Fall Newsletter

In this Issue
Practicing Gender Appropriate Languaging
Earthaveners Love Starhawk!
Gateway: Solutions in the Face of Insufficiency
Meeting New Members
We Give Thanks for Juan Jo Qualia Farm
What The Children Did During the Summer
Vedanta


Practicing Gender Appropriate Languaging (GAL)
by Arjuna da Silva

It's not unusual for new folks at Earthaven to feel overwhelmed by many of our members' insistence on the use of gender appropriate language; that is, when gender specific pronouns and nouns are used, the request is that they refer to the actual genders of the people being addressed. The phrase, "you guys," one of the most commonly used terms nowadays, feels—when addressed to women—like either a deliberate or else simply ignorant neglect of women's actual gender.

Although we each have our opposites and complements within us, the long history of female oppression has led many women to desire the conscious respect that comes with gender acknowledgement. We would like the habit of meshing male and female gender together by using male pronouns and nouns to become a thing of the past. Of course, changing our speech patterns takes time and persistence, and at a place like Earthaven where there are always new people engaging in our conversations, it can become frustrating on both sides to keep saying or just hearing requests for a language change.

In order not to become overbearing, it's as likely that concerned women (and men) will simply mention the appropriate phrase after someone has spoken using an inappropriate gender specific term. In other words, after a piece of dialog that includes several "you guys" in it, a GAL may simply proffer the words "you all" into the silence at the end of the speech. Please don't be offended if you're one of the people who hasn't converted all your languaging to gender-appropriate terminology and so gets "corrected" by the GASP (Gender Appropriate Speech Police). With time you will also probably become aware of how good it feels to be conscious of this kind of detail, helping to create an atmosphere where women feel acknowledged, respected and included. Saying "you Gaians" (people of Gaia) instead of "you guys" is a nice switch, but not always understandable. Here in the South, "you all" (y'all, that is) works great! "You" would actually work! Perhaps in the future we will make up new words to reflect mixed gender groups. What would you choose?


Earthaveners love Starhawk
by Ivy Lynn

Many of the women of Earthaven attended the Second Annual Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference held during the Fall Equinox, sponsored by Red Moon Herbs. Starhawk’s presence as this year’s keynote speaker was particularly significant for Earthaveners.

Starhawk is well known as the author of eleven books, including The Spiral Path and The Fifth Sacred Thing. However, it's her more recent books that specifically and eloquently explain the fundamental values that are at the core of Earthaven's existence. Webs of Power covers much of the political action spectrum, including the importance of bioregional economic self-sufficiency and its relationship to strategies of political power. The significance of understanding and working with Nature is made abundantly clear in her other recent book, Earth Path.

Starhawk's focus at the conference was very much about the material in Earth Path. She led the intensive through a series of awareness exercises. The exercises enhance sense awareness, allowing participants to be more receptive to information from Nature. This information is always available to us, if we only give ourselves access to the natural world. A guided meditation followed the exercises. The beauty of guided meditation is that it allows us to screen out ego filters accumulated in the rough-and-tumble world, where abuse and failure can block our vision and limit our options. Then the information we glean from Nature can help us see the steps needed to care for our world and ourselves more skillfully.

Starhawk addressed the feelings of helplessness that come so often to people who are daunted by the enormous tasks before us, of changing consumer culture and cleaning up so much pollution. Hearing from her about advances in the use of bacteria and fungi to clean up pollution were very inspiring. She pointed out that we are part of nature and that nature can use humans to cure the distructiveness of other human actions.

If you would like to learn more about Starhawk's work, the books mentioned above are a captivating and easy-to-understand resource. You may buy these books at your local bookstore, or through Red Moon Herbs by going to:

redmoonherbs.com


Gateway: Solutions in the Face of Insufficiency
by Ivy Lynn

The bright, creative thinking and dedicated, diligent work of Chris Farmer and Brian Love are the stuff of future Earthaven legends. Folks are always wanting to know what amazing things they've been up to. Considering their plan for Gateway Field, we will probably not be disappointed, as it promises to maximize their potential.

In these times, we need people with legendary resolve, tireless energy, multi-dimensional intelligence and a strong work ethic. While growing with remarkable success, Earthaven is still facing huge insufficiencies, not the least of which is a lack of inherited skills.

The homesteader skills of our great grandparents have been lost. Now, the skill a ten-year-old would have taken for granted a century ago, we must gain through trial and error. Of course, many people at Earthaven have resolve, energy, intelligence and a good work ethic (not necessarily in legendary quantity). Nonetheless, we have been slow in tackling the far-reaching problem of dependable alternative energy. Most of us have been entirely occupied with other important work, including the building of our own living spaces, that we often have just had to go on the hope that eventually someone with the right skills and knowledge would take it on.

Thank goodness, Brian and Farmer are doing just that! In their own words, they have already begun the intensive project of creating “an integrated system where logging, milling, and building residues provide power for biofuel production... [with their] wastes...used as high-protein feed supplements for pasture-raised livestock [that]...fertilize the field...for vegetable cultivation."

It will be a while before the whole program is in place and producing. In the eight plus years that Farmer has been at Earthaven, he has been doing what neede to be done while planning and preparing for this project. This time was not wasted.

Though Brian arrived on the scene just four years ago, he truly hit the ground running. His brilliance, exuberance, and physical endurance were just the support Farmer needed to renew his resolve. Helping him to make use of the things he had learned in his years at Eathaven.

In our last two issues, we wrote about our new "Sweat Equity" policy and also about "Sustainable Systems" (which focused primarily on Farmer and Brian's work truck/power source). These articles described how these men established the foundation that would allow them to carry out their plans within the limiting context of a self-supporting, off-the-grid community such as ours. In the relatively short time since they signed their lease for the Gateway field, they have cleared the acreage, processed and stored the wood, acquired their water tanks, built an impressive barn, plowed under their first two cover crops, planted a third cover crop, and constructed a significantly-sized pond. Therefore, in spite of insufficiencies (or because they are so aware of them), Farmer and Brian are helping us to face a more promising future.

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/072506_small_local.shtml


Meeting New Members
by Arjuna da Silva

We'd love to introduce you to our most recent members, with apologies to all who've come before and those after that we neglect to feature. There are so many things to write about, to update you on, that it becomes impossible to include it all. But here's a little vignette or two about the great folks who recently jumped through all the Earthaven hoops to be full members and become official Earthaven siteholders with their own 99-year, transferable sitehodling leases.

First, meet Robert Carran. Robert's a carpenter, builder, artist and musician whose latest art form began its quiet development at Paul Caron's wood shop, located below the White Owl on Another Way. The wood shop is the anchor point for the proposed Earthaven College of Natural Building, and at the moment serves to help focus a variety of wood projects.

Robert's been toying around with the wood lathe, turning out beautiful bowls and tumblers. Since he began working on his homesite in the newly designated Hickory Knob Compact Sites neighborhood, across the road from Village Terraces, he's been doing his woodworking over there, too. The site was cleared, provided with power from the Village Center hydro station, and with the help of a couple of terrific work exchangers, a work shed and the frame of a future octagonal living space have gone up.

The octagon has posts each made from a different, distinctive wood, most of which were harvested right on site. Two years ago, before taking an extended time away from the community to consider the full impact of making a sincere commitment, Robert was the inspiration behind what was probably Earthaven's most successful performing arts events, a terrific spoof about life at Earthaven entitled The Waltz of the Ogres. Council Hall was packed to the rafters that night, and the audience was elated by the insight and good humor that permeated the production. Multi-talented and committed to the vision of sustainable community transformation, Robert's been pitching in at all levels of community endeavor. Welcome, Robert!

After Robert, the next Full Members to take the jump were Martha Harris, a lawyer living in Durham, NC, and her partner, Lee Finks, a retired librarian. Martha became a Full Member in April and Finch, as we call him, jumped in May. Martha's still works for the State Legislature in Raleigh and so she and Finch commute to Earthaven most weekends, with occasional week-long stays, a schedule that will probably continue at least until the duplex they are planning to build at Village Terraces is ready for them to move into.

Meanwhile, they've both taken on a chunk of Earthaven's administrative work and, as you can imagine, Martha's familiarity with the law, and NC law in particular, is of immense assistance to us. On top of that, Martha stepped in as our bookkeeper shortly after she became a Provisional Member, agreeing to work for community service credits (leaps) just when we'd finally agreed to raise our annual fees in order to pay one of us to keep our records straight for a few hours a week. Since the fees had already been raised, the funds will be channeled into other, much-needed community management positions.

These days Martha is also helping us reconstruct our various legal entities to better support our vision and address our everyday reality. Stay tuned for exciting news on this subject. Finch, by the way, is waiting patiently for the time when he can help us develop our sustainability reference library for members and the public alike. Welcome, Martha and Finch!


We Give Thanks for Juan Jo Qualia Farm
by Ivy Lynn

As we approach the holiday known as Thanksgiving, it seems fitting to acknowledge the gratefulness so many of us feel to have been eating vegetables grown by Juan Jo Qualia Farm in the Hut Hamlet this year. It is so important to the success of our ecovillage that we keep moving toward producing as much of our own food as possible. We know that the Gateway project and Imani Farm will someday provide much food for us, but for now Juan Jo holds the one highly visible role of vegetable grower.

Many things have gone into making this possible. Thanks go to all the people who sat in committee meetings and created policy to allow farmers the energetic, mental and physical space to grow! We also owe thanks to Greg Clark and Katrina Highland for pasturing a cow, two goats, and numerous chickens on the Hamlet field. Thanks to past lessons learned, there was wisdom enough to put a fence around the field that is tall enough to keep out the deer.

No small thanks now go to Julie MacMahon, Andy Bosley and Joe Dofflemyer for the hard work of learning how best to grow food: for making time in their lives to do it, for finding ways to subsidize their farming so that they could be on site when needed on the farm. Thanks also to all the biodynamic-based knowledge these farmers were able to draw on. And lastly thanks to all those who supported their farm by buying CSA subscriptions and making by-the-item purchases.

Juan Jo Qualia is certainly an unusual name. Here is the official explanation from the farmers themselves. "Juan Jo is the first two letters of our names (Julie, Andy, Joe). Qualia is a biodynamic term that means aspects of perception. Aside from sounding cool, it applies to the different ways to perceive the garden. One way to perceive it is the physical layout of rows, plants, irrigation system, compost pile, etc. Then there’s the realm of the devas (plant and animal spirits) to whom we give thanks and ask guidance from as we go about our work. Then there’s the science perception. With the scientific perspective everything is about nutrient uptake, mineral composition, beneficial insect species and x gallons of water at x pressure to irrigate for one hour. There are infinite levels of perception that we can come up with. The point we focus on is that they are all here, all present. We may spend more time focusing on one or the other, but we recognize the importance of all beings and all viewpoints."


What The Children Did During the Summer
by Arjuna da Silva

During the school year, kids who attend the Forest Children's Program can be seen scampering across the Village Green at least three days a week, while several, mostly older kids commute to schools in Black Mountain or to their other parent's locale in Asheville.

Back in June, I became curious about whether these lucky younguns were going to stay around all Summer, or go off to other adventures, and here's what I was told. In "the Brandon and Tanya family," Brandon wrote: "Aleah [Tanya's 11-year-old] has been visiting Kentucky and Missouri with her Dad, and will be going on a trip to Indiana and Massachusetts with us in July. Here one week and with Dad one week after that. Aurora [Brandon's ex-partner Brandi's 9-year-old] will also come on the trip to IN and MA; and while at home she is doing an outdoor leadership program called Task. (Willow, the baby, will, of course, accompany the family, as she approaches her first birthday in September.)

Mihaly offered this list on behalf of 7-year-old Tessa, who lives during the school year with her Mom in Nashville: playing troll under the new bridge, eating homemade raw ice cream, jumping on the trampoline, watching movies, building a fort, swimmin' in the hole, riding bikes, sleeping late, picking blueberries, helping with chores and construction, massage nights, contra dancing, reading at bedtime, dressing up, playing cards, listening to her CDs, eating candy at the Trading Post, walking Bridgit (the Cow), collecting eggs, playing in the woods, double-slumber parties, writing in her diary, putting on skits.

Holly wrote from Main Street: "Rose is working one day a week at the Inn on Mill Creek, a B & B near Ridgecrest. She is also apprenticing with [our neighbor] Rainbow in order to learn how to paint murals, and going to the Thursday contra dances as much as she can. She practices her guitar every day. She was accepted into, and leaves tomorrow, for a program called CLIMBE (Center for Learning and Investigation in Mountain Backcountry Ecosystems), which is done through Montreat College. It's a 6-day scientific backpacking expedition for rising 8th through 12th graders, in which they'll hike from Mount Mitchell down to Montreat and test water quality as they come down. There will be 10 kids at a time and the program runs for 6 weeks total, so 60 kids were accepted from over 100 applicants from around the country. She is also helping around the house, working in the garden, and hanging out with friends at Earthaven. " Holly continued: [Rose's brother] "Eli is not doing much this summer! Aside from some EH and town playdates, he goes to work with me two days a week. It's a little boring there, but he reads a lot. He has also done a math camp with the TLC director and math teacher. Both kids will likely spend some time in Indiana and Ohio with extended family this summer."

We also got an update from Jill on daughter Mira's behalf (although I'm surprised that articulate 8-year-old didn't write her own!): "Mira's first 2 wks at EH were great! She joined the Sister Stitch group, which inspired her to sew a purse for Fran, which was well received at Fran's b'day party. Mira also enjoyed a great b'day celebration with Cory—getting into the mud/clay pit!! Mira has been enjoying spending time with the other kids, bike riding, berry picking, going to the swimming hole, planting seeds, harvesting, picking up our harvest at the CSA, chasing the salamanders. She put together a 500-piece puzzle the A&A folks loaned her. She is a bookworm, and while Jill is at Qigong class, Mira is somewhere in the magic treehouse book collection—off on adventures with the characters. Greg took her out on a library trip, and got her the new Peter Pan DVD. She has a charmed summer life, and we've only just begun. We make our rounds with dinner dates. Life is good!"

Seems like we got the goods on most of the girls, and on Eli, but we know our other fellas—Gailen, Nick and Joshua, Cory, and Yeshua and Otus—were out there swimming, picking berries, going to town with their folks, checking out the woods' creatures, and playing lots of games, too.


Vedanta
by Arjuna da Silva

We'll remember you. Remember us. We love you, Vedanta. Phrases painted into the collective painting that began the night after Vedanta died, March 22, and was completed on his birthday, April 14 (now officially Ananda Vedanta Music & Art Day) at a "hippie" bash at the White Owl.

It was a beautiful night, and most folks stayed outdoors around the fire, drumming, dancing, remembering the flute music we'll miss, and the man who brought so much passion for music and art to our community. While some of us danced, and others munched some of Vedanta's favorite foods, another group watched a video of the 1997 (first annual) Guru Purnima Celebration. That event celebrates the teachings of all spiritual masters, and for years Vedanta and friends held weekend "meditation camps" on the land and shared the meditation techniques Osho designed for stopping "the monkey mind."

Kimchi was with Vedanta during his illness and death, and was able to set up a continuous slide show tracing his life from his younger days of global travels, through his developing artistic career and, finally, to his body's end in Florida. A follow-up event in July was also celebrated to honor family members from afar, as a long line of family and friends poured handfulls of Vedanta's ashes into a hole into which a beautiful Asian Persimmon tree was prominently placed at the foot of the Village Green. A colorful painted banner inscribed with the encouragement to "Enjoy your journey, Vedanta" was hung across the mural he played a major role in creating for the Forest Garden's greenhouse.


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