Welcome to our School of Living electronic newsletter where you can catch up on what is happening in our land trust communities and SOL committee work.


Image courtesy of StellaLou Farm


Decisions and Actions of the Board:

  • The Q3 Board Meeting Minutes were approved as written.

  • The officer, committee and community reports outlining Q3 were reviewed and approved.

  • The Board elected David Nuttall to the board of trustees.

  • The Board decided to offer fiscal sponsorship to Auphir Education.


2023 Q1: January 22, Zoom

2023 Q2: April 29-30, Heathcote Community

2023 Q3: July 22-23, Julian Woods Community

2023 Q4: October 21-22, StellaLou Farm


Sunday, January 22, 2023 - 9am - 12pm Q1 Meeting of the Board of Trustees

If you are an SOL member attending and would like the board packet, please reach out to and it will be made available to you the week prior.


Alanna Hartzok is planning a webinar in February 2023 in which respondents will speak to "Borsodi's Decentralist Manifesto." Alanna is, particularly, interested in having people from School of Living to be part of this panel discussion. All interested should contact Alanna by January 20th, 2023.




Julian's video can be accessed here.


Image from Julian's video




Images in this post are courtesy of Rita Jane Kiefert

40 years ago my sister Jo Ellen and her husband Steve were living in a step van with a lean-to built onto it with a stove and small kitchen. When their first born came premature in January Jo Ellen refused to live in the van with a new born and moved in with her folks until Steve finished their house just up the hill from the van. When they moved out of the van they needed to sell it for the money so the van was moved into the parking lot and I moved into it until I finished the addition to the lean-to and created the tar paper shack. At this point the van was sold. I moved into the shack in November of that year. I lived there for 10 years; for the first five years there was no running water or electricity. During this time, a bus was moved next to the shack. After 5 years, Herb Goldstein moved in with me and put in a seasonal water hose down from my sister's house and electricity from across the parking lot at the pole barn. When we finished our house at the top of the ridge, the shack was a place for visitors to live for a long time and later just a storage building. The materials were almost all recycled and the siding and insulation was never finished. Several year ago the roof failed and the building and all of its contents started to rot.

Over the years the community has wanted the building down but no one took it on. Last year I took on the project. I tried to get several construction folks I know to take it down and they all refused the job. Finally, I decided that I had built it, I would take it down. I could not enter through either door so I entered from the kitchen window. Stefan and I spent bits of time over several months getting all the stuff out of the building and the old school bus beside it. The front door frame was collapsing so we removed the door. There were 6-8 holes in the roof and only bits of living room floor left. We built a board walkway across to carry stuff out on. That lean-to kitchen is still the most stable part of the building.


As you can see, we have all the stuff out of the bus and the building. We took out all the windows so there would be no broken glass when we pull the shack down with a chain and a tractor. We are making arrangements for the removal of the bus now. Finally, there is no reason for anyone to enter that unsafe building again! It is spooky, and creepy, and scary, and dangerous. Still it is an accomplishment for us to have gotten it this far. Stefan is 72 and I am 75. The niece will be 40 Jan. 22, 2023.


"Where those of us 60 and over can collectively take action for the
betterment of the world, as we have done all our lives."


Image taken from

I’ve joined Third Act, an online organization of elder Americans taking action together toward a better future - protecting our environment and eliminating racism and other societal oppressions. In their words - “We are building a community of experienced Americans over the age of sixty - determined to change the world for the better. Together, we use our life experience, skills and resources to build a better tomorrow.” is guided by a volunteer Advisory Council : Lead Advisor Akaya Windwood, founder Bill McKibben, Advisor Robin Wall Kimmerer, and several others.

One of the programs I’ve been most active in is “Bank on our Future”. We are trying to educate the public about the role banks play in financial support of the fossil fuel industry, especially the 4 largest banks in the US. Since the Paris climate accords were signed, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have loaned the fossil fuel industry a trillion dollars. The Millennials and even younger generations are rightly leading the climate change fight. But it is the generation of those over 60 who own the majority of the financial resources and therefore can have the power and potential influence over the American banks. The “Bank on our Future” initiative is a program to help those of us with financial savings to move our funds away from these biggest 4 banks and invest with financial institutions that are shown to reject the fossil fuel industry. AND, the plan is to take this action together, at the same time, to have the most public impact. Here is the general timeline of the program.

Spring and Summer of 2022: Third Act staff have alerted these largest 4 banks of our demand to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. Spread the word. Ask everyone to take a pledge to move our funds away if by the end of the year these banks have not effectively changed their investment choices.

Fall and Winter 2022-2023: Educate ourselves as to how to safely and
effectively move our funds – checking, savings, and credit cards – to
financial institutions who reliably follow our cause. Third Act has a series of 4 webinars that detail the how and why: Our new choices can be local credit unions, some online banks, firms with socially responsible investment funds, and many medium sized banks. Third Act staff and advisors have identified websites that will allow us to determine how our personal bank choices are currently investing our funds, and how to choose others with a more conscientious investment strategy that reflect our own values. Try this site for help researching:

March 2023: We want to be ready to make our account moves and cut
up our cards en masse at this time. I plan to be ready. Please join us !

Ann Wilken
Julian Woods Community





Image courtesy of StellaLou Farm

A year ago I started thinking about a new way to go about a looming old project. The dysfunctional windbreak at StellaLou farm. This year, we will have roots, MANY ROOTS, in the ground!

After hearing the term “Miyawaki” fluttering around the permaculture circles here in Pennsylvania, I attended the Horn Farm Center’s class covering this unique process of aforestation. It proposes a very different way of thinking about planting trees in terms of spacing, species, and ground prep. I am not yet knowledgeable enough to give you, dear readers, the history or exact science of this process, but I would like to share how we are applying it to our windbreak this year. I will add that Wilson Alvarez, who taught this class, did his plots in open areas, but assured me that experiments to replace windbreak and even in our wood lot were worthwhile.

We are taking a 16’ strip of bare windbreak above our orchard to start our first Miywaki plot. Test plots have shown this method produces trees that grow much faster than standard planting methods, a win when winds blast over the farm field next door and into our orchard with any pollutants it may carry. The main concept of this planting method is that trees need community, including the collaboration and competition that goes with it. The space will be planted very densely with a wide variety of species. The diversity provides us with many chances for success in finding the ideal species of shrub, understory, and overstory trees, as determined by the community itself.

Attached is the spreadsheet of species chosen for this project. In it you can see the many characteristics that have been considered. For this project, I need five ideal species which will hold up to the wind. A diversity of height, root structures, and root depths are also desired. I aimed for 35 species for the space, but decided that the 29 listed will do the job with the benefits of releasing myself from perfectionism and saving a bit of money. We made some substitutions from my first draft of species to favor those that we can take cuttings and suckers from at StellaLou Farm. Again, because this is expensive. We will be putting efforts into learning to propagate from the cuttings on this plot for other projects on the homestead to grow our investment’s productivity.

This week we begin another important step of this method: plot prep. Unlike most tree planting ground prep, we will not be planting into a hole surrounded by compact soil for each tree; instead the whole 16x16’ space is treated as a garden bed – making it easy for roots to move fast and strong and towards each other. We are adding compost, broad forking, adding straw and leaf litter, broad forking again, and topping with wood chips before planting.

All updates of this project, along with our other long term land projects, can be found on our website HERE. This website can be accessed through QR code printed on each of 9 permanent physical educational signs at StellaLou farm, made possible through a grant given by the education committee of SOL.


Mike Curtis will lead the traditional Henry George Progress & Poverty course via ZOOM.

10 sessions once a week on Wednesday Evenings from 7:30 - 9 P.M. Eastern Time (US and Canada)

First session January 25, 2023 — last March 29th, 2023

Sponsored by the Arden Georgists and the Henry George Academy. All are welcome. Zoom meetings can be accessed here.

Follow the logic of George, and understand why the policies of the Democratic and Republican parties can not solve America’s intractable problems, and why, if applied to the nation, land value taxation would.

Understand the virtues and limits of partial applications in the Ardens and many cities in Pennsylvania.

Tax the full rental value of land; abolish all other taxes. Socialize those businesses that are in their nature monopolies (immune to competition), and revoke all government granted monopolies.

That is the entire program proposed by Henry George in his 1879 classic, Progress & Poverty. It was called The Single Tax, and with it he promised: Full employment — an opportunity for everyone to work for themself or someone else at a wage that increased with the march of invention and technological progress.

He explained how his prescription would result in an abundance of housing — affordable for all who were willing and able to work. He showed how it would provide ample incentive and reward for those who saved and invested in productive wealth.

His program assured those who worked and produced that they could keep, tax free, everything that resulted from their productive efforts. And, at the same time, The Single Tax would channel all socially created wealth (what did not result from the efforts of individuals and corporations) to the community and society that created it.

This socially created fund would not only provide for the infrastructure, public service, and national defense, but could provide for national healthcare, and those who were unable to take care of themselves.


4:00-5:30: A Personal Journey to Veganic Organic Permaculture to Help Implement Two Project Drawdown Climate Solutions: Tree Intercropping and Plant Rich Diet



September 10, 2022 from 1 to 5 pm.

You're invited to Heathcote's (Maryland) monthly Visitor Day! Come see the community, share a vegetarian potluck meal, and socialize with community members. All are welcome.

Click here for more details.

Stellar Roots, (Virginia) a collective of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people rooted in healing and in service of land based community living, is open to visitors and inquiries. You can contact them here.

StellaLou Farm is a four generation homestead in Southeastern Pennsylvania. We welcome visitors and inquiries. You can contact them here.

Common Ground Community welcomes inquiries. Please, contact Ben with your interest and questions.

Julian Woods Community in Julian, PA welcomes visitors and inquiries. Please, contact Deb Fisher. A beautiful photo story about Julian Woods can be found here.

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