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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vegetarianism: The most important solution to Global Warming

A friend sent this to me. Thought it might be of interest to some of you.

Dear Friend,

In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change conference, it is vital the following information be disseminated to the public as well as to our political leaders.

A widely cited 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock's Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to livestock….however recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang co-authors of "Livestock and Climate Change" in the latest issue of World Watch magazine found that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions!

The main sources of GHGs from animal agriculture are: (1) Deforestation of the rainforests to grow feed for livestock. (2) Methane from manure waste. – Methane is 72 times more potent as a global warming gas than CO2 (3) Refrigeration and transport of meat around the world. (4) Raising, processing and slaughtering of the animal.

Meat production also uses a massive amount of water and other resources which would be better used to feed the world’s hungry and provide water to those in need.

Based on their research, Goodland and Anhang conclude that replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They say "This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy."

The fact is that we are being informed of the dangerous path we are on by depending greatly on animal flesh for human consumption. We still have the opportunity to make the most effective steps in saving ourselves and this planet. By simply choosing a plant based diet we can reduce our carbon foot print by a huge amount.

We are gambling with our lives and with those of our future generations to come. It's madness to know we are fully aware of the possible consequences but yet are failing to act.

Please make a truly environmental, healthy and compassionate choice, choose to drastically reduce your meat intake or simply go vegetarian or vegan. This is the single most powerful action for preventing climate change as it is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely

Amber Sykes

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Ten Green Buddhists by Steve Kanji Ruhl

Among the many activities of the worldwide movement in Socially Engaged Buddhism today, perhaps the most significant are those related to Buddhist environmentalism, or Green Buddhism. Ranging from efforts of the Dalai Lama to have the entire Tibetan plateau declared a "natural park" and wildlife refuge called the Zone of Ahimsa, to strategies by monks in Thailand to prevent over-logging, to Thich Nhat Hanh's ecological awareness campaigns within his Order of Interbeing, to the decades-long commitment of American Buddhists such as Gary Snyder and John Daido Loori and Joanna Macy to honor and protect wilderness and sustainable human cultures and all living beings, the Green Buddhist movement is dynamic, vitally important, and inspiring to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. (And it also includes the activities of the "Green Appalachia" program sponsored by the Zen Peacemakers Order in partnership with Ahimsa Village in central Pennsylvania.) Unlike the Christian environmental movement, Green Buddhism does not espouse the ideal of responsible human stewardship of God's Creation, a view that affords humans a priveleged position within nature. Rather, Green Buddhism invokes the fundamental Buddhist principle of interconnectedness, in order to express the truth of the profound interdependence of everything within the cosmos, humans linked to animals and plants and oceans and mountains and stars in a harmonious network of interbeing.

Here's my top 10 list of Green Buddhists, in alphabetical order:

1. The Dalai Lama
2. Wendy Johnson
3. Stephanie Kaza
4. John Daido Loori
5. Joanna Macy
6. Peter Muryo Matthiessen
7. Thich Nhat Hanh
8. Prayudh Payutto
9. Sulak Sivaraksa
10. Gary Snyder

Honorable Mentions:
Robert Aitken, Rita Gross, the Karmapa (Ogyen Trinley Dorje)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Film Recommendation - The Shift by Wayne Dyer

I just finished watching a great new film titled The Shift (2009) by Wayne Dyer. This is Dyer's first film. He is best known for his many bestselling books on self-help and the spiritual life. The film follows the lives of a group of people who are on vacation at a beautiful California oceanside retreat center. One group is a film crew who has come to interview Dyer about his latest book on the spiritual life. The segments of this interview are masterfully interwoven with the lives of the people at the retreat center illustrating in dramatic fashion what Dyer is talking about. Its a very powerful and effective method. I really learned a lot from this film - its all about making the shift from an ego-centered life to a service-centered life, letting go of our personal agendas and allowing our true self or as Dyer calls it our Authentic Self to manifest. Its there all the time, we just have to let go of our ego so it can shine forth. A truly remarkable and inspiring film. Highly recommended. To learn more about the film, visit the film's web site at We plan to have a showing and discussion of the film at Ahimsa Village this year. -- Bob Flatley

January Program - Building Strong Local Economies and Community with Bill Sharp

Please consider attending our January Sustainabilty Talk on Friday, January 8, 2010 at 7:30PM at Ahimsa Village farmhouse, Julian, PA 16844. Details below:

This workshop focuses on the inevitability of local communities turning towards increasingly self-sufficient economies as a response to changes in the global climate, economy and steady rise in the cost of energy. The workshop will discuss the conditions leading to the current social and economic crises, outline a model for a self-sufficient community; and open a dialogue on how such a community can be pursued.

Bill Sharp has been active in environmental and economic development issues for over 40 years. He has been a teacher, planner and manager in higher education, government and business. His has worked in urban and rural areas, served on and been an officer of several non-profit organizations and associations and been forming member of several of these. He has a life-long interest in community. He is currently working to develop an architecture for self-sufficient communities and is a local supporter of the Transition US and UK based Transition Towns network.

Light refreshments at 7:30pm, followed by program. Please RSVP to, 814-355-0850 if you plan to join us. Suggested donation $5 benefits the Ahimsa Education Committee.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Green Buddhism Talk at Ahimsa Village with Steve Kanji Ruhl

Green Buddhism:

Using the Ancient Buddha Way to Meet Our 21st Century Environmental Crisis

Friday, December 11, 2009 at 7:30PM

What do Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, Pulitzer Prize winning writers Gary Snyder and Peter Matthiessen, the Dalai Lama, and activist Joanna Macy have in common? They're all part of the widespread Green Buddhism movement.
Please join us for this lively, fascinating, and unique presentation. It will offer a global perspective of Buddhist relations to nature, discuss Buddhist philosophical approaches to the environment, compare these to other world religions, explain the rise of the modern Green Buddhist movement in Asia and America, and describe how Zen Buddhists are now addressing environmental concerns in central PA and offering models for sustainable living and healing the earth.

Steve Kanji Ruhl received his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. Kanji is a lay Buddhist minister in the Zen Peacemakers Order, completing his training for ordination as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest. He is also a longtime environmentalist, an active lover of the sacred outdoors and member of such eco-organizations as the Sierra Club, the Creation Care Coalition of Centre County, and Interfaith Power and Light.

Light refreshments at 7:30pm, followed by program. Please RSVP to, 814-355-0850 if you plan to join us. Suggested donation $5 benefits the Ahimsa Education Committee.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Henry George Perspective by Mike Curtis

Mike Curtis conducted a one-day workshop at Ahimsa Village on Oct. 18, 2009 on the economic philosophy of Henry George. Below is a summary of that workshop. Mike can be reached at You can learn more about George by taking Mike's mini-course at

There are many robbers in our midst: governments that steal with unjust taxes, inflation that robs those who have saved, and bankers that consume without having to produce. There are a myriad of other monopolists that rob the hard earned wealth from those who have worked and produced it. But, no matter how little or how much each of these other robbers take, there is one robber that takes all that is left, save just enough to create the incentives needed for production. And for those with the least education and skill all is taken, but a bare subsistence. The robber that takes all that is left is private property in land.

All the natural opportunities on which, and from which, we live — even the electromagnetic spectrum — is part of the land. And because there is no longer any free land place where people can live and employ themselves, wages tend toward those of chattel slavery.

Some workers are able to buy land and enjoy an advantage, even become robbers themselves — just as chattel slaves could sometimes buy their freedom and even buy other slaves; but private property in land, as slavery in the past, is none-the-less the ultimate robber of those who work and produce.

The income from land takes all the benefits of the general increase in the level of education, the infrastructure, invention, and the progress of technologies while wages tend to remain constant. That is why the increase in productivity never increases labor's standard of living nor eliminates the need for a Minimum Wage.

As the income of land continues to rise, the selling price of land is bid higher and higher by expectations of even greater incomes in the future.

The more the owners of unused land are offered, the greater the expectation of future offers and the less likely they are to sell. As machines replace workers more land is needed. Whether it is a farm worker who is replaced by a tractor that can plow more land or a factory worker who is replaced by automation each of those workers must have some other place to work. However, when those who are holding idle land as an investment refuse to sell, those who has been replaced by machinery cannot be reemployed.

The unemployed workers don’t buy as many of the products of other people’s labor, so factories lay off some of their workers. The more workers that are laid off the less demand for goods and services so more workers are laid off. Only after enough land becomes affordable that producers (workers) can access it does a recession or depression be end.

The Henry George Proposal

Eliminate all taxes that are levied on things produced or incomes from production and, instead, fund all public expenditures from the rental value of land. We must have exclusive use of land, for who would plant a crop or build a house — much less a modern factory — if they couldn't put up a fence and lock the door? By making the title to land conditional upon a payment of its rental value, the equal rights of every other member of the community to that same parcel of land would be satisfied.

As the holders land were only renting, the incentive would be to use the least possible amount of land and produce as much as possible on it; that is, within the limits of health, safety, and environmental sustainability, for the Earth belongs equally to all future generations as well.

As people would no longer hold land as an appreciating asset, there would be a much more intense development of the urban and suburban areas. As people migrated toward the centers of population, the demand and value of rural areas would fall. Large areas of the wilderness would remain natural and uninhabited. Somewhere between the edge of suburbia and the wilderness would emerge a free land alternative --- a place where land could be used, lived, and worked on without the payment of rent. Perhaps only a minute fraction of the population would actually live and work on the free land, but no one would work for some one else unless they were offered a higher standard of living than they could produce working for themselves.

Because no one could afford to hold unused land there would always be a free land alternative insuring high wages that would increase with the advance of material progress. The return to buildings, machinery, and products in the making would also increase as wages increase.

Because most new technologies increase productivity more where population is dense, the rental value of land from these areas would provide an increasing fund for the increasing needs of social growth. Not only would we see full employment, wages and the return to savings increase, but society would have increasing resources to pay for national healthcare and the development of appropriate energy. It is even likely that there would soon be resources to dispense a cash dividend equally to all our residents, who, by their cooperative presence, have created the value which attaches to land.

Businesses in which there can not reasonably be competition — like the roads and utilities — must be operated by the government. All other monopolies should be abolished.

The best mechanism to decide who produces what will then be the rewards of free people exchanging their labor for the products of other people's labor in the free market — a market that decides not only the value of everything else, but the rental value of land, which belongs to the community and society as a whole.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Black Moshannon Whole Earth Body/Mind Encounter, October 25, 2009 with Rosalind Jiko

We started around a campfire at Ahimsa Village on a cool morning. Sitting feeling the earth holding us, the sky opening above, the forest around, and, with alert, soft, wide-open senses, the sounds, smells, and air on our skin. A few more sense- and awareness-opening activities and we were away to Black Moshannon State complete story at the Appalachian Zen House blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


“Engaku” is the Japanese Buddhist term for a deluded practice of “pursuing self-enlightenment while ignoring the cries of suffering in the world.” At Appalachian Zen House we do not practice engaku. Inspired by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and other founders of socially engaged Buddhism, a worldwide movement endorsed by the Dalai Lama, at Appalachian Zen House we enact the Bodhisattva Vow to free all beings from suffering by regularly getting off of our meditation cushions and working to realize enlightenment by serving those who are hurt and in need.

In the past several weeks, in keeping with our mission to heal the earth and to serve those who are underserved here in our home of rural Pennsylvania, we have been very busy:

* Following our successful “Earth Education” summer camps at Ahimsa Village for low-income kids, led by Kelle Kersten and Jiko McIntosh, our Green Appalachia programs now enter a new phase as autumn begins. The committee for “Bald Eagle Bio-Fuels,” coordinated by Bob Flatley, met recently and Kim Bytheway offered a building in Julian for use as a project site; we plan to soon begin a pilot project converting several home heating oil tanks in Bald Eagle Valley from fossil fuel to bio-fuels, which we’ll purchase from regional sources.

Also, our “No Harm Farm” initiative at Ahimsa Village – starting a community-sustained agriculture project that will teach low-income people to grow organic food, and donate surplus to needy people in our area – will move forward in early November as we do work outdoors to build fences and prepare the soil.

And our Green Appalachia Eco-Tours project, promoting mindful awareness of the natural world in this time of environmental crisis, is now underway. Recently Jiko led a meditative day hike in Black Moshannon (please see related article for details).

* Through our membership in the State College Area Interfaith Mission, we Buddhists of the Appalachian Zen House also join with our Christian and Jewish colleagues in providing underserved people in Centre County with rental assistance, blankets, free recycled furniture, fuel assistance, and – if they’re homeless – temporary emergency shelter.

Through our membership in the Creation Care Coalition of Centre County – part of the national organization Interfaith Power and Light – we work with our Christian and Jewish neighbors in addressing global warming and climate change through programs with our local congregations. In early October, Steve Kanji Ruhl and Jiko were the only members of Buddhist clergy to participate in a two-day, statewide, predominantly Christian conference at Penn State called “Religion and the Ethics of Climate Change,” where they provided the conference with a Zen Buddhist perspectiveand distributed literature on Appalachian Zen House, the School of Living, and Ahimsa Village.

Incidentally, Kanji will offer a presentation on “Green Buddhism” as part of the Ahimsa Village Sustainability Talks series on December 11 – please watch for further details.

* The Floating Lotus Zendo of Appalachian Zen House continues to offer genuine, formally authorized Zen training in the renowned Japanese lineage of Maezumi-Yasatani-Harada, providing zazen and kinhin, dharma talks, private interviews, council circles, and pastoral care and counseling to a growing sangha.

* And finally, our “Speak Your Peace” program, coordinated by Sunny Rehler, commenced on Sunday, November 1, from 2:30-5:30 with an interactive workshop called “Getting Past ‘Us Versus Them’: How Conflict Resolution Techniques Have Worked in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” facilitated by Kristen Lokhan and Jessica Arends at the Friends Meeting House in State College, PA.

Please see our website at for ongoing information about our programs at Ahimsa Village and elsewhere. You also may read about us in recent and current issues of magazines such as “Tricycle: The Buddhist Review,” “Buddhadharma,” and ”EnlightenNext.”

We are a registered non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania and gratefully welcome your financial support of our valuable work in taking Buddhist practice beyond the self-centeredness of engaku. Please send checks made out to Appalachian Zen House to Steve Kanji Ruhl, 198 Terra Vista Street, Howard, PA 16841. Many thanks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Getting Past 'Us Versus Them': How Conflict Management Techniques Have Worked in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, an interactive seminar

Getting Past 'Us Versus Them': How Conflict Management Techniques Have Worked in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, an interactive seminar with Kristin Lokhan and Jessica Arends, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30pm, November 1, 2009
Friends Meeting House, 611 E. Prospect St., State College.
A Speak Your Peace' Program of the Appalachian Zen House
For more information contact Steve Kanji Ruhl at
Click on flyer below for complete details.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Book on PA Solar Energy - Review by Bob Flatley

If you are a Pennsylvania homeowner with an interest in solar power Vera Cole's new book is for you. This hands-on, practical book is written to introduce solar power to the homeowner. It is not a technical manual on how to do an installation, instead it covers every aspect of the decision making process from concept to budgeting to the steps involved in arranging an installation.

The strength of the book lies in her simple yet clear advice guiding the homeowner through the decision making process. The book begins by describing how solar works then goes step by step through all the considerations a homeowner will need to make to decide whether solar might be a good choice for their property.

Of particular interest to Pennsylvanians is Cole's thorough explanation of the new federal and state incentives that can substantially reduce the final cost of a solar installation. She estimates that the average homeowner could save as much as 50% of the total cost of an installation. She covers the implications of state tax and rebate policy, including the latest changes in the law.

One question that people often ask is "How much can a homeowner save with solar electric or solar hot water?" This question is tricky to answer since the cost of fossil fuel-generated electricity can’t be predicted, nor can the future tax and rebate policies be foreseen. Nevertheless, Cole provides homeowners with some quick and easy calculations that can provide a rough answer to this crucial question. Another fuzzy area that the book makes clearer is Renewable Energy Credits. The market for RECs is in its infancy so there is no sure way to determine how homeowners might benefit. The author explains how RECs work and what a homeowner might expect to get from selling them.

The focus of the book is on the payback period for investment in solar. She seeks to answer the question: As an investment, does solar make sense for you? The book provides a way for readers to come to their own decision. If the answer is yes, the book includes advice and a checklist for homeowners to review; useful before, during, and after the installation.

The book itself is a statement of sustainability. It was written, designed, produced and printed in Pennsylvania on 100% post-consumer waste paper, produced at a plant powered by biogas. The book is published by the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA), the sponsor of Pennsylvania's largest green festival - the PA Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival held every year in Berks County, PA. The author serves as MAREA’s Director of Local Power and holds degrees in mechanical and industrial engineering.

The book is a short and useful introduction and reference to a confusing area for many homeowners. It includes a very useful companion web site that provides more information in critical areas and the “SunnyMoney” online calculator that easily and quickly generates many of the figures a homeowner will need as they consider going solar. You can learn more about the book and try out the SunnyMoney calculator at


This review will be published in the Sylvanian, the magazine of the PA Sierra Club. Bob Flatley is the chair of the Kittatinny Group. He served on the original planning committee that started the PA Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival and continues to volunteer at the event.

Apple Canning Workshop - October 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Henry George Workshop with Mike Curtis to be hosted at Ahimsa Village

Join us for an exploration: How the world really works, & how it would work, with Henry George - workshop facilitated by Mike Curtis

October 18, 2009, 10AM to 2pm. Bring a lunch. Light refreshments and snacks provided. Suggestion donation: $5

Make a distinction between the Earth itself and the results of human endeavor .

See what sets wages as an amount and as a portion of what's produced.
Consider the relationship between the owners of buildings & machines and those who use them.
Trace the cause of unemployment, recessions, and depressions.
Learn the formula: common opportunity, individually produced property, and the sharing of community produced property with sustainability and abundance for all.
Examine land rent and the potential of a community land trust.

Henry George was the world's most famous economist. His book Progress and Poverty was only out sold by the Bible in the 19th century. His work was translated into almost every language in the world. John Dewey said the following about George, "Henry George is one of a small number of definitely original social philosophers that the world has produced," and "It would require less than the fingers of the two hands to enumerate those who, from Plato down, rank with Henry George among the world's social philosophers." His ideas so radical, progressive, and true have been largely ignored by modern economists who see them as a threat to modern capitalism.

Seminar Leader: Mike Curtis, former Dir. Henry George School of Social Science, NYC; Trustee and life long resident of the Arden Land Trust in Delaware, School of Living member.

Please RSVP to Bob Flatley or 814-355-0850 if you plan to attend this important workshop!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

PA Renewable Energy Festival

The 5th Annual PA Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living festival will be held Sept. 18-20, 2009 at the Kempton Community Center in Berks County, PA. This is the largest event of this type in the Keystone State. Inspired by the Common Ground Festival and the Midwest Renewable Energy Festival this event offers a unique mix of green living, renewable energy, and sustainable living topics plus great music and entertainment. Ahimsa Village will be represented at the School of Living Table stop by and visit us! More info at their web site

Ahimsa Summer Camp

The 2009 camp just finished up last week. The kids really enjoyed gardening, learning wilderness survival skills, and painting, as well as checking on the chickens every day and feeding them food scraps from lunch. On our last day the kids helped prepare a celebration meal—homemade pizza and fruit smoothies--complete with table cloth and candles out on the picnic table. Thanks to Dominque Marsalek, Jean Forsberg, Barbara Anderson, Chuck Cave, Deb Fisher, Brenda Schaufler, Huston Township Parks and Recreation Authority, and especially Rosalind McIntosh for helping make this year’s camp happen. We are planning to offer a one-day maple syrup camp in February 2010 and two weekend overnight camps in next summer in addition to the summer camp. View pictures.

Appalachian Zen House (AZH)

AZH intern Rosalind McIntosh co-leaded the summer camp with Kelle this summer. Her experience with guiding meditation and teaching nature awareness and wilderness survival skills were beneficial additions to the camp program. Currently Rosalind is residing at Ahimsa Village in the old yurt—Dominique moved out at the beginning of August to live with her boyfriend in town—and has initiated morning zazen in the new yurt three mornings per week.

Floating Lotus Zendo met throughout the summer at Ahimsa Village. With the return of the Penn State students FLZ will once again have zazen in State College on alternating Saturdays. The Speak Your Peace program also has several events for the public in the planning phase for this fall, including workshops on non-violent communication, council circle, Byron Katie’s The Work, mediation, and other tools for compassionate communication. To learn more about AZH visit their web site at


Henrietta got lonely during the School of Living meeting in July and followed us up to Deb’s, her former home. She was attacked by the rooster again but only suffered minor injuries this time. Deb gave us two more chickens to keep Henrietta company so now we have three chickens in residence at Ahimsa. The new chickens are Ji (Chinese for rooster) and Geneveva (pronounced Hen-ay-vay-va). Ji is young, still learning to crow like an adult rooster, and starting to look like a handsome rooster. Heneveva is the oldest of the three and only laid one egg since she arrived. Henrietta keeps laying one egg nearly every day. The chickens spend the hot afternoons in the jungle of weeds that have grown up in their pen.

How My Nephew Came to Attend the SOL Strategic Planning Retreet in July, 2009

Hey, nobody told my nephew about this retreat on Ahimsa Village's Facebook Fan Page and the School of Living Fan Page didn't even exist yet. There wasn't even a Tweet on Twitter about it From:AEROEDUCATION before the Reaching in Reaching Out Retreat. I did however just discover that AERO has a new web address through TipTop Search. I did know that the SOL Strategic Planning Retreat was to be held at Julian Woods Community on July 10-12, 2009, through Ahimsa Village's weekly business meetings, but was not able to attend until a last minute opportunity presented itself. Regarding the background on School of Living as an organization, I barely know that: “The SOL was founded in1934 by Dr. Ralph Borsodi in Suffren, NY to teach people how to live the "good life" in trying times. His vision was carried on and expanded by Mildred Loomis at Lane's End Farm in Ohio and later Heathcote Center in Maryland . The SOL was the leading organization for the "green revolution" and inspired such people as J.I. Rodale, Adele Davis, Paul Keane, the Nearing and many, many others. It pioneered many movements including organic agriculture, permaculture, alternative currency, alternative education, intentional community, “back to the land,” community land trust, etc. The recent history of the organization has focused on maintaining 6 community land trust communities and less so on “green education” (although each community is engaged in educational activities). What made this retreat so unique is that it is the first time in memory that the SOL has held a retreat with the specific purpose of reevaluating its mission, vision, and goals. The event marked a unique opportunity in the organization’s 75 year history to determine its future direction.” Read more.

My interaction with SOL had been a purely an administrative one during the Ahimsa Village property lease signing back in October of 2006. I remember that Robert, Herb, Rita James and some other Land Committee members were there. I had heard about some of the other communities through Bob and Kelle, but had never had the opportunity to chat with anyone from the Common Ground, Heathcote, or Seven Sisters communities. So up until July, my interactions with SOL living members revolved around Ahimsa, Julian Woods and CCA members. I had never read any Henry George, could never remember Borsodi's name, and realized that I knew next to nothing about School of Living's rich organizational history. Well, I'm glad to say that has all changed after I was fortunate enough to attend a the wonderfully organized, beautifully attended, and amazingly provisioned weekend event in Julian, PA. Arriving at Ahimsa Village Friday afternoon, after a visit with family in Bucks County, PA and a flight from my current homestead in Santa Cruz, CA; I was pleasantly surprised that my nephew would be arriving from York, PA the next day to join us...or cash in on his birthday glider ride at the Ridge Soaring Gliderport Getting in on Friday evenings potluck, I immediately knew that I was around good light-hearted people that were gearing up for a serious couple days of get-up, get-down, and get-dirty group action. The workshop sessions facilitated by Grace Potts and Alice Leibowitz of Insight Unlimited were well organized, educational, and productive...especially in a people kind of way. Even my nephew, who arrived mid-morning, was sweeped into a focus group upon arrival and put to task with marker in hand. If you don't recall his engaging conversations during the day, or his fancy disco dance steps Saturday night, you might remember him as the “government guy” in one of closing skits. I seemed to gravitate toward the land-related groups, discussions, and planning areas which opened my eyes to historic land acquisition issues, concerns of those living on the land, and current land administrative and legal hurdles, and future strategic planning opportunities. Beyond getting a real sense of organizational comradery, interpersonal warmth and some real action items, I brought home Henry George's “The Coming Keynesian Catastrophe”, four SOL t-shirts, and a lentil soup recipe. If you would like to reminisce about the weekend please check out the weekend retreat photos.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wrapping up Summer Camp...

Walking around the mountains and downtown state college, you can't help but notice that summer is over and fall has crept it's way back into our lives. It is far cooler, the leaves are turning and tumbling to the ground to nourish the soil and carry it through the long winter days ahead. As Summer ends and fall flourishes, the Ahimsa Summer Camp has also ended for another year. In the last days of the camp we have enjoyed hiking, camp fires, delicious organic meat free meals and fresh fruit snacks. The kids and staff engaged in educational discussions and healthy dialogue, in which the kids were asked to share their own experiences and points of view. The kids learned how to can their own veggies, to meditate, to use art as a tool for continued growth, and how to be responsible to one's own community. After every meal, the kids are expected to participate with everyone to clean up up for at least ten or fifteen minutes. This was just one method used to encourage coorperation, mutual respect, and empathy towards others. There was lots of energy during the last weeks which we channeled into gardening and other fun outdoor activities. On the last day, all the kids worked together to design and make their own pizza's from scatch. They were beautiful! We had star pizzas, hearts, triangles, etc. The toppings were fresh and delicious veggies, cheeses, and herbs. We picked flowers, set up a fancy table with candles, made smoothies, and had one last lunch together. Before hand, we had a moment of reflection and silence. A reflection of all that has happened that summer, all that we have been given, and the sacred gift of food.

It was a beautiful process to be part of and I am thankful to everyone involved. The kids were delightful and I was humbled to learn quite a lot from them. I look forward to the possbilities that next summer brings.

Happy Fall,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ahimsa Camp Day 6

Today was a day of abundance. We were blessed with a vast array of activities for our camp, time and resources for an educational outing, and delicious homemade foods.

Our theme today centered around abundance and we spent a good portion of the day discussing where our material possessions originate and what is involved in the process of making them. In regards to this, topics such child slavery, sustainable living, simple living, and reusing items were covered. The kids were provided the opportunity to contemplate what it means to live in the U.S. within a global context.

Yesterday, I went shopping a few items to make our veggie snacks and meals today. I noticed that groceries seem to be getting more expensive almost each time I go. Even in the midst of this economic turmoil and the stress this brings to our individual lives, it helps to note that we are surrounded with abundance on a daily basis. In the U.S. we are afforded far greater material security then most other nations on this Earth. The important part, and the part we tried to show the kids today, is learning how to not abuse this abundance and to live in sustainable and ethical ways.

This morning I made yummy peanut butter balls with coconut, raisins, almonds, pecans, and granola rolled in with a taste of homemade maple syrup. We ate these and bananas for morning snack.

The kids helped to make pizza dough today and we discussed how several cultures hold bread making as a sacred art. To celebrate the coming harvest cycle and harvest moon, we ground some of our own grain and made homemade sun tea with various types of mint. We all had fun getting our hands dirty.

For lunch I made 7 vegan pizzas, fresh fruit, and some veggies. The pizzas were veggie chilli/black bean with colorful peppers, sesame with caramelized onions, sweet potatoes with my special garlic sauce and veggies on top, a vegan white pizza, a special kid friendly pasta topped pizza, and a dessert (cinnamon sugar, peanut butter, banana) pizza. In addition, we made another one to take with us to donate during the outing.

Following lunch, the kiddos helped to clean up a bit and then went to the local food bank as an outing and donated a homemade pizza to the volunteers there. They had fun also looking around the second hand stores and learning about all sorts of things including economic inequality and sustainable lifestyles that include utilizing community thrift stores.

The kids came back pretty excited and gardened and did some arts and crafts. One of the crafts featured making hats out of old plastic grocery bags. For snack we ate some healthy watermelon and relaxed before the kids headed home.

I am grateful for our one volunteer today Brenda who is going to college this fall and very interested in permaculture and gardening. She was a wonderful presence.

Take Care,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ahimsa Camp Day 5

Dear cyberworld,
Tonight we are having a brilliant thunderstorm. I for one love summer thunderstorms. I spent the evening relaxing and watching the bats come out and play in the sunset. The air is electric at Ahimsa right now and everything is awakened by summer's embrace. Even at night, it is clear that all sentient beings are having difficulty sleeping instead of stargazing, watching firefly's, and enjoying the perfect warmth of summer nights in PA.

So, I am well rested after day 5 of camp and am ready to report all the happenings of the day. Our day started out (like all camp days) at 9am.
Today we were lucky to have two kids from NYC with us as part of the "Fresh Air" program. This program provides opportunity for kids to leave the city and explore nature. They focus on kids that would otherwise not be able to do so for various personal reasons. The kids we had with us are still here and will be here for a few days. They added quite a bit of personality to our group and our PA kiddos clearly responded well to them. It was refreshing to have their enthusiasm around and their delight in seeing a world so completely different from the concrete in NYC.

Unfortunately, we only 5 kids today instead of what has become our usual 7 or 8. However, this number was perfect for the morning yoga taught by a local mother, Jenn. We had just enough mats for the kids (not to mention room in the farm house) to do their yoga.
We began yoga following a morning snack and discussion of our hero's. Today Kelle made delicious homemade banana chocolate chip cookies for the AM snack. We split into pairs and had a interesting discussion of a individual hero of ours. I chose to speak about Grace Lee Boggs who currently lives in Detroit and is still "Living for Change." My partner talked about how her mom is her hero. The reasoning was quite interesting and through this discussion I came to realize that Janet (a Fresh Air kid) had a strong sense of self worth and positive self image. After working so long with teenage girls who hate their body, it was an inspiring morning for me. I found another hero in this little girl.

So, the kids came to the farm house from the morning yurt meeting and did their yoga. They gave a good effort. The boys who until that moment, were tentative about it because they did not want to be seen as "feminine," clearly enjoyed parts of it. They were even closing their eyes and attempting to be meditative during the process. Janet was clearly a pro at yoga and was able to do everything with ease. Some of the other kids giggled through it and simply enjoyed exploring a new way of being active and aware.

Following yoga, we gardened! I think the best part for everyone today was all the huge worms that were out following last nights rain. We weeded and planted a bit. During this, the kids were able to get to know each other better, get dirty, and joke around. They decided when they were done when they began to get restless and started their next activity using maps and compass.

Lunch Break: Lunch was absolutely delightful today. Kelle made 100% homemade organic vegan cheesy pasta, garlic bread, and fruit smoothies. Everyone ate and had some free time. They also participated in a required 10-15 minute clean up after wards that everyone has to take part of.

Finally, we headed up to the Zen-do for construction/art with Chuck. This was so much fun and the everyone (including the adults) learned a significant amount while having fun. Chuck began by explaining the process of making wooden candle holders and then explaining the tools we would use. We all made our own candle holders. I made one completely out of wood with it's bark intact instead of the stripped and sanded wood that Chuck provided. It fits in well with the yurt:). All of them were creative. One of the kids made a large skyscraper candle holder!

We walked back to Ahimsa and had the closing meeting in the yurt. The kids ate lots of fresh watermelon and waited for their parents to pick them up.

Wow, so much in one day. Stay tuned for next week's adventures.


"Listen to all of these seemingly separate sounds and witness this symphony forms one tapestry, you are a weaver of this fabric that needs the harmony of we to be
You are profoundly blessed
To the silent prophecies they don’t want us to hear
We are the ones we have been waiting for
Wait no more
-Goddess Alchemy Project

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pictures from School of Living Retreat

School of Living Retreat July 09 Best Large Size
View over 100 pictures from the School of Living Retreat held on July 10-12, 2009 at Julian Woods Community, Julian, PA at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ahimsa Camp day 4

Namaste everyone in cyber world,

Today we had an exciting fourth day of camp at Ahimsa Village. Today we worked on survival skills and it was an enlightening experience. The kiddos started off the day discussing a beautiful quote by Chief Seattle about being part of nature and then we sang a song that reminded us of our interdependence with the natural world. This song touched on all the elements and led into a discussion of what is needed to survive alone in the wilderness.
We covered water, food, shelter, and temperature.
First, we dug a hole and created a water sanitation system in this hole.
Second, we worked on building our own individual fires and the kids collected wood, etc.
Afterwards, the kiddos got an excellent lesson from Debbie, a herbalist in Julian Woods. She was kind enough to explore our natural surrondings with us and point out medicial and edible wild foods. We found plenty to of edible foods to prepare with our lunch (including burrdock root, which we had fun digging up).

Lunch was beautiful! We had tomato/basil salad, corn on the cob (roasted on the fire), fire roasted potatoes, fire roasted homemade bread, soup made from our collected wild foods and mushrooms, fresh snap peas from the garden, and rasberry juice.
The food was delicious and the kids were so grateful they even helped to clean up a bit:)

Later on, we took a hike in the woods and found a spot to build temporary emergency shelter. The kids collected fallen logs/sticks/leaves and we made a makeshift tipi of sorts.

We ended the long day with discussion and tasty watermelon.

Thank you everyone who came or was involved, it was quite a day!

I'll leave you with this beautiful quote by one of my favorite activitists, Grace Lee Boggs:

"Fighting on the side of Humanity against the Empire of Money, we need to go beyond Opposition, beyond Rebellion, beyond Resistance, beyond Civic Insurrection. We don't want to be like them. We don't want to become the "political class," to change presidents, switch governments. We want and need to create the Alternative world that is now both possible and necessary. We want and need to exercise power, not take it."

We are the change.
With love,

School of Living Retreat

We just finished the School of Living (SOL) Strategic Planning Retreat – Reaching In, Reaching Out - held at Julian Woods Community on July 10-12, 2009. It was a unique event in the history of the SOL. The SOL was founded in1934 by Dr. Ralph Borsodi in Suffren, NY to teach people how to live the "good life" in trying times. His vision was carried on and expanded by Mildred Loomis at Lane's End Farm in Ohio and later Heathcote Center in Maryland . The SOL was the leading organization for the "green revolution" and inspired such people as J.I. Rodale, Adele Davis, Paul Keane, the Nearing and many, many others. It pioneered many movements including organic agriculture, permaculture, alternative currency, alternative education, intentional community, “back to the land,” community land trust, etc. The recent history of the organization has focused on maintaining 6 community land trust communities and less so on “green education” (although each community is engaged in educational activities). What made this retreat so unique is that it is the first time in memory that the SOL has held a retreat with the specific purpose of reevaluating its mission, vision, and goals. The event marked a unique opportunity in the organization’s 75 year history to determine its future direction.

The retreat used the Future Search method of strategic planning and was skillfully facilitated by Grace Potts and Alice Leibowitz of Insight Unlimited, a nonprofit that helps organizations “be the best they can be.” Over 50 people attended the 3 day event that featured looking at the past, present, and future. We are living in extraordinary times and are on the cusp of a major paradigm shift culturally, physically, spiritually, and materially. We feel the SOL can play a critical role in this transition as it did in the past. Our thinking is that at this moment in human history that the time is right for the SOL to reinvent itself in the spirit of Borsodi and Loomis but with a focus on our times and world situation. A new SOL will seek to teach people not only practical living skills but also social, cultural, spiritual, and communication skills that are as important as practical skills for living in the new paradigm. We hope to have a report from the retreat soon. We will post a summary here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Updates by Dominique:)

Buenos Dias amigos y amigas!

It has been crazy, hectic, and fun around here lately.
The weather is beautiful, a soft New England summer. The netting is finally up covering the blueberries, the Straw House is coming along (looking beautiful), and the summer camp is up and growing.

The Camp, day 3:

Today was very exciting because all of us were able to take a field trip to Julian Woods in order to receive art instruction from a local healer and artist. The art class was amazing and the kids loved it. The kids all made multiple oil/watercolor paintings. We discussed the healing properties of color and the connection between art, living, eating, and healing. Somehow art is profound, silly, fun, and engaging all at once. We also took a quick trip to the local pond where we were able to play in the water and enjoy the sunlight.
Today we also began Byron Katie with the kids, which went surprisingly well! The kids were very open to new ways of dealing with emotions. We approached it through charades and play.

It is hard to explain to kids why nature is so cool and how much nature provides for us. It is much easier to show them. Today we finished making some organic herbal salve from the land and each kid got to take some home. In addition, we went berry picking and had a delicious homemade lunch. Lunch was organic vegan lentil burgers, homemade bread, pineapple carrot cake, and fresh fruit/veggies-YUM! Thanks Rosalind!!

Cave exploring, hiking, art, meditating, etc. Today was generous in it's gifts and I am thankful for every part of it.

One thing I learned, to treat poison ivy "Jewel Weed"is wonderful:)

The land is open and blooming and it is summer at Ahimsa, feel free to visit, volunteer, learn and and connect while the weather is nice.

Coming up this weekend....the School of Living Retreat! Education, mayhem, and fun!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Camp Week 2 Pictures

Check out the new Summer Camp pictures at our web site:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Updates from dominique-

Quick update:

Volunteer opportunity now up at is the volunteer movement President Obama began June22nd. It is part of his call for citizen action. Take Action now! Volunteer at Ahimsa.

I would love to see you around...

A quote from a very inspirational person:
"You have been telling people that this is the llth hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is THE HOUR..." Adrienne Maree Brown director of The Ruckus Society.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bears and Bees

In researching what to do about the bear and bee situation at Ahimsa (we lost several hives last year due to a bear) I came across an excellent article published by the Mid-Atlantic Apicultural Research and Extension Consortium (March 2004). The researchers note that a decrease in suitable habitat areas for bees and bears have brought them in closer proximity esp. in Pennsylvania. Although there are no easy answers on how to deal with this problem, the researchers offer some advice including locating hives away from the forest edge, contacting the local game commission personnel to learn about bear populations in your area, loud noises, bright lights, and dogs sometimes work as well. As far as fencing goes they recommend using electrified barbed wire on t-posts. However they caution that a fence will only be effective in an apiary that has not been visited before. Once a bear gets a taste of honey bees an electric fence will not deter them. The complete article can be read at

Welcome Dominique

My name is Dominique and I recently moved into Ahimsa Village. I am 22 years old and graduated a year ago from college with degrees I am not really using. I am a traveler, student, and artist. Currently I am learning the art of living. I met Kelle through my work with youth in State College. Kelle and Bob were kind enough to welcome me into their life and I am very grateful. I am very passionate about a lot of what is going on at Ahimsa and trying to soak it all up. I am learning everything I possibly can and trying to make the most out of each moment. Please introduce yourself to me; I love new people and places. Email:

What will it cost to go solar?

Ever wonder how much $$$ it would cost to convert your home to solar power and how long it would take to recoup the cost? Wonder no more. The PA Energy Festival people have created an online calcular called SunnyMoney that figures how much it will cost to install solar panels in your home. You simply have to enter your data into SunnyMoney and this calculator will tell you the system size, environmental impact, final cost, and even how much your home will appreciate. Check it out at

Garden Update

The gardens and orchard at Ahimsa are growing fast at this time of year with regular gentle rains followed by warm sunny days. Already we are enjoying fresh lettuce, endive, arugula, pac choi, radishes, herbs, and strawberries. Unfortunately slugs, mice, and crows are also enjoying the bounty way too much. Kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, and carrots have been particularly tasty to the hungry wildlife. The trees in the orchard are thriving with the exception of the pawpaws. Gypsy moth and tent caterpillar damage is mild this year. The weeds are also growing prolifically, and therefore, we spend many hours weeding.

Henrietta the Hen

Henrietta Hen came to live at Ahimsa Village a couple weeks ago after being attacked by an aggressive rooster at a friend’s place. She is missing feathers on her head and body but otherwise seems healthy, laying an egg nearly every day. We are in the process of resurrecting the old chicken coop and pen. Mostly we let her run free. She appears very happy exploring the yard and gardens. We are learning much about chicken habits and enjoy watching Henrietta’s explorations around the run and listening to her soft clucking. Eventually we would like to find one or two chicken or duck companions for her. Check out our new Farm Animal Sanctuary page.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Introducing the Appalachian Zen House by Steve Kanji Ruhl

The Appalachian Zen House, incorporated as a non-profit 501 (c) (3) affiliated with the Zen Peacemakers Order, consists of an innovative and exciting group of ongoing projects, created to manifest the Bodhisattva Vow to save all beings by addressing rural poverty and environmental challenges in our own region of central Pennsylvania.

Local native Steve Kanji Ruhl, M.Div., currently finishing his pre-ordination training for ministry in the Zen Peacemakers, supervises the Appalachian Zen House projects with assistance from Rosalind Jiko Kisan McIntosh, a fellow Zen Peacemakers ministry candidate.
Featured in current issues of “Buddhadharma” and “Tricycle: The Buddhist Review” and in a forthcoming issue of “EnlightenNext” magazine, the Zen Peacemakers’ social ministry and its activities through the Appalachian Zen House build on models adapted from the successful experience of Roshi Bernie Glassman – one of the best-known Zen teachers in the world – to serve people suffering in the inner-city tenements of New York.
Here in the mountains and countryside of central Pennsylvania, the Appalachian Zen House comprises four main projects. The first, “Green Appalachia,” is based at Ahimsa Village and consists of No Harm Farm consists and the Earth Education Program, including the Ahimsa Summer Camp. The second, “Floating Lotus Zendo,” offers authentic Zen training through Zen Buddhist ministry. The third, “Speak Your Peace,” provides workshops in Non-Violent Communication, Council Circle, and Byron Katie’s “The Work.” The fourth, “Many Paths, One Heart,” focuses on multi-faith initiatives.
We seek to realize and actualize the interconnectedness of life, believing that “the depth of our realization of Oneness is shown by how we serve others.”
To learn more about AZH visit

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ahimsa Village Summer Camp

This year the summer camp will be a cooperative venture with Zen Peacemakers.  It will be a significant component of a newly forming Appalachian Zen House program run by Zen Peacemaker minister Kangi (See  for more information about the Appalachian Zen House and the Zen Peacemakers).  Kangi and especially his assistant, intern Rosalind McIntosh, will be helping with grant writing, staff and camper recruitment, exploring collaboration with the local school district and program development.   The purpose of the camp is to reconnect youth with the earth, plants, animals, and each other and to teach ways of maintaining these connections in our materialistic and individualistic culture.  We are focusing on providing experiential and fun sustainability education for 12-18 year olds. 

Maple Project

We collected sap and boiled seven times during three weeks in March, yielding 7 gallons of syrup.  It was great working with Scott and Kate on this project and we plan to do it again next year.  Now we are enjoying the fruit of our labor-Delicious!!!  View more pictures of this year's mapling at

Shared Self Community

Samatman moved into the farmhouse at the end of February to begin what was supposed to be a three month trial period to determine whether or not we (Samatman, Kelle, and Bob) would go forward together in creating a shared self community.  Such a community is based on four global truths:  1) we are experiencing multi-level unhappiness and disconnection; 2) our unhappiness is caused by our illusion that we are separate from each other and the other beings of this planet, 3) we really are one shared-self that is unlimited in love and happiness, 4) shared-self community is the path to remembering and manifesting our shared-self.  We began the long process of redefining and transforming our activities and thinking within a shared-self framework.  While many valuable insights were gained, we mutually decided that Samatman wanted the transformation to go faster than we (Bob and Kelle) were willing to go, and Samatman moved back to VA at the end of March.  We plan to continue working on establishing a shared self community at Ahimsa (at a much gentler pace) and in the months ahead will share our progress.  

Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators Presentation

On March 21, 2009, Bob, Kelle, and Samatman presented our approach to environmental education at the 2009 Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators Conference held at Lake Raystown Resort and Conference Center.  We discussed our various types of educational opportunities, including Non-Violent Communication workshops, Summer Camp, Friday Night Sustainability series, and other workshops.  We also shared our educational philosophy.  The power point presentation can be accessed from the Ahimsa Village website.  

One of the people in the audience, George Vahoviak from Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center near State College, was inspired to bring his graduate class on sustainability and education to Ahimsa Village on April 6, 2009, for a tour and discussion of our educational philosophy.  George seemed very interested in what we are doing here and this may be the beginning of a connection with Penn State students. 

Ahimsa Garden

Mary Lou Manhart (and her baby Lucy Mae) will be gardening with Kelle this year.  So far we have planted peas outside and cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, collards, onions, leeks, celery, parsley, and other greens inside under lights.  Carrots, beets, Swiss chard, and arugula will be direct-seeded soon.

This year we will not be selling any CSA shares, focusing instead on building the soil in new garden areas and growing as much food as possible for us.  Zen Peacemaker Sangha members and ministry students plan to come throughout the summer to help with preparing the CSA garden, “deer-proofing” the orchard, netting the blueberries, and setting up irrigation system as well as other projects at Ahimsa.  

Ahimsa applies for grant to put up a wind turbine

Bob recently submitted a grant application thru the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to install a mini-wind turbine at Ahimsa Village.  The turbine would be located on the hill between the house and the Straw cottage.  We would install a Mariah vertical access wind turbine -  These are sold and installed locally by Envinity of State College.  These turbines are inexpensive to purchase and install compared to traditional horizontal access turbines.  They are also much quieter and will operate at low wind speeds.  Updates on the grant will be posted here.

Ahimsa mentioned in Tricycle magazine

The current issue of Tricycle, the nation's leading Buddhist magazine, features a story on Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemaker order.  Specifically the article is about Bernie's vision for Zen Houses.  One of the Zen Houses will be ZPO's first venture into a rural setting - the Appalachian Zen House.  This house will be coordinated by Kanji Ruhl, a Buddhist Minister ordained by ZPO.  Part of his vision is to work with Ahimsa Village in the establishment of a small CSA farm run by local people and the expansion of Ahimsa's summer camp.  Read the complete article (pdf).

Benefit concert a huge success

On Saturday, March 28, 2009 Cole Hons and Band rocked the O-An Zendo in a concert to benefit Ahimsa's educational programs.  Over 30 people attended the event.  Cole is a local singer song writer whose music features a spiritual and environmental theme.  Judging by the smiling faces, feet tapping, and dancing every one had a blast!  Cole originally played at one of Ahimsa's Friday Night Meetings.  He is very involved with promoting the work of the 13 Grandmothers - - and other efforts to heal the earth.  We were delighted to have Cole play and plan to do a concert next year!  You can check out pictures of the event at (click on Benefit Concert with Cole Hons).  Go to Cole's web site at to listen to music clips.  A BIG THANKS to Barbara and Chuck for hosting the event at O-An Zendo.

Whatever happened to Walnut Acres?

Does anyone on our e-list remember Walnut Acres Farm?  I am not referring to the mass produced organic processed food that can be bought in many stores with the name Walnut Acres but the farm in Penns Creek, PA.  When I was a kid my mother used to go to their bulk food store.  It was the first organic bulk food store in the USA.  In addition, they grew a lot of what they sold.  Walnut Acres farm was started by Paul and Betty Keene in 1940s.  They actually got their inspiration to farm organically from Ralph Borsodi at the School of Living (the same organization that holds the land in trust at Ahimsa).  In 1946 the Keene's bought a run-down farm (with no electricity or running water) and started farming and selling their produce locally.  Word got out and the business grew into one of the most successful mail-order food companies in the country.   Things changed after Betty died in 1987 and Paul turned the business over to his daughter and her husband.  They felt pushed to get big or get out and cut a deal with AOL founder David Cole who invested $4 million in the business.  This was the end of an era, the new corporate owners decided that they needed to go big and go online and that the original farm was actually a burden.  They sold off the farm, muzzled the original owners, and kept the logo and corporate name.  I learned all this from an informative article I stumbled across online, it outlines the whole sad history of Walnut Acres.  You can read it here (pdf).