The Art of Community | Green Key Real Estate

Communitarians. That is who we are, and gather is what we do! I am fresh off of three days at an event called the Art of Community where almost 300 of us gathered to immerse ourselves in the conversation and experience of community. At this unique event, there were both elders of the “communities movement” and hopeful, young seekers of community, and everything in between. Some attendees were seeking a community to join or learning skills to create a community of their own. Some of us were teaching workshops in the multiple aspects of creating and eco-village or community, and of course all of us were learning.

Because in order to regain the skills to live in sustainable community, learn we must! How do we live in our homes and in communities as if we are all in this together? Meaning, as if the Earth’s finite resources were something we needed to learn how to share and carefully manage? I found that the people at the Art of Community conference were students of nature, history, human emotions, group dynamics, engaged decision making, green building, cooperative legal systems. It was truly an amazing group of people brought together to teach and learn and share.

I was honored to be among many inspiring presenters of this program. Myself and Devin Stubblefield, my fellow Green Key permaculture educator and consultant, taught about the elements of buying real estate cooperatively. We spoke to the relevant issues of land evaluation, forms of holding title, and financial opportunities for community-based real estate ventures.

We also facilitated a session on what it means to truly “become of place.” It was deeply touching to hear people’s stories about their relationship with the land and how that relationship guides their often hard choices in the journey to become a grounded member of a bioregion. It is relevant to notice that as we engage opportunities to restore our human relationships, we are often called to restore, or re-story, our nature based relations as well.

While being a “communitarian” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this movement toward sharing a more ecological lifestyle close to home makes sense to a growing number of people. As Kevin Danaher, the keynote speaker for the weekend, remarked, we are “solutionaries” in designing a livable future.

Other fantastic presenters included: Janelle Orsi, Diana Leafe Christian, and the new community movie: Within Reach. Look out for the next Art of Community, hopefully next year. As it turns out, Northern California is of course the hot seat of the nation for cooperatively minded folks.