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Imago to Host Sustainable Communities Conference at Grailville, July 25 to 27

The Enright Ridge Ecovillage in Price Hill is a local example of an intentional, sustainable community
Julie Hotchkiss

UPDATE: The Sustainable Communities event is now a series of one-day workshops, with the first workshop featuring Diana Leafe Christian on Saturday, July 26, at Grailville in Loveland. Visit www.imagoearth.com for registration information.

When is the last time you got together with your neighbors? Do you even know your neighbors? Building a sense of community is a topic that is gaining attention, as people realize that creating intentional communities--choosing who to live near and with, and how to live--is a key to moving toward a sustainable way of life.

EarthSpirit Rising, with Imago Earth Center, will host a three-day conference on creating sustainable communities at Grailville Retreat Center July 25 through July 27, 2014. The conference will feature four keynote speakers and a dozen or more workshops focusing on ways people can start and maintain intentional communities to benefit the Earth and its inhabitants.

A sustainable community is a healthy community—one that is resilient, socially and economically, as well as responsible, ecologically and culturally. Urban and suburban neighborhoods today already have the potential to create healthy, sustainable places to live, but what is often missing is that sense of community needed to make the possible a reality.

One keynote speaker, Peter Block, a Cincinnati resident who has written a book called Community: The Structure of Belonging, will lead the creation of a community at the conference, and along with three other keynote speakers, will guide the participants in defining and examining just what it means to belong to a community. During the conference, participants will explore how intentional communities form, succeed, and fail, and what lessons we can take from each success or failure.

The other keynote speakers include Diana Leafe Christian, author of Creating Life Together and Finding Community, who will speak on methods for developing thriving communities; Jim Schenk, a co-founder of Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village, who will address ways to create sustainable urban communities in existing neighborhoods; and Sr. Marya Grathwohl, OSF, founder and director of Earth Hope, who will reflect on the contributions of religious communities to the development of sustainable urban communities. The speakers will also lead breakout sessions to work with conference attendees directly.

Workshop presenters include Ann Kreilkamp of Green Acres Neighborhood Ecovillage (GANE) in Bloomington, Indiana; Nick Shaver & Melissa Beck from The McGregor House, a co-housing project in Cincinnati, Ohio; Joy France from the Grailville community; Faith Morgan of The Vale in Yellow Springs, Ohio; , Mary Lou Lageman, Judy Squire, and Terry Marshall from the Grailville Ecovillage; and Cindi Remm from Mason, Ohio, an advocate for pocket neighborhoods and living in place for aging members of communities. The workshops are designed to offer participants practical ideas about how to starting and maintain successful eco-villages and other types of intentional communities, including co-housing and spiritual communities.

The speakers and the workshop sessions will look at different ways to approach the task of constructing sustainable communities, both purpose-built and retrofitted, with a focus on how to adapt urban and suburban neighborhoods, using existing buildings, to create responsible and resilient places for people to live.

If you are interested in finding out more about creating a community that is good for you and your family--and the earth--find out more or register for the conference at Imago’s website, or visit the Sustainable Communities Conference Facebook page.