Marijke and Mark Smith
"Real love," theologian Timothy Keller writes, "instinctively desires permanence."
Marijke and I have been on this mountainside place for 48 years. Every day we glean fresh insight from: a visit to a hillside vista, springtime tulips gleaming red and yellow in the sunlight, the combined white and umber of the winter’s first snow, the mosaic of pattern and texture in fine stone and woodwork and wisdom gleaned from the back and forth banter with an old friend.
This is an accumulation of wealth made over a lifetime, each expanding experience building from the last because we see and hear more. Because of this we are unwilling to go elsewhere for that would forsake the bedrocks of wealth made over a lifetime.
Thus, being mortal, we seek the living permanence of an evolving and ongoing culture.We believe that the best way to do this is to create a transition from our two person community to a more expansive participatory community—one with shared democratic values, combined with an ecology that respects the land and the whole earth. We seek permanence by evolution, bringing fresh points of view, fresh skills and technologies, and fresh capital to this place that we love.
Steve and Tanna Hood
Steve Hood <Steve@alchemyandscience.com>
Tanna was born in a rural village close to Hong Kong, emigrated to New Orleans when she was seven years old, moved to Boston with her family before she was ten and grew up to graduate from Boston Latin and an ivy league school. I was born into a military family, moving every third year with roots and an extended family in a very small mid-western farm town. Following a detour with the draft, I graduated from a small state college in the Massachusetts countryside and went on to wander in the Middle East, alternately digging and attending grad school.
Tanna and I met in Boston more than 30 years ago. We fell in love, married, and shared responsibilities for raising my kids with their mother in what’s now referred to as a modern family. The kids grew up, moved away to go to school and to have their own adventures, and to our surprise came back. We’re all now in VT again with our first grandson celebrating his sixth birthday next week.
We were both liberal arts students, committed to understanding ourselves and this world rather than following more practical paths, both somehow finding our way into business. We came to believe that businesses could in fact be creative, socially responsible good citizens, and successful when that was a novel idea, and we still hold it as a given.
Tanna and I subsequently invested our professional lives working in, growing, learning and leading businesses from small to large, all entrepreneurial, values based, and community centered. The list isn’t a long one and most have involved the same small band of entrepreneurs. Some have succeeded and some haven’t, but we’ve learned from each one together.
When we came to Vermont more than 25 years ago, we knew that we were home almost immediately, and that’s more our experience now than it was even then. Work takes me away for more than seventy five percent of my time, and while I appreciate the opportunities, Vermont is still at the center of our lives together.
It’s also been our experience that Vermont is a shared oasis. Community, family, friends and acquaintances all bring experiences and perspectives as diverse as the landscape, and most share that appreciation and commitment. While it’s not always possible, we find that values, consensus and compromise balance that diversity at work and at home.
The contradiction in our lives has been that given the above, we’re private people. In spite of having been active in a number of companies where shared points of view, discussion and debate are core principles, we had never considered living in an intentional, co-housing community. And while we’ve gardened over the years, the principles of permaculture are new to us as well. That said, we’re finding through experience, readings, and from our conversations with Mark and Marijke that this is in fact a model and lifestyle that’s meaningful to us, and maybe more consistent with our values and lifestyle than we knew.
We appreciate the beauty of the Farm, we value community, we know that our decisions with home and lifestyle have a material impact on the world that we’ll leave to the next generation. We also recognize the challenges of a living community, and at the same time the benefits of a healthy community dynamic, supporting creative, diverse and sustainable homes and relationships.
We’re expecting that the Farm will bring even more diverse, interesting, and healthy perspectives and experiences, and we’re looking forward to it.