Workshops

Saturday: 1:15 – 2:35 PM

Beyond Diversity to Liberation

Location:  Pavilion

Description: In this workshop, we  will explore the historical roots of black intentional communities movement highlighted by Jessica Gordon Nembhard and The Arc of Justice, which chronicles the remarkable journey of black farmers and the first land trust that grew out of the Civil Rights movement.  We will also highlight visionary present-day community & cohousing projects that are grasping at the root causes of racialized displacement, environmental racism, and wealth inequality by building cooperative and participatory housing models that are led by communities of color, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ-identified communities and low-income communities.  Among those is the Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, a scalable model that can raise funds through investments and is designed by its members.

Bio: Marissa Ashkar and Tavi Baker from The People of Color Sustainable Housing Network (POCSHN) is a resource network for people of color interested in building intentional, healthy, and affordable housing communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.  Since starting in February 2015, it has grown to become an intergenerational network hosting quarterly potlucks, tours, study groups, and educational workshops.  The network was established in response to extreme increases in housing costs, rapid gentrification, and the lack of socio-economic diversity among the intentional community movement across the United States.

Legal Clinic for Intentional Communities

Location: Crossroads

Description: Are you forming or planning to form an intentional community? Selecting a legal structure and tax status may be tedious and confusing, but can also be vitally important to the success of your community. This workshop will open with a short introduction framing the importance of:

  • Choosing a legal entity (LLC, corporation, LCA)
  • Choosing a tax status (S corp, partnership, 501(d), 501(c)(7))
  • Choosing which documents and agreements to put in place legally (operating agreement/bylaws, foundational policies) in order to manage legal risk, minimize taxation, and put safeguards in place against existential threats to the commune. 

Come prepared with your specific issues and questions for guidance and connection to relevant resources.

Bio: Bougie Galore is an attorney in Washington, DC who helped found Compersia Community. When not writing commune legal documents, she is playing with her kids, cooking, or dancing.

Why is My Community So White?: A Workshop for ICs Who Want to Become More Diverse

Location: Ladyslipper

Description: I. What Has Not Worked: share what you’ve tried in your IC to become more diverse that has not worked. II. Becoming More Diverse is a Process: once we embark on becoming more diverse, it’s a process. III. The Hurdles We Face: three common areas of hurdles to incorporating diversity in ICs; we will link each hurdle to solution strategies. IV. Introduction: a communications exercise we call, “Please Offend Me.” V. Practice: participants try out “Please Offend Me.” VI. Sharing about the Exercise VII. Where to Go from Here?: Next steps & facilitated follow-up discussion offered at mealtime.

Bio: G. Paul is a communard at Compersia in DC, formerly of Acorn & works with Point A. Courtney is a protest singer, songwriter, adventurer, poet, organizer & warrior queen. She is not your Negro. Michael web-consults, performs & is forming an IC on slave-ancestral land in sw Virginia with Beth.

Building Resilience through Disaster Preparedness

Location: Big Dome

Description: We cannot control the forces of nature, which can cause significant disturbances in the infrastructure that we depend upon. However, we can be prepared to respond in a way that will maintain the integrity of the systems that keep us healthy. We will explore the following: 1) potential natural occurrence that could produce a disaster, 2) the more fragile or robust infrastructural systems that might be compromised, 3) the assets and skills within the community that can be utilized to repair or establish temporary systems.

Bio: Hayley Joyell Smith is the program director at The Farm Ecovillage Training Center. She earned a masters in geoscience from NC State, where she researched sustainability and the impact science education has on decision making. She is president of PHLUSH, which promotes disaster sanitation.

Saturday: 2:50 – 4:10 PM

Attracting Diverse People to Intentional Communities

Location:  Pavilion

Description: People have color have traditionally not been represented in intentional communities. We’ll examine the historical and contemporary barriers to increasing diversity in communities. After discussing the minority experience of joining a community, we’ll look at ways communities can actively recruit diverse people at all stages of community building.

Bio:Crystal Byrd Farmer is an engineer turned educator. She is the organizer of Charlotte Cohousing, supporting three forming communities. She is passionate about encouraging people to change their perspectives on diversity, relationships, and the world. She loves organizing meetups, teaching, and playing with her six year old daughter. As the owner of Big Sister Team Building, she leads team building exercises and creates mobile escape room experiences.

Networking for Impact: People, Places and Tools for a Global Movement

Location: Crossroads

Description: Changemakers are no longer asking “What can we do?” but rather, “How can we take what we are doing to the next level?” How can we collaborate for greater impact, network globally, and preserve the value of local relationships? Such questions are at the heart of building a more beautiful world. As a global nomad, spearheading initiatives to connect organizations within the communities movement, I’ll share insights from the front lines of collaborative ventures. Gain tips for activating your own networks of impact and connect with fellow changemakers at the Conference.

Bio: Cynthia works with communities internationally – catalyzing people, places, and ideas towards a regenerative future. She serves on the board of Global Ecovillage Network and Fellowship for Intentional Community, is co-founder of NextGENNA and a coordinator for NuMundo. Visit www.cynthiaatina.com

How to Visit Intentional Communities

Location: Ladyslipper

Description: In love with the idea of living in community, but aren’t ready to make the leap? Want to gather information from successful communities before starting your own? Looking for a home? Well, I think it’s a good idea to get some first-hand experience visiting or trying on a few communities before making that leap. Come to this interactive Q&A to learn:

  • How to arrange different kinds of visits according to your budget
  • How to prepare
  • How to be a good visitor
  • How to get and give the most during your visit
  • How to evaluate your experience

Bio: Anita Budhraja visited and lived in intentional communities around the world for 6 years. She helped found Compersia Community and currently lives at Maitri House, an intentional community in the Washington, DC area. Check out her fledgling website Economada for advice on visiting intentional communities and more.

Communal Living: A game of life

Location: Big Dome

Description: This workshop is all about playing games that simulate the challenges and opportunities of communal living. in a series of team challenges as well as role-playing games we will examine issues of trust, communication, individualism vs. collectivism, decision making and policies, and why it is that most communities fail within the first few years.

Bio: Gil Benmoshe has been in the communities movement for almost 20 years. he earned his graduate degree studying intentional communities and has continued to research and speak in public events about the challenges and opportunities of cooperative living. Gil currently lives at Cambia Community in VA.

Saturday: 4:25 – 5:45 PM

A Community Economic Canvas

Location:  Pavilion

Description: Using a modified tool that had been developed for modeling startup and expanding businesses, Ed will map an entire community ecosystem and outline what stands in stark contradiction to the prevailing inhumane and non-sustainable realities.

Bio: Ed Whitfield is a social critic, writer and community activist. Ed will talk about economics of capitalism, the impending crisis, and the significance of productively creating meaning in community.He is co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities, and serves on the boards of the Highlander Research and Education Center and the New Economy Coalition.

Black and Native American Land Legacies & Intentional Communities: Exploring Our Responsibility and Offering Our Support

Location: Crossroads

Description: How can we go from guilt to action?  We explore opportunities for moving forward to diverse communities using a community’s land history.  We move from thinking of ourselves as poor to acknowledging our land wealth.  We explore the presenters’ experience of being on land, in the South, where Native people lived and African Americans owned and farmed.  We’ll look at the erasure of African and Native American presence from our land, offer our story as an entry-point and move into what you can do, using the history of your land to move forward to a diverse intentional community.

Bio: Michael Brickler web-consults, performs & is forming an IC on slave-ancestral land in sw Virginia. Beth Raps is a Beloved Community organizer & philosopher; she’s helping form Donald’s View IC in sw Virginia.

Youth, Elders, and the Future of a Movement

Location: Ladyslipper

Description: The thriving of villages and communities, much like movements, depend on younger generations stepping into leadership. They also depend on older generations gracefully stepping into eldership, guiding with wisdom and passing on power when it comes time. Healthy intergenerational relations are key to healthy communities. Youth and elders alike are welcome to join us in exploring this important issue. Lend your voice the the discussion and speak directly across the age divide in a facilitated space.

Bio: The session will be led by members of NextGEN, the youth movement of the Global Ecovillage Network, including Cynthia Tina (see bio under Networking for Impact workshop)

Sacred Clowning: The wisdom of the fool

Location: Big Dome

Description: Clowns have traditionally been teachers and leaders throughout the history of the human race.  We live in a clown-less culture so we have unfortunately forgotten this.  Clowns carry the wisdom of the ages in the form of the fool, the madman and the innocent. There is a wealth of insight and inspiration to be gained through the absurd and irreverent antics of the Sacred Clown, especially at this dramatic time of our history. Join us for an immersion into the crazy wisdom of the sacred fool.  Through silliness, play, theater, movement and group games we will easily shed out cultural limitations and open ourselves to the higher powers of our “inner child”.  We will allow ourselves to be authentic and outlandish.  We will push the limits as we bring more joy and wisdom to the world we live in.

Bio: Dagen Julty is a professional clown, an artist, an activist, a musician and a mystic. He teaches  classes and workshops in clowning, circus skills, creativity and Sacred Clowning in the North East USA. He currently lives in upstate New York.

Sunday: 9:15 – 10:35 AM

Community Land Co-ops and the Decolonizing Urban Ecovillage

Location:  Pavilion

Description: Systems of social and environmental domination are impossible for communities to break away from. It’s hardly easier today than decades ago for a working-class family of color to find an affordable, comfortable place in cohousing, communes, or ecovillages — and it’s hardly easier for a community in formation to find an affordable, comfortable place in real estate markets or the zoning and banking systems. These problems share a common root. As an alternative to the more utopian as well as the more neoliberal communities approaches, let’s consider an approach based on healing. We’ll explore Ecovillage Neighborhood development as an alternative to ecologically violent “greenfield” construction and socially violent gentrification. And we’ll explore Community Land Cooperatives as a means to begin healing the financial and power inequities that stand between we the people and a peaceful prosperity on the land.

Bio: The Ecovillagers Alliance (or “EVA”) is a volunteer organization of professional organizers, teachers, communicators, and social entrepreneurs. EVA exists to serve Ecovillagers Cooperative’s founding membership, by producing an organizational framework, financial model, legal preparation, and above all education, to support EVC through its crucial first steps.

Together as one body: gender, power, and multiplicity

Location: Crossroads

Description: There is so much more to sharing (a body, a community) than “multiple personalities”. Led by the Redwoods, a charming collective of many people in one body, aka a multiple system, this workshop explores experiences of multiplicity in larger community movements, and the hard and hilarious lessons it yields for all kinds of cooperation. Through roleplaying and personal testimony, learn the truth beyond diagnoses and myths, and about the complexity of gender, neurology, and identity, particularly in building communities.

Bio: The redwoods are a co-conscious collaborative of 6 people living in one trans body. We work to build equity internally among members of different ages, genders, etc. We love and give back to movements like environmental, trans and disability justice, through facilitation, organizing, and advocacy.

Will Raise Money for Sanity

Location: Ladyslipper

Description: When we’re raising money it’s easy to fall into a victim or an oppressor mentality. But there’s a third option: mutual empowerment. You can fundraise from the perspective of an empowered asker who contributes to the empowerment of a donor just by asking them, no matter what their response is. This workshop will emphasize, help you identify, and keep sane, clear boundaries when you are raising money, no matter how you are doing it or what you plan to use the money for (as long as it’s ethical and genuinely important to you). You’ll come away with a clearer understanding of what’s your job and what’s not when it comes to raising money how to take responsibility for your job–and let go of what’s not the boundaries you want to set when fundraising what kinds of fundraising nauseate you and what kinds feel ok or even good to you.

Bio: Beth Raps – “I’ve been raising money for three decades. I founded a coaching and consulting practice called RAISING CLARITY: peaceful, ethical money management and nonprofit fundraising – http://www.raisingclarity.com/blog/

Community: A Love Story

Location: Big Dome

Description: Intentional Communities are often like starting a business and a romantic relationship wrapped up in one. It’s no wonder that they often have failure rates as high as small businesses and marriages too. Often when joining an IC people experience the same feelings of being in love- exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, but what happens when the honeymoon is over? This workshop will help illustrate how living in community is very similar to the stages of romance and long-term relationships.You will find out what stage you are on, and why you and other community members seem to be speaking “another language” to each other. Here you will find practical advice with opportunities for self-reflection using group participation to illustrate examples and determine the focus our session takes. Things we will cover: The two actions that will determine the longevity of your community. How appreciation and love can be given frequently, but not felt and cause conflict. The best way to have your community members fall in love with each other.

Bio: As a co-founder of The Transition, Nicole Bienfang has dedicated her life to increasing the impact social change makers have on society. She is a research driven, lifelong learner, who uses that knowledge to build stronger relationships among communities with individuals from around the world.

 

Schedule from 2016

Saturday, 2016: 1:30 – 3:15 PM

Panel discussion with the Federation of Egalitarian Communities

Location:  Pavilion

Workshop Description:  TBD

Bio:  Members of communities from the Federation of Egalitarian Communities.

Consensus 201: Different levels of agreement for a consensus proposal

Location: Dome

Workshop Description: Having someone block consensus is so challenging that many communities adopt a vote override as a back door. This workshop explores the challenges of consensus decision making and how to use a block to strengthen the decision. It includes how the group decides what is a valid block; what the responsibilities are of the blocker and the group; how to override a block that is not valid. We might even do a role play!

Bio: Martie Weatherly is a founding partner, resident and facilitator for Liberty Village Cohousing outside of Frederick MD. She is passionate about consensus and has provided consulting and training to her own community as well as those of Mid Atlantic Cohousing, of which she is a board member.

Organizing Community? Remember PC2

Location:  Ladyslipper

Workshop Description:  Organizing community is a lot like…community organizing. There is a strong inter-connection among four key components: your mission, your “brand,” your organizing, and your fundraising. This workshop will explore those interconnections and we’ll together discuss how to use them to develop your community from any stage to any stage. The bottom line we will work with is
PC2: how and why to be persistent, consistent, personal, clear–in an era when these things seem to be unusual and even unpopular.

Bio:  Beth Raps is the founder of RAISING CLARITY, a moneycoaching, coaching and nonprofit/entrepreneurial consulting practice. She’s an experienced grassroots organizer and fundraiser and co-founding member of Donald’s View intentional community.

The Community Land Trust: Networking Wealth

Location:  Crossroads

Workshop Description:  How do we distinguish a Community Land Trust from a Private Trust or a Corporate Trust? The intrepid Googler can find many definitions and treatises on this subject but the end result depends on where you are coming from and what you are looking for. I’ve been asked: “How does a private land trust differ from a community land trust?” and the simple answer is an “individual owns the land in a private trust while a community owns the land in a community land trust. But this can be deceptive. If you wish to own land “privately” I suggest you hire a good attorney. If you are interested in protecting, preserving and sharing the opportunities afforded those in possession of use rights to land then the Community Land Trust may provide the a model for creating wealth and sustaining a life of quality, security and beauty or the “good life” you may desire. * The workshop will include a brief history of the CLT in the U. S., explore the relation of Land to Labor and Capital, and delineate the varieties of Trust which can own and control the use of land. * The heart of the presentation, however, will be about defining what we mean by Community Land Trust, its many varieties, and SoL’s unique model which encompasses its Educational Mission. A goal of that educational mission is to remove LAND from private ownership and oligarchic control and return these Community Created Values (CCV) to the Commons. * The FORUM will include the collective experience and expertise of those who wish to participate in a discussion of the current status of the Communities Land Trust Movement and the opportunities and constraints that this form of land ownership presents to the participants whether they are leaseholders, trustees or supporting members of the at large community (locally and globally).

Bio:  Karen Stupski and Rita Jane Kiefert are long time members of SoL and participants in SoL’s Communities. They are experienced in formulating, administering and executing the legal structure of SoL’s Land Trust. Brenda Carr is Clerk and Chair of the Education Committee.

 

Saturday, 2016: 3:45 – 5:30 PM

The Parable of the Sower Intentional Community

Location:  Pavilion

Workshop Description:  The Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative’s mission is to provide a transformational justice housing community that provides a creative strategy space for Black mother organizers involved in movement organizing and domestic violence/sexual abuse work.

Our work addresses the issue of basic human needs for primarily black women organizers and is named after the book by Octavia Butler, a black, female science fiction writer. The co-op helps to provide the basic human needs of safety, work, child care, housing and food. This new approach as a housing cooperative of women will allow us to continue the legacy of organizing that has been part of our on-going work.

Bio: Aleta Alston-Toure

Culture Hacking 101: How to Create a Participatory, Intentional Culture For Your Community

Location:  Dome

Workshop Description:  Much of what we learn comes not from the content of our education, but from the culture and environment we are in. Creating a healthy and positive culture should be a top priority — but can be difficult to talk about. What if creating culture didn’t have to be a terrible challenge? What if it your community could get into it right away?

You can achieve this by making community norms explicit and the process through which they are changed participatory, iterative, and clear.

Join Agile Learning Facilitators Drew Hornbein & Rochelle Hudson to explore Agile Learning Center tools and practices that help people realize their agency to identify, shift, upgrade, and impact their community’s culture. Learn about the Community Mastery Board and Change-up Meetings that introduce community agreements through a participatory and iterative process.

Bio:  Drew Hornbein is a metacognition enthusiast who works with the FEC and Agile Learning Centers, among other radical ventures.
Rochelle Hudson helps people create more dynamic, resilient relationships via the Blueprint of We and Agile Learning Center tools.
Abram de Bruyn is a community-oriented Educator & Social Innovator.

Legal Clinic

Location:  Ladyslipper

Workshop Description:  Are you forming or planning to form an income sharing commune? Thinking through and thoughtfully implementing a legal structure and agreements and choosing a tax status might be tedious and confusing but can also be vitally important to the success of your collective. This workshop will open with a short introduction framing the importance of:
Choosing a legal entity (LLC, corporation, LCA)
Choosing a tax status (S corp, partnership, 501(d), 501(c)7)
Choosing which documents and agreements to put in place legally (operating agreement/bylaws, foundational policies) in order to manage legal risk, minimize taxation, and put safeguards in place against existential threats to the commune. After the introduction the presenters will work with attendees on their specific issues and questions, providing guidance when able and connection to relevant resources. Come prepared with your questions!

Mutual Credit and Sociocracy

Location:  Crossroads
Workshop Description:  The rCredits mutual credit system together with the Sociocratic decision making process are a powerful tool for creating intentional community, empowering existing communities and in general raising awareness of the importance of sovereignty and issuing the money we use. rCredits has proven the concept in Greenfield, MA and is ready to start expanding. This workshop could give the conference attendees a powerful new tool for community building.

Bio:  John G Root JR has spent his life living and working with people with disabilities in the Cadmus Lifesharing Association, an intentional community, in Great Barrington, MA. He is now Senior Policy Analyst for Common Good Finance, founding member of the Future is Now Festival, and President of Just Abundance, Inc.

 

Sunday, 2016: 9:00 – 10:45 AM

Creating Fertile Ground for Community

Location:  Pavilion

Workshop Description:  It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you want to create social change, but don’t know how. Nicole walks you through the key steps of tilling your soil to create fertile ground for growing a real sense of community in your life. This workshop will help you determine your main mission, how to find fellow advocates for it, as well as provide tips and tools to see it through. Here you will find practical advice with opportunities for self-reflection using group participation to illustrate the actual process and determine the focus our session takes.

Things we will cover:
How to attract members for your mission that are right for the group’s purpose.
How to screen for prospective participants who will be positive additions to your cause, and avoid the heartache of expulsion later.
Ways to disseminate your message that brings the people you are looking for to you instead of you hunting and looking for them.
Resources such as books, websites and social platforms, as well as thought leaders to turn to that will help you effectively serve your mission.
Learn from the common mistakes others often make when creating a group, organization, or social change project so you may choose differently.

Bio:  Nicole Bienfang has dedicated her life to increasing the impact social change makers have on society. She is a research driven, lifelong learner, who uses that knowledge to build stronger relationships among communities and with individuals from around the world.

Boundaries: Speaking Truth, Meeting Needs, and Releasing Attachments

Location:  Dome

Workshop Description:  How many of us say “yes” to things we don’t actually want out of guilt or a fear of losing connection? In many ways, “no” is the most daring and intimate response possible – if I can hear your “no”, I can trust your “yes.” We’ll practice the skills of self-awareness, transparency, and non-attachment, which help us find the space of mutually desired connection that is available with each person.

Bio:  Sarah Taub teaches relationship and community skills and helps groups deepen their intimacy. She co-organizes “New Culture” events aimed at creating a culture based on love and freedom. Sarah lives at Chrysalis Community in Arlington, VA and at Allegheny Crest Intentional Village in Mt. Storm, WV.

The Role of ICs in Manifesting a New Paradigm/Next System

Location:  Ladyslipper

Workshop Description:  More and more people are beginning to believe that the current system(s) existing in the US and much of the world is so broken as to be likely irreparable and that we need to start focusing on creating a new one. The Democracy Collaborative created the Next System Project to focus on that. The New Economy Coalition and the network of Worker Owned Cooperatives are planning conferences this summer which have a similar focus.

This workshop contends that IC’s have the potential to play a major role in this process. IC’s are, in a sense, miniature new systems and can serve as examples and models. In addition we have land to grow food on, skills and resources and a ton of experience on how to get along.

The intent is to have an interactive discussion on how we might do that.

Bio:  Jack Strasburg is a Peace, Justice & Environmental activist. He served on the Pax Center board for 20 years. Organized and raised funds for the Navajo/Hopi elder groups to go to the United Nations Human Rights Commission regarding relocation. He is certified in permaculture design and facilitated the creation of the first native teaching team. Jack is a founding member of the Green Party and a college educated Viet Nam Veteran.

Overview of the new Urban Kibbutz Movement

Location:  Crossroads

Workshop Description:  The new Israeli kibbutz movement consists of between 100-200 communes, all established over the last 20-30 years. This session will examine the historical process which has led to the creation of several movements/federations of anarcho-socialist communities in present day Israel. The presenter will present his urban kibbutz as a case study, leaving ample time for questions.

Bio:  Anton Marks is a member of Kibbutz Mishol, the largest Urban Kibbutz in Israel. Until his temporary relocation to the US, he was general secretary of the Intentional Communities Desk (ICD), editor of its journals C.A.L.L. (English) and KOL (Hebrew), and a member of the International Communal Studies Board