Report from the Art of Community Conference

From Sept 23-25, 2011, FIC (Federation for Intentional Community) presented a weekend conference in Occidental, CA, about 50 miles north of San Francisco.

About 250 people attended. 20-30 communities were represented, mostly from the Bay Area and the West coast.

The keynote speaker was Kevin Danaher, founder of the Green Festivals and Global Exchange. He gave a lively and inspiring talk about some of the many success of individuals and organizations in building a sustainable economic system. Some companies, for example, are finding financial success in making useful products out of free “used” or recycled materials. Mr. Danaher is also involved with bringing together “green” investors with “green” companies, with considerable financial success. You can hear a similar talk of his here.

There were a great many workshop choices, on such subjects as consensus, power and leadership in IC’s (intentional communities), meeting facilitation skills, history of IC’s, spirituality, legal and financial structures for IC’s, CoHousing IC’s, Ecovillages, songs and games for community building, and many more.

The main event Saturday night was the premier showing of a 2-hour movie, Within reach, by Mandy and Ryan, two young people who bicycled over 6,000 miles around the country. They visited 100 IC’s, and the movie is filled with many voices enthusiastically talking about their communities all over the nation. Here is a 3-minute trailer.

There was dancing, lots of music, gentle yoga, laughing yoga, great food, and lots of great connections with new and old friends. I came away with a renewed optimism that despite the obvious problems so often covered in the media, there are in fact a great many small and local successes as people of all kinds are finding ways to join together to build a more sustainable future. There is indeed hope for a better world.

Larry Rider, President, NICA

Co-opalooza 2011- A Celebration of Community & Co-ops, Oct 16

Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union (SMCU) created Co-opalooza to celebrate co-ops and help spread the word of the great things they do for their community. Co-ops from across the economic spectrum will be joining SMCU for a free, all-ages festival with live music, kid’s activities and raffle prizes to help demonstrate the broad spectrum of cooperatives and share the co-op message.

Co-operatives share a commitment to a set of principles that ensure fair business practices, just wages, and social responsibility, among other worthy goals. There are many kinds of cooperatives, including credit unions, pre-schools, farms, and even global news organizations.

DETAILS:

  • Event: Cooopalooza 2011: A Celebration of Community & Co-ops
  • Date: Sunday, October 16, 2011
  • Time: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Location: Fisher Plaza, Seattle Center

For more information: see the Coopalooza Web site

Report on NICA East West Panel, Sept 1, 2011

On Thursday, September 1, 2011, NICA hosted its 3rd panel presentation at the East West Bookshop at 6500 Rossevelt Way NE Seattle. About 30 people attended. The topic was

Intentional Communities: Models for Sustainable Living. Our goal was to share with people some of the many benefits of community living, and how examples of a saner, more sustainable lifestyle are now being developed in communities, and that many of these developments hold the promise of benefits that can spread in the wider community as well.

The panel consisted of :

  • Phil Noterman and Helen Gabel from New Earth Song in Bothell;
  • Larry Rider from the Ananda Community of Lynnwood;
  • Jonathan Betz-Zall from Bright Morningstarin Seattle, and
  • Francis Parks from Duwamish Co-Housing in Seattle.

In addition to briefly describing their communities, panelists shared examples from their life in community on such topics as simple living and shared resources; sharing food growing and meals; a sense of belonging and creative participation; and more satisfying models of leadership and decision-making.

There was a wide range of questions from the audience, sharing their own stories and asking questions of the panelists. From these questions there was a sense among the panelists that the interest in intentional community is growing as people become more concerned about the need for more sustainable lifestyles.