Rebecca and I (and soon, others) are thrilled to be working with Payton Frawley, who is beginning to guide us through the long process to create some kind of a (most likely non-profit) legal structure for our Green Acres Village. We met Payton, and her partner Christina, back in September, when they responded to our notice in the woofer webstie data base. They had just moved here from their work as translators in China, Christina to continue translating, and Payton for grad school at IU.
As usual, I took them on a tour of our village/urban farm and its evolution, and when I got to the point where I said, what we need to do now is create a legal structure under this place, so that I personally no longer “own” it, Payton’s face lit up. Instantly, she wanted to know more. And, the magic words: “Do you want me to help you?”
Well, you can imagine how this went over. If her face lit up, then my entire body just about ignited. So excited!
I had been attempting to slog through a thick tome on Community Land Trusts, and frankly, found myself falling asleep every time I opened the book. I’m just not cut out for this kind of research . . .
It turns out that Payton has experience with non-profits, and she’s in school to learn more. Yesterday, during our latest bi-weekly meeting, I asked her again to explain what she’s doing at IU, and how this project fits in to her goals.
In permacultural terms, I would say that what’s going on here is the principle called “stacking functions,” so that what’s good for her is also good for us!
Next week we have an appointment with someone in city gov to see how whatever legal structure we want to put underneath this place fits or doesn’t fit in with existing city codes. We’re also seeking an attorney and an accountant who wouldn’t mind serving on our new Board, and discussing how many people we want to be on said Board. As the Founder, and the one who is functioning (in the 3D world) as Executive Director, I’d like to remain in that position and work with the Board but not be a member of it. She said that’s entirely possible. YES!
At tomorrow evening’s Community Dinner, Rebecca and I designated Payton to be the person who will explain to the group what we are doing, and invite those interested to become members of our new Board.
To me, this structural change feels utterly essential. First, as a 74-year-old woman, I don’t want to die without having secured a legal foundation for this increasingly vibrant experiment in regenerative community. And also because, given the way this culture works and thinks, since I am the person (thanks to the inheritance from my deceased husband Jeff) who “owns” the three properties, and who still funds activities here when necessary, I “have all the power.” I would like to think differently, and in fact, all of us who live here are learning how to think differently, so that we all feel an emotional bond to both each other and the land beneath our feet. It’s our connectedness that truly is our insurance during this massively destabilizing period in history when the once-cushy American Empire is collapsing, fast, spawning a mean-spirited, socially disconnected populace that seeks enemies to blame both here and abroad. See for example, this:
Meanwhile, in the Village, after a few days of processing interpersonal difficulty, we have begun a new initiative, to consciously focus on what we appreciate more than what we find fault with. To say thank you every time someone does or says something that even comes close to being wonderful in our eyes. To let go of worry and fear and not-enoughness. In other worlds, for each of us, and all together: to allow the universe to rearrange itself with each authentic choice.
Because it does, it does!
And one of those choices was to accept Payton’s offer to work with us. So grateful. And who knows, perhaps by next summer she and Christina will find a way to move closer to us. Because that IS what we all want. More and more, to be with those who choose to align themselves with the new and ancient values of authenticity, togetherness, and reverence for the living Earth.