2020 Cohort Fruits
In 2020 31 individuals came together to learn and practice Social Permaculture Design.
This 6-month forged a community that was able to adapt to drastic changes brought on by global pandemic. What follows are some of our stories. What we created and what we did together.
I was thinking about something that I could reflect on and loved about the Social Permaculture class. I remember a moment in my mind that made me feel part of a bigger community, loved and accepted for who I am and that grasped our time together.
I went to search for that moment and was pointed to this day in time and this precise moment. I reviewed hours and hours of footage and finally found what I was looking for.
We are not alone and we are all together and together we will make it through anything.
Signature Self Care Group
Linda, Elizabeth, Lexa, Nadine, Valerie, Katrina have a group that meets weekly to design self care practice.
On Group Field
By: Maria Talero
It’s not clear to me how we can hope to change the world unless we build real, on-the-ground, living, breathing, Beloved Communities and actually live in them.
It’s not clear to me how we can expect to build power and momentum for our movements unless we build real, on-the-ground, living, breathing Beloved Communities and actually live in them.
I think that people will change their whole lives – and even give their lives – for the chance to truly belong to a real, on-the-ground, living, breathing Beloved Community.
I’m not talking about the concept of Beloved Community. I’m talking about the reality. I’m exhausted to the bottom of my soul by the endless lip service to the mere concept of community that permeates the entire social change sector from top to bottom.
I’m also exhausted by the invisible power of the false framework of individualism that enframes everything we do and all of our social change efforts in an insidious web. There’s a special kind of individualism that plagues education. Another one that undermines the strength of activism and politics. Another one that ensnares parents and families in self-interested survival bubbles. It crops up in spirituality, in wellness, in dating and relationships, in self-care. It’s everywhere.
What recharges me is the power of group field. To me, group field is the ever-present possibility of connecting with each other at a fiery frequency that shreds the false frames of individualism and fake/transient community and leaves them in tatters on the ground.
If you’ve ever experienced group field, you never forget it.
In this course, many of us, perhaps most, tapped into group field in our affinity groups (the ones we formed by “stepping into the circle” and then playing “If You Really Knew Me.”). In my group, we built our group field inch by inch, molecule by molecule, through intimate acts of self- disclosure, until we were a swaying, humming, singing circle of sisterhood, tears falling, arms braided around each other’s necks.
We built it into a raging bonfire that didn’t burn us, because it was a healing fire.
I think that learning how to create and maintain group field is a precondition for building real, on the ground, living, breathing Beloved Communities.
For my final project, I experimented with initiating two groups designed to tap into the power of group field. These groups were called Fractal, and Seed. The tool I chose for these groups is the practice of Authentic Circling: “an organic, in-the-moment interpersonal process that’s equal parts art form, meditation, and group conversation.” I am grateful to each of you who participated in Fractal, and who are now participating in its successor group, Seed, for the precious, precious learnings I have gleaned from both groups. I am seeking a way to harness the power of this practice for social permaculture, for Beloved Community, and for my own healing journey.
Adam shared this exercise from theater of the oppressed that he learned from Kendra Krueger during the first social permaculture course.
I wanting to share some about the farm I am part of as it directly relates to the work and prayer and conversations we’ve shared over the last months. Through a non-profit called the Village Exchange Center, which I have been involved with for about a year and a half, we are stewarding an acre of land right next to the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora. The farm is a social enterprise that is focused on food access/justice, engaging youth in our food system, providing educational opportunities in a variety of ways, and being a little ‘watering hole/oasis’ in our urban environment.
We launched in the beginning of April and were able to hire a crew of folks, mostly undocumented, that lost work due to COVID. It has been a powerful process of working together, learning about each other, and building the foundation of this farm (16 50′ raised beds). It has felt like a powerful opportunity to balance the longing for community and connection with some good ol’ fashioned physical labor and creating something together that’s beautiful and functional. My learning curve has been steep, stepping in to more responsibility and care for this place and our team and I am grateful/humbled/over-whelmed/and very blessed by the opportunity to show up in this way. The bigger framework of social permaculture are deeply part of this for me.