Our Rosetta Turns 99!
By Diana Leafe Christian
Earthaven member Rosetta Neff celebrated her 99th birthday here January 3, 2015. She may be the world’s oldest ecovillager! When Rosetta began visiting Earthaven with her daughter, Diana, in October, 2000, both were living an hour away In Polk County. They had been impressed with their visits and, finally, Rosetta suggested they join Earthaven.
Rosetta and Diana had a small house built in the Forest Garden Neighborhood, moving to Earthaven when Rosetta was 88. Like other ecovillagers worldwide, Rosetta uses wood heat, a composting toilet (hers is indoors), spring and roof-catchment water heated on-demand with propane, and off-grid solar power, which she keeps an eye on by regularly reading their trimetric meter.
In her early years at Earthaven, when she could hear better, Rosetta attended Council Meetings and stayed tuned in to the process of building the community. One of her concerns was our lack of children. “If we don’t start making it easier for young families to join,” she warned, “in a few years we’ll be just another old folks’ home!” (It did get easier—now many children live at Earthaven, along with their families, which of course delights Rosetta. One of her favorites is four-year-old Forest Bosley, Julie McMahon and Andy Bosley’s son. He often climbs into her lap to look at books from her shelf. His favorite — The Humanure Handbook).
Although Rosetta stopped driving several years ago, she still cooks, does dishes, helps with laundry, and enjoys visiting with many Earthaven friends and neighbors. She especially appreciates buying farm products from neighbors at Tuesday morning Coffee & Trade, which is her favorite social event at Earthaven.
Diana Leafe Christian teaches Sociocracy and other elements of the Ecovillage Design Course worldwide.