Jean le Moine is a community that started almost thirty years ago in the Vosges (mountain range in the east of the northern half of France). What started as a merger of two drop-out families is now a colourful community of Mathias and Judith (and their four children) who run the farm all year round, young people like Alex, Elona or Davide who live part-time on the farm, travellers who come for a few days, weeks or months to help in exchange for room and board, and a wide neighbourhood network of friends and acquaintances who help and ask for help.
Through educational projects for young people, structural and support services for people with disabilities, the transfer of skills, sustainable animal husbandry and gardening, diverse project work and various forms of barter, new ways of life have been emerging on Jean le Moine for many years and with them opportunities to replace the existing economic and social systems with more social and sustainable ones.
Here, instead of material wealth, the focus is on nature and its creatures - animals as well as people. The balance between work - i.e. further development and maintenance of the farm, as well as help for neighbours and friends - and group life as such should always be maintained. Music and other art forms, rituals such as mediation, massage and excursions as well as the weekly sharing, where inner processes find space, but also conflicts are clarified and events and experiences of the week are recapitulated and discussed.
Jean le Moine builds bridges across generations, backgrounds and physical and psychological differences. Through education, encouragement and appreciation of each person’s idiosyncrasies, the farm offers the opportunity to see oneself and the world through different eyes. For years, the community has been encouraging young and old alike to contribute with all their interests and abilities and to find their own personal place in this place. Jean le Moine is an enchanting place that can be a model for future social forms and ways of life and is worth preserving.
The Magic of Jean le Moine
Jean le Moine enchants, feels paradisiacal - ancient and eternally young. I sit in the small forecourt of the outdoor kitchen - an oven, a cooker and some spices - in front of me is the large table where we eat together, next to me the fireplace where, when it is dry, we sit evening after evening, discussing, singing, making music. A little further the terrace; only half covered is it in the middle of renovation, soon ready to offer us a cosy outdoor spot at sunshine and on rainy days. Behind the fireplace is the mini swimming pool - filled with rainwater - above it, at the beginning of the slope, the self-built sauna. At the top of the sauna floats half of the tree house, which will hopefully soon be finished. Its big brother is enthroned in the trees fifty metres in front of me, ready to accommodate us guests, and next to me sits a quacking duck that waddles freely across the yard together with peacocks, cats, chickens and dogs. Pepita and Anas - the two brown donkeys - trot across the pasture, on another one the four sheep bleat with their lambs. The ten goats walk happily through the forest with their kids out of earshot. In the evening we prick up our ears to hear the little bells and to know that the animals are safe in the pasture; here and there there is a little search action. The goats give us their milk every morning, from which yoghurt and cheese are made and enjoyed at the communal meals. I am still sitting on my chair, a blossoming cherry tree smiles at me and out of my field of vision, yet very close, the beautiful vegetable garden - with an herb bed, lots of vegetables, salads and a few fruit trees - is leisurely growing. At the top of the hill, a self-built yurt watches over us, while here a van and there a circus wagon stand ready to accommodate the many guests. And everywhere, where there is nothing «useful», there is a beautiful detail, carrying the stories of these many years - told by people and ideas, dreams, of freedom. Whoever has been here once will never forget this Permadise - our permanent Paradise - will always find a way back.
Support an Alternative Way of Life
The large neighbourhood network makes it possible to swap, share and pass on - a small self-sufficient beginning, but still far from the goal. Monthly costs are incurred to maintain the farm; wood for heating, building materials, food, electricity and internet still have to be bought with money - that’s why we need your help this year.
For 8 years, Jean le Moine was home to a young man with a mental handicap who was cared for around the clock by Mathias. This care brought in an income of 4000 Euros per month for the farm, which covered fixed costs for heating, building, food etc. and enabled the community to welcome everyone with open arms and provide them with a meal and a roof over their heads. Unfortunately, there was an incident with the young man, after which living together was no longer possible. So after eight years, the time had come for him to move on. Since then, however, the fixed income has been missing and money is taking up more and more space in our minds. We think about who can come and who cannot, whether a stay is «worth it», and we forget to take time for each other because we have to do wage work. With your help, we would like to raise enough money to cover the lost income for half a year. We want to be able to create something new: The yurt could offer holiday guests accommodation in nature, farm products could be bought at the markets in the region. Perhaps Jean le Moine will soon be home again to someone looking for care and structure, or school classes will experience a new kind of education on the farm. The ideas sprout like a seedling but are nipped in the bud by money worries and existential fears. There is no room for creativity - we need air to breathe, water to grow. Support us with your donation and invest in a place where the world turns in the other direction. Here I can be who I am and become who I want to be.