Alyson Ewald is a former Board member of the FIC. Full bio below. For more 30th blog posts click here.
This morning I gave a tour of our homestead at Red Earth Farms to a dozen people who were visiting the neighboring ecovillage.
As they asked questions about scything, fruit trees, renewable energy, and reclaimed building materials, and then walked over to the next homestead to learn more, it occurred to me that none of this would likely have happened if not for FIC.
When FIC was just a few years old, I moved to Russia and later Eastern Europe, where I studied, taught, and organized for the better part of a decade. I wanted to live in community with other activists, but didn’t see models there of what I was looking for. So I traveled back to the US to visit a few communities in hopes of founding one in Eastern Europe afterwards.
I first heard about Dancing Rabbit ecovillage in 1998 at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference, which FIC co-sponsors. No FIC, no conference.
Wishing to learn about various kinds of community, I consulted the people who were writing the Communities Directory. They pointed me toward options that expanded my ideas about how community could look. No FIC, no Directory.
Despite valiant efforts by myself and other would-be founders, our international activist community in Croatia fizzled out. Later, living alone, I followed the communities movement and stayed inspired through reading Communities magazine. No FIC, no magazine.
This inspiration led me to move to Dancing Rabbit and later to co-found Red Earth Farms with a few friends. Seeking best practices as we made our first agreements and drafted our original documents, we relied on the Directory, the magazine, and the national FIC network for information. No FIC, no info.
As I was getting on my feet out here in Missouri, I needed part-time work to pay the bills. FIC hired me first as Development Assistant and later for a short stint as Communities magazine editor. My partner likewise was contracted to design FIC’s new logo. Later, while facilitating an FIC meeting, I met someone who hired me for one of my current jobs hosting an online sustainability course. No FIC, no income.
FIC eventually saw fit to invite me to serve on their Board, which I did with pleasure for several years. Meeting with other Board members at communities across the country gave me valuable experience and connections that has informed my work on community governance and justice ever since. No FIC, no Board leadership.
FIC and the information, connections, and friendships it has generated have enriched my life beyond what I can describe.
Without the conferences, directories, magazines, and the nonprofit organization at the heart of it all, it’s hard to see how our community could have been created, or my family’s life here sustained—which means the thousands of people who have toured, visited, or enjoyed our website would not have had this glimpse of a more cooperative, sustainable society.
Maybe the tour I gave this morning should have had a tagline: “This community tour was powered by the FIC.”
Alyson Ewald has spent over twenty years leading environmental and educational programs both within the US and abroad. She supports cooperative groups strengthening their governance and conflict engagement systems, teaches in a homeschool co-op, bakes sourdough bread for the neighborhood, and sometimes manages to grow some vegetables. She co-founded Red Earth Farms, a homesteading community in Missouri, USA, where she lives with her family and other creatures.
One Reply to “Your Tour Powered by the FIC – 30th Birthday, Day 3”
i share this spirit and thread through my life.