Koinonia: A sustainable farm that feeds body and spirit

by Jerry Nelson
(Americus, GA, USA)

Blueberries at Koinonia Farm

Blueberries at Koinonia Farm

by Jerry Nelson

We’re 590 acres in southwest Georgia, USA. The community was started by a man named Clarence Jordan in 1942, as an experiment in race relations.

This part of America was NOT a hotbed of racial tolerance in the 40s, and so Koinonia was often (up until the 60s) a target of the KKK and other miscellaneous hate crimes, including random gunshots into the farm houses and bombings.

Koinonia is located in Sumpter County. The county is also the home of Jimmy Carter, the Andersonville Civil War prison and the airfield where Charles Lindbergh took his first solo flight. In the 60s, Martin Luther King called the sheriff of Sumpter County “the meanest white man in all of America.”

Well, the farm has been around now for 66 years. The population has grown and shrunk, with a present population of about 22 adults and 10 or so kids. The highest population was in the late 60s and early 70s when it hit 60-some people.

About 100 of our 590 acres are in pecan trees. (I can never get it straight if they’re called pecan “groves” or pecan “orchards.”) We also have a fruit orchard (peaches, pears, apples, figs), grape vineyard, muscadine vineyard, a five-acre vegetable garden and a one-acre organic garden.

Animal-wise, we have goats, geese, guineas, rabbits and chickens. The community is right now talking and thinking about getting a horse or two, but a decision has not been reached yet. We do most things in consensus and sometimes that can get in the way.

In our literature, we describe ourselves as a “Christian intentional community.” We’re really a SPIRITUAL intentional community, with room for people with different takes and approaches on the word spiritual. Our main “theme” (for lack of a better word) is world peace beginning on a local level.

Koinonia has won the 2008 Community of Christ International Peace Award, and it is to be presented in October.

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