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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Ecovillages and other villages

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  • Art Petrzelka
    ... I had to reply on the Aman[d]a group. Amana Society has been a neighbor of my familly since teh 1870 s, when my great-grandfather got to Iowa from Bohemia
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 4, 2003
      On Tue, 2003-11-04 at 08:56, Robert Monie wrote:
      > In the 1850's, just before the Civil War, America abounded with
      > intentional communities, including the Amanda group, which eventually
      > became a company that produced refrigerators, the Oneida group, which

      > And so the story goes. What utopias generally lack is diversity. The
      > human race is a difficult aggregation at best; one's person's meat is

      I had to reply on the Aman[d]a group. Amana Society has been a neighbor
      of my familly since teh 1870's, when my great-grandfather got to Iowa
      from Bohemia (Cechy) and started working for them as a farm laborer
      until he could save enough to buy his own land.

      Amana was the longest running commune in American history. It started in
      the late 1600's in Germany, was persecuted by the Lutherans, moved all
      oveer Europe, and finally set ship for the New World. They were in the
      Buffalo, NY area for a while before dispatching scouts to Iowa to buy
      land "far from the corrupting influence of modern society".

      They did fine as long as they had their prophet. But that ran out about
      1910 or so, when their last prophet, a woman named Johanna something,
      died. Although they tried to carry on, they eventually converted their
      communal holdings into a corporation in 1932, maintaining the church

      The Society was very much a planned society. The members were told what
      job they would do, who they could and couldn't marry, who would be
      educated, where they would live, how many children they could have...

      The downfall, eventually, was that of most communal groups. The leaders
      had no guidance and the followers started losing initiative. Having
      worked for the Society myself for a while, I see a continued desire to
      run their operations themselves, followed by hiring someone "from
      outside" to do it for them.

      Their members are dwindling, only because they issued one share of stock
      per family when they incorporated, and I don't know that they have
      created new stock for more recent members. I do know that there are a
      considerable number of Amana people who are disenfranchised.

      Right now there is a big controversy over the Corporation's plan to
      build a large hotel and waterpark, followed by housing development of
      $300-500k houses right up to my property line, including a gated
      community. I'm not sure if they know about my plan to reintroduce pigs
      on the farm. It may not go over too well. I know that the gated
      community isn't going over too well with me.

      Remember, this was a community that banned most of the pleasures of the
      times. They were hard-working people, with few entertainments. Christmas
      was very simple.

      Amana members have complained about the strategic planning of the
      Corporation being only a reaction of someone waving money in front of
      their noses, but that's their problem.

      So, yes, Robert, there are often problems in Paradise. I can also refer
      to the large number of farm unity groups, especially in these current
      days, as we see the proliferation of "Save the Family Farm" groups in
      every state, county and watering hole.

      Well, it was nice while it lasted. We had a farm on the edge of nowhere,
      literally. You could see the Milky Way at night, except when the
      searchlight at the Cedar Rapids airport, 15 miles away, swung around to
      the southwest in its rotation. It was very peaceful out here, with a few
      square miles of timber just south of us. There were the occasional
      woodcutter living in a tar-paper shack out in the woods because they
      weren't especially sober enough to live with someone else in the
      Society. But they were decent farm hands at times.

      Now we have the rich people moving in, and the neighborhood has gone to
      hell, crime is up, and I'm going to have to put locks on the barns!

      So, if someone is planning a community, I would recommend a large police
      force right off the bat....
      Art Petrzelka
      Amana, Iowa, USA
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