Path to Membership
Living in an intentional community can be a deeply rewarding experience, although it may be a very different lifestyle for some. Many people are realizing the fallacies and shortcomings of consumer culture and the American dream, and are searching for a better way to live. Living at East Wind offers the opportunity to be your own boss and pursue work that truly interests you, to develop a deeper connection with the natural world, to share your day-to-day life with an extended family of like-minded people, and to be a part of a movement to create a better quality of life for everyone who wants it. East Wind isn’t the place for everyone, but some of our current members consider moving to community to be one of the best decisions of their lives. If we desire something better than ‘the American dream’ for ourselves and for future generations, we must develop alternatives and set an example for others to follow. So take some advice from Ghandi, and be the change you want to see in the world. That’s what we’re doing.
Those interested in joining East Wind are welcome to inquire about arranging a visit. Contact us first at firstname.lastname@example.org, as dropping in unannounced is not accepted. After completing a three week visitor period, visitors can apply for either provisional membership or associate status at East Wind. Provisional membership is somewhat of a trial membership, and is a year-long track to becoming a full member. East Wind is an egalitarian income-sharing community, so full members must donate or loan personal assets (such as cars, money, and property) to community, or commit to not use these assets during their membership here. Members who leave can reclaim all assets they have loaned to community upon their departure. Associate status is an option for people who do not wish to make this commitment, but plan to spend from a minimum of two months to a maximum of ten months per year living and working at East Wind.
East Wind is self-governed through direct democracy. All members and visitors are welcome to participate in our political processes and speak in community meetings. However, visitors, provisional members (those during their first year of membership), and those with associate status are not granted a full vote. Provisional members receive a half vote in community ballots after three months of membership, and can vote on all issues except for those that deal with membership. Visitors and individuals with associate status have no voting rights, but may still attend community meetings and share their opinions. All full members have an equal vote and equal access to utilize the established processes. Only full members can sign and pass petitions.
After one year, provisional members are subject to a vote on their membership—if they receive a simple majority of yes votes, they are awarded full membership, full medical coverage, and a full vote in future ballots. However, if they receive a majority of no votes, they will be asked to either extend their provisional membership by six months before undergoing a second vote or to leave community. If this sounds like a lot of pressure, please keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of membership votes are in favor of the new member. This process is designed primarily to keep out individuals who do not do their fair share of work or make current members feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
All full members are equal owners of our land, our businesses, and our assets. Full members can only be expelled from community by the action of two-thirds of full members through petition or vote. Expellable offenses include failure to do fair share, physical violence, theft, violating the community’s property and income codes, and deliberate attempts to destroy of disband the community. The decision to expel a member for these or other offenses is made by full members of the community on a case-by-case basis. Though problems do occasionally arise, we are usually able to resolve issues amongst ourselves and expulsion is extremely uncommon.
East Wind often sees very high turnover rates among our membership, and it is not uncommon for one-third to half of our members to be in the first year or two of their membership. Though this constant flow of energy is beneficial in many ways, it can be detrimental as well. Committed East Winders hope to see more hardworking individuals take on long-term responsibilities and projects that will allow our community to thrive. Many people have left East Wind to pursue life elsewhere over the years, but few regret their experiences here. Living and working in community has had a profound impact on the lives of thousands, and even many of those who have moved on hold a special place for East Wind in their hearts.
East Wind offers a home to those who want to help us in our mission to create a sustainable and egalitarian communal lifestyle. If these values are important to you, please consider visiting us in the Ozarks and getting involved. Moving to community can be a life-changing event, and we hope it can change your life for the better.