The time has finally come for Sweat Equity at Earthaven
By Ivy Lynn
Over the years Earthaven has tried to prioritize agriculture, and to provide ways for skilled folks to be able to be at Earthaven even if they hadn’t amassed savings. First site option 3 was created. It allowed a few people to be here, but it just delayed their inevitable need to pay for their site. They were also busy trying to get ahead in order to pay those delayed fees, while still doing the huge work of being here. It was very much like running on a conveyor belt going in one direction, while trying to move forward an actual mile in the opposite direction. Most people were making progress, but at a dauntingly slow rate.
Then council made it possible for a farmer to pay for the equivalent of one site with leaps accepted for food farmed on the land. Sadly, almost none of that exchange was acted upon. Their was only one field cleared, and no one really had the time to farm. They were still busy running in place. We needed a way for people to get their livelihood from making agriculture happen here. It had to happen in a specific order, that was the key to the riddle we had yet to solve. So, we made logging trade-able for a site payment. But, the riddle still had folks running in place.
When the Sweat Equity proposals were passed, we were made aware that all the pieces of the puzzle must be present at once and in large enough quantity to accomplish a truly progressive and substantial difference. Also, a large part of the riddle was getting facilitators to ensure that each agricultural project was taken to completion, so that part of it wouldn’t get cleared only to start growing back toward forest in a few years. Praise be, Farmer and Brian took on the Gateway project. They brought all the pieces through council. Their hard work and brilliant minds seem to have gone a long way to solving the riddle of how to make Sweat Equity at Earthaven translate skilled people without savings, into the members and agriculture that we need.
But they did not do it by themselves. In fact, isn’t that the point? It takes all the pieces present at the same time and in large enough quantity. Again we get to acknowledge that our community is developing, and limited by that development very much like a child. We wanted to walk long before we could. Then we took our first steps and fell down quite a few times, acquiring a few bruises and scratches. Now we are finally able to run some.
You may ask, but who are the people actually doing the Sweat Equity, aren’t we talking about new members? Yes we are! One of the people working on the Gateway project to pay his membership, is Joe Dofflemyer, pictured here in the act of Sweat while making it look zen. Also working on the project to pay off their membership fees are Dan Penny and Cailen Campbell. Andy Bosley and Robert Carran are working toward paying off their site fees along with Farmer and Brian. And soon maybe we will be able to buy our food with leaps!