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Acorn Community Farm

Last updated: May 28, 2016 (2 months ago)

Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Acorn Community Farm

(Mineral, Virginia, United States)

Mission Statement:

Secular, Egalitarian, Anarchist, Autonomous, Sustainable, Cooperative, Non-Violent, Feminist, Intentional Community

Community Description:

Acorn is an intentional community of around 30 folks which was founded in 1993. We are an egalitarian, income-sharing, secular, anarchist, feminist, consensus-based commune. We are committed to non-coercive, voluntary associations within our community and the larger community in which we find ourselves as well as living sustainably, supporting queer & alternative lifestyles, and creating a vibrant, eclectic culture.

We live on a working farm which means there is always plenty to do. Everyone is expected to contribute 42 hours of labor a week. There are many types of work available, mostly for our farm and business. We grow herbs and food for our kitchen & seeds for our business, care for lots of livestock(chickens, cows, goats, & pigs!), cook two community meals daily, educate our children, maintain our land & buildings, and do office jobs like accounting, seed packing and order picking/shipping. We also do outreach work in our local community and in the communities movement, like growing food for our local food bank, and helping other communities and organizations like the FIC, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, Organic Seed Alliance, & the Grassroots Seed Network. Members may also work outside jobs to fulfill their labor quota. All of this work is valued equally.

Because creditable labor is so diverse, we have more free time than the average working person. The community supports the education, personal growth, & personal projects of our members. We have no bosses, owners, investors, managers, or supervisors. We set our own schedules and trust members to work quota. We get things done by having a culture which stresses personal responsibility and good communication. We care about Acorn so we work hard to ensure it stays around.

Our thriving seed business, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, is part of a growing network of farmers, gardeners and seed savers dedicated to organic and heritage agriculture. We sell heirloom, open-pollinated, non-GMO and organic seeds and do seed saving education and outreach. We earn our income by providing a means of production to gardeners and farmers.

We have 2 group meetings per week. One is a consensus-based decision making meeting while the other is a general discussion forum where we explore ideas & work through issues. We intentionally keep policies to a minimum. We encourage personal responsibility rather than supervision, as well as taking issues on a case-by-case basis, keeping in mind that needs of individuals vary. Any decision we make can be brought back to a meeting at any point – our lifestyle thrives on open communication & respect for fellow communards.

Once every 2 years, members are required to take part in an interpersonal communication process called a “clearness”, where a single member talks individually to every other member about how they have been feeling, their relationship with the community, and what they envision their future to be. Membership visitors & long-term interns/guests are also required to have a clearness.

Remember, this stuff is hard! We share the daily challenges of living and working together, remembering to have fun while running a growing business, making decisions together, and sharing income. We are interested in meeting people experienced in community-building, communication and facilitation, who are interested in building a healthy, dynamic, supportive social culture.

If you are interested in visiting us, interning in our seed business and garden, or considering applying for membership, please visit our website, www.acorncommunity.org, and click on “How to Visit Acorn Community Farm.”

We look forward to hearing from you!

About

  • Type(s): Commune (organized around sharing almost everything)
  • Programs & Activities: Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, Ethical Business, Investment Group, or Alternative Currency, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming
  • Location: Rural

Housing

  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 72 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Mobile homes, RV’s, converted buses, Natural built structues
  • Current Number of Residences: 4
  • Planned Residence Types: Multi-family homes
  • Housing Provided: Work-exchange, Included in Membership
  • Land owned by: The entire community membership

Membership

  • Adult Members: 28
  • Child Members: 4
  • Non-member Residents: 10
  • Percent Women: 41-49%
  • Percent Men: 51-60%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process: All visitors must be approved in advance. Please see our website for the information we need from you to consider your request for a visit or internship. We prefer email, though if your internet access is limited we could also gather this information by mail.
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process: Submit a letter of introduction & completed questionnaire downloaded from our website. Communicate with someone doing our scheduling. Be invited to do a 3 week membership visit during which you go through the clearness process. Be formally invited to join. Take up residence within 1 year of invitation to join.

Government

  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No

Economics

  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: All or close to all
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 42
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments: All members are expected to contribute 42 hours per week, with one month of vacation time per year. Over-quota work can be turned into vacation time, or monetary support for forming FEC communities. While residing at Acorn, members are expected maintain an egalitarian setting by not using personal outside resources (savings, vehicles, etc.).

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: From 50-75%
  • Food produced locally: Between 26-49%

Lifestyle

  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Swimming pond or pool, Hot tub or hot springs, Outdoor Kitchen, Large Scale Kitchen, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Stage or Auditorium, Fire pit, Swingsets & play areas, Gym or sports area, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: Approximately all meals
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Paleo (no grains, dairy, processed foods, or legumes), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), Mostly Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, Opportunivore (dumpster diving, nature harvesting, etc.)
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used often.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used often.
  • Additional Diet Comments: Lunch and dinner are served most days, breakfast is free-for-all in two shared kitchens. Cooks will accommodate for vegetarian and vegan diets and most allergies. We have have dumpstered and pre-dumpstered food, and it is frequently served in community meals.
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Community Plan, Up to each family or individual
  • Additional Comments: The community covers all member health care costs after six months of provisional membership, and dental/vision costs after one year.

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC)

Community Affiliations

East Wind Community, Ganas, Sandhill Farm, Twin Oaks Community, Sapling Community, Living Energy Farm, Quercus Community, Cambia Community, Baltimore Free Farm, Point A

Keywords

Secular, Egalitarian, Anarchist, Sustainable, Feminist, Consensus-based, Cooperative, Non-violent

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.