~~Portland Cross-Pollination Project!~~

..................................Check it out!!..................................

May 25, 2008

Linking Learning Centers

Wow, there are a lot of ambitious and inspired groups of people creating demonstration and education centers in this world!

Yesterday, we at TLC Farm connected with a similar eco-village education center in Vancouver, B.C., (photo on left) called O.U.R. Ecovillage. Brandee, one of the co-creators, was in Portland for the Village Building Convergence, and her first stop was TLC Farm.

During her keynote presentation that night, Brandee explained how they worked with their local government to create a whole new zone--an eco-village zone-- so that they could build sustainably. Of course, it's absurd to have to fight so hard to "be allowed" to do what we all know is the best thing for the earth and local community, but their story is inspiring. And for TLC Farm, where we are currently working on our ReCode Portland project, it was very valuable to hear about their process and success.

Meeting Brandee helped answer a hanging question of mine: how can all of these learning centers form meaningful and useful relationships with each other? We have so much to learn, and have such an opportunity to build momentum together... but how would that really look? One answer is to simply visit each other and see what happens from there... building personal connections so that we can call upon each other and feel a sense of being part of a larger movement or system.

In a similar manner, TLC Farm is currently exploring being part of the Berkana Exchange, a global network of learning centers. Meg Wheatley, one of the founders of Berkana, has some great drawings to show how "trans-local learning" can happen in this exchange. While, each learning center is focused on their own region, radiating out new ways of living, there are common experiences that connect us all. These common strategies are grouped into "Communities of Practice", such as Local Economies and Permaculture Gardening, and give focus to the exchange.

I told Brandee about our Oregon regional network of learning centers (TLC Farm, Aprovecho, Lost Valley and a few others), and how we are also starting to find ways to connect to a whole host of California learning centers (like OAEC). Maybe we'll have a Cascadia Learning Communities Convergence sometime... or weave together with exchange programs... or something!

What exciting opportunities!

No comments: