Seeking Justice in Liminal Spaces

In this workshop, we will use a mixture of personal storytelling and ecological metaphors to frame some of the social justice challenges we grapple with as participants in the environmental/sustainability movement. Our goal is to examine our own relationships of power and privilege by investigating the ways  in which we are complicit within oppressive systems. The hope is that this inquiry will reveal new strategies and opportunities for healing through reciprocity and reconciliation.

Presented by Ridhi D’Cruz

As a placemaking consultant, sociocultural anthropologist, and permaculture educator living in Portland since 2010, Ridhi dedicates their life’s energy to deep relationship building through their work, scholarship and home life. They draw on the fields of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Cultural Sustainability, Social Permaculture, Community Engagement, Placemaking and Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) to foster place-based empowerment within a varying spectrum of communities ranging from people facing housing insecurities locally to governmental agencies abroad. They also enthusiastically participate in life affirming practices involving urban wildcrafting, plant medicine, natural building and participatory technology. Ridhi is currently a co-Executive Director of a local grassroots placemaking nonprofit organization City Repair Project You can reach them at

Three Aspects of a Healthy, Thriving Community

Through lively verbal and visual presentations and small group interactions, workshop participants will better understand the three aspects of a healthy, thriving cohousing community — creating “community glue,” good process and communication skills, and effective project management, and the mutually reinforcing, mutually beneficial relationships between them. We’ll look at a fourth, foundational aspect of a thriving community that underlines and benefits the other three (having it tends to help people feel great; it’s lack tends to erode well-being.) By making sure these three (actually, four) aspects of healthy community stay in balance, we generate much more harmony, trust, and connection. We’ll look briefly at “structural conflict,” the “Visionary/Idealism – Practical Experience Scale Over Time,” the benefits of learning Nonviolent Communication and the Restorative Circles process, and what can sometimes go wrong in cohousing communities with consensus. We’ll end with a brief overview of two different methods I highly recommend: N St. Consensus and Sociocracy. And . . . we’ll have lots of fun. 😉

Presented by Diana Leafe Christian

Author of Creating a Life Together and former editor of Communities magazine, Diana speaks at conferences, offers consultations, and leads workshops internationally on the tools and processes to create successful new cohousing communities, helping communities thrive, and Sociocracy for effective governance and decision-making. She’s led workshops at many Coho/US conferences (and in 2013 was the keynote speaker for the annual conference of the UK Cohousing Network. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina.

Reimagining the Commons: GENNA Alliance

Collaboration is happening! GENNA Alliance is a growing platform of individuals and organizations for a thriving communities network in North America. Five organizations have partnered to reimagined the Commons for practical application – shared agreements, resources, projects, and technology. Learn how you can engage, explore similar initiatives around the world, and network with fellow participants during this interactive session.

GENNA Alliance initial partners: Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC), VillageLab, NuMundo, NextGENNA

Presented by Cynthia Tina

Cynthia Tina is a founder of GENNA Alliance, a collaborative platform serving the regenerative communities movement within North America. She has visited over one hundred sustainability projects across four continents. Since 2015, she serves on the Boards of Global Ecovillage Network and Fellowship for Intentional Community. She is also a co-founder of NextGENNA. Cynthia offers consultations to connect people to communities and marketing services for aligned projects.

Unsettling Whiteness & Cultivating Solidarity in Community

How does a majority white, cisgender, middle class land based community become a welcoming home to people of color, transgender and poor/working class community members? This is a question many of us grapple with and over the past three years, Cedar Moon – the intentional community located at Tryon Life Community Farm in Portland Oregon – has learned many lessons we are now ready to share.  Acknowledging that undoing oppression and creating more equitable communities will take a a lifetime (or more!), we have begun walking down that path and have gathered stories of success and failure along the way. We propose to share our journey and lessons learned, as well as host a discussion about what other privileged communities can do (are doing) to ensure better access to land and community for folks  marginalized by colonization and capitalism.

Presented by Brenna Bell

Brenna Bell is a Celtic/Germanic hybrid, whose ancestors came west on the Oregon Trail and settled on land stolen from the Molalla and Kalapuya people. She is a community activist, goat herder, environmental attorney, mama, and all-around gap-filler at Cedar Moon and Tryon Life Community Farm where she has lived for 15 years. Brenna is a big fan of rainy days, ceremony, forest fires, diving into uncomfortable conversations, and newts. Pronouns: she/her.

Liberated Living: The Economics of Bringing Intentional Communities to Market

“We offer to share a model for bringing intentional communities to market. We will focus on the economics of intentional living developments, affordable housing and alternative financing, and inclusive architecture models that integrates food production.

The presentation team
1. Rex Allen: Architect/ Developer: Affordable housing financing
2. Peggy Foster: Real Estate Agent: Alternative financing
3. Mark Taylor, Chief Financial Officer: Triple bottom line cost analysis: true costs of ownership
4. Dakotah Apostolou; Chief Design Officer, Innovative architecture solutions and cost efficiency, and
5. Jessica Schilke: Plant based building systems, Integrated food systems reducing living cost

Through transformed economic development models we see an opportunity to take intentional communities to market providing inclusive and accessible housing while contributing to regenerating the health of the earth. Our approach grows out of the current financial context. We seek to share and learn from the West Coast Community Conference collective energy and expertise. Thank you for considering our proposed contribution to this years gathering. “

Presented By Dakotah Joseph Apostolou

Dakotah trained at Taliesin, the Frank LLoyd Wright School of Architecture Masters program under Frank Henry. Prior to startups he worked with American and European architecture firms. He is a tireless advocate for creating an ecosystem of businesses that build profit from regenerating the health of the planet. Dakotah is acting in the role of Chief Design Officer collaborating with a premier design, development, and architecture team.

Ecosystem Restoration Communities

Ecosystem restoration communities. In New Zealand, groups could get a 99-year lease on degraded land public land for the purpose of doing restoration.  They could live there, build simple homes, grow food, have water collection systems. The world is awash in degraded land. This is like a new homesteading movement.  In Russia, the Anastasia movement has inspired many new communities to form and people (even non-Russians) can get title to 1 hectare of land, (2.47 acres) from the Russian government. John D. Liu has inspired the idea of ecosystem restoration camps. The first one was started in Spain about two years ago. How do we popularize them? What are the mechanisms to get access to land?  All communities aim to improve the productivity and ecological health of the land, so, in a way, all communities have an aspect of ecosystem restoration.

Michael Pilarski will facilitate a discussion on these concepts. What has been done? Ongoing projects? Applications in the Western US?

Check out this website:

Check out this youtube:

Presented By Michael Pilarski

Michael has lived in and out of community since 1970.  Michael has been studying sustainable agriculture and ecosystem restoration almost as long.  Founded Friends of the Trees Society in 1978. He taught three permaculture design courses at Sahale and organized two Washington Permaculture Convergences at Sahale (the forerunner to the Northwest Permaculture Convergence.)

Documenting the Communities Movement

In this panel discussion, the current and past editors of Communities magazine and the current executive director of the Fellowship for Intentional Community will offer their experiences and perspectives on using media to share stories of intentional community living–both within the movement and with the wider world. Chris Roth, editor of Communities for the past decade, will talk about how the process of assembling and distributing the magazine and related print projects mirrors the practice of intentional community itself. Shared vision, collaboration, and accountability are essential ingredients both in successful magazine production and functional community living–and are encouraged by the structures we create for both. Diana Leafe Christian, editor of Communities for 14 years and author of the landmark books Creating a Life Together and Finding Community, will discuss her own experiences with helping communitarians’ stories reach others in the movement and the wider world. Sky Blue, executive director of the FIC for the past three years, will talk about multimedia projects that the FIC has initiated and its strategies for reaching the broader public, as well as his work being a spokesperson to the media and his experiences as a communitarian interacting with the press, with authors, with videographers, and with others helping spread news about intentional communities. We’ll have time for questions, answers, and discussion as we solicit input and invite ideas about how we can best document the communities movement, how we can make its stories most relevant, and how we can share them with a world whose survival may depend on finding ways of living more cooperatively.

Chris Roth

Chris Roth has edited Communities magazine for the past 10 years, and has lived in community most of his adult life (currently at Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter, Oregon–his home, except for a brief hiatus, since 1997).

Diana Leafe Christian

Diana Leafe Christian is a past Communities editor, author, workshop leader, consultant, and speaker who helps communities learn techniques to thrive collectively and shares communities’ lessons with the general public (see She is a member of Earthaven Ecovillage in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Sky Blue

Sky Blue is executive director of the Fellowship for Intentional Community and a member of Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.

Right to the City: Urban Co-ops and Housing Activism

Let’s explore our own housing stories and our parents’ and grandparents’ housing stories and look for ways that our stories connect to what people are experiencing in growing cities around housing insecurity and houselessness.

How do we combat social isolation and climate change through our housing choices and land use decisions? How do you talk to people in power to make land use changes? Where do you start if you want to be a housing activist? How does the struggle for housing justice link to other struggles? How does it impact some communities differently? Let’s look intersectionally at the housing crisis facing most growing cities.

Presented by Laura Loe Bernstein (@sharethecities) is a queer, pale Latinx, renter, part-time bus driver and housing ‘practivist’ in Seattle, WA. She founded Share The Cites as a response to zoning injustice, pressure on natural places, and climate change. The group’s most recent efforts are focused on studying the best use for a public golf course in a transit-rich part of Seattle with low displacement risk.

With Syd Fredrickson, an early board member of Homestead Community Land Trust in Seattle, WA. Syd has done housing activism on local and national fronts, over several decades. Co-founder of Orca Landing urban community in Seattle; has been a member of several ICs – rural, urban and suburban, as well as in multiple IC Networks. Has served as a facilitator/process team member for established and forming communities; is currently co-president of NICA and member of Star Community.

Community Founders’ Panel  

Moderated by Syd Fredrickson & Chris Roth


Brandy Gallagher: Education and Outreach Coordinator at OUR Ecovillage which is a 25-acre sustainable living demonstration site and education center in British Columbia. The mission is to create a community commons; a different approach compared to places where ownership is a large focus.  

Lara Morison – Lara Morrison is a co-founder of the Urban Soil-Tierra Urbana Limited Equity Housing Cooperative, the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust (BVCLT) and its multi-school White House Place Learning Garden. She is a co-founder and board member of both of those Los Angeles Eco-Village organizations. Lara is a full time volunteer coordinating the activities of the BVCLT. A 20-year resident of the Los Angeles Eco-Village, she holds a Masters Degree in Bioethics and lives with her two cats. She enjoys cooking, gardening, keeping  on top of progressive politics, and working on legislative issues for more sustainable communities.

Richard McGrue, III – Rich McGrue had harnessed a wealth of unique life experiences prior to his founding of an urban Intentional Community in Seattle, just one year ago. A retired Army officer; a retired Boeing executive; former long-time pastor; executive director of five different non-profit orgs; diversity and inclusion trainer.
Recognizing a distinct absence of People Of Color within IC’s, Rich created, The New Greenwood House, based on three fundamental principles: Tantra, Consciousness and Social Justice.
They now have a diverse and full household of eight members, three of which are African-American, representing our commitment to embracing diversity and social justice living in Seattle. They have also created a non-profit org to support the mission of our House’s impact within the greater PNW region.

Cost-effective Housing options for Intentional Communities

In this panel discussion we will be exploring several different building ideas, including alternative financing possibilities. This is with the goal of making intentional communities more affordable for greater numbers of people

Moderated by Libby Carr: Libby came to live at Songaia Cohousing Community in Bothell, WA after discovering co-housing in Sweden many years ago.  She is now on the board of Northwest Intentional Communities Association (NICA) and hopes to bring more information to people about intentional communities while helping new or forming communities to find members. She also has her own business in financial education, helping people plan for a secure and satisfying retirement.

Doug Engle is a strategic analyst with a background in pre-fabricated metal buildings, finance and technology.  Throughout his career, he has strived to optimize processes for effectiveness and efficiency. Doug was recently introduced to co-housing in Spokane after moving home from Seattle.  In the process of sourcing co-housing financing and a developer, he witnessed a process that begged for improvement. Doug has a firm belief in reducing the Total Cost of Ownership (“TCO”), reducing financing costs, and faster development with environmentally sustainable modular construction.

Dakotah Joseph Apostolou trained at Taliesin, the Frank LLoyd Wright School of Architecture Masters program under Frank Henry. Prior to startups he worked with American and European architecture firms. He is a tireless advocate for creating an ecosystem of businesses that build profit from regenerating the health of the planet. Dakotah is acting in the role of Chief Design Officer collaborating with a premier design, development, and architecture team.

Bruce Perler is a long time Goodenough Community member, engineer by trade, builder by birth and enjoyer of things well made. His personal handyman business allows him to practice his values around living lightly and making do with what is, wherever possible. Bruce lives at Sahale Learning Center, the rural home of the Goodenough Community, and is the lead of the Sahale maintenance team.

Also with Lorna Lyons.

Panel: Intimacy and Sex Positivity in Community

Rich McGrue is a retired Army officer, a retired Boeing executive, former long-time pastor, executive director of five different non-profit orgs, diversity and inclusion trainer. Recognizing a distinct absence of People Of Color within IC’s, Rich created The New Greenwood House, based on three foundational principles: Tantra, Consciousness, and Social Justice. The New Greenwood House now has a diverse and full household of eight members, three of which are African-American, representing our commitment to embracing diversity and social justice living in Seattle. The community has also created a non-profit org to support the mission of our house’s impact within the greater PNW region.

Rachel Payne has been living in intentional communities since 2012 when she moved into PRAG House, which is part of the Evergreen Land Trust (ELT). She serves on the Board for ELT and New Culture Northwest (NCNW) and helps organize sex-positive events for NCNW and Star Community. She currently lives in a 10-bedroom Star Community house in South Seattle with her daughter, her daughter’s father, and some of their other partners.