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Does Your Building Heal or Hurt? a talk about toxics and human health in our living and working spaces with BuroHappold’s Kathleen Hetrick

Can sustainable buildings be considered healthy if they only focus on the health of building end users? Based on her experience with a local Living Building Challenge, the Santa Monica City Services Building, will share how toxic materials in the building industry not only impact the health of building end users, but also the health of construction and manufacturing workers, first-responders, and frontline communities.

Date & Time:     Friday, January 10, 2020 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm
                             Veggie potluck at 6:30; talk starts at 7:30pm
                              Please bring your own dish, cup, utensils to make this a
                              zero waste event

Location:            Songs at Los Angeles Eco-Village
                             3554 West First St., Los Angeles 90004
                             Enter on Bimini Place.

Fee:                     $5 to $20 (sliding scale ok; no one turned away
                                                for  lack of funds)

Reservations please: or 213-738-1254         


About Kathleen Hetrick
Kathleen is a senior sustainability engineer at BuroHappold Engineering. She combines her passion for sustainable design with her background in Architectural Engineering to identify opportunities for more equitable solutions in product supply chains, building operations and organizational transparency. She has gained experience through a wide range of cutting-edge technical projects as both an engineer and a sustainability consultant, including work on LEED Platinum projects, Living Building Challenge projects, historical adaptive reuse, WELL certification and university carbon neutrality plans. She is also co-facilitates BuroHappold’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum, spearheading outreach initiatives to encourage K-12 students to pursue sustainability-focused careers in STEAM.  Kathleen is a member of the four person BuroHappold Engineering team that has been providing visionary engineering work for the eco-retrofitting of the Songs property.

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Overview: Sociocracy for Ecovillages and Other Kinds of Intentional Communities – Sunday, March 18, 2018 from 4 to 6:30pm at L.A. Eco-Village

In Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Eco-Village


In a lively presentation with hands-on exercises, Diana Leafe Christian will present an overview of Sociocracy, an especially effective governance and decision-making method she now recommends highly instead of consensus for ecovillages and other kinds of intentional communities, because of the wonderful benefits. When used correctly, communities have experienced better meetings, getting more done, being better organized, and a stronger sense of connection between group members. This Sociocracy overview will give you a sense of what Sociocracy is and how it works. However, people learn how to _do_ this method and apply it in their community in a 3-day Sociocracy training, which Diana will do here May 19-21.


Sunday, March 18, 2018 from 4pm to 6:30pm

Los Angeles Eco-Village
117 Bimini Pl. – Community Room #201
Los Angeles 90004

$5 to $15 sliding scale


*Sociocracy (also called Dynamic Governance) is a system of governance using consent decision making and an organizational structure based on cybernetic principles (a system with closed feedback mechanisms). Sociocracy has been advocated as a management system that distributes leadership and power throughout the organization.

Watch for Diana’s three day Sociocracy workshop at L.A. Eco-Village, Sat-Sun-Mon,  May 19, 20, 21, 2018



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Ecovillage Social Enterprises/Cottage Industries — Why We Need Them! Sat., March 17, 2018: veggie potluck at 6:30; slideshow/talk at 7:30pm with Diana Leafe Christian at L.A. Eco-Village

In Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Los Angeles Eco-Village

Diana Leafe Christian through a lively presentation and slide show, will show how large, well-established communities have established healthy community economies through supporting individual members’ cottage industries  — “social enterprises” — and by encouraging their members to earn, spend, invest, and, when possible, even save money onsite, and how smaller and newer communities can do the same. Inspiring success stories as well as cautionary tales from ecovillages worldwide, including Crystal Waters in Australia, the Farm in Tennessee, Dancing Rabbit in Missouri, EcoVillage at Ithaca in New York, Findhorn in Scotland, Earthaven in North Carolina, and of course our own Los Angeles Eco-Village.


Saturday, March 17, 2018
Veggie Potluck at 6:30pm*
Talk begins at 7:30pm
* please bring your own non throw-away eating ware to make this a zero waste event

Los Angeles Eco-Village
117 Bimini Place – Lobby or Community Room
Los Angeles 90004

$5 to $15 sliding scale

or 213-738-1254


About Diana

Author, former editor of Communities magazine, and nationwide speaker and workshop presenter on starting new ecovillages, on building communities, and on sustainability, Diana lives in an off-grid homestead at Earthaven Ecovillage in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, She has said that living in an intentional community “is the longest, most expensive, personal growth workshop you will ever have.

She’s authored two books designed to help people who want to join or start their own ecovillages or other intentional communities,

In her book Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools for Growing Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, she uses success stories, cautionary tales, and step-by-step advice to cover typical time-frames and costs; the role of founders; getting started as a group; vision documents; power, governance, and decision-making; legal structures; finding and financing land; zoning issues; sustainable site plans; selecting new members; and good process and communication skills for dealing well with conflict.

In Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community, she covers researching, visiting, evaluating, and joining communities.

More about Diana and her wide reaching influence on the intentional communities movement here




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Global Ecovillage Conference (GEN) Europe Conference – July 10 – 14, 2018 – Lilleoru, Estonia

Conference theme:  The Wisdom of Conscious Communities”

Including July 10, 2018: Co-Creation Day: How can we make Estonia the first organic country in the world.

The conference will bring together 500 sustainable experts, practitioners and visionaries from all over the world.

Go here for conference details:

For more information on the Global Ecovillage Network, go here

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are planning to go to this conference, please let me know:
Lois – 213/738-1254



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Regional Cohousing Conference in Boulder CO April 20-22, 2018

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Sociocracy for Intentional Communities with Diana Leafe Christian – Sat-Sun-Mon 5/19, 5/20, 5/21/2018*



All three days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, May 19, 20, 21 2018:  
9am to 5:30pm with ample breaks and lunch break.  Write Lois for a summary outline of the three days, if you are considering attending:

Lots of small group work and playfulness.  Guaranteed fun workshop.

All three days:

Breakfast:  Coffee, tea, fruit served 8:30 to 9am
Lunch on your own from 12:30 to 1:30:  A list of good inexpensive restaurants within a five minute walk will be provided or bring a brown bag and have a relaxing lunch in the gardens.

117 Bimini Place – Community Room #201
Los Angeles 90004
Los Angeles Eco-Village

$200 to $300 sliding scale

Please let us know if members from your  group plan to attend:
Lois <> or 213-738-1254

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED and space is limited:
Contact Lois at 213/738-1254 or

About Diana:
Diana Leafe Christian is an author, former editor of Communities magazine, and an international speaker and workshop trainer on starting successful new ecovillages, how existing communities can be healthy and thriving, and community self-governance. She now suggests communities not use pure consensus, but rather use a modification like the “N St. Consensus Method,” or use Sociocracy, a relatively new self-governance and decision-making method.  She lives in an off-grid homestead at Earthhaven Ecovillage in western North Carolina, USA.

She’s the author of:
Creating a Life Together Practical Tools for Starting Ecovillages and Intentional Communities (New Society Publishers 2003)
Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community (New Society Publishers 2007)

Here’s a 1-minute video in which a Permaculture trainer highly recommends her work.
Comments of community members using Sociocracy successfully . . .* “People are happier and more satisfied and getting more things done.”
Laurie Nelson, Pioneer Valley Cohousing, MA* “People tend to have more energy after a meeting than before.”
—Hope Horton Hart’s Mill Ecovillage, NC* “We’ve made more decisions in the past two months than in the past two years!”
—Davis Hawkowl, Pioneer Valley Cohousing * “It’s very clear what I commit to do; both inspiration & accountability go up.”
Bill Baue, Pioneer Valley

* “We now organize committees in a way that we were never able to do before.”
—Marie Pulito, Rocky Corner Cohousing, CT

* “Information flows better, and we have better follow-up to our decisions; our meetings are faster and lighter and have a rhythm that feels satisfying.”
Anamaria Aristizabal, Aldeafeliz Ecovillage, Colombia

* “People feel heard and supported.” —Mike April, Pioneer Valley

* “A visitor said she’d never seen a community meeting be so effective, efficient, and fun!”
—Hope Horton, Hart’s Mill Ecovillage

* “I would never have joined the community if we didn’t use Sociocracy; It’s our saving grace.”
—Kreel Hutchison, Baja BioSana Ecovillage, Mexico

 How my Sociocracy trainings are different

Since 2012 I’ve been teaching Sociocracy for intentional communities — and visiting communities using it and I’ve learned what works well for people to learn Sociocracy effectively.

The workshop provides enough instruction to get started in using Sociocracy in forming or existing intentional communities or member-led groups, with ongoing help & training materials.

The workshop now includes:

* Simultaneous visual/verbal presentations with colorful, step-by-step drawings.

* Many small-group discussions for a shared learning process.

* Lively “Hobbit Skits” to introduce the Sociocracy meeting processes by seeing, hearing, and doing.

* Laughter and fun.

* Large wall posters of each meeting process. (I provide templates of these for each group in the workshop to make these wall posters for their group.)

* Abundant practice sessions “to learn in your bones and cells”

* A comprehensive 45-page handout booklet for workshop review and reference.

* All training materials in a Google.doc: the entire handout booklet, workshop exercises, templates for each wall poster, scripts for each Hobbit skit, and many additional handouts.

* Ongoing consultations by phone, Skype, or email about how  workshop participants can implement and use Sociocracy. (No charge; included in the workshop fee.)

     * “I got so much more than I expected — a solid understanding of how Sociocracy works and how to begin teaching and implementing it in my community. I feel so empowered! Your workshop is a 13 on a scale of 1-10.”   —Jana Amsellem, Highland Lake Cove Cohousing, North Carolina, 2017

   * “Your fabulous, fun, and effective workshop was so valuable for our group — I didn’t want to miss a word! I recommend your workshop to anyone curious about using Sociocracy in their community.” Gale Tolan, Highland Lake Cove Cohousing, NC, 2017  

Three Necessary Conditions for learning Sociocracy

As I see it, Sociocracy has seven important, mutually beneficial and mutually reinforcing parts, which we learn in the workshop. Like the design of a bicycle or a human body, each of the parts helps all the other parts function properly — all parts are needed!

After teaching Sociocracy and observing it being used well (and sadly, not so well) in various intentional communities since 2012, I now see three necessary conditions for learning and and using Sociocracy effectively:

(1) Everyone learns it. (Those learning it first help train other community members, ideally using the workshop’s training materials and with my ongoing consultation help.)

(2) Use all seven parts.

(3) Use it correctly! (Don’t combine it with consensus — this doesn’t work!)

 I’ve also learned that it takes a three-day workshop (not two days) to learn Sociocracy well enough to use it well in an in-house study group or in the whole community if everyone is trained.

If you can only attend two days of the workshop, please attend the first two. Please have at least one group member attend the third day, so your group can learn all seven parts.

 * First day: Basics of Sociocracy, including why building feedback loops into every proposal and clear aims for each circle is crucial. Circles & double links. Vision, Mission, Domains, & Aims. If you can attend only one day of the workshop, the first day is the one to attend.     

* Second day: Consent Decision-Making and how feedback loops, clear aims, and what objections are and are not makes it work. Implementing Sociocracy — in-house study groups, proposal to try Sociocracy for 18-24 months, more training for members, member survey. 

* Third day: Proposal-Forming, and Selecting People for Roles (Elections). Overview of and resources for learning more about the last two Sociocracy meeting processes: Role-Improvement Feedback and Consenting to Circle Members. Policy Meetings Operations Meetings, four roles of a circle in Policy Meetings, logbooks/websites.

* “Quite simply the finest workshop I’ve ever attended.  Practical training with a hilarious sense of humor. —Dennis Gay, 2013. Champlain Valley Cohousing, Vermont  *

“The way Diana engages workshop participants is brilliant. She’s a master at taking making complex material and making it simple. —Gaya Erlandson, Lotus Lodge, NC 2012


In Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of
the Los Angeles Eco-Village

INHABIT: Building Intentional Communities in L.A. – Wed., Oct 11, 2017 at 3301 W. Washington Blvd, LA 90018

In conjunction with MOLLY LARKEY: a shape made through its unraveling

INHABIT: Building Intentional Communities in Los Angeles

October 11th, 7 PM


ARTICULATE: Language as Resistance

October 14th, 3 PM



INHABIT  focuses on issues of land and property. As communities, we have the possibility of using our joint economic and social power to build affordable housing that supports our economic and social well-being. It is facilitated by LATCH collective and At Home Housing.

We invite anyone interested in creating affordable, sustainable housing to come with any questions about tiny houses, intentional community, and the collective building process. As a group, we will share information and resources, and generate practical solutions and designs for building alternative communities in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

LATCH Collective is a network of tiny house enthusiasts supporting each other in designing and building tiny, transportable homes. We organize opportunities for sharing and receiving skills, knowledge, experience, tools and support. We also advocate for increased housing options in Los Angeles, specifically for spaces that are affordable, sustainable, well-designed and safely built.

At Home Housing is an organization dedicated to creating housing opportunities for intentional communities. We organize members, provide trainings, and reach out to those who are interested.  We educate the public and policymakers about the benefits of community living throughout Los Angeles.

ARTICULATE  considers how language can be used as a performative speech act that creates our shared reality. We will explores some deep structures of language and create individualized tools for healing and resistance.

Amanda Yates Garcia is an artist, witch and healer. She draws from a broad range of esoteric strategies including the Western Mystery Traditions of tarot, alchemy and Hermeticism; shamanic healing practices; positive magic and witchcraft; herbalism; energy work (Reiki, tantra and other yogas); psychomagic and more.

For more information about the exhibition or events, contact Ochi Projects at


CONNECT  addresses the divisiveness created by capitalism based on the creation of scarcity. We will use techniques derived from the Theater of the Oppressed to explore paradigms based in connection and abundance, as well as discuss solutions to the problem of contrived scarcity. This event will be held with Jade Gordon on October 21st, 3-5 pm.



Diana Leafe Christian workshops in San Diego: Keynoter at West Coast Communities Conference 9/29-10/1; Starting an Ecovillage 10/7-9; Sociocracy 10/14-16

Dear friends and colleagues in Southern California,
This Save-the-Dates notice is about three events in the San Diego area. See below.
If you or people you know are interested in starting an intentional community, I’m doing a workshop on starting successful new communities on Oct. 7-9. 
(1)  “Starting a Successful Ecovillage or Intentional Community” 
        Sat-Sun-Mon, October 7-8-9 in the San Diego Area. 
        Early Bird Discount price is $250 until Oct 1st; it’s $350, the regular price, after that. 
        Held at Terra Corazon (11945 Mesa Verde Drive, Valley Center, CA). Sponsored by San Diego Sustainable Living Institute.       More information on the Starting an Ecovillage workshop.    Register here. 

     On Oct. 14-16 I’m also doing a workshop on Sociocracy, an especially effective governance and decision-making method I now highly recommend for intentional communities. 
(2) “Sociocracy for Intentional Communities and Member-Led Groups” 
      Sat-Sun-Mon, October 14-15-16 also at Terra Corazon in San Diego County. 
      Early Bird Discount price is  $250 until Oct 1st;  $350, the regular price, after that.          
      Held at Terra Corazon (11945 Mesa Verde Drive, Valley Center, CA). Sponsored by San Diego Sustainable Living Institute.     More information on the Sociocracy workshop.     Register here.
Saturday, Sept 30, I’m also doing the keynote talk at the West Coast Communities Conference. 9:00 am – 10:30 am, talk and Q&A with attendees.
(3) Keynote talk:  “Recipe for a Thriving Community: Establishing an Internal Economy with Social Enterprises, Community Labor Systems, and More”     
The West Coast Communities Conference, Friday, Sept 29 – Sunday, Oct. 1 Conference will be held at Terra Madre Gardens, an ecologically sustainable event center (9928 Protea Gardens Rd, Escondido, CA).
                           Register for West Coast Communities Conference.

Diana Leafe Christian

About Diana
Diana Leafe Christian is an author, former editor of Communities magazine, and an international  speaker and workshop presenter on starting new ecovillages, on building communities,  on sustainability and Sociocracy. She lives in an off-grid homestead at Earthaven Ecovillage in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, USA.  Her popular books include “Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools for Forming Ecovillages and Intentional Communities” and “Finding Community: How to Join and Ecovillage or Intentional Community.”

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Third Annual West Coast Communities Conference – September 29 – October 1, 2017 in Escondido CA

Conference Theme:  Thriving, Not Just Surviving – Fiscal Health in Community

Featuring Keynote Speaker: Diana Leafe Christian, author of Creating a Life Together

Taking off from last year’s theme of economic justice, we are organizing this year’s topics around the subject of equitable and sustainable income and affordability.  We have workshops

Workshop topics and speakers include:
– Financially feasible ways to start Community and ongoing affordability
– Organizing for affordability in less able neighborhoods
– Intentional Business (IB): Kinds of businesses that may be suitable with Intentional Community
– A look at Worker Cooperatives (Collectives)
– Fairness of equitable effort: Everyone pulling their own weight while respecting those less able
– Balancing Intra (local) Economy and Extra (global) Economy
– Alternative Trade Systems: LETS, TimeBank, HourWorld, etc.
– Sources of Funding

The event will be held near Escondido, CA, off Highway 15 between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Click here for Reservations

Community founders and other experts in cohousing and other kinds of intentional communities in California will share what works well, especially in community financial and economic health.

Diana Leafe Christian’s keynote address will be on “Recipe for a Thriving Community: Establishing an Internal Economy with Social Enterprises, Community Labor Systems, and More.”


Workshop presenters include Lois Arkin, founder of Los Angeles Eco-Village and longtime ecovillage activist; FIC Executive Director and longtime Twin Oaks Community member Sky Blue; cohousing activists Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris; and Jonah Mesritz, superstar expert on finding and financing community property and cofounder of Emerald Village Ecovillage.

Panel discussions of experts on healthy communities, and  on community financing, and Diana Leafe Christian’s breakout workshop on Sociocracy for cohousing and other kinds of intentional communities.

Call for Volunteers:  Help make this year’s event even better.  There are several roles we can use help with.  People are needed for registration, volunteer coordination, website administration, among others.  Those who would like to get involved or for more information, please contact:

Contact Us: Conference Email; Conference FaceBook Page; South-West Intentional Community Alliance (SWICA) website; SWICA Email

Organized by SWICASouth West IC Alliance,
Fellowship for Intentional Community
Cohousing California
Terra Madre Gardens
Sustainable Living Institute

Event organizers:
Werner Kontara  (949) 551-2800
Steve Fuji, SWICA Committee Head – (505) 715-1418

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Place It: Community Visioning Workshop with James Rojas – Thursday July 27 2017 from 7 to 10pm at L.A. Eco-Village

Re-envision your neighborhood through storytelling, objects, art-making and play.  Investigate your attachment to place and shelter by thinking beyond words by building models to express your ideas about  cohousing, intentional community, micro-apartments and tiny homes.

Date & Time:
Thursday, July 27, 2017
from 7pm to 10pm

3554 West First Street at Bimini Place
enter on Bimini Place
Los Angeles Eco-Village
Los Angeles 90004

Reservations recommended*: 213-738-1254 or

$5 to $20 sliding scale: pay at the door with cash or check (or 3 time dollars)
*or  go here to pay electronically

About James Rojas
James is an urban planner, community activist, and artist.  He developed this method to make planning visual, tactile and meaningful. Through this method, he has engaged thousands of people by facilitating over five hundred workshops and building over fifty interactive models around the world.   More about James and the Place It workshops can be found at :

Feel free to bring light veggie snacks.

This event sponsored by CRSP in association with the LATCH Collective and the You Are Here: Los Angeles Intentional Community Meet-Up

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