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Bellavia Gardens (among other neighborhoods) is Becoming a Co-op!
|by Arjuna da Silva|
Some Earthaven neighborhoods are balancing collective and personal ownership issues by forming housing cooperatives. While used in other parts of the country, housing co-ops are new in our region and could be a reasonable model for other ecovillages, especially in rural areas.
One of the last neighborhood “pods” to get involved in the land-ownership revision, folks at Bellavia Gardens finally took a look at the details and dimensions of this “restructuring” process, which Council has been working on for several years. Here’s what we learned.
Entrance to Bellavia Circle in the lush heart of summer.
After restructuring, our Homeowners Association (HOA), of which our neighborhood “pods” will all be members, will continue to own most of our land for us, meaning the forest all around, the Commons, and much of the agricultural areas. But instead of bearing the burdens of caring for residential parcels, the HOA will pass the baton of “ownership” and responsibility to residential pods incorporated in a couple of formats.
Two neighborhoods have decided to pursue becoming religious societies, finding those more aligned than housing co-ops with their values and needs. Bellavia Gardens will have just enough Full Earthaven Members (five) to comply with the requirements for cooperative associations in North Carolina. Other neighborhoods with fewer members are joining together to start their co-ops and may branch off in the future.
left: Medicine Wheel Collective will become a religious society.
Not everyone has been excited about these changes (putting our NVC education into intensive practice!). In addition to slowpokes like the Bellavians, other challenges to accomplishing restructuring included determining which agreements would have to be amended and which can remain the same. Our commitments and understandings regarding residing on, sharing and co-owning Earthaven land have had a searchlight review and updating in preparation for becoming a federation of neighborhoods.
Earthaven Association comprehensive site map before restructuring
Much intensive and dedicated work was accomplished by Council’s Strategic Transition Group (STG), which Kimchi Rylander organized and nurtured these last few years, and which has guided the process to its maturity. Hats off also to Patricia Allison, Bob Lienhart, Debbie Lienhart, Martha Harris, Sue and Geoff Stone, Alice Henry, Norm Self, Carmen Lescher, and with a great bow to Dimitrios Magiasis, who kept interpreting for the rest of us what was happening in conversations between legal counsel and the STG team!
All in all, what has been a laborious and sometimes bewildering process has created a new way of organizing ourselves that we think will be more appropriate and supportive of our similar but also distinct neighborhood personalities.
Visitors Map showing some Earthaven neighborhoods.
Stay tuned for updated information here and on our website about ways to continue to connect with us, including visiting and tours, work exchange and other short-term residency options, educational and economic opportunities, and membership exploration. To twist the African Ubuntu saying just a little bit: “we are because YOU are!
Arjuna da Silva helped found Earthaven in 1994 and is a member of Bellavia Gardens Neighborhood. She edits this newsletter.
Opens in June 2016
SOIL (The School of Integrated Living) and Earthaven are partnering with the Ashevillage Sanctuary to bring the Permaculture School, a place-based learning journey, to Earthaven farms, neighborhoods and Commons this year. There’ll be short courses and a two-week PDC (Permaculture Design Course), as well as a three-month residency program.
Our permaculture-based village and farming community is the ideal laboratory to experience and directly engage with regenerative systems in practice, food production in action, and community living. Participants in the residency program will be immersed into the village, homes, lives, businesses and farms of the community for a hands-on, skill-building, life-changing experience.
Says Earthaven member Lee Warren, SOIL’s Co-Founder (and Executive Director of the Organic Growers School), “Place-based and hands-on education means falling in love with the world around us. It means choosing to connect to a land-base, a people, to food, water and energy systems, and a local economy, through real-life experiences.”
The School’s core curriculum includes Organic Gardening, Food As Medicine, Wise Water Stewardship, Ecological & Natural Building, Village & Human Settlements, Renewable & Appropriate Technology, Personal Leadership & Vision Development, Generative Food Forests & Ecosystems Management, Non-Violent Communication & Individual & Group Living Skills, and Permaculture training in ecological awareness, ethics, and principles.
The Permaculture School is a yearlong program that includes:
- 3-month residency
- 100-hour certified PDC
- 10 learning tracks (21 hours each)
- twice monthly mentorship calls for 9 months
- a year of assignments to accomplish your project & career goals
- [BONUS] 9-month online botany course
Permaculture School participants will walk away with a unique tool bag of Permaculture-based life-skills: a collection of concrete skills, habits, mindsets and approaches to improve your well-being and effectiveness as a conscious community citizen as well as a deeper knowing of who you are, what your gifts are, and how to share them with the world.
Early bird discounts available now. Learn more and apply at http://www.schoolofintegratedliving.org/ or contact NikiAnne at email@example.com (828) 669-2204.
Young Family, Farm Family
|Editor’s note: Andy Bosley and Julie McMahan have operated Yellowroot Farm at Earthaven continuously for ten years. During that time, they managed to incorporate the startup of three ag fields. The Hut Hamlet field was first leased in ’05, and the Horn of Plenty near the campground in about ’08. Persimmon Grove, leased two years later, has been in biodynamic soil preparation until now. Andy’s worked part-time off land since 2009, and Julie’s worked part-time for Red Moon Herbs for over ten years, even now that it’s in Weaverville. I asked them to comment on their farm family experience; Julie found pictures; Andy wrote this letter.|
Ramona and Julie mixing biodynamic preparation.
We had to make a conscious decision to scale back the farm while raising our young children—Forest, going on 5, and Ramona, 2. It hasn't always been easy to step back from the farm that has been our other baby since 2005. One of the reasons we choose to live in a rural community and help create agricultural land is because we prefer this lifestyle for raising our children (and we think they prefer it, too).
left: Young farm hands Forest and Ramona.
It isn't always easy to have kids around the farm—hot sun, mechanical equipment, sharp edges—to name a few, but there are many aspects that ARE conducive, and increasingly their awareness is such that they know a good place to stand when the tractor is around, or how to take care of themselves—get a drink of water and play in the shade.
We took a short break from raising pigs but have begun again, in large part so the kids can participate in raising their own food. It's a delight to watch Forest, the big brother, help his little sister across the road and down the path to the pig
pen, each with a bucket of foodscraps for the trough. It's in these moments that we remember why we are doing this, and how important it is that we keep it up.
Ramona lends a hand.
Earthaven turns to Andy Bosley for a lot more than farming. He's a key figure in our Forestry Plan, a gifted facilitator (i.e., cat herder), and has been active in the community's men's meetings on and off for years.
|Eldest Earthavener, Rosetta Neff,|
celebrates a century!
We glimpsed Rosetta’s beginnings in Indiana, her early move to and marriage in Los Angeles, her family’s move to Hawaii and her own world travels while a career employee with the airlines. Perhaps the most enticing pictures of all were those of Rosetta we were told she sent to her husband when he was in the service.
Many of us take time to visit and check in with Rosetta, who still walks to the Tuesday morning Coffee & Trade Hour at the Village Center from her home in the Forest Garden neighborhood (in good weather). Usually Geni carries groceries home for Rosetta so she’s free to wield her cane as needed. We give thanks for the gift of Rosetta’s graceful carrying of her elder years.
Rosetta as a young woman in California.
|Culture’s Edge and SOIL (the School of Integrated Living) want to welcome you to our programs and our community. Come thrive with us!|
On Saturday, April 23, Mossin’ Annie Martin of Mountain Moss in Brevard,NC, will offer an afternoon’s exploration of the world of bryophytes—aka mosses. These ancient plants, abiding under our feet and within dark forests and surprisingly sunlit locations, can make smart horticultural choices for enhancing your regenerative, gardens and growing sites in and outside of town.
Hundreds of native species thrive year round in North Carolina. We’ll examine some, consider best varieties for particular conditions, and do a moss garden charette at an onsite homestead.
Cost for the workshop: $30 advance registration; $35 at the door. Register online at www.culturesedge.net.
Shoemaking with Michael Ismerio May 5-8
Learn how to make 10th Century Scandinavian Turnshoes from a seasoned professional. Not only will you have the skills to make leather shoes, you will walk away in a pair you made yourself! Early registration encouraged—maximum number of students is eight! Register with SOIL…
Tell a New Story!
Permaculture enthusiasts, take note! This Memorial Day weekend, join Alan Booker of the Eldenbridge Institute, in weaving a new narrative about how major global transitions currently impacting the world might in fact turn out.
According to Alan, an engineer whose passions include sharing the promise of permaculture with other engineers, planners and educators, we create the future with every story we tell about the present.
Alan is also a professional mentor whose young mentees at his home base in Alabama are living proof of what a new narrative can do for a young person’s perspective. Whether your perspective is mostly local or primarily global, addressing the challenges we all face with a storyteller’s ingenuity promises an empowering new view of learning, teaching and practicing restorative Earth-based wisdom.
For more information, please visit Weaving New Narratives on the Culture’s Edge website.
Permaculture Design Course June 10-26
Instructors Zev Friedman and
lead a comprehensive smorgasbord of lectures, slideshows, group design projects, demonstrations and hands-on activities. You will gain tools, skills, and experience with integrated design systems; time-tested earth-based traditions; common-sense approaches to real-world challenges; and the collaborative development of an integrated design plan for a real community project. Register now!
Farm and Ecovillage Experience June 17-22
Want to live a more nourishing and sustainable life? Come experience community living, study organic food cultivation and permaculture, see off-the-grid renewable energy systems in practice, tour eco-friendly, conscious buildings and learn about creative economies Register with SOIL
Sneak peak at the future
Last June's Restorative Circles in Our Communities Conference was a whopping success, with over 100 folks attending from as far away as Japan! Many are alread practitioners and leaders in their communities, who brought experience and and insight to share with the growing numbers of us who really want to help things change. A recent poll of attendees showed an enthusiastic response to the idea of meeting annually at Earthaven, and expanding the focus to restorative justice practices in general. The majority see the first half of September as best dates.
to Quantum Physics
Culture’s Edge hosted its first workshop with Whapio Diane Bartlett this past January, entitled Quantum Wisdom. From Taoism to quantum physics, from brainwave state awareness to compassionate counseling, from ideas to practices, the workshop was packed with information for awakening vital energy in all of life's profound stages, including birth, sex, birthing and dying. Whapio promised to bring the program back in mid-Autumn. We'll keep you posted!
* Kudos to the anonymous authors of the Thirteen Moons of Feeling. The Aries Full Moon is the Moon of Awakening.