For the past three hours I have been visiting with Jim Shenk and his friend and compatriot Dave, from the Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage over in Cincinnati. They wanted to visit here to see what we’re doing in the Green Acres Ecovillage in preparation for a intentional community conference they are going to put on at the end of July that will feature “retrofit urban ecovillages.”
Jim is an old hand in the business of creating conferences, among other things. Check out his very first venture, Imago, which still exists, and eventually birthed, and then was subsumed into, the Enright Ecovillage.
Imago’s mission is to foster a deeper harmony with Earth by providing educational experiences, creating opportunities for discussion and community building, and conserving natural areas.
Rebecca was able to join us for a few minutes before heading to work at the Bloomingfoods Coop. We showed them around the Overhill/DeKist complex, the GANG garden, our plans for both houses, the solar array on the DeKist house that powers them both.
After she left we got in Jim’s car, a black Prius identical to mine, and drove east through the neighborhood, past its “original house,” the Raintree House,
— while I told the story of discovering that house, its history, and writing about it as part of the “founding myth” for my Introduction to our Neighborhood Plan (see Forward, p. 10) that is up on the Bloomington city website. We were heading downtown for lunch at an Indian restaurant, and lots more good conversation.
The Raintree House
Then we tootled around, looking at other alternative community initiatives in Bloomington. Including the Bloomington Cooperative Housing, Bloomington Co-housing, and Dandelion Village, all in various states of evolutionary development. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find where Dandelion is located. That is not the first time I’ve gotten lost in the west side of town. But we had fun anyway, and talked a mile a minute the whole way.
One passage from our conversation still resounds in me: Jim, who has been in this business of nudging alternative communities along since the late 1970s: “It’s difficult not to simply lose it at times, because we grow up in this culture. And we do live here. And we even feel comfortable here, despite that we are determined to create a more liveable, connected, deeply nourishing world for both humanity and the Earth.” (Something like that.) In fact, he says that he knows of only two activists who have not, at times, just lost it.
This evening I will attend the second of newly instituted monthly neighborhood potlucks, to be hosted by the young people who live across the street from me. I had sent the invite out to the GANA email list as scheduled for 6 p.m., but they asked me to change it to 5:00 p.m. Hmmm. Wonder if the Super Bowl has something to do with that schedule change . . .
If I must choose sides in the gladiator roaring, then I’m rooting for Seattle, since they’ve got what appears to be a relatively enlightened coach who is inculcating a more humane atmosphere in which his team works and practices. This reminds me of another aspect of our conversation at the restaurant today, how what we are really cultivating within the ecovillage movement is a new culture, a new atmosphere.
Here’s Zen Gardner, on the Super Bowl. Yup. The title says it all.