Well I’m officially the proud owner of Valley View, a small off the grid cabin in an aspiring little hamlet called Trillium. Twelve intrepid collaborators, each bringing a unique skill and united by a shared vision, experienced our first community gathering on the land in late January …and we finally closed escrow on Wednesday after a nine month birthing process! Over the months we developed a lengthy legal contract, covering everything from how decisions get made to outlining exit strategies for all types of situations. As the year goes along we will make all of these documents open source in order to share them with other groups who might find them useful. Also, in the final agreement we created an easement for the former stewards of the land, a beautiful and talented couple in their sixties named Chant and Susanna, so they could keep access to a shaded half acre near the river for when they’re “in town” from their adventures of retirement. By doing so they also take on the honorable position of our village elders, for which we’re truly grateful. Their four decades on the land has given them a deep understanding of the cycles of nature, a voluminous knowledge of the intricacy of running Trillium and a strong reputation and connection within the local community. To be able to continue to water the seeds of love they sowed on this land and to have them remain as part of this wonderful journey is a true blessing for all involved 💓
I’ve attended the past five Lucidity Festivals as an attendee and it’s seen me at my highs …and at my lows. Sheesh, let’s not even mention 2015! Earlier this year I returned from Asia and Lucidity was the first event I attended during which I met a few of the cofounders and I loosely mentioned how I’d like to support the project in some way. Within a short few weeks and through a string of unexpected circumstances, I met more of the core team and we began to interweave our dreams of community and collaboration. With each interaction I am won over by this crew’s kindness, authenticity and open-hearted spirit.
This year I’ve been learning the ins and outs of community owned property and I’m incredibly excited to announce my latest collaboration: behold Trillium! Together with some of the founders of the Lucidity Festival, we are bringing to life a beautiful and inspiring land project outside of Ashland in southern Oregon. Trillium spans 80 acres and includes 17 existing structures spread across a scenic valley, meadows and raw wilderness. The land is nestled up against 3000 acres of old-growth forest that already includes 30+ miles of trails that weave through the pristine land. Trillium has exclusive water rights to the creek which flows through its valley until it meets the healthy Applegate river at the base of the property.
On one hand this is a perfect week for posting a response to this article …if I want to avoid ruffling any egos. Or perhaps it’s the perfect week to inspire those who stayed at home. Either way I have a mob of friends at the Burn and I bet they’re having an awesome time. Of course I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have a *little* FOMO, especially as the week builds towards what will no doubt be an explosive climax in the dust 🙂 I love Burning Man, and it has played a huge role in throwing open the doorway of my soul over a decade ago. And while Burning Man continues to be a mind-blowing, ever-evolving experience that has the power to open the hearts and minds of of its attendees, I continue to be niggled by a nagging question: “OK, so what do we do once we ‘get it’? What comes next?” It’s a question that I know is in the hearts of many and now that Burning Man org bought nearby land it seems like they are asking the same thing.
I just watched an awesome documentary last night called “American Commune” and I can’t believe I’d never heard of “The Farm” before! As we look towards a future where communal land stewardship and regenerative living are becoming increasingly common, it’s crucial that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. How to successfully navigate decision making processes, financial frameworks and healthy social systems will be vital to the long term flourishing of these projects. I’m very grateful for the brave pioneers that paved the way. May we learn from their achievements and their mistakes so that we don’t fall into the same traps 🙂
Projecting future retrospect allows us to imagine how we’ll look back on the present, from the future. And this will certainly be remembered as a historic moment! The Burning Man Project recently announced that they bought property adjacent to the Black Rock Desert where their yearly event takes place and plans to turn it into a year-round cultural experiment. While I think the name “Fly Ranch” is ripe for a rebrand, it’s extremely inspiring to see the Burning Man’s evolution as an ephemeral, week long event towards its vision of a year round, sustainable example of what the future of community might look like. The Burning Man’s Project is a non profit whose chief goal is of “amplifying and extending Burning Man culture”. With hundreds of regional events on 6 continents and now a 3600 acre oasis in the desert the reach of Burning Man’s culture continues it’s benevolent march!
I’m fascinated by community projects and experiments. How do they form? How do they operate? How do they impact the lives of the members and how do they interface (or choose not to interface) with the world around them. How does each variation shed light on the future of how we will live, work, love, grow and cocreate together?
“We are [all] storytellers, sharing our perspectives and experiences through the art of media. Those who write the stories, influence the world. By transforming the predominant narrative, by being conscious with the influence of our media, we explore the possible shift of the story we are weaving together into one of triumph, cooperation, and celebration of humanity’s greatest potential as co-creators.” If you dig that sort of thing, check out the other themes of this interesting book: http://reinhabitingthevillage.com/ NOTE: Looks like it’s currently out of print but I’m trying to get in touch with them to see about a download link 🙂
I helped build a yurt out of locally sourced materials! It’s a little different than the Mongolian yurts that I’ve helped assemble in the past, but makes up for lack in mobility with its downright tropical charm… and only took a day to assemble (besides the base, which was made with rocks & concrete)! It was a great little appetizer for next month’s 2 week permaculture design certificate course… more about that on another day!
Day 5 in the mountains of Thailand at DetoxPai and my mind feels super sharp 🙂 I’m currently researching the topic of community owned property. Do you like that topic? Me too! And I feel like the topic has coming up a lot recently on all sorts of scales in all sorts of contexts and conversations …and that is super exciting. I’ve been exploring possible scenarios and researching how the legal and financial aspect could work. There’s a few different models to consider and of course the ongoing management is also an interesting topic too:) It could be useful for all sorts of communities who want to co-own their property, from small coliving environments to larger colive/cowork spaces or even a giant village-sized projects.