Sunday, October 30, 2011

Association of Maui Intentional Communities Upcoming Help Day 11/13/11

This is a classic book, a directory of intentional communities which used to be published every 4 years. Now, it's probably easier to go to their website, 

Update: the Help Day has been postponed to Sunday, 11/13/11 due to the weather forecast.

The Association of Maui Intentional Communities is a fairly new group that just launched over the summer. While I have not actually been to any of their meetings, my husband did trek over to Maui Meadows for a Sunday discussion group and potluck in late August.  Meetings alternate between Huelo and Maui Meadows. According to my husband, many of the usual suspects, those folks interested in communities and sustainability, were at the meeting he attended.  He found it to be a bit heavy on the discussion side, but the AMIC is also starting up community "work" or "help" days once a month. This practice will allow for some physical labor so that people can interact in a different way than just by talking.

One of my husband's favorite stories concerns a community in the former East Germany, south of Berlin, called ZEGG. ZEGG is a famous intentional community that organizes a big summer camp each year, with hundreds of people from around the world for a period of several weeks. ZEGG is also the origination of the Forum workshops, now quite active on Maui. One summer at ZEGG, he was assigned to kitchen onion cutting duty with a German woman. They spent several hours peeling and cutting up onions.  Towards the end, he noticed a food processor and exclaimed to the woman he had been working with, that they could have saved hours by just using technology. She turns to him and says, "Ah, you... You just don't get it... We were not just cutting onions... We were getting to know each other."  So... work days and help days are a good way for people to get to know each other...

A postcard from the famous ZEGG community in Germany.

I checked in with the AMIC organizer and have taken the AMIC email and copied and pasted some of the text below, with a few of my side notes, and practical tips.

On Sunday, November 6, the AMIC is organizing a day of helping at Onipa’a Sustainability Center in Huelo. The hosts, Home and Heaven Le’amohala, are well-known in Maui circles for their vegan activism, having organized Vegan Thanksgiving Celebrations and spoken at raw food gatherings about veganism.

The land is situated on 20+ acres of Maui country side near Twin Falls. It is being designed as a Sustainability Center—a place where members of the community can come and explore, learn, and share the nuances of a sustainable lifestyle. It's not complete as a center but boasts significant natural resources.. there is a yearlong stream or river, a waterfall, and natural swimming hole, ideal for pastoral communitarians.  P.S. I have never been there, but it sounds fun!

Some of the projects will include moving the two smaller biomass piles and consolidating them with the big one. (My note: I don't know what they mean by biomass - could be anything from a compost pile to wood chips to really fresh horse manure. I suggest that volunteers wear appropriate clothes that they don't mind getting dirty. Oh, bring gloves!  Gloves are very helpful. ) One or two trucks will be used for this so schlepping will not be necessary. Cane grass cutting and eradication will also be part of the program. (My note: Cane grass cutting can be rough on the arms. Wear long sleeves if you want to avoid cuts.) Weeding in the garden and on the main lawn will be needed as well.

11:00 am   Gathering
11:15 am   Hold a blessing/community requests circle
3:45 pm    End projects/start project cleaning up; some start relaxing and celebrating
4:30 pm    Vegan potluck dinner. Networking and community discussions
5:30 pm    Clean up from dinner
6:00 pm    Official end of help day.
Evening     Near-Full Moon festivities; music and merryment around the campfire circle. Families with children will be joining us as well.

The AMIC email also glowingly mentions that there is a great swimming hole for both a quick mid-help refresher and end of day lounging. Also, there is no charge for AMIC Community Help Days.

Well, I'm glad there is no charge for help days.  Volunteers shouldn't be charged except in rare situations like oh, the Blue'Aina reef clean up days... since it's not hard work and very fun and you get to go out on a boat. 

Ok, most important, how do you reach the organizers or get more information? Please visit (launched 10/13/11), the new website... It's a private site, so you'll have to join the discussion group to actually see any information.

The organizers ask you to let them know if you are coming and your expected arrival time! Also, please let them know how late you think you might want to stay. They are also trying to arrange for carpooling.

Please bring vegan potluck dish with ingrediants’ label. Please bring your own plate/silverware.
(My note: Warning: Maui potlucks can be notorious for running out of food. If you get there late after lunch time, then make sure you have extra food or have eaten well. Also, my husband reported that someone brought Cheez-its, the ultimate nonvegan potluck snack, to the vegan AMIC potluck he attended in August. Well, there were obviously some nonvegans because the box disappeared pretty fast. BUT, the host of the November 6th "help" day as mentioned before, is a dedicated vegan... so best to leave your Cheez-its in the car or at home.)

Weather contingency plan: The email organizer will call the host around 10:00 the morning of the planned work day. If clear, proceed as planned with no additional messages are needed. If raining/threatening, then the email organizer will send a postponement message, to  convene one week later—and the same drill that day, though with no further fallback day. (My note: Yes, it really does rain in Huelo. Be prepared!  Bring a good rain jacket even if it seems sunny earlier in the day.)



  1. We need more of this on Maui... an Intentional Community of Tiny Houses with a community garden and a Food Forest! When can we get started?

  2. Sounds like you have done your homework! There's another Ecovillages workshop on 7/1 at the Pukalani Community Center, which you probably know about.

  3. Yes I have :) I am not sure I can make that meeting... wish is wasn't on Monday nights... Thanks for heads up! Aloha


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