Communes haven't received much press since the hippie heydays, but these idyllic communities are far from a thing of the past. Many communes--known nowadays as "intentional communities"--are thriving across the country. And if the goal is to live according to personal values, what better way than entrepreneurship?
Take, for example, Acorn Community in Mineral, Virginia. Formed in 1993, this 20-member community lives on 70 acres of land, supporting itself with small businesses. Acorn chooses its ventures--including a craft tinnery and subscription-based agriculture (members pay for the delivery of fresh vegetables during the growing season)--by following the commune's basic principles of nonviolence, ecological soundness and equal participation in the community's governance.
"Any business we think about taking on, we look at in terms of our values," explains Raven Long, Acorn's outreach manager. Ideas have been rejected because of environmental impacts or because they lacked potential for communal involvement. "[Our businesses] give us the ability to work at home rather than go off somewhere," he adds. "They let us live more integrated lives."
Acorn Community, (540) 894-0595, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monestary of the Holy Spirit, http://www.trappist.net
Mount St. Mary's Abbey, fax: (508) 528-1409, http://www.trappistinecandy.com
Multnomah County Library, http://www.multnomah.lib.or.us