Response to Eris
From: Diana Leafe Christian (
Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 09:51:38 -0700 (PDT)

Earthaven has five-hour whole-group meetings twice a month.

That sounds absolutely BRUTAL to me...what business do you have that takes
that much time?!? (We have ONE 2 1/2 hour meeting per month)


Eris Weaver, Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
eris [at]

Sorry, didn't mean to shock you! ;) Rural ecovillages are so different from cohousing communities that I forget how surprising some things can sound.

Cohousing communities are financed by banks, designed by architects, built by contractors, and these days, their development usually managed by a developer partner or with the help of a developer consultant. The physical infrastructure, including all utilities and (usually) the Common House, are already there when you move in. However, where I live we're building the whole place from scratch ourselves without bank loans, including clearing land in a mountain forest setting before we can build anything, which takes longer than having already-cleared flat land.

In cohousing communities, most people work at the jobs they had before they moved there, and while the project might have a community garden, usually it isn't also a farm, and people buy most of their food from a store. In my community we need to find ways to make a living on the land (owning or working in cottage industries, telecommuting, etc.) and are in the process of beginning to grow more of our own food, with various members clearing and leasing agricultural parcels for small agricultural projects, often including livestock.

The purpose of a cohousing neighborhood is usually to have a fine neighborhood with lots of community spirit and good neighborly energy. But it's just where one lives, rather than where one lives, as well as works, creates off-grid utilities, grows food, etc., as in rural ecovillages.

So, long story short, the meetings at my place are longer and more frequent because there's so much stuff to do.

However, in terms of meeting process, interpersonal dynamics, and the kinds of challenges and solutions that can come up in community living -- it seems pretty much the same no matter what kind of community you visit. And the Process Time and Discretionary Time time-bank idea can work anywhere, for anybody's consensus meetings.

Thanks for asking, Eris.


Diana Leafe Christian

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