Sustainability


Orange Splot LLC Is Creating New Community Housing in Portland

Posted on December 8, 2016 by

Portland, Oregon, is known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to alternative housing and co-operative living. From the Tiny House Hotel to the Columbia Ecovillage cohousing community, there are dozens of locations in the city where you can see these innovative projects in action. One housing developer, Orange Splot, LLC, is leading the charge, with… Read More


Help Kickstart This Composting Toilet Research Project!

Posted on November 28, 2016 by

Intentional communities can be the perfect testing ground for new sustainability practices – whether it’s an innovative greywater system or an aquaponics garden. At my community in Portland, we use our own composting toilet system, specifically intended to be safe and smell-free in a busy urban environment. Instead of flushing clean water down the train dozens of times each day, we… Read More


Arcosanti Combines Architecture and Ecology in The Arizona Desert

Posted on November 17, 2016 by

About 70 miles north of Phoenix, high in the Arizona desert, a blocky, concrete series of buildings rises out of the hillside. It looks like a cross between a futuristic museum and a desert village on Tatooine. But this isn’t your typical example of post-modernism. It’s an experiment in “arcology,” a style of design that… Read More


A New Book Combines Zen and Permaculture to Educate and Inspire

Posted on November 10, 2016 by

Stefan Geyer, a London resident active in the U.K. permaculture community, is releasing a new book called “Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design.” It’s not a guidebook to specific permaculture practices, but a reflective look at the ways permaculture principles can inspire change in our lives and communities. According to the book’s copy, “Permaculture is… Read More


The Boat-to-Fork Movement Promotes Local and Sustainable Seafood

Posted on October 17, 2016 by

Many of us are familiar with the farm-to-table movement: we might shop at our neighborhood farmers market, or even subscribe to a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) model as a way to support local farms. But what about other products, like seafood? Can we find ways to eat fish locally and sustainably? A network called Local Catch… Read More


Shared Earth Connects Gardeners With Unused Land In Their Neighborhood

Posted on October 3, 2016 by

For years, projects like Fallen Fruit and the Urban Farm Collective have been making it easier for people to access the excess produce and gardening space in their neighborhoods. A new project called Shared Earth brings the concept to a wider market, using the latest peer-to-peer technology to connect gardeners with unused lawns and gardens… Read More


Are Worms and Crickets the Future of Sustainable Eating?

Posted on September 19, 2016 by

Cultures around the world have been including insects as part of their diets for millennia. But in the U.S. – where raising livestock accounts for a staggering percentage of greenhouse gas emissions – eating insects as a source of protein has been slow to catch on. Could that finally be changing? Cricket Flour Several companies… Read More


“Ecotopia” Art Installation Brings Visions of Permaculture to the London Design Festival

Posted on September 1, 2016 by

From Sept. 17-25, 2016, the London Design Festival will feature an art installation inspired by Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 book Ecotopia. In the book, a journalist visits a newly-formed country in the Pacific Northwest that’s built on sustainable permaculture principles. The installation will explore ways that “Utopian thinking” can help us find solutions to our modern-day… Read More


At This Hawaiian Eco-Community, You Can Stay In A Bamboo Hut In A Volcanic Crater

Posted on August 29, 2016 by

A few weeks ago – as the prospect of spending another winter here in rainy Portland began to dawn on me – I started looking into some travel opportunities in warmer climates. One of my goals as a blogger is to get to visit some of the intentional communities that I write about – and… Read More


A Planned City In Australia Will Feature Tesla-Powered Homes

Posted on August 25, 2016 by
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Planned communities have had a long and somewhat mixed history. From the Familistere in Guise, France, designed to house factory workers, to the Disney-fied Main Street of Celebration, Florida, they differ from cohousing projects and intentional communities in a major way: they’re generally created from the top-down, by developers and business owners, rather than by… Read More


KCET Visits the LA Eco-Village for A Look At Sustainable Urban Living

Posted on August 22, 2016 by

When you hear about life in Los Angeles, you probably think about traffic, smog, and sprawling suburbs. But LA has a thriving network of intentional communities, many of which exist just under the radar of activity in neighborhoods like Silverlake, Mar Vista, and Koreatown. I spent several years living in the city and got to… Read More


A New Book Takes A Close Look At Plants and Animals In The Human Habitat

Posted on August 8, 2016 by

When Nathanael Johnson began taking his two-year-old daughter on nature walks in Berkeley, CA, he realized that he didn’t know the names of half the trees, bugs, and other creatures she pointed to. Even the most common urban animals – pigeons and squirrels – were a mystery to him. How did they manage to become… Read More


This TED Talk Shows How Ecovillages Can Bring About Global Change

Posted on August 4, 2016 by

Last year, Kosha Joubert, President of the Global Ecovillage Network, delivered a powerful talk at TEDxGeneva on the impact of ecovillages around the globe. Joubert lived in South Africa as a child, spent time in Amsterdam as adult, and now lives at the Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland. After studying cultural anthropology, she says she felt… Read More


A New Movement Is Rethinking Our Relationship With The Earth

Posted on July 18, 2016 by

Last month, I had the chance to visit the Windward Education and Research Center, an intentional community in rural Washington, for an event called the EcoSex Convergence. Over 5 days, 150 participants explored topics related to environmentalism, spirituality, sexuality, and more. The event’s guests of honor were Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, who combine academic… Read More


The Placemaking Movement is Turning Cities into Communities

Posted on July 8, 2016 by

Over 15 years ago, a group of natural builders organized the first Village Building Convergence in Portland, OR. It’s partly the reason why the city is now dotted with colorful intersections, cob benches, and unconventional living spaces. According to the organizers, “We recognized that modern life and the structure of our cities often don’t create… Read More


One of These 7 Finalists Will Be the First “Smart City” in the U.S.

Posted on June 23, 2016 by

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced its “Smart City Challenge,” a contest that will award one mid-sized city with $50 million in funding to improve its transportation networks. The USDOT hopes the selected city will become a role model for implementing safer, more energy-efficient technology. Out of 78 entries, the USDOT has narrowed… Read More


This Biologist Wants To Set Aside Half of The Earth To Protect Biodiversity

Posted on June 13, 2016 by

Edward O. Wilson’s new book, Half-Earth, offers a timely proposal for the conservation movement: dedicate half of the planet’s surface to nature, and we’ll be able to hold off the worst losses of biodiversity. If half or more wild spaces can be protected from destruction, “more than 80 percent of the species would be stabilized”… Read More


Do You Know Your Watershed?

Posted on June 10, 2016 by

Last month, I took part in Oregon State University’s online permaculture class, taught by Andrew Millison. While permaculture design certificates can cost upwards of $750, this class was free, open to the public, and available to access from anywhere. It was pretty inspiring to see people from all over the world engaging in the discussions – some of… Read More


The “Moved to Act” Climate Leadership Intensive Comes to Dancing Rabbit

Posted on June 7, 2016 by

This August, the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Rutledge, MO, will host “Moved to Act,” a climate leadership intensive offered by Aaron Murphy and other instructors. The event takes place from August 12-18, 2016, and is open to a limited number of participants. According to the organizers, “Moved to Act is an immersive training for supporting… Read More


SimpleREV Brings Minimalism and Intentional Living to the Twin Cities

Posted on May 19, 2016 by

In October 2014, I attended the first annual SimpleREV conference in Minneapolis, MN. For two days, around 50 or so attendees shared stories about downsizing, living life with less “stuff,” building tiny houses, and more. For some, it was the first time they’d been around other people pursuing a less consumer-driven lifestyle, and the experience… Read More


Midwest Sustainable Communities Conference July 2-4 at Dancing Rabbit

Posted on May 12, 2016 by
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UPDATE from the organizers: “This year’s conference has unfortunately been cancelled. We are postponing until 2017 to have more prep time and invite even more speakers and guests. Stay tuned!” **** Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage has announced the dates and workshop lineup for the Midwest Sustainable Communities Conference, which will take place in Rutledge, MO, from July… Read More


NextGEN Hosts The Youth Ecovillage Summit in Quebec June 9-12

Posted on April 28, 2016 by

NextGEN North America has opened registration for the third annual Youth Ecovillage Summit, which will take place in Quebec, Canada from June 9-12, 2016. The event will be hosted at La Cite Ecologique, an ecovillage two hours away from Montreal and Quebec City. According to NextGEN: “Over 30 years ago, La Cité Ecologique began as a… Read More


Lightning in A Bottle Shares 2016 Theme and Activities

Posted on April 4, 2016 by

Lightning in a Bottle, the annual arts, music, and yoga festival in Southern California, announced its 2016 theme and workshop leaders. According to Grateful Web, “The Village’s 2016 theme, Tree of Life, will focus on re-integrating humanity into right relationship with our ecosystem…. The Village will give attendees a unique opportunity to learn by doing,… Read More


A Permaculture Card Game Is Raising Funds on Kickstarter

Posted on March 28, 2016 by

Food Forest, a card game designed to teach kids about permaculture, is raising funds on Kickstarter. As of this writing, it’s two-thirds of the way toward its $10,000 goal and has around 10 days left to go. The game is developed and designed by Karl Treen, who came up with the idea while teaching gardening… Read More


Free Online Permaculture Class Starts May 2!

Posted on March 25, 2016 by

Interested in learning more about permaculture but don’t have any hands-on experience? Have friends or family who want to know what it is you do on your eco-village or urban farm? Oregon State University is offering a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called Intro to Permaculture, running from May 2 through May 27. It’s… Read More


Life in an urban eco-village

Posted on March 23, 2016 by

Hi, I’m Saul, the new Social Media Manager here at FIC. I’m excited to join the team from my home at Foster Village, an urban eco-community in Southeast Portland, OR! If you have any feedback or suggestions for a future blog post, you can reach me via e-mail or on Twitter. Living in an urban… Read More


Best Friends Build Tiny House Village

Posted on May 26, 2015 by

Best Friends Build Tiny House Village Living in the same town was not enough for four couples who have been best friends for 20 years. They decided to double down on their relationship and buy a little bit of land “in the middle of nowhere” on the Llano River in the Hill Country of Texas.… Read More


Support the Global Ecovillage Network Summit

Posted on May 12, 2015 by

Support the Global Ecovillage Network Summit From July 6-10th, hundreds of activists will gather at the Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland for the GEN+20 Summit. They will celebrate 20 years of uniting people around ecological solutions, and plan the next steps to spreading sustainability around the globe in these important times. “Since it’s founding in 1995,… Read More


A Resilient Society

Posted on May 5, 2015 by

A Resilient Society Resilience is the ability to absorb shocks and continue to function. In this short video series the Post Carbon Institute explores the questions around how our world has gotten to where it is, and what a world can look like functioning within it’s limits. The Law of Diminishing Returns The Great Burning… Read More


Permaculture Resources at Your Fingertips

Posted on April 27, 2015 by

Self described as a big crowd of permaculture goofballs, Permies.com is chock full of forums, links to resources, videos, and helpful information about smart ecosystem design! Check out Permies.com for a trove of permaculture resources at your fingertips.