Like any community, our members are subject to life changes that may take them away from us. We are always sad to see people go but we always support our community members in whatever endeavors they choose to take.
Anyone who wishes to leave is encouraged to first speak with the current dry-getter as that will be their first opportunity to have a ride out of the area. We then ask that they speak to the community at large – justifying their decision to leave, outlining their plans to follow, and clarifying whether or not they’ll be in touch with us thereafter.
For those who expect or wish to stay in touch with us, we do a big SEEYALATER sendoff exchanging contact information and expecting to see them in the near future. For those who want to sever all ties, we do our best to sever all ties and send them off quickly and quietly.
Just like a Fortune 500 company offboards folks immediately who choose to resign as to not poison their view of the company, we like people who want to leave to do so quickly to allow them the greatest opportunity to reach their potential elsewhere!
In our community, we don’t believe in things like locks, closed doors, passwords, or secrets. Part of living in our community is openness and honesty. We encourage relationships, growth, development, but we encourage that it be felt as a community rather than experienced by an individual. We don’t believe that individual success is success unless it is shared with a community. We don’t believe that mourning is effective when undertaken as an individual. And we don’t trust anything that happens behind a door.
This is not some L. Ron Hubbard hiding in a saferoom beneath commune houses cult. This is a community of likeminded do-ers who are working together to build an environment where everyone supports everyone. If I have water and you’re thirsty, I will give you my water. If I am thirsty later, we will solve that problem later.
We do, however, have safety and security measures to protect our goods from community outsiders. We have no judgement or beliefs about those outside of our community, but we do understand that food and goods can go a long way with a hungry individual.
If we catch any outsiders trying to steal food and good from us, as has happened only thrice in our lifetime, we first offer that individual a space within our community letting them know that they will be rationed whatever they need as long as they remain a contributing community member. This worked with one of the individuals.
The other two were set free – scared.
We have had almost no crime in our Community since I joined in 2012.
Once, a friend and neighbor had a visitor from the city and he absent-mindedly left some cigarette butts in a common area. We approached them the following day and asked that they just clean them up. They did. That was the whole story.
Another time, some visitors got drunk and stole a bunch of candles from the gift shop at the petting zoo. We lost about $65 worth of products. We had a Community meeting and decided that maybe we should just staff the gift shop, put out testers of everything, and have the actually products kept behind the counter. Allowing people to try the products first has actually increased our revenue so we’re happy to have changed this process and not involved any law enforcement individuals.
As a community, we believe in crime but we don’t believe in people as criminals. So we don’t deal with law enforcement agents – whose primary function in society seems to be making criminals out of survivors.
As you may be wondering, why am I blogging about the Community I suggest to be so perfectly contained and populated. Well we recently had a CL Community Meeting where we discussed some new ways to mitigating the cult-vibe people feel about us.
We thought that some blogging about our beliefs and processes would be a good start. I was tiring of my role as Dry Getter, and I studied writing in school before finding my way to the Community, and I believed myself to be a good ambassador of the whole Community.
So I guess I’m here mostly to convince you that we’re not crazy people, we’re not here against our will, we have no plans to travel to South America with a vat of kool-aid, and we’re not a constant dirty farm orgy. We mostly just got sick of 7-11s and trains and dirty railings, Christmas music on the sidewalks in October, door buzzes, prime deliveries, Dunkin Donuts, swiping or inserting debit cards, surfing the web, listening to podcasts, etc.
We just…. left. And we make good products. And they are available for sale! That’s the extent of it!
Our community doesn’t have a name – it creates too much of a familial connection when really we simply identify as a community of individuals. We’re not the People’s Temple or the Children of God or the Wives of Moses or anything, we’re just a bunch of individuals on the same land. For that reason, we call ourselves The Community.
Our products for sale are titled things like, “The Community Lavender Soap” or “The Community Smudge Sticks.” And we call one another friends and neighbors. We don’t identify as a religion, so we pay taxes and value our status as Americans.
We also include a brief description of our community on the labeling for all of our goods. We certainly want to nip the cult thing in the bud if we want to keep making sharing and earning. So the description is as follows:
Thank you for visiting The Community today, we are so pleased to welcome you to our Community of farmers, growers, makers, doers. When we’re not trading and sharing with one another, we love to welcome visitors to try out our products and share a cup of tea and a story or two! Come back real soon!
I get this question from many of the community visitors – what is the family structure within the community? That’s easy to answer, we don’t have a family structure because we don’t have families. Everyone in our community is single, lives on their own, and respects the tenant of our belief system that while it’s ok to have momentary company – courtship, romance, and companionship are not valuable.
As one can imagine, many of our community members are divorcees who learned only during marriage that marriage is not of value. Many of our community members are simply single folks who have always been single and needn’t be convinced.
Because we have a community of single people, there are no families or children. There have been sexual relationships between members – which we understand to be a physical expression solely based upon the importance of orgasm. We don’t assign any emotional or romantic connection to it. And of course, members have become pregnant. In these cases, that members is encouraged to make a choice between leaving the community and raising the child or terminating the pregnancy and remaining a single person in the community. We don’t push either way, we celebrate either choice, and encourage the autonomy of such a choice.
The community here does have a strong shared belief in innate human goodness, this is what binds us together as a community. We see one another’s inherent goodness and worth, we celebrate it, we reject the cruelty and passivity of the world we all left behind, and we pose no threat to anybody.
The minute I begin to tell anyone that I live in a chosen community with a chosen familial group and we share common beliefs about the world around us, they begin to question my safety and sanity. I know it sounds like a cult. I’ve studied all of the cults, all of the cult leaders, all of the different world religions. I understand the difference between cult and religion just as I recognize the difference between community and cult.
We have a weekly mutual worship session – we’re split into groups and discuss our lives with a therapeutic sense. The purpose of these groups is to have friends and neighbors validate our concerns that we would be afraid to even voice in a less evolved group. It is also a way to heighten the sense of community and dependency of the community members. It is important to us to remember that people need us as much as we need people. For this reason, it is very uncommon that someone leaves the group.
We get the occasional tourists in town on the wine trip who don’t feel comfortable visiting or paying for goods at what they consider a cult. Once anyone is convinced you’re in a cult, anything you say sounds to them like gaslight scripted jargon. But most are more than happy to throw their money at us!
This hipster homemade trend works very much in our favor.
Because our entire community exists, in large part, on a bartering and trading system it can be hard to make purchases in the real world. I scoff at the notion of buying a $12 bottle of shampoo because $12 sounds like so much money to me and why wouldn’t I just make my own shampoo and how long will it last me anyway and how often is it responsible to was my hair etc etc etc. Perhaps one reason I left the city to live in a small community is the overwhelming consistency of too many choices – all of them expensive.
So beyond buying from my friends and neighbors, I try to do as little shopping as possible. I don’t shop online, I don’t even have internet at the house. I just have a limited amount of cellular data each month.
A neighbor and I leave the community once a month on what we call a “dry get.” It’s basically just a journey to get dry goods for community share night. This is the task to which we were assigned by the CL (Community Leader) and we take it very seriously.
We stock up on paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels, etc), dried edible goods (beans, flour, etc) and any needs that have been identified by CL. We don’t question the task or the list of items and then we leave them at CL’s so that they may be sorted and rationed.
I live in a small town, we don’t have local market, let alone a Whole Foods, in large part because so many of the individuals and families living in this community are more self-sufficient than in more densely populated areas.
Most of the families out here have farmland and produce necessities – during the once-weekly farm swap, we bring what we have in surplus and tradesies. Sure, sometimes we’re all just trading barely-different ears of corn back and forth, but there are specialty items at different forms that I wait for excitedly all year!
Because I maintain a small shea tree grove, a large herb garden, and several fruit trees I sell mostly soaps, lotions and perfumes that I make at home. Besides it being a nice income, it’s also a really calming hobby. I love listening to feedback from buyers and improving existing products or learning to make new ones.
I host one night a month, whoever wants to come, and learn whatever it is I’m working on – everything brings their own farm-sharables so we usually have a really nice spread of cheese, vegetables, fruit, fresh-baked breads, savory pastries, and local wine to feat upon while straining tofu or stirring essential oils into boiling shea oil.
Any of the local vendors – there’s a pumpkin patch, an apple orchard, and a petting zoo catering to tourists on our little wine country tour. I sell my goods there and see pretty amazing profits. Tourists love to buy anything in a mason jar.