East Wind Community is a secular community operated similarly to a kibbutz, whose land, labor, and resources are held in common by its members. East Wind was founded in 1974. To this day, it continues growing and changing while staying true to the ideals that inspired its founding.
East Wind is a proud member of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. We are one of six egalitarian communities that have joined together in a common struggle to create a lifestyle based on equality, cooperation, and harmony with the Earth. We believe that this is a fundamentally different approach than that offered by many cultures throughout the world, and one that holds promise of realizing the human potential lost through unequal distribution of wealth, power, and opportunity.
East Wind is a community owned and operated by the members, who share all income and expenses, and are communally responsible for all the needs of the community members, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, and other needs and amenities. East Wind is more than just a cooperative business. East Wind is a community of nearly seventy idealistic individuals living and working together; it is a farm with thriving gardens, orchards, a ranch, and a sustainable forestry program situated on over 1,000 acres in the Missouri Ozarks; and it is a way of life that emphasizes cooperation, equality, and personal freedom.
All members (with the exception of those who have been at East Wind for less than one year and must complete a year of trial membership first) are equal co-owners of our businesses, our land, and our other assets. We make decisions as a community, and members are able to discuss and vote on all of the decisions we make. All of the profits made from our businesses are held in common and allotted into annual budgets discussed and agreed upon by the members of the community. Members vote on annual budgets for things like our yearly kitchen expenses, medical expenses, agricultural expenses, recreational expenses, etc. Our businesses, primarily East Wind Nut Butters, provide a comfortable lifestyle for all of our members and supply the finances needed for our many pursuits.
We must work together responsibly for our continued success, so all East Winders are expected to help out with our businesses. East Winders can help our businesses in many different ways, including working in our offices, our factory, and in our warehouse. Members of East Wind are expected to work thirty-five hours per week, and we require that a small portion of that labor is devoted to our businesses. Quota for work needed in our businesses is set on a weekly basis, but usually ranges between one and ten hours per person per week. All East Winders are expected to do what needs to be done to keep our businesses running smoothly and fulfill our duties to our customers, and many of us contribute time and effort far beyond the minimum requirement.
Most of us are still able to find plenty of time to engage in other types of work, such as ranching, gardening, construction, building maintenance, mechanics, childcare, cooking, forestry, herbalism, etc. Sharing our workload and income as a community allows us all more time to enjoy life and pursue our diverse interests and ambitions. East Winders work hard to sustain and better our community, it is truly a labor of love and a great learning experience for us all. East Wind offers the opportunity to be your own boss, do work that you actually enjoy, and directly contribute to the quality of life for yourself and the community as a whole.
Community members elect East Winders to positions of responsibility in our businesses, such as Nut Butters General Manager, Sales & Marketing Manager, Sanitation Manager, etc. All full members of East Wind have an equal vote and equal opportunity to run for any of these positions annually. Individuals who take on these positions take on great responsibility for the good of our community. From line workers to General Manager, from managers to the East Winder who repairs the broken wood pallets or cleans the shoes used by workers in the factory, we all receive the same salary and benefits, and treat each other with mutual respect.
We hope that our cooperative model sets an example that will inspire others. To learn more about East Wind Community, please visit our community website here.