Life sans fossil fuels?


This falls into the category "taking matters into one’s own hands." Our culture is hurtling along on an oil-based diet, using up resources at a rate that we all know cannot be sustained. Meanwhile, a group of about eight core members, along with a few dozen volunteer helpers, is setting out to build a farm near Charlottesville that will run without any use of fossil fuels.

On 127 clear-cut acres in Louisa, the members of Living Energy Farm (LEF) have spent nearly the last year cutting a road, building a barn, training oxen and making plans for an educational center that will prove to the world that life without oil is not only possible, but good.

Today I talked with Sara Tansey, LEF member, about the project.

"There’s sort of this myth that in order to make the changes to live more sustainably, that we have to sacrifice all this comfort and culture," she says. "And so it becomes harder for people to make that choice." Using LEF as a concrete example, she and other members of the group want to "show [people] that it can be super fulfilling and really comfortable and culturally rich to live without fossil fuels. There’s an element of myth-busting."

To that end, they’re keeping busy with plans for straw-bale houses, wind and solar power, organic farming and many other aspects of their oil-free utopia. Weekly work parties keep the project moving forward.

Intrigued? Head over to Random Row Books on Wednesday night, 7-9pm, to hear members talk about the project. (I hear there’ll be dancing, too.) Random Row is at 315 W. Main St., so you can take the trolley and leave your car at home.