Twin Oaks is an income-sharing community of roughly 100 people living on 450 acres of farm and forestland in Virginia. They were founded in 1967, and their lifestyle reflects values of egalitarianism, ecology, and non-violence. They welcome scheduled visitors throughout the year.
They are an economically self sufficient community. Community members work in their 3 main community businesses- making:
These businesses provide about 1/3 of their work; the rest goes into the tasks needed to support a rural village of 100 people- organic gardening, milking cows, equipment and building maintenance, office work, and more. Their work schedules of 42 hours each week are very flexible. In return for member's labor, the community provides all basic needs, including housing, food, clothing etc. Twin Oaks has an intricate community culture.
Their everyday lives include many recreational activities-social and support groups, performances, music, games, dance, and art. Their culture values tolerance of diversity and sustainable living. They share their vehicles, they build their own buildings, and share multiple houses of 10-20 people. Some of their community members work actively for peace and justice, ecology, and feminism. Each summer they host a Women's Gathering and a Communities Conference.
They offer a 3-hour tour on many Saturdays afternoons; please call during business hours or e-mail to reserve a place. Their 3 week visitor program is a pre-requisite for membership and must be arranged by letter or e-mail well in advance of the propose stay.
Commune (organized around sharing almost everything)
Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability
By a council, group of Elders, or leadership group
Acorn is an intentional community in Mineral, Virginia of around 30 folks which was founded in 1993. They are an egalitarian, income-sharing, secular, anarchist, feminist, consensus-based commune. The members that live there are committed to non-coercive, voluntary associations within their community and the larger community in which they find themselves as well as living sustainably, supporting queer & alternative lifestyles, and creating a vibrant, eclectic culture.
Their community lives 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 their farm and business. They grow herbs and food for their kitchen & seeds for their business, care for lots of livestock (chickens, cows, goats, & pigs!), cook two community meals daily, educate their children, maintain their land & buildings, and do office jobs like accounting, seed packing and order picking/shipping. Their community also does outreach work in their local community and in the communities movement, like growing food for the 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, they have more free time than the average working person. The community supports the education, personal growth, & personal projects of our members. They have no:
They set their own schedules and trust members to work quota. Communally they get things done by having a culture which stresses personal responsibility and good communication. They care about Acorn so they work hard to ensure it stays around.
Their community's 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. They sell heirloom, open-pollinated, non-GMO and organic seeds and do seed saving education and outreach. They earn their income by providing a means of production to gardeners and farmers.
They have 2 group meetings per week. One is a consensus-based decision making meeting while the other is a general discussion forum where they explore ideas & work through issues. Their community intentionally keep policies to a minimum. They strongly 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 they make can be brought back to a meeting at any point – their 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! They share the daily challenges of living and working together, remembering to have fun while running a growing business, making decisions together, and sharing income. They 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 them, interning in their seed business and garden, or considering applying for membership, please visit their website, and click on “How to Visit Acorn Community Farm.”
Commune (organized around sharing almost everything)
Up to 25%
Consensus (everyone agrees)
Renewable Energy Produced:
0%, or close to 0%
All or close to all
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.)