Twin Oaks Intentional Community
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Twin Oaks collectively runs several community-owned businesses. This is how we earn the income needed to purchase that which we cannot provide for ourselves. Most members work in at least one of our businesses, and a good portion of members work in several of the businesses.

Our largest business is Twin Oaks Community Foods, in which we sell tofu made on site in the community. We sell primarily through organic/natural food distributors. Our second-largest business is Twin Oaks Hammocks, in which we make and sell hammocks, both retail and wholesale. We sell them online, through our mail-order business, and at crafts fairs. Other significant businesses include our book indexing business in which publishers send us a manuscript and we create the index for the back of the book, and we also do work for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, an heirloom, organic seed business owned by our sister community Acorn.


Twin Oaks is an income-sharing community. Members keep all assets they come with (they are frozen during membership), but all income from our community businesses goes to the collective; no one earns individual "wages" or a "salary". We all work approximately 40 hours in our community businesses and domestic areas (for example, cooking, gardening, building maintenance, etc.) and more or less in exchange for our work, community members receive everything we need including housing, food, clothing, health care, etc. That is the economic agreement between the individual and community. The money received from the businesses is pooled and each year we collectively decide how to allocate it to our various community budgets. Also, each member receives a small personal spending allowance ($75 a month) to cover items the community does not provide (e.g. chocolate, a trip to town to see a movie, etc.). Our tax status reflects our income-sharing--we are a 501(d) entity which is based on having a shared treasury, and is similar to a monastery. In addition to being a working model of a more equitable and just distribution of wealth, pooling our income allows us to be able to afford amenities that can benefit the entire community that would be difficult for one or two people to afford on their income alone.

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Twin Oaks collectively owns a fleet of about 18 vehicles (including cars, pick-up trucks, cargo vans, and a mini-van) for our approximately 85 adult members. Members do not have personal vehicles. One of our core values is resource-sharing, and we're able to get all of our transportation needs met with vehicles shared by all of us. Most of our day-to-day interactions take place within the community. We don't need a car to commute to work since most of our work is done here. We have a group-shopping-and-errand-running system where one person goes into town every day and shops and does errands for people here, so that 15 people aren't taking 15 separate trips into town. We carpool a lot. Our vehicle-sharing is also related to our value of egalitarianism. One of the most concrete ways we do this is by creating a system where members have equal access to resources. Access to transportation is a powerful tool and we don't want some members to have access to their own transportation while others don't.


The community provides for all our basic needs--food, clothing, housing, health care, etc. Each member has their own private bedroom. The community will provide furniture (bed, lamp, dresser, etc.) or members can bring their own. Members bring their own clothing when they move here, and we also have Community Clothes aka "Commie Clothes" which provides additional clothing as members need it over time. Members can bring personal possessions with them (e.g. books, musical instrument, camera, stereo, CD's, computer, etc.) and whatever they keep in their room remains theirs. Other personal possessions can either be stored elsewhere (usually at family/friend's house), donated to the community, or lent to the community for the duration of the person's membership. Please also see our Property Code for more information.

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Work is a significant part of life at Twin Oaks. People often invest a lot of their identity in the work they do here. Members work 42 hours each week, both in our collectively-owned businesses and also our domestic areas (see below). No one earns individual "wages" or a "salary"; in exchange for our work, community members receive everything we need including housing, food, clothing, health care, etc. That is the economic agreement between the individual and community.

We use a labor credit system to track our work. Every hour of work a member does is worth one labor-credit; each member needs to earn 42 labor credits each week (this system is adopted from Walden Two, the book on which we were founded). Every week we each get a labor sheet, which we each fill out ourselves with our own work preferences, and then hand in to the labor assigner, who makes sure that all the work shifts are filled for that week. The only work each member is required to do is one two-hour kitchen cleaning shift each week; all other work is decided by each member, according to personal preferences (indoor/outdoor, physical/sedentary, day/evening, etc.). Each day as we complete our work, we record it on our labor sheet, and at the end of the week we turn our sheets in to the Labor Manager. This both helps ourselves to keep track of how much work we've done, and also tracks labor as it relates to our community budgets.

There are many different types of work available at Twin Oaks; in addition to our community businesses, there is plenty of work in our domestic areas which include gardening, milking cows, building maintenance, office work, plumbing/electrical projects, cooking and baking, cleaning, childcare, computer work, bike repair, yard work, sewing, carpentry, farm work, forestry, as well as serving on the teams that manage various aspects of life here (Membership Team, Health Team, Child Board, Planners, etc.).