Culture — Life at East Wind
While our bylaws and Legispol lay out the backbone of how we function politically within community, our culture is defined in many ways by our commitment to The Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC). The FEC is comprised of six intentional communities in the United States that have joined together in a common struggle to create a lifestyle based on equality, cooperation, and harmony with the Earth. As an active member of the FEC, we are part of a larger network of communities, each of us contributing what we can to mutually benefit one another for the greater good of all. We are also able to share and receive labor with other communities through a labor exchange program that allows members to receive labor credit at their home community for work done elsewhere. Labor exchange opportunities arise frequently (chiefly to Sandhill and surrounding communities in Missouri, and to Twin Oaks and Acorn in Virginia).
We hold our land, income, labor, and other resources in common. The community assumes responsibility for the needs of its members, from food and shelter to medical care and entertainment. We work hard, because we understand that each one of us is responsible for ourselves as well as the group. We are part of a system that rewards cooperation rather than competition. We ensure that our members have an opportunity to participate in the decision making process by using direct voting methods such as petitions, proposals, and ballots. As a community, we hold meetings for discussion on topics relevant to community. All are welcome and invited, and everyone’s voice is heard.
We practice nonviolence. We believe that every person has the right to be free from the threat of physical violence, and incidents of violence within the community are not tolerated. We consider ourselves stewards of the land we use, and are working towards creating a more sustainable lifestyle while reducing our impact on our environment. A big part of our garden, ranch, comptoil, and forestry teams’ goals involve using our resources as effectively as we know how to, and reducing our ecological footprint.
Community meetings remind us that we all have something to say, and this teaches us to listen and be open to other perspectives. As much of our work takes place in the woods, the pastures, and the gardens, we very conscious of our environmental impact on the land. Because we recognize and respect everyone’s right to nonviolence, we are reminded to be respectful of others’ personal space. Because we realize that everything we do benefits ourselves, our friends, and the community at large, we put a lot of love into our work. And because we hold what we care for in common, we are all more willing to strive to make it better for all of us.