Goodenough Community

Greater Seattle Area, Washington, United States

  • Last updated: February 23, 2016 (1 year ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

With over 40 years of history, we understand what is involved in developing generations of growing people by utilizing experiential education, cultural programs, and through valuing relationships. Our community is designed to be an organized social response to the needs and desires of our members and friends as they seek to improve their lives. Our programs utilize learning and cultural events that that foster friendship and suggest good ways of living. We work toward the goals of self development, learning skills of relationship, and building our capacity to be of service. Our programs and events are open to the public.
With a mission to encourage human development and enrich relationships, we hope to network with other communities with a similar focus: to demonstrate the contributions community makes to a society that seeks to be just, sane and humane. We believe that the work of communities is a vital strength to society and democracy. We believe this can be learned in intentional communities such as ours.
At our retreat center, Sahale, we bring together the principles of land permaculture and human permaculture, increasing food production, wise use of resources on the land, and the development of an Ecovillage.

Community Description

The Goodenough Community started as a group of friends interested in human development. We envision ourselves collaborating in spirited living and lifelong learning as individuals, through our relationships and through organization. We choose the model of a learning community as a transformative path to open our hearts and add our energies to a world that will be more just, sane and peacefully interconnected. The community includes people living in or near Seattle, some in shared housing, and an EcoVillage and retreat center, Sahale Learning Center, on 67 acres of land near the Hood Canal in Washington State.
The Goodenough Community has been developing for over 40 years as an association of people who value the importance of community to a healthy society. Those who founded our community were convinced of the value of community in helping people mature, form healthy and lasting relationships, and learn the skills of organizing, leadership, and being of service to the broader world. Our demonstration of ways of living cooperatively is based on individual freedom coupled with learning the skills of joining with others. We have learned that living in community can both transform individual lives and bring about social change. Our community has a strong interfaith spiritual core growing from the Perennial Wisdom, however individuals are free to choose their own path.
Members of the Goodenough Community live and practice within a “village without walls”: Members believe that if ever there was a time to offer to the public the value of community, now is that time. We intend this demonstration of social creativity and service to inspire others, even as we receive inspiration from other culturally creative people. Knowing that happiness comes from learning and serving, we are doing our part for a better world by supporting the development of mature adults able to both lead and follow in good will. The community provides cultural experiences for women, men, couples, families, young adults and elders. Training and education is a strong focus, and members participate in events designed to help learn the skills of being human at the level of self, relationship and organization or service.
We acquired land in 2001 – Sahale Learning Center. Here we are forming an EcoVillage, study the ways of permaculture for food production and land use, and run a retreat center for ourselves and for other groups. At Sahale we hold weekend workshops, social gatherings, and an annual Human Relations Laboratory in August of each year.
The Goodenough Community offers consultation services to other communities, co-housing groups, and other groups forming around a shared purpose. Consultants are trained and experienced leaders and teachers who have studied community organization and group dynamics for decades, as members and leaders in the Goodenough Community and elsewhere in their professional careers.


  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability)
  • Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience
  • Location: To be Determined


  • Area: 67 acres
  • Land owned by: Individual community member(s)
  • Additional Comments:

    The community owns 9 acres as part of 70 acres at our rural retreat and learning center.

    includes urban/rural


  • Adult Members: 35
  • Child Members: 10
  • Non-member Residents: 5
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    We can provide guest spaces for visitors to the retreat center which is about 1.5 hours drive from Seattle. Visitors from beyond the Puget Sound region would need to arrange for accommodations; we are happy to help if we can. Our retreat center can also accommodate guests for personal retreats and workshops. Overnight visits to the retreat center are possible with prior arrangement.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Interested individuals are encouraged to arrange for a visit. We have certain events in the year that provide a good experience of the community, most notably our annual Human Relations Laboratory, held each August at Sahale, our retreat center. Those interested in membership who have visited and participated in community life, can apply for associate membership for a period of 1 or more years, during which time orientation, training, involvement in cultural programs and other community life helps determine if moving to full membership makes sense.

  • Additional Comments:

    Many members belong to a sister organization: Convocation: a Church and Ministry.

    children attend public school, Waldorf or other private school


  • Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
  • Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    The community is governed by a leadership body that meets weekly. An annual membership meeting is held in the late winter each year.
    Decision making is generally by consensus although we are in the process of modifying this method based on research with other communities.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Additional Comments:

    The community is supported by donations and member dues, as well as income from programs. Members contribute extensively to support the work, based on ability.

    8 hours per month; monthly dues on a sliding scale

    membership dues; the work is supported through member and public donations

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy sources: Solar, Biofuel
  • Planned renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: From 50-75%
  • Food produced locally: Up to 25%


  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    Among our members are people trained in nutrition and skilled in cooking for varied requirements. We strive for organic, GMO free foods within budgetary constraints. At our retreat center we are expanding food production capacities each year.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs)

Additional Comments

We are both urban and rural. Our retreat and learning center includes residences and is a forming EcoVillage. In the urban setting people live in individual residences, some of which are shared.

Thus, we are multi-residential at this time

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)


educational, demonstration, ecovillage, permaculture,