Enacting Purpose

I am so grateful that NICA President Syd Fredrickson, hosted a Board retreat in February… Although my stomach turned when she urged the Board to look NICA’s purposes square in the face, and assess NICA’s integrity.

As small as the Board currently is, and as new as I am to it, I was afraid: what might we find? What might it mean — and what will we do — if we find NICA’s board too small or unable to fulfill our purpose?

Be affirmed, or be relieved with me, as you read what emerged.

Your many hands have somehow nevertheless made light work of beautiful & concrete actions that do carry forth & build momentum. In the list of off-the-cuff recollections below, you’ll find recent examples of each of NICA’s five purposes.

From NICA’s Articles of Incorporation

Article III. Purposes

[NICA aims to improve] our region’s natural, social and economic environments through sustainable communities. The specific and primary purposes are to:

1) Ascertain and promote intentional community aims and values that contribute most to community sustainability…

  • NICA members tabled at the Sustainable Ballard Festival
  • NICA members, some of whom are board members, have attended meetings of/join in “the Seattle Co-op Housing Movement”
  • NICA continues to co-sponsor workshops on good governance, social permaculture, and permaculture.

2) Facilitate communication and networking between local, regional and national intentional community organizations…

  • see above, and…
  • Executive Director of Fellowship of Intentional Communities (FIC), Sky Blue, was a guest at this NICA board retreat.
  • NICA’s list of people are regularly informed of courses put on by FIC.

3) Foster and assist the study of and education on all major elements of intentional communities…

  • NICA website (NWCommunities.com)
  • NICA newsletter
  • NICA trifold/brochure redesign (2017) & distribution
  • NICA book sales
  • NICA gatherings, panels
  • Interaction and education with cities’ & counties’ officials
  • Sponsorships & mentoring

4) Assist organizing and financing efforts of and for sustainable communities…

  • NICA offers Fiscal Sponsorship (past: Ravenna Kibbutz, present: Just Garden, future: one in process)
  • NICA encouraging a Fall Gathering offshoot from “Industry & Community” breakout group
  • NICA refers vetted, experienced service providers, including community based facilitators & event organizers, and has an informal Speakers’ Bureau.

5) To coordinate the exchange of resources between communities and others…

  • People & our needs as resources: Housemate/Community member ads
  • Welcoming newbies/non-members to NICA gatherings
  • Ideal: living documentation of existing intentional communities and fostering ‘association — supportive relationships between each.

WOW! 

and…

Welcome to something purposeful!   

I am humbled by – and grateful to – all of the people & resources that came together to make these things possible. Reflecting on NICA’s purpose TOGETHER turned out to be uplifting 🙂  I was amazed to see such a very long list of beautiful actions so easily recalled from living memory!

Given the confidence and enthusiasm we gained by evaluating what had been accomplished recently, those present decided to collaborate with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities (FIC) and other networks to cosponsor, plan, and publicize the West Coast Communities Conference! This is exciting for many reasons. One is that it will be held in Washington State for the first time. Another is that you may like to participate actively 😉

We also committed to more active recruitment (you’re looking at it!) to keep NICA active. If you would like to hear about NICA’s new Committee Structure, suggest improvements, or explore what board membership could be like for someone with your skills and interests —

Please let us hear you,

see you,

and help you

help NICA

help us all 🙂

by Briana Barrett-Squirrel

Spring 2018 edition of Communities magazine focuses on “Class, Race, and Privilege”

In today’s world, it’s rare to find positive and engaging stories that simultaneously expose readers to sensitive topics like race, class, and social barriers and biases. The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), a nonprofit organization with offices based in Rutledge, Missouri and Louisa, Virginia, has produced Communities magazine for the past 25 years, exploring the joys and challenges of navigating such issues together in cooperative groups.

The Spring 2018 edition of Communities, released on March 7, focuses on “Class, Race, and Privilege,” and contains more than 20 articles which look unflinchingly at a major “elephant in the room”—the relative lack of racial and class diversity in most intentional communities, at least in North America—while suggesting ways of understanding and addressing it.

For those who are unaware, intentional communities are essentially planned developments with a purpose, with members who share common social, economic, philosophical, or political interests. These communities come in a variety of forms, including cohousing, ecovillages, cooperative houses, and communes.

The magazine issue’s relevance extends far beyond intentional communities, which serve as microcosms for dealing with these core social concerns. In order to facilitate wider distribution and readership of this issue, the FIC is offering digital copies of issue #178 for free download from https://www.ic.org/community-bookstore/product/communities-magazine-178-spring-2018-class-race-privilege —including formats compatible with every variation of electronic device.

The FIC is soliciting donations to support this offering, but not as a condition of digital issue download.

Authors share stories of obstacles they’ve encountered (from both sides of the privilege equation) and positive steps they and their groups have taken to move toward greater inclusivity and equity. They also reflect honestly on the deep-rootedness of unconscious racism, of social and cultural barriers, of problems of power, privilege, classism, “white fragility,” and more.

To learn more about the Fellowship for Intentional Community visit www.ic.org or www.facebook.com/FellowshipForIntentionalCommunity. The FIC is funded by members, donors, and subscribers, and it also offers the public an online community bookstore with hundreds of low-cost and free resources, and a directory for searching for and locating intentional communities across the globe

Sociocracy Workshop, April 26-29

Diana Leafe Christian (author of books, *Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community* and *Creating a Life Together* and a member of Earthaven Ecovillage) will train participants in this dynamic method of self-governance.

Sociocracy, also called Dynamic Governance, is a system of governance using consent decision making, involving all those who do the work deciding what to do and how they work.

This workshop is perfect for people living in, or preparing to live in, cooperative intentional communities.

Carpooling is encouraged. Bring layered clothing. Swimsuit optional if you would like to use hot tubs.

If you prefer to camp in a tent at Sahale rather than have indoor accommodations, please contact Colette, hoff(at)goodenough.org to make arrangements. People with limited funds or temporary hardship may request financial assistance by writing info(at)nwcommunities.org.

You may arrive on Thursday, April 27 anytime after 3:00 PM, or show up on Friday, April 28. Content delivery is Friday 9:00 A.M. through Sunday midday.

The event will be held at the Sahale Learning Center, near Belfair, WA. (Sahale is owned & operated by the Goodenough Community.)

Sahale’s 68 acres hold many gifts: a quiet forest, an old orchard of many fruits and a magical sacred grove of ancient cedars. The ever-changing Tahuya River; a bubbling spring; and a quiet pond. Surrounded by hills and forest, there’s an open vista over a valley.

The event is cosponsored by NICA & Goodenough discounted rates for NICA members.

Fees $125 – $330

Registration fees include meals and lodging.

Register here

For general questions or payment options, contact registrar at 206-679-5342.