Twin Oaks Conference Site- Wildfires and New Beginnings

As some of you have likely heard, Twin Oaks Community was impacted by the devastating 200-acre W Old Mountain Rd wildfire on March 20. The Twin Oaks Conference site was destroyed, along with the majority of their industrial and business infrastructure at the EC/warehouse site. But things can be replaced; we are so thankful that the people, pets, and farm animals who live here are all safe. 

We’re also very lucky that (while there were a few close calls) there was no damage to the residential buildings, ZK dining hall, the tofu hut, the office, and other key infrastructure. The damage is major, as you can see in the images below, but we will recover and rebuild.

Twin Oaks member Paxus Calta shared details and pictures of the fire and initial damage on their personal blog this morning– “Before 7 PM (on March 20th), we were being told we needed to evacuate the entire Twin Oaks campus. A school bus was brought in and took people to Acorn and the Louisa middle school, where they waited out the fire fighting. The fire spread from the neighboring land and took out the kilns, the warehouse and all the woodworking spaces (called ECW). It also spread to the conference site and destroyed the pavilion, the kitchen and all of the material storage up there.”

We are deeply grateful for the many offers of support we’ve received today. The fire is contained but still smoldering in many places and fully assessing the damage will take time. Please bear with us for these first few days, as we don’t know exactly how the cleanup process will go or what the recovery process will look like. What we do know is that it will be a lot of work, and probably cost a lot of money. Contributions can be made to the general Twin Oaks Community Fire Relief Fund and/or the Twin Oaks Conference Site Fire Relief Fund. In the coming weeks, we’ll announce other ways (financial and non) you can help support the rebuilding process.

You can contribute to the general Twin Oaks Community Fire Relief Fund via Stripe. These contributions will focus primarily on general business repairs and restoration. You can contribute using a debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, Cash App, Klarna or a bank account. ​​Donate to the Twin Oaks Fire Relief Fund here.

We’ll post major updates here as they become available. Smaller, more regular updates will be available on our DonorBox page, the Friends of Twin Oaks Facebook group, and the Twin Oaks Community Facebook page.

Thank you again for your support and kindness, we look forward to welcoming you back to a new and improved Twin Oaks Conference Site soon!

A photograph of the former conference site pavilion reads "Living Together is an Art"

2023 COMMUNITIES CONFERENCE UPDATE #4

If you missed them, you can read Update #1 and Update #2 and Update 3 on our blog. 

Online ticket sales are now closed, but you are welcome to purchase tickets at the conference between 1 PM and 8 PM on Friday and between 8 AM and 2 PM on Saturday. For additional details about on site ticket sales, please contact conference@twinoaks.org

It looks like we are going to have a larger event.  There are already over 100 sold tickets plus more than 20 invited presenters, and we are in discussions with many more folks about attending and rides.  If you’re still searching for a ride, or can offer a ride to someone else, please fill out the Ride Share form.

The 2023 Communities Conference Program and schedule are available now on our website.

Please complete this Participant Survey to help us understand your plans, schedule your volunteer shifts, and re-affirm covid protocols.  

Covid Protocols- As a reminder- all attendees must show proof of a negative covid test, with a sample taken less than 24 hours before arrival on site (at-home tests are fine). You can test in advance and send us your results via email. If your are not able to test in advance, tests will also be available at the gate for $5 each (cash preferred, but credit cards, Venmo, and PayPal are also options).

When packing for coming to the Communities Conference, don’t forget to bring items for the “FREE TABLE” – This is a place where folks can offer up their pre-loved items to become somebody else’s treasure. In the past, people have brought art, CDs, jewelry, toiletries, clothing, books, and anything else you can imagine. Take part in the radical act of sharing by bringing some items that might be useful or of interest to other attendees –no exchange of money involved.

Sunday Evening Program: The Communities Conference ends on Sunday afternoon.  Acorn has invited all of the participants to come over for dinner and evening activities (tours and celebration).  Acorn is 7 miles from Twin Oaks and we will organize a shuttle to dinner and back.  Conference participants are welcome to stay at the conference site Sunday and Monday nights.  There will be a morning tour on Monday of Twin Oaks for those who are interested. 

Monday Program: On Monday following the Communities Conference, Rustling Roots Ecological Education Center as a part of Cambia Community will host a series of workshops on topics ranging from permaculture and ecology to community building to music and dance. 

Tickets are $40, or $20 for those who only attend one session (morning or afternoon). Tickets include lunch and dinner. Food will be vegan and include local produce from our network of community farms. You can find more details about Monday’s program on our website  

If you have any questions about the Communities Conference please write to conference@twinoaks.org or call 541-505-0803

Communities Conference 2023, Update #2

Headlines

  • Buy tickets
  • Work Exchange tickets
  • Deadline Today for Call for Presenters of Curated Workshops
  • Some selected Workshops
  • How big with this year’s conference be?
  • Rideshare
  • Promote the Conference on Social Media

If you missed it, you can read Update #1 on our blog. 

Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite. They are $150 for adults and $50 for youth. It is also very helpful for our event planning when people buy tickets early. 

Work Exchange: If the standard ticket price is more than your budget can absorb, work exchange tickets are available for $50. All participants are expected to contribute 2 hours of work during the conference, our discounted work exchange ticket option requires an additional 4 hours (6 total). You can read more about work exchange tickets, and fill out a work exchange ticket request form, here.  We are committed to making the communities conference affordable/accessible to as many people as possible. Please get in touch to discuss additional discounts, scholarships, or barter options.

Call for Presenters– We are still in search of a few more curated workshops for the 2023 Communities Conference, and the deadline is today August 7th. If you would like to offer a curated workshop, please fill out this form. Please remember that curated workshops must be focused on intentional communities, and/or relate to one of our two major threads/themes- starting new communities, and building diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in community. We are also interested in workshops about racial dynamics in community, restorative justice, economics of community living, and controversial topics within communities.  Depending on the number of participants at the conference, we will have between 16 and 20 of these workshops.  

New Workshops- We have a great collection of curated workshops which have already been accepted, especially in the thread of diversity, equity and inclusion.  Some of the offerings include:

  • How to Start a Community – by Sky Blue
  • Community Safety and Accountability – by Crystal Byrd Farmer
  • How to Build Trans Inclusivity into your Intentional Community –  by Jules Amanita
  • The Two Worlds of North America – by Macaco
  • Polyamory in Community – by Daniel Greenberg

How big will this conference be?  It is a bit hard to tell, as of August 7th we have 65 ticket holders and presenters currently confirmed, which puts us on track for a 120 to 150 total person event including members of Twin Oaks who attend.  We expect about 25 to 35 communities and networks to present at Meet the Communities.  

Rideshare-  If you are coming from more than an hour away, please contact us about rideshares, either if you can offer one or if you need one, via our Ride Share form or at conference@twinoaks.org.  We can help you coordinate getting to the conference site from Charlottesville and Richmond, as well, if you are arriving by public transport, train, bus, or airplane.  

Promote the Communities Conference on Social media.  If you are willing to help promote this event on social media, please email us at conference@twinoaks.org with “promote” or anything vaguely like that, and we will get back to you with easy use posts that will bring more of your friends to this important event.

If you’d like to be added to our update mailing list, email us at to.communities.conference@gmail.com with the subject line “subscribe”.

Communities Conference 2023, Update #1

Headlines:

  • Communities Conference 2023 themes
  • 2023 Keynote Address
  • New Covid-19 policies for 2023
  • Call for presenters
  • Tickets are on sale now
  • Work Exchange Tickets are available
  • Interns wanted

We hope to see you at the Communities Conference this fall, September 1-4, 2023. The 2023 Communities Conference will have 2 main threads/themes. One thread will explore starting new communities, the other focuses on the ways communities (old and new) can embrace and improve their Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion practices (DEAI).  

Our 2023 Keynote speakers are Sky and Avi, presenting “Doing the Impossible: Generating what we need to manifest the potential of Intentional Community”. The experience of living in Intentional Communities (ICs) changes us. It expands our understanding of what’s possible, and cultivates a sense of belonging and accountability, which inspires us to act from a deep understanding of our interdependence. The world needs this now more than ever.

But the world is an increasingly unfriendly place to do this work. Thoughtful attention and intention are needed to generate the inner and outer resources we need to start new ICs and take established ICs to the next level. How do we stay balanced and maintain our ability to rechoose to do this work everyday in the face of so much stress and uncertainty? Join us for this keynote session where we’ll explore the challenges and opportunities of IC movement building, how to stay personally resourced for the long-haul, and what’s needed to bring what ICs are learning to the world. You can learn more about Avi & Sky, and read the full description of their keynote address, here..

New Covid policies in 2023– As the impact and prevalence of Covid-19 shifts with time, so do our policies and precautions. All attendees must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test with a sample taken 24 hours or less before arrival, but there is no vaccination requirement this year. We strongly encourage testing at home before traveling to the conference and sending us a selfie of your test result via email or text. Tests will also be available at our registration desk at cost (estimated cost $5). 

Call for Presenters- We are still in search of a few more curated workshops for the 2023 Communities Conference. If you would like to offer a curated workshop, please fill out this form. Please remember that curated workshops must be focused on intentional communities, and/or relate to one of our two major threads/themes- starting new communities, and building diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in community. We are also interested in workshops about racial dynamics in community, restorative justice, economics of community living, and controversial topics within communities.  Depending on the number of participants at the conference, we will have between 16 and 20 of these workshops.  

What is a “curated workshop”? At the Communities Conference, workshops come in two types – curated and open space. Curated workshops are ones selected by the organizers to be part of the early program and are on topics of general concerns to existing communities or people seeking community or starting one. 

Open space organizing allows the conference content to grow organically. Open Space workshops are held on Sunday, can be offered by anyone on almost any topic (not necessarily focused on intentional communities), and go through the open space selection program. This process involves everyone at the conference and selects workshops that are the most popular and enthusiastically supported. This gives conference attendees a greater say in how the conference looks and feels, and offers you a taste of what organizing in community is like. So, you can send us any workshop ideas you have in advance, or bring your workshop pitch to the conference and we’ll organize it in real time!  [Here is more info on curated workshops and open space technology from the 2018 Communities Conference.]

Early Bird tickets are available now at https://tocc2023.eventbrite.com/. Buy your ticket before July 15 and pay $120 for adults, $40 for youth, and free for kids 5 and under (a 20% discount on our general admission prices). After July 15th, tickets are $150 for adults (plus taxes and fees), $50 for youth aged 6-17, and free for kids 5 and under.

Bring your Comrades:  Conferences are better with known partners and allies.  If you are representing a place-based intentional community, the second person you bring from that community comes at 50% off the ticket price. They retain their full work obligations to the event.

Work Exchange: If the standard ticket price is more than your budget can absorb, work exchange tickets are available for $50. All participants are expected to contribute 2 hours of work during the conference, our discounted work exchange ticket option requires an additional 4 hours (6 total). You can read more about work exchange tickets, and fill out a work exchange ticket request form,here.  We are committed to making the communities conference affordable/accessible to as many people as possible. Please get in touch to discuss additional discounts, scholarships, or barter options.

Interns Wanted – Organizing conferences and gatherings is complex work. Twin Oaks is looking for conference interns to help with events this summer, the Communities Conference being the last. Come live at one of the communes in Louisa County, work on these conferences and gatherings, and see what it is like to live this lifestyle. More details about our conference internships are available here. If you’re interested, please fill out our intern info form and we’ll be in touch.

If you’d like to be added to our update mailing list, email us at to.communities.conference@gmail.com with the subject line “subscribe”.