Southwest Intentional Communities (SWICA) virtual Spring Conference Fri-Sun Mar. 19-21, 2021 with Keynoters Diana Leafe Christian and Lois Arkin

Theme: “Creating Community Where You Are”

SWICA Spring Conference Program

Before and after sessions for at least 30 minutes, the channel will remain open for chit-chat and networking among participants.

Friday (Introduction)
        6pm – Diana L Christian, Opening Speaker – 9 0 min) – “Starting Your
New Community Effectively: Seven Field-Tested Ways to
Avoid “Structural Conflict”
        7:30pm – Chit Chat in the Parking Lot

Saturday (Existing Stuff)
        8am – Community Building in Eugene and Portland, Oregon- 
                   Jan Spencer (90 min)

        10am – Community Where You Accidentally Live – Lois Arkin, Keynote
Speaker (60-90 min)

        12noon – Lunch and Fun (120 min)

        2pm – Encouraging Diversity – Crystal Farmer (60-90 min)

        4pm – NeighborNet Pods – Steve Fuji (60 min)

        5:30pm – Forming “Laser Heights” House – Carla Truax  (60-90 min)

Sunday (New Stuff)
        9am – Bringing Good People In – Werner Kontara (30-60 min)

        10:30am – Planning Our Post-Covid Future – Panel Disc & Summit:
                Lois, Diana, Crystal, Steve; Werner as moderator
What do we feel is important from here on out for the community
Movement, considering the changing landscape.

        12noon – Closing Ceremony (but channel remains open for further
chit-chat after)

Register online at:
You can also contact us by email at

FEE: $5.00 or free


The Southwest Intentional Communities Association in association with the Foundation for Intentional Community ( and
Cohousing California (


Diana Leafe Christian is author of Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities, and Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community. She speaks at conferences and teaches courses and workshops on “Sociocracy for Intentional Communities”, “Helping Your Community Thrive,” and “Starting a Successful Ecovillage or Intentional Community.” An Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) trainer for Gaia Education, and editor of Communities magazine for 14 years, Diana has contributed chapters to three Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and Gaia Education books: Beyond You and Me, Gaian Economics, and Ecovillage: 1001 Ways to Heal the Planet. She is a Board Member of GEN-US.  In 2017 she received the Fellowship for Intentional community’s Kozeny Communitarian Award.  Diana lives at Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina. See

Jan Spencer is an activist in Eugene. His 20 year, quarter acre suburban property transformation project is a permaculture landmark in the Northwest.  Jan has been a board member of his neighborhood association for 15 years.  His

interests are urban land use, permaculture, economics, the environment and social uplift.  Many of his presentations and site tours are on you tube. For links and more info, check his website,

Lois Arkin, founder (1980) of the nonprofit CRSP/Los Angeles Ecovillage Institute, co-founded the Los Angeles Eco-Village (LAEV) in 1993. Co-author/editor of two books on sustainable cities and cooperative housing, former editor for the “Ecovillage Living” column in Communities Magazine. Current board member: GEN-US, the Global Village Institute. Helped founding of LAEV’s Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust and the Urban Soil/Tierra Urbana limited equity housing cooperative. Lois lives and works in LAEV. Her current passions include reducing auto use in L.A and retrofitting a former auto shop as an eco-community hub on the northern border of LAEV. She is a frequent public advocate for sustainable urban living and will be resuming regular public tours of the LAEV post Covid. Numerous articles and videos about her and LAEV are online. Contact:

Crystal Byrd Farmer is a North Carolina native active in the cohousing and polyamorous communities. An engineer turned educator, she speaks and writes about ways communities can be more welcoming to people of all kinds of backgrounds. She also serves as a board member with the Foundation for Intentional Communities. Her book The Token: Common Sense Ideas for Increasing Diversity in Your Organization is out now. Crystal is passionate about encouraging people to change their perspectives on diversity, relationships, and the world.

Steve Fuji is a native of Los Angeles and a fourth-generation American of Japanese ancestry. After working most of his life in the Hollywood entertainment industry and failing to meet his career goals, he embarked on a path of personal and spiritual growth which led to finding a passion and sense of life purpose in community-building. He co-founded SWICA (SouthWest Intentional Communities Alliance) and co-organized the 2017 West Coast Communities Gathering. Other community-based organizations he has been involved with are CoHo California, the Transition Town movement, Food Not Bombs, the Los Angeles Intentional Communities Summit committee, and the BIPOC committee of the FIC. As a way of bringing more people into awareness about intentional community living, he has been working with various forms of creating “community where you are.”

Carla Truax (she/her pronouns) is a community member at Laser Heights in Redondo Beach, CA. She helped found the house with four other members in 2019. Carla founded At Home Housing in 2015 to connect people in Los Angeles with one another and with resources on community living. Carla has a background in environmental justice, public health, and community education. She is currently a student at UC Irvine in the Urban Planning PhD program. Carla is interested in continuing to do research on intentional communities and build partnerships.

Werner Kontara is Secretary and Event Coordinator for SWICA.  He has been hovering around the Intentional Community scene for many years.  Recently, he established Sunshine House of Healthy Living, a practice community based on a sober living home format, but with what is being called Stage 2.  The prime emphasis is for people in the house to develop an all around healthier lifestyle, starting with our inner issues.  Then outwardly we focus on healthier behaviors, healthier habits and healthier finances.  He is aiming to expand that house to develop a Wellness Center surrounded by a fully fledged Intentional Community.  You can reach him at

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