Friday, July 23, 2010

Mineral, Virginia: Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the Acorn Community

A distant memory from the nether regions of my brain surfaced as we drove further south of Charlottesville to meet with Ira Wallace of the Acorn intentional community. The memory is of a college field trip to a communal living development in which the dwellers ran a farm and a hammock production business and did their best to stay on the up and up so as not to be harassed by the cops in this rural town that suspicioned that the commune was a harbor for dirty communists or hippies or both. Most shocking to my 20 year old self (I was somewhat sheltered as a child) was eating in the dining hall with a trio of lovers. The lady’s name was something like Moonbeam, and she was about to have a baby fathered by one of these men, but no one wanted to know who the dad was. They just wanted to raise the baby all together as equal partners. My thirty year old self thinks that is a lovely way to be a family, and I appreciate the nontraditional roles they are able to embrace. I think my thirty year old self is (hopefully) less judgemental than I have been previously.
Back to present day Acorn Community. Ira welcomed us into the garden which is tended by the community members. At first glance it seems wild and haphazard, and upon further inspection it still seems wild but definitely alive with the loud hum of bumble bees and the signs that peek out from under the huge and healthy looking ruffage. The commune does a prosperous business with seed saving and selling (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is the name of that business). Ira talked about wanting to move back to the sister commune Twin Oaks which is about 10 miles away because the crowd there is older and a little less transient. Ira herself has lived on communes all her adult life, and was instrumental in creating and shaping the Acorn Community. Most folks seem to come and go on the commune, but it seems to truly be home for Ira.

4 comments:

Catherine said...

Hi there, thanks very much for this information on Ira! She's a member of my family, and I'm currently working on an article about her work. I was wondering if I could use this photograph for the piece. To whom should I give credit?

Thanks,
Catherine

Trav Williams and Kacy Spooner said...

Catherine-

Thanks for the note! What is the article for that you're working on?

You may use the photo; I also have others from Acorn if you're interested. You can credit me, Trav Williams, and the Stewards Project.

Feel free to get ahold of me at trogerwilliams at gmail dot com. I'd be interested in seeing the article when it's finished! Take care--

--Trav--

Catherine said...

Thanks Trav! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. The article is about a suit against Monsanto; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is one of the many plaintiffs. It will be written for the Women's Media Center (www.womensmediacenter.com).

I'll certainly credit you on the photo, and email it to you when it's done!

Thanks,
Catherine

Catherine said...

Thanks again, Trav. If you're interested in the article, it's posted here!

http://womensmediacenter.com/blog/2011/09/exclusive-taking-on-big-ag%E2%80%94is-monsanto-useful/

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