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Establish a small homesteading community that reflects our vision and values and that enables us to be of service, to realize our goals, to share our experiences, to influence others by example and education, and to link with similar local and global efforts.
We seek to build a more peaceful and sustainable world through our living example and through educating, in a creative and non-violent way, about the importance of ethical veganism, the benefits of veganic farming, and empowering others along the path to making the transition.
The goals of the Ahimsa Village are to:
Learning - community - sustainability
Our logo was conceptualized by Kelle Kersten, Jackie Bonomo, Greg Martin, and Bob Flatley and designed by Chanin Walsh. It features a Witch Hazel blossom. This flower was chosen for a number of reasons. Witch Hazel is commonly found on the Ahimsa property. In addition, Witch Hazel is subsequently the last flower and first flower to bloom of the year. It blooms over the winter. Our hope is that Ahimsa will come to represent a light, a blossom, during the transition period we are living in as humanity and all the life we impact struggle to find a new way to live in a new world.
Note: Mission, Vision, Values, Goals, Tagline revised 11-27-2007
Ahimsa Education Committee
The Ahimsa Education
Committee (AEC) of the School of Living will be engaged in
coordinating and overseeing the nonprofit activities of Ahimsa
Village Community. These activities will include but are not
limited to educational programs, workshops, classes, outings,
etc that support the mission of Ahimsa Village and the School of
Living. This committee will have fiduciary responsibility
within the framework of the School of Living for donations,
grants or contributions made to Ahimsa Village for the purpose
of furthering the educational mission of the organization.
Limited Liability Company
The land equity of Ahimsa Village is held by a PA Limited Liability Company (LLC). This is a convenient structure for holding title holding and development. It provides a structure for members to have equity in Ahimsa Village and benefit from any revenues that AV may generate. The LLC offers the corporate advantages of limited personal liability and also allows for decision making to be connected to ownership, one share, one voice. All the profits and losses are passed through to the owners for tax purposes so the company is not taxed directly, rather the owners claim profit and losses on their own taxes. It allows for outside investors (often referred to as "members", rather than "shareholders"). This allows non-profits, trusts, other partnerships or corporations to invest in the development, with all the members having whatever level of decision-making the group decides. So for example, investors may be limited to voting only on expenditures exceeding a certain dollar amount, so the day to day decision making could be restricted to the sub-group of residents. However, all members would have limited liability.
School of Living
The School of Living (SOL) is a nonprofit, educational organization that was founded by Dr. Ralph Borsodi, an economist, in 1934. The mission of the SOL is to teach people about the philosophy, practices and principles of living that are self-empowering for individuals within the general aim of establishing decentralized, ecologically-sound, self-governed and humane communities. All its resources, but most specifically the land it holds in trust, are held in responsible stewardship for present and future generations.
SOL is actively engaged in: community land trust, intentional community support, permaculture, ecological use of resources, human scale and local self reliance, appropriate technology, alternative education, consensus decision making, non-exploitive banking, and alternative currency. SOL is a regional organization and operates community land trusts in PA, MD, and VA. More information available at www.schoolofliving.org.
Community Land Trust
AV is located in a community land trust. “The land in a CLT is held in trust by a democratically-governed group, while individuals own the improvements created by their own labor and investment. Through an inheritable and renewable 99 year lease, the trust removes land from the speculative market and facilitates multiple uses such as affordable housing, agriculture, and open space preservation.”
To learn more about the history and purpose of CLTs read David Harper's excellent article in the Summer 2007 issue of the Land Trust Alliance. David is a member of the School of Living board.
1. “Community Land Trusts” E.F. Schumacher Society. 17 May 2004. <http://www.schumachersociety.org/frameset_land.html>
Ahimsa Village does not embrace any one particular path - instead we encourage each individual to find the path that works for them. We feel strongly that the most important element of any spiritual path is practice. Our practices center around meditation, silence, connecting with the natural world, and sharing meals.
In the spirit of Ahimsa, we practice a vegan diet. We believe in eating lower on the food chain hence reducing our carbon footprint and more directly consuming food nutrients. We also try to eat locally and in season as much as possible.
Some excellent resources for a plant-based diet include:
Property and Area (also see pictures)
Ahimsa Village is located on a 63-acre property located near Julian, PA (Huston Township, Centre County) in the Bald Eagle Valley. The land is mostly wooded and mountainous located between the last ridge of the Appalachians and the start of the Allegheny Plateau. The land consists of approximately 7 acres of bottomland, a 3 acre mountain meadow and the balance in mature second growth Pennsylvania hardwoods and white pine. Structures include a 1400 sf farmhouse, a 560 sf cottage, two yurts, and several outbuildings. The land is held and protected by the School of Living Land Trust. The property was home to the Parson family (and was originally known as the Parson Tract consisting of over 300 acres) and later the Spotts family, two of the original families pioneering Centre County. The Parson family was the first white settlers living west of the Bald Eagle Mountain. Thomas Parsons established a small log cabin next to a little tributary of the Bald Eagle Creek on this property (on the site of the original cabin sits a small frame house build on the stone foundation of the cabin). The Spotts family purchased the land in the 1930s. The property was used as a dairy farm. Legend has it that there was a railroad stop at the farm to pick-up the milk. Leo Spotts, the last of the Spotts family to farm the land, quit farming in the sixties and seventies and got a job at Penn State University in maintenance. To supplement his income he sold off much of the road frontage as housing lots (1-2 acres), sold 140 acres to a group from Lamont, PA who wanted form a rural intentional community in 1975 (see below), and sold 50 acres of pasture and woods to a local farmer who raises sheep and cattle across the state highway. The most recent prior owners - Dorothy Blair and John Packard - started the first CSA (community supported agriculture farm) in Bald Eagle Valley (and one of the first in Centre County). The business was known as “Sycamore Gardens (1990 – 1996). Dorothy Blair and her husband John Packard farmed using organic and biodynamic methods. In addition to selling organic produce, their projects included creating a wetlands pond for irrigation, maple syrup production, chicken and egg production, and gardening internships.
The property is located next to Julian Woods Community, an intentional community of 18 adults and 3 children on 140 acres of land. The community was established in 1975. The community owns and operates a “living machine” in 2 large greenhouses that purifies and recycles all the community’s wastewater. There are 6 artists, several carpenters & builders, accountant, forester & mechanic/designer. The community hosts house concerts, dinners, celebrations, and other events for the local and regional community. It is home to the O-AN Zendo, an active Buddhist meditation and education center, and serves as the office for the School of Living.
In addition to Julian Woods Community and Ahimsa Village land, 7 members purchased an 115 acres of forest land to save it from being clear cut. This group formed the Continuum Community Association to hold title to the property which serves as a wilderness sanctuary. The three parcels total 323 acres of protected land in the School of Living Land Trust.
The downsides of our location include its proximity to a major U.S. Highway (known as 220A, Alt220, or old 220) and the Ridge Soaring Gilderport. The land has almost 1000' of frontage on 220A, the main house is located apx. 500' from the road. U.S. 220A formerly U.S. 220 was a major North-South highway for truck traffic. Although traffic has diminished somewhat with the opening of the new U.S. 220 and I-99, 220A continues to serve as a shortcut for trucks to get to I-80. Hence we still have a good amount of truck traffic on the highway which can make the road hazardous to drive not to mention noisy. In fact, before the opening of the new 220, it had been rated as one of Pennsylvania's most dangerous highways because of it being a rural 2-lane road used by local residents making local trips and long-haul tractor trailers.
The Ridge Soaring Gliderport is a world-famous gliderport established by Thomas Knauff at about the same time Julian Woods Community was formed. The location was chosen because of the excellent thermals that form along the last ridge of the Appalachian Mountains (the Bald Eagle Ridge). The gliderport is very noisy neighbor on nice, sunny, breezy days. The noise is produced by the tow planes when they tow gliders into the thermals. The tow planes go right over Ahimsa's land.Ariel photo maps of property
Centre County, PA is located in the geographic center of the state of Pennsylvania. The property is located approximately 15-miles from the vibrant and growing community of State College (population 38,420), home to Penn State University. The Centre County area is famous for its beautiful mountainous surroundings and abundance of state parks, forests, and recreational areas as well as an active farming community. Penn State is Pennsylvania’s largest university with over 41,000 students at its main campus in State College. The university serves as an educational, cultural, and social resource for the area, state and nation. The area is also home to the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and one of the largest art festivals on the east coast.
Web Sites of Local Interest:
Center for Sustainability @ PSU http://www.engr.psu.edu/cfs/
Centre County Convention and Visitors Bureau www.visitpennstate.org/
Gateway to Centre Co http://centrecounty.org/
Guide to hiking trails in Centre Co http://www.purplelizard.com/images/html/exploring.htm