Welcome to the Pond!
(a community primer)
This is a brief introduction to Cedar Moon, our process for getting to know potential new residents, and next steps we can take together.
1. .:: enchanted, i'm sure ::.
Notched into the 650 acre Tryon Creek State Park, inside the City of Portland, lie 7 acres of beautiful, sloping meadows and woods. Right now, two primary organizations share the land: an intentional community of around 16 adults and 3 children (Cedar Moon) and its nascent associated cottage industries, and a non-profit sustainability education and demonstration center called Tryon Life Community Farm. Other organizations, such as The City Repair Project and Cascadia Wild!, also engage in ongoing partnerships to use the land, while a whole host of schools and youth programs bring their students to the land for classes and field trips.
We are young: this project has evolved and emerged just over the two years. In that time, however, we have inspired hundreds of people to get involved here, as a living experience of a transformation of our physical and social relations that has enormous potential to deal with the deep challenges we face as a global society. That excitement, that hope, and that vision have been translated through sometimes difficult work into ongoing structures of organizing, support, and relationship. By no means have we figured it all out: the kitchen is often still messy, and tasks still fall through the cracks. But we're inspired by the recognition that the problems we face are the core problems of becoming a healthier and wiser society, and the solutions we find are the seeds of that other world we know is possible.
2. .:: all our relations ::.
So, becoming part of this community, as a resident or otherwise, is rooted in a commitment to become active, engaged participants in that transformation. Here, the local and global intersect: we are focused on this land and our local relations, in order to be an effective laboratory, demonstration, and forum for others to bring transformation to their lives and organizations. This is a place for the "Village" of an emerging sustainable Portland to root, to rest, and to be re-inspired. It's a holistic, encompassing vision that brings together many issues and processes that are otherwise often separate. So, while Cedar Moon and TLC Farm are clearly distinct organizations, for residents the work and play of being here is of a whole.
This is a summary of the current relationship between Cedar Moon and TLC Farm. The work of the intentional community, such as cooking and cleaning, community building, conflict resolution, car sharing, etc., is coordinated primarily through weekly Residents' Council meetings on Sundays at 7pm. (There are also sometimes special gatherings, ceremonies, or meetings.) The non-profit has a variety of working groups, ranging from physical ecology through education, funds, events, social ecology, etc., each of which is coordinated by a point person. The non-profit working groups, residents' council, and other organizations are coordinated through a weekly Spokescouncil meeting on Wednesdays at 7pm. TLC Farm currently operates entirely on volunteer labor. Cedar Moon expects all its residents to participate at a minimum of ten hours a week with TLC Farm; some do much more. For a variety of reasons, most of the coordination and organizing work of the non-profit is currently done by Cedar Moon residents; while TLC Farm is committed to making it as easy as possible for nonresidents to become organizers, it's still true that a lot of day-to-day non-profit work happens among residents, in community space.
TLC Farm holds three public days a week, on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Additionally, school groups and other events are scheduled on other days, except Mondays when it's closed. During those open times, visitors may use the community room and the common house's main floor bathroom, as well as the land. While we are increasing our delineation between public space (most of the land) and private
Cedar Moon space (immediately surrounding the residential structures), it's important to be aware that the general public visits us regularly.
3. .:: becoming a family ::.
So: this is an exciting adventure, and it's lots of work. In order to really interact well together in such intimate environs, it's important for us to build trust and common vision among each other, and to ensure that new residents will fit well with the community. Historically, our process for that has been a single, intense interview, often without additional engagement before a decision is made. Such a scenario is not ideal for anyone, and the Pond is an evolving attempt to give all of us a fairer, more in-depth opportunity to understand what living and working together will feel like.
To that end, we first and foremost encourage prospective participants to come and get involved! For many of us, TLC Farm non-profit work is our most common daily interaction with each other, so we strongly encourage you to come to:
* two or more public TLC Farm workdays (Thursday, 10-3 and Saturday, 11-6);
* one or more of TLC Farm's working group meetings (current schedule: Social Ecology @ Tue 5pm; Physical Ecology @ Mon 7pm [but email firstname.lastname@example.org]; Funds @ every second Wed, 5pm; Education @ Thur, 4:30pm); and
* one or more of the Spokescouncil meetings (alternate Wed 7pm).
And, of course, we encourage you to
* schedule two or more invitations to dinner at Cedar Moon (it's especially great if you can bring a dish to share, or choose one meal to cook for everyone!)
Secondly, we'd like to ensure that the information we share is as consistent and complete as possible. To that end, when you've gotten to know us a bit more and feel like you'd like to initiate the interview process, we will give you a packet with more detailed orientation information and our "Ode of Commitments", and a questionnaire. We ask that you respond to the questionnaire as soon as possible, but at least a few days before the interview.
We will then schedule an initial interview. This will be a chance for all of us together to ask questions that allow us to probe a bit more deeply the experiences, skills, and attitudes that foster a healthy dynamic in community. We are always seeking feedback on this process, and want to make sure that everyone who participates in it recognizes how difficult it is, and that even if the community does not initially decide to invite you to become a resident, we still surely love you and respect you and may well invite you in the future.
We anticipate that many interested folk may have an initial interview, but there may not be a space for them for quite some time after that. Or, in other situations additional questions may come up after the initial interview. In such cases, we anticipate that additional interviews will be scheduled.
So, that's it! We encourage you to contact us at email@example.com with any questions or suggestions for improvement or change. Together, after all, we're changing the world!
Yours, in community.