Aorista is a family of friends focused on re-establishing matri-centered values in our lives, the lives of our children, and the lives of those we come in contact with. Equality (not fixed hierarchy), co-parenting (not nuclear family parenting), freedom and responsibility (not control), open and honest communication (not repression and secrecy), nonviolence, social evolution (in addition to personal growth), and permaculture are all core values of the community. We dare dream a world where basic human rights are guaranteed for all people; where the planet and its resources are valued and protected as the Source of our happiness and survival; and where people reconnect with our basic human nature as curious, creative, compassionate, and communal creatures.
We steward a 37 acre farm/homestead/learning center in east Hawai`i Island. Our development plan is for individual and family dwellings to cluster around the already built Big House, a community building with kitchen, dining room, office, dance floor, sandbox, solar hot water, photovoltaic power, and other amenities. A Sudbury Valley Method organized youth club meets 3 days a week at the Recreation Center, furnished with wood floor, basketball hoops, marimba ensemble, piano and other instruments, computers, movies and a mini-aquaponic system. The kids ride ponies, tan/fashion leather, play marimbas, tap dance, play D & D, collect eggs, help milk, study Great Courses, and listen to KBIG (“yesterday’s hits and today’s favorites”). The Recreation Center is shared with regular interns, who eat most meals, bathe and sleep in their own cluster of buildings near the garden. Nearby are soil and aquaponic gardens, afar pastures and forest. Aorista members grow and raise over 80% of our food here on the land, using Korean Natural Farming and permaculture principles, and standing firm against the use of GMOs.
Sharing values isn’t the only requirement for community membership. Simply put, we need to like each other a whole lot in order to live together this intimately. A provisional membership period of from six months to two years provides the time for established community members and newcomers to plunge beyond the “honeymoon” period and experience each other’s personalities and habits as they are expressed in daily life. Though individual and family dwellings might contain resources that enable autonomy, privacy, and solitude (electricity, water, kitchenette, internet connection), our strong orientation is towards having most people do most things together in the Big House. Not only does this economize on money and nonrenewable resources; more importantly, it defines us as a community—people who spend a lot of time together. Once a week, all Aorista members meet for satsang—time set aside to reveal our thoughts, feelings, and responses in a group setting. (We also encourage direct, honest communication throughout the week, as we interact day-to-day). Through satsang we hone our cooperative instincts, give voice to our values, and gradually let layers of competitive/separate conditioning fall by the wayside.
The raising of children is a key component at Aorista. We assert that the practice of parenting another’s child as if he/she were one’s own is a key element in reconnecting with our genetic imperative—looking out for the welfare of all people. Children remind us of innate human values and bring joy and liveliness. They also serve as valuable catalysts, exposing in us dysfunctional childrearing and relational practices that we inherited from our own parents and society at large. Constructive, in-the-moment confrontations about parenting and other values are one way we can effect social and personal transformation simultaneously; what happens in our relationships is the compass of our inner work. All current (2012) community members have parented each other’s children for years.
The community operates several businesses, including chicken egg, milk, and farm share operations (tropical fruit orchards, soil and aquaponic gardens); and local/e-commerce sales of value-added farm products. Aorista members serve the wider community through Dragon’s Eye Learning Center, 501c(3), by offering educational workshops, tours, the Kids of Koa`e 4-H Club, an internship program, and Hawai`i Farmers' Union leadership. Currently (2012), these activities don’t produce enough income to meet monthly expenses, but all are growing. It is important to us (although not absolutely required) that incoming community members have accumulated resources or the ability to make money, until such time as the community businesses are able to sustain us.
Ownership of land and some resources is vested in a co-managed LLC. Full members earn and retain equity through building their own homes/cabins. Equal accessibility to resources is guaranteed and income-disbursement decisions are handled by the community as a whole. All major community decisions are made by consensus.
If you are interested further in Aorista, browse the DELC website, particularly a few of the youtube videos and the internship program description. We strongly prefer that prospective community members undertake a 3-4 month DELC internship ($1800-$2400). If you have other circumstances or questions, don’t hesitate to email.
Community location is placed at the center of the zip/postal code, city/state, or city/country (not based on street addresses)
archive of Got Culture workshop 2012