Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ancestral Tree

The Norway spruce in the picture on this Blog was planted by my ancestors who purchased the land it sits on in 1833. Under it sits the "smokehouse/kitchen" that served the nearby farmhouse. This farm supplied settlers moving West down the Ohio River after the American Revolution. On this site I hope to found a "school of living" to be held in a community land trust dedicated to living sustainably on this and all of the Land that is our Earthright.

Community is about sharing all that we have, all that we make and all that is given to us for our caring. I have just come from a "retreat" where I found that community and profoundly felt what it means to become part of such a community. I am truly blessed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pictures from Retreat

School of Living Retreat July 09 Best Large Size
View over 100 pictures from the School of Living Retreat held on July 10-12, 2009 at Julian Woods Community, Julian, PA at

School of Living Retreat - Reaching In, Reaching Out

From the Ahimsa Village Blog: We just finished the School of Living (SOL) Strategic Planning Retreat – Reaching In, Reaching Out - held at Julian Woods Community on July 10-12, 2009. It was a unique event in the history of the SOL. The SOL was founded in1934 by Dr. Ralph Borsodi in Suffren, NY to teach people how to live the "good life" in trying times. His vision was carried on and expanded by Mildred Loomis at Lane's End Farm inOhio and later Heathcote Center in Maryland . The SOL was the leading organization for the "green revolution" and inspired such people as J.I. Rodale, Adele Davis, Paul Keane, the Nearing and many, many others. It pioneered many movements including organic agriculture, permaculture, alternative currency, alternative education, intentional community, “back to the land,” community land trust, etc.The recent history of the organization has focused on maintaining 6 community land trust communities and less so on “green education” (although each community is engaged in educational activities). What made this retreat so unique is that it is the first time in memory that the SOL has held a retreat with the specific purpose of reevaluating its mission, vision, and goals. The event marked a unique opportunity in the organization’s 75 year history to determine its future direction.

The retreat used the Future Search method of strategic planning and was skillfully facilitated by Grace Potts and Alice Leibowitz of Insight Unlimited, a nonprofit that helps organizations “be the best they can be.” Over 50 people attended the 3 day event that featured looking at the past, present, and future. We are living in extraordinary times and are on the cusp of a major paradigm shift culturally, physically, spiritually, and materially. We feel the SOL can play a critical role in this transition as it did in the past. Our thinking is that at this moment in human history that the time is right for the SOL to reinvent itself in the spirit of Borsodi and Loomis but with a focus on our times and world situation. A new SOL will seek to teach people not only practical living skills but also social, cultural, spiritual, and communication skills that are as important as practical skills for living in the new paradigm. We hope to have a report from the retreat soon. We will post a summary here.