Archive for February, 2012

February 28, 2012

Solar panel!

One of the fun projects we’ve recently completed here in LA (parked in the Technicolor Tree Tribe’s driveway) is installing a beautiful solar panel on Ollie’s roof.  Before using solar power, we charged our auxiliary battery off our starter batteries when the bus was being driven.  When the bus wasn’t being driven (which was often) we drained the auxiliary battery, and quickly.  We were often left with only our headlamps for light!  With the solar panel, we’ll (almost) always have electricity whether or not we’re driving around a lot.  Yay!









































February 27, 2012

Dumpster Score #Who said you can’t dumpster in LA?

Trader Joe’s’ on Sepulveda Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd, and National Blvd:










































































































February 17, 2012

Los Angeles Ecovillage, Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Ecovillage, located just northwest of downtown LA (and only three miles north of the Technicolor Tree Tribe), is a well established 40-person community that I’ve been wanting to visit for years.  Their fee (though small) for official visits was a bit off-putting.  But I stalked their website for a while until an interesting free event came up, and a bunch of us from the TTT biked over to check it out.  The event was a potluck and forum where people from the greater community (those affiliated with the Ecovillage but not necessarily residents) could present about conferences, workshops, and other special events they’d recently attended.

I RSVP’d to the potluck/forum only a few days before the event and never received a reply.  When the eight of us showed up at the door, we were almost turned away!  The woman who answered our knock looked startled by such a large group of visitors, and told us that she hadn’t received any RSVP for this many people.  When she asked for my name I introduced myself as “Rachel from the Technicolor Tree Tribe,” a title which has become increasingly comfortable and automatic for me over the past year.  Our host immediately warmed.  “The Technicolor Tree Tribe!” she exclaimed excitedly.  “I’ve heard so much about your community!  Thank you for coming!  Come in!”  And we were admitted.

The Ecovillage’s main building is an apartment building, and though the foyer has been turned into the colorful, friendly, poster- and post-it note-filled space that is common for community buildings, the hallways seemed as bare as any apartment building occupied by strangers.  Apparently the Ecovillage purchased the building (and the surrounding buildings) while people who weren’t affiliated with the Ecovillage still lived in it, and some still do.  There is a gradual process of those people leaving and their spaces being filled by Ecovillagers.

The potluck was delicious and plentiful, and the other guests seemed genuinely excited to meet real live members of the Technicolor Tree Tribe, which most of them had apparently heard of.  We were younger than any of the other guests by a decade or two, and they seemed to think of us as the “younger generation” of community builders.  Ignoring some bits of condescension here and there, we had some interesting conversations about our house and what we do.

Before the forum started the host asked us to give a short description of the Technicolor Tree Tribe to the assembly of 40 or 50 people.  We hadn’t prepared for anything like this, of course; we’d assumed we were going to be the audience!  But Michaela gave an excellent description and we all took turns fielding questions (there were a lot of questions!).  Then we listened to the real presentations, which covered a wide range of topics from permaculture to time banks to the LA Bicycle Kitchen.

The presentations were interrupted at one point when someone announced that those with bikes parked outside (us) should move them inside; there was a person wandering around with a bolt cutter.

We all rushed outside, but we were too late: two of our bikes had been stolen.  One of them was Max’s spare, and the other belonged to a cooper who didn’t know it had been borrowed.  Strangely, the event host mentioned a couple times that the Ecovillage would assume responsibility, but then nothing came of it.  One Ecovillager absolutely insisted we tell the police, which we only did after quite a bit of pressure (we try never to involve the LAPD, preferring to find anti-racist and anti-classist alternatives to the “criminal justice” system).  Of course, nothing came of that, either.

[BTW, if you’re interested in anti-racist/sexist/classist alternatives to police, check out these great resources!  Alternatives To Police   Revolution Starts At Home]

The evening turned out to be a very mixed experience for the eight of us.  It’s (almost) always cool to visit another intentional community, and I’m definitely always delighted to bring TTT members to other communities in LA.  The presentations at the forum were awesome (time banks are the shit!!), and we met some folks who were very interested in the TTT and it’s always fun to talk about ourselves to interested people.  On the other hand, we had the awkward situation at the door and our bikes were stolen (an Ecovillager was kind enough to give our bike-less friends a ride home).  And it’s always difficult to visit communities that are so predominantly white and middle-class.  Oh well.  Intentional communities are still relatively new in LA, and anti-oppression seems to be relatively new within intentional communities everywhere.