At Heartbeet adults with disabilities, volunteers and long-term co-workers live together in extended family households. Together we create loving, beautiful, clean, and well-ordered homes where each person contributes according to his or her ability. Everyone’s help is necessary and valued, whether it be with setting the table, cooking, drying dishes, room care, folding laundry or making everyone laugh with a joke. Three family-style meals are shared in each house daily, and our biodynamic gardens and farm provide nourishing and delicious produce year-round. Meaningful relationships based on mutual respect and care arise in the context of living, working and learning together. While each person is encouraged and supported towards independence, we recognize and value our mutual interdependence.
Evenings and weekends offer time for fun outings to local music, sports events and food, shopping trips, hiking, swimming, sledding, movies, or just playing games or listening to music at home. Televisions are conspicuously absent from our living rooms and in their place conversation, games, reading or letter writing are encouraged and supported.
Social & Cultural Life
The social and cultural life at Heartbeet is strongly influenced by the beautiful land we live on and the changing of the seasons, which offers an ever abundant source of joy and celebration. Festivals help us experience and honor the rhythms of the year and are special times when Heartbeet welcomes local friends and family to join in the wonder and meaning that each festival offers.
Heartbeet also plays an active role in the local town of Hardwick. Our members help to cook a free Community Lunch at the local church each week and some people hold jobs in the local Buffalo Mountain food cooperative.
Heartbeet is a land-based community that includes a wide variety of opportunities to develop new skills and pursue a vocation. Whether it is milking the cows, cooking, stacking wood, building projects, or weaving, each person is asked to participate fully in the task at hand and is able to experience a sense of purpose and accomplishment in areas of interest and talent. We also support and encourage each other to grow and learn in areas where we may not be so strong, to step out of the box and develop new interests and abilities.
In addition to the ongoing and regular rhythm of household tasks, the two other main areas of work are our craft workshops in weaving, papermaking, and felting; and landwork, which encompasses the farm, vegetable gardens, and the estate.
Our three craft studios: needle felting with wool, papermaking and fiber arts, provide an opportunity for community members to develop skills and to express themselves creatively. All natural fibers are used in the weaving and felting studios to create beautiful and useful items such as scarves, throw rugs, table runners, and placemats, wall-hangings and ornaments. Papermaking uses recycled papers from the office and collected materials from the outdoors.
The felting studio produces gorgeous felted wall-hangings (large and small). Members of the workshop develop not only fine motor skills but also finely attuned senses for the interplay of color, texture and composition as they work alongside volunteers to create feltings that bring joy wherever they find a home. Note cards of the feltings are also available.
Our fiber arts studio currently meets once a week. Whether it be working on a scarf at a table loom or crocheting a rag rug, winding yarn, or ripping cloth strips for the rugs, everyone can find a task within their ability and can feel part of a creative process that results in something both beautiful and useful.
Papermaking studio meets two afternoons a week. The varied activities in the process allow everyone to participate actively: shredding recyclable office paper; selecting and picking blossoms, leaves and printed images for card highlights, dipping and making the paper, and ironing the beautifully textured paper and cards that result.
All products made in the craft studios are sold at local craft fairs and wholesale to stores, and are also available for sale directly from us. What better gift to get for a birthday or holiday than a lovely woven table runner or dancing gnome felting made at Heartbeet? For more information or to purchase a crafted item, please contact us at 802-472-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Heartbeet we have a great love and respect for the land and we appreciate both its beauty and bounty. As a community we are dedicated to bringing healing and renewal to the earth through the practice of biodynamic/organic methods on the farm and in the gardens. Work on the land and with the animals in turn provides numerous opportunities for people to find healing, companionship, a connection with nature and a sense of meaning and dignity in life. Flexibility, reliability, patience, and endurance are all important qualities for a farmer or gardener.
Heartbeet now farms 60 acres of land, has a one-acre vegetable garden, a beautiful new greenhouse, and has 100 acres in forest, which provides a sustainable supply of wood to help heat our homes and for construction. Each of the three areas of landwork: farm, garden, and estate, provide ample opportunity for people to find meaningful work and to develop skills.
Some people learn how to milk the cows, collect eggs, water the animals, and are faithful to the daily rhythm of barn chores in the early morning and late afternoon. In the summer, fencing, logging, and haying are among the many tasks on the farm.
In the summer our one-acre garden springs to life, providing an abundance of delicious and healthy produce for us to eat fresh or process for the long winter months. Everyone has a chance to participate in the process of cultivation, growth, and harvest. Whether it is in pushing a wheelbarrow of weeds or compost, picking cucumbers for dinner, or tasting a fresh tomato, the wisdom and beauty of the garden brings healing for the body, soul and spirit.
We take our role as stewards of this magical piece of land seriously. Mowing lawns, weeding, clearing woods, planting bulbs, trees or bushes, and pruning are the responsibility of the estate crew. After a long cold winter, what joy to see that under the snow the straw we lay down last year has protected the new little poppy flower we planted in the fall!