesses, each of which is managed by a member or group of members. Our businesses include making hammocks, indexing books for alternative publishers and universities, making organic tofu and other seafoods, woodworking, and organizing conferences. There's also the domestic work necessary to maintain a community of 100 people. This work includes gardening, cooking, building maintenance, office work, construction and much more.
This is definitely the closest thing I've found to a Feminist Utopia. We step outside of traditional gender roles. Each member is encouraged to be whoever they are, regardless of "traditional" roles. The main workers in our industrial wood working shop and our auto shop (we own our vehicles collectively) are women, and both men and women take care of our kids and do the cooking. When I first came here, I was skinny and young, and yet I was invited to join the forestry crew, learning to chainsaw, etc. Every summer we hold a Women's Gathering with drumming, dancing, music and more, and over 200 women come to celebrate their creativity with us.
Twin Oakers are free to structure our days however we decide. Some people prefer no scheduled work, and choose work that can be done at any time during the day. Some sleep until noon and work through the night; others stick to the familiar 9 - 5.
There are always interesting things happening around the commune. We have regular coffeehouses, where members can perform music or poetry. We have a group that focuses on political action in nearby cities. We have people knowledgeable in alternative health care who provide knowledge about herbs, massage, home-birth, etc. A Juggling group meets once a week, as does a Knitting/Sewing Circle. Our pond and river are popular for swimming and canoeing.
KIDS AT TWIN OAKS
We have about 85 adult members and about 15 children. With some members who wish we had many more kids, and some who would prefer we have no kids at Twin Oaks, we have found this middle ground. Kids are schooled in a variety of ways--home- schooling, public school, Montessori, etc. It's pretty much up to the parents and kids to decide what style works best for each child.
Come help us create a R/Evolution!
For more information, contact:
Twin Oaks Community, 138-A Twin Oaks Rd, Louisa VA 23093, 540-894-5126,
web site:l www.twinoaks.org
If we immerse ourselves in a healing bath for long enough, how can we not journey to the place from which the healing comes?
Valerie Renwick-Porter firstname.lastname@example.org Back to Archive