Workshops at the Communities Conference

Approved Workshops for Twin Oaks Communities Conference September 2-5, 2022

These are the approved workshops for this year’s Communities Conference, with links to the community or organizational affiliation of the presenter under their name.

  1. Aging in Community – Raines Cohen
  2. Alleged Urban Squatting Workshop – Peaches
  3. An FEC Community in Costa Rica? – Keenan Dakota & Lyndya Geiger Ross
  4. Apocalyptic Wakanda & Zion  Building a New World – Aleta Toure
  5. Authentic Relating in Community – Mike Jadoo
  6. Biophilic EcoVillage Design & Building – Fred Oesch
  7. Can You Power Your Community Entirely With Renewable Energy? Alexis LEF
  8. Collaborative Community Design – Moonraven 
  9. Community Business: Making Money Together! – Xander Astra
  10. Community Legal Workshop – Jenny Hoffpauir 
  11. Community Singing: the Craft of Co-Enchantment – Craig & Cleo Green
  12. Funding ICs thru Airbnb Rentals & Retreats – David Vanderveer & Victoria Bryant
  13. I Didn’t Mean It That Way: Identity-Related Harm in Cmty – Crystal Farmer
  14. Panel: Starting POC Communities
  15. Panel: Stump the Chumps
  16. Politics, oppression, and creative forms of liberation – Gil & Ella Cambia
  17. Quilombos Culture for EcoVillages & Intentional Communities – Macaco
  18. The Revolution Will be Indigenized – Roberto Mendoza
  19. Transforming Founder’s Syndrome – Cecile Green
  20. Travelers in Community – Ozgard

Below is the summary workshop description and presenter biographies.  

Aging in Community

Whether or not your community is (or plans) to be intergenerational or senior-focused, you need to be preparing for members getting older — it’s a natural part of all our lives. By consciously approaching aging and building collective community consciousness about it, you can make it much more likely that you and your neighbors will be able to not just stay in their homes longer, but also help everyone, from birth on up, experience longer, healthier, richer lives.

While many traditional approaches to “Aging in Place” focus on the “deficits” and physical, social, financial, and mental issues, ICs are full of opportunities for “positive aging” where our unique lives as elders and age diversity can become a strength..

We’ll look at examples from many different kinds of communities that have successfully laid the groundwork, share what we’ve seen in (or anticipate in) our own communities, and together help each other create a plan and path to take home. Join us for lively discussion, role-playing, and simulations, plus sharing of established and home-grown resources to bring back to our communities and a network to support each other in continued connection.

Raines Cohen is a Community Organizer. Facilitator. Cohousing Coach. EcoVillage Ambassador. Aging-in-Community Author. Certified Senior Advisor. Certified Sage-ing Leader. Founding Member, Elders Action Net. Past board, FIC/Coho/US. Leader, East Bay Cohousing/Cohousing CA. Living in community in Berkeley, CA.

Alleged Urban Squatting Workshop (draft desc) 

Squatters have no rights in the US, but some tenants pay no rent – and tenants do have rights. This workshop explores no rent and low rent tenancy in metro areas like DC which have good tenant protection legislation.

How can you find such a place? Public records and other no rent pioneers can be some of your guides. How to respond to aggressive landlords to your legal advantage and how to maintain good relations with neighbors who are burdened with conventional rents.

Peach’s will share the short version of how they landed in a lovely home in DuPont Circle for the cost of parking and how they are sharing this bounty.

Peaches is the only sales rep for Southern Exposure Seed Exchanges Wholesale business and runs a bike repair service in DC.  They are also the driving force behind Casa Peaches which houses activist, abortion refugees and legally disadvantaged international.  They have lived in several intentional communities and communes.

An FEC Community in Costa Rica?

There is a 200 acre of land in Costa Rica that has two houses and a big concrete dome. A group of people are going to try to start an FEC-style community on that property starting October 1st 2022.

Keenan has lived at Twin Oaks for 35 years.

Lyndya Geiger Ross:  Lyndya lives in Costa Rica.  She is associated with La Finca de La Tierra Nueva. Lynda is also associated with the Foundation that has been developing this property for 20 years. She will happily answer questions about westerners choosing to live in Costa Rica. 

Finca de la Tierra Nueva – Costa Rica

Apocalyptic Wakanda (Panther) & Zion (Matrix) and Building a New World

We are not going back to normal.  African Americans are reviving the Black Cooperative Movement by replacing our assimilation amnesia with a Liberated Zone training ground.  Some call it Beloved Community, Some call it African Time banking Village. We call it LandCorps.   Hear from three cooperative members of Parable of the Sower Intentional Community as they build it (community) so they will come.

Aleta Toure  homeschooling mother, community organizer, filmmaker, Mindfulness practitioner, dancer, & visionary.Yehudit Chef, clothing designer, Peoples, jewelry franchise owner, youth organizer, & dancer.  Justice – Kayaker, environmental justice worker,  cooperative bicycle worker & gamer.

Authentic Relating in Community

Authentic Relating (AR) is the practice of freely expressing yourself with others in order to bring about a richer human experience.   This practice of free expression to bring about a more truthful human experience builds on the Quink community of self-reflection and positive shifts for one’s own life and community.  

Expressing in a more truthful way enables connections in the world based on who you really are. 

When practicing Authentic Relating we keep the 5 Practices of Authentic Relating in mind:

1.    Welcome Everything – We welcome everything that arises in our field of awareness, in ourselves, in others, and in the world

2.    Assume Nothing – We notice our assumptions of people and situations, and check them out with others

3.    Reveal Your Experience – We let ourselves be seen, known, heard, and touched as who we really are, and invite others into our worlds

4.    Own Your Experience – We take full responsibility for whatever we experience, and for having an impact on others

5.    Honor Self / Honor Other – We honor our own needs and wants while also honoring the needs and wants of others

Mike Jadoo have over participated in many Authentic Relating workshops.  He recently completed the Authentic Relating Training (ART) Level 3  and is ready to serve the community by providing AR games.   He has previously hosted  many NVC practice groups and book readings. 

Biophilic EcoVillage Design & Building

Earth’s climate and our man-made environment is at a tipping point. Intentional Community designers and builders must embrace a more urgent and far reaching purpose and responsibility, in ways that nourish and regenerate the health and beauty of our built environment and planet. This presentation will cover EcoVillage state-of-the-art practices and conceptual future systems and methods needed to create a regenerative built environment and organic buildings that embrace accountability with respect to climate change and quality of life. Inspiring current opportunities and evolving case studies will be explored.

Fred Øesch (“Esch”) is the principal of Øesch Environmental Design in Charlottesville, VA. An award winning Design / Build firm, Øesch has produced EcoVillage Master Planning, Architecture, and Interiors utilizing healthful, energy efficient, regenerative organic materials and methods.

Cville EcoVillage

Collaborative Community Design

Many people think about or try to start communities by putting out all the things that they want.  In this workshop, a small group of participants will design a potential community by each putting out a few things they want and seeing what collective design emerges.

Raven is a long time communard (Common Threads, Ganas, Cotyledon, Glomus Commune) now attempting to build an income-sharing community in New England.  Also 70 yo white cis man.

Community Business: Making Money Together!

Want to know how to start a community business!? 

Want to make your existing businesses more profitable?!

Too frequently we see communities fail over getting the bills paid or just never start for lack of funds!! Let’s talk about how you can hate capitalism and still make that money.

The history of intentional communities  is filled with fascinating examples of communal businesses! Let’s learn from other communities successes and failures!

Leverage the skills, knowledge, and support of the amazing people around you!

Learn about some the newest tools and cutting -edge concepts from Startup Culture!

Running a local small business and regional manufacturing can be a radical act!

Leave this workshop with a new business plan that will align with your community values, make the world a better place, and pay the bills!

Xander Astra is a Designer and Inventor from the San Francisco Warehome Communities.

He has launched 60+ Mass Products, Started 3 Community Businesses, Won National Business Competitions, Blah, Blah, Blah… He thinks we should steal some ideas from Silicon Valley to make Capitalism suck less!

Community Legal Workshop 

When should a new community seek tax exempt status?  Is an LLC enough legal protection for the members to pool money and start covering expenses together?  Do we have to be religious to be a monastery?  What are the advantages of a land trust?  We are doing public service work in our community, should we become a B corp?  These questions are examples of what you might be interested in exploring in this legal clinic.

This workshop is designed for people who are in the forming stages of an intentional community or wish to understand these legal and tax structures.  Jenny will start with a basic presentation and then take questions from the attendees, answering both specifics and sharing general principles which are more broadly applicable.

Jenny Hoffpauir is a lawyer and experienced communard who helps forming communities navigate the various legal, financing and other landscapes to create lasting structures which reflect community values. Jenny has particular expertise in the structures and agreements which enable income sharing communes.

Community Singing: the Craft of Co-Enchantment

Joining voices in song can nourish intimacy, enthusiasm and shared vision in community life. In this workshop we’ll explore the craft of growing co-empowering vocal communities in diverse contexts of work and play, celebration and grief. We’ll practice co-enchantment, sharing dynamic and easily learned songs accessible to all. If you can talk you can sing! 

Craig and Cleo have spent decades living and singing in community. Out of this experience they’ve grown “The Contemplayful Songbook: a Field Guide to Co-enchantment.” They are members of Charis, a small regenerative community near Charlottesville. 

Can You Power Your Community Entirely With Renewable Energy?

Energy Permaculture means energy embedded in a community context. Living Energy Farm has pioneered energy systems based on battery-less solar power, as well as durable battery systems, biogas, woodgas, and other durable, affordable renewable energy technologies, all in a context of self-sustaining community. No energy bills, no battery replacement costs, energy systems that last the rest of your life. Ask questions, find answers, and grow our community’s future.

Alexis Ziegler is the founder and chief technologist at Living Energy Farm in Louisa Virginia.  LEF is working both locally and internationally to bring appropriate, low cost, clean energy solutions to individuals and intentional communities.

Air-based Active Solar Space Heating

Funding Intentional Communities through Unique Airbnb Rentals and Retreats

We will explain the history of the White Lotus Eco Spa Retreat and how it has evolved into a community of people that work and live together. Community members contribute by helping manage, repair, and expand the retreat center and Airbnb units.  We also provide space for events and retreats as well as creating our own. The community began with just 5 people and one building on 3 acres and now have a full time community of 13 people, 17 Airbnb units, and 125 acres.  As we develop spaces on the land, we rent them out and use that income to add more spaces on the property that are both for the community and guests. Some of the amenities we have for our community members and guests are a sauna, cool dip pool, movie theater, meditation room, massage room, conference rooms, kitchens, ponds, gardens, frisbee golf, outdoor fire place, paddle boat, and nature trails. Our community organically grew out of friendships and part time guests that decided to make this their permanent home.  Community members all have unique talents and skills that are given opportunity to flourish and contribute to our lives as well add to our guests’ experiences while they are here.  

David VanDerveer, founder and architect of The White Lotus Eco Spa Retreat has worked professionally as an electronic technician, D.J, videographer,  chef,  yoga instructor, builder, and  heavy equipment operator, but he is best known as an international comedy juggler. 

Victoria Bryant is an educator, performing artist, and serves as the event manager at the White Lotus. She has been a resident there for almost two years and enjoys planning as well as hosting events that bring the community and guests together to celebrate and connect with one another.

White Lotus Eco Spa Retreat

I Didn’t Mean It That Way: Identity-Related Harm in Community

When marginalized people experience harm in a community, they often withdraw from community life or leave altogether. If you’re a community member who wants to know why, take this workshop. We’ll discuss the common types of harm that occur around identity (microaggressions) and tools for addressing the harm in the moment and after it has occurred. We’ll also cover ways to initiate accountability processes and healing around specific incidents.

Crystal Byrd Farmer is an organizer and speaker in the intentional communities movement. She serves as a board member with the Foundation for Intentional Communities and serves as Co-President for the BIPOC Intentional Community Council. 

Crystal Byrd Farmer

Panel: Stump the Chumps

This is a Q&A panel of experienced communitarians who take on the toughest audience generated inquiries about how to build and maintain intentional communities.  Panelists will be announced shortly. 

Politics, oppression, and creative forms of liberation:

a Live Action Role Play on the ins and outs of both national and international politics, and whether we can change the course of history. 

this is will be a simple game with very complex strategy of how to create international solidarity against oppression, while taking a deep dive into the nature of oppression, power, conflict, facism and pacifism. 

Gil Benmoshe has been living in intentional communities for over 20 years. with a strong focus on permaculture, natural building, and education. in his professional life he works in facilitating teams towards effective communication, leadership, and conflict resolution. these teams often include academic, professional, athletic, military, and government agencies. 

Gil has a specific interest in “imagineering” a post-national future and how people can self organize without the state or capitalism. 

Quilombos Culture for EcoVillages and Intentional Communities

Learning that happens deep inside each of us during group activities.

 Liberation Arts (LA) residencies offer

Joy and celebration that energizes everyone

  • Arts and fitness education for children
  • Tools for synergy between children, adults and elders
  • Dynamic schedule options for meetings, classes and events.

Macaco is an expressive arts facilitator helping people experience warrior arts culture. He is a Contremestre in the Afro-Brazilian art of Capoeira. He is one of the lead members of Grupo Liberdade de Capoeira and received his Capoeira artist name Macaco (monkey).

The Revolution Will be Indigenized

We all need to reclaim our Indigenous values, in order to build the foundation for a new equitable and sustainable society. We start by decolonizing our minds from Capitalist values, like individualism, competition and exploiting the Natural World and embracing community, cooperation and living in harmony with the Natural World.

Roberto Mendoza is a native (Muscogee tribe) and Mexican Indigenous (Purepecha). Born in Tulsa, OK. Lived in NYC, San Francisco and Maine. Part of the occupation of Alcatraz Island by Indians of All Tribes, AIM, the Bioregional Movement, the Greens and founded Cooperation Tulsa, an intersectional, ecological movement.

Transforming Founder’s Syndrome: An Exploration of the Territory and the Ways Through

Founding a community is an enormous challenge and requires a tremendous investment well beyond the financial resources. Once more people are involved, many communities struggle with the power dynamics of founder’s syndrome, a complex set of interactions which often result in community stagnation, high turnover, isolated and overworked founders and cliques. 

We’ll start by examining common issues that communities and founders face. We’ll look at a workable definition of “founder’s syndrome”, including some of it’s key symptoms. Then, we’ll dig into specific practices and tools for navigating out of founder’s syndrome. 

An intentional community enthusiast and founder, Cecile Green has a passion for helping humans share power more effectively. She synthesized her experience in intentional community with the research she’s done into power and organizational development into a set of communication tools called Collab.

Travelers in Community

Exploring the possible mutually abundant relationships between travelers and communities, including methods and wisdoms on community traveling.

Ozgard✨ (they/them) is some sort of fae critter of many names, who has been a community traveler for roughly a decade, having visited over 40 intentional communities of varying forms across the US.

If you are interested in attending the Labor Day Weekend Communities Conference at Twin Oaks in central Virginia you can find tickets on Eventbrite

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

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