Rhythm in community life

Written by Odile Carroll

I think that any person who has ever had Heartbeet touch his or her life in any way for any length of time has struggled at one point or another to adequately explain its being to the outside world. I find that my success in doing this often depends on how much time and patience my audience is willing to give in hearing my attempt at defining Heartbeet’s wonderful and multifaceted existence.

I can say that I am now at a point where I’ve realized that one of the best ways to describe Heartbeet is to refer to aspects of life at Heartbeet itself. One of the myriad memorable conversations I had this summer occurred one afternoon with Eric, next to the compost pile I was helping William and Jessie prepare. We were talking about the greater significance of the preparations used by biodynamic agriculture, but I realized later that we could also have been talking about any aspect of Heartbeet’s community life. Eric spoke of the necessity of winter in the development of the roots of plants, the dreamlike state of summer, and the transitions in between. He emphasized, above all, the importance of rhythm in the cycle and development of a garden. However, the transcendence of this moment was really connected to the fact that he could easily have been speaking of any of the core values of Heartbeet as a community. Those values are lived also in a cyclical way: each living being in the community is also evolving in their own individual growth, thereby contributing to a larger space that, in turn, allows other individuals to grow and change so that they can then contribute their own gifts to the community.

Odile (r) with Renna
Odile (r) with Renna

I have been volunteering on and off at Heartbeet since I was 14 and a freshman in high school, and I just turned 22 last week and am about to enter my senior year in college. The longevity of our relationship has made me exceptionally grateful to have been an observer of Heartbeet’s growth and transformation from a cozy, ten-person community to an incredible 45-person community, with four houses and a plan for a community hall well under way. Managing change and transition is a consistent challenge for the community, but what is ever-present at Heartbeet is the anchor that rhythm, routine and core values and philosophies provides all members of this unique therapeutic space. Coming back for the first time in a few years, I have a heightened awareness of the complex meaning of the different roles each individual holds in this community. Much like the roles that the rain, the sun, the gardeners, the insects and the biodynamic preparations hold in the development and harmony of the garden, Heartbeet could not be Heartbeet if a single aspect of its rhythm were eliminated or greatly altered. As a community, Heartbeet challenges a conventional mentality that overemphasizes individual autonomy and achievement with its proven success as an environment that thrives on shared living.

As always, I am so grateful to be welcomed into the space each time I return, and I still struggle to find the words to adequately express my appreciation to a community that has defined a significant part of who I am and continues to support my development as a human being in this world.

Home Away from Home

It’s been a wonderful time visiting my home and my extended family in Hardwick.

I arrived tired and exhausted from the final exams of my first semester at university. And for sure I’ll leave with recharged batteries and motivation to proceed. Spending time with people I love, makes me appreciate every moment that I can experience here. It’s a big pleasure to be able to join the community at a very busy time of the year. And to be a part of many changes and projects like the barn. My time in this beautiful place leading towards a very important event for my beloved friends, Tony aka T-Bone and Jessie Preibisch has been my highlight of 2014. At this point I wanted to thank both of you again for inviting me.

Dominik (Dome), left and Mac
Dominik (Dome), left and Mac

Heartbeet is – and will stay –  a place to rest and to feel good.

On my arrival day I fit right back in and it felt like I never left Heartbeet.

Which makes me even more comfortable about leaving again, because I know that I always can come back. With this in my mind I’m hoping to be visiting as soon as possible again.

Much love and the best wishes from my heart.

Dominik Kerschl (coworker, Germany, 2012-2013)


My time visiting Heartbeet was like visiting a home away from home.  Seeing everyone, old and new, with open arms and warm hearts is one of the many reasons for visiting each a year.  Every time I visit, I learn more about myself and others by sharing and listening to everyone’s experiences over the last year.  Heartbeet is a place for me to rejuvenate, recollect my feelings and soul.  Being able to take my Heartbeet experiences back home is a great thing. Sharing my Heartbeet experiences with my family, friends, and students is something I will always look to in the many more visits to come.

Mackenzie Schneider, AmeriCorps volunteer (2010-2011)

A World Cup of Self Discovery

Sunday July 13th 2014 proved to be a very important day in the world, particularly in the world of Soccer (which is known worldwide as Football), as Germany was crowned the champions of the 2014 World Cup Final against Argentina.  Some may happen to know what The World Cup is and some may further understand that it is no less than the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world.  I recognize and appreciate the beautiful game of soccer and was fortunate to celebrate this significant event with an extraordinary group of both, past and present, German volunteers of Heartbeet.

It is with each year that Heartbeet welcomes one-year volunteers to Heartbeet. And, It is with each year that all volunteers are provided a unique opportunity for a healthy, safe and nourishing path of self-discovery; a path that leads to new friendships and to an ever growing circle of the Heartbeet family.  An important part of this Heartbeet experience is the presence, the responsibility and the understanding of the intrinsic value that our farm and our animals provide for the nourishment of the individual, the community and the earth.

This is a story of the World Cup, of the Heartbeet volunteers, of the Heartbeet farm and animals and of how all are relevant, appreciated and recognized at Heartbeet.  So it is that Germany won the 2014 World Cup Final. A bull calf was born at Heartbeet on the same day.  Mario Gotze scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup Final for Germany.  The Heartbeet bull calf was later named Mario Gotze in honor of this profound and significant co-incidental historical event.

Mario - born on World Cup finals 2014!
Mario – born on World Cup finals 2014!

A BIG Thank You to all Heartbeet Volunteers that ever were…


by Eric Tidblom