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Down the street from the train station in Katoomba, there's a little cafe that looks like the sort of place you'd expect to find in Berkeley, California. It is the Yellow Deli, and it is owned and run cooperatively by a community of people who live in Katoomba and also in Picton, on a farm called Peppercorn Creek. They have a regular stall at the Sunday markets at Addison Road Community Centre. You may have noticed that this cafe is never open on Saturdays. That's because for the owners and employees, Saturday is the Sabbath, a day of rest. Indeed, everyone at Peppercorn Creek belongs to a community which lives by this rule and many other principles they believe make them and the world a better place. They live communally, sharing nearly everything. They grow all of their own food and make what they need themselves. They pray together as a community every morning. As they say in one of their freepapers, free leaflets they distribute to the public, “[our] goal is to create a life of care and growth for the common good” (Tribe of Asher 2012). Indeed, they invite everyone to join with them to create “a brand new culture” (Twelve Tribes n.d.b.). They come together because they want to “[live] a life of peace, where love and care for others [is] supreme” (The Twelve Tribes 2015). This is not merely an alternative lifestyle, although they do like to think of themselves as an alternative. It is fulfilling prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, and the members see their communal lifestyle, morning prayer meetings, and community dinners, as well as raising their own organic crops and making their own food and crafts, all to be ways to fulfill God's plan for humanity.
I'm not particularly religious, nor am I very consistent about recycling. I wouldn't even know how to grow potato one. So I am naturally curious about what would motivate someone to join this community, and indeed, to live their whole life with them. Let's hear what they have to say about that in their own publications.
The Twelve Tribes. n.d.a. A Brand New Culture. Twelve Tribes Freepaper. Picton, NSW. In files of author. Scanned PDF copy.
———. n.d.b. Community Is Creating a Sanctuary. Twelve Tribes Freepaper. Picton, NSW. In files of author. Scanned PDF copy.
———. 2015. “Why Yellow Deli?” The Yellow Deli. Accessed March 8. http://www.yellowdeli.com/why-yellow-deli.
Tribe of Asher [The Twelve Tribes]. 2012. Sustainable Living. Twelve Tribes Freepaper. Picton, NSW. In files of author. Scanned PDF copy.