About

About

Stories

I’ve generated a body of visual and written content I want to make available to those interested in a deep exploration of intentional communities and cooperative groups. If you’re looking for a deeper understanding of what intentional communities are and what they’re all about, please check out my videos, photos, and writings.

Why This Website?

I want to offer what I’ve learned from 20 years of living in and working for a variety of cooperative groups in a variety of settings. My focus has been on intentional community. I also have experience with worker co-ops, community organizing, event production, fundraising, and movement building.

Services

I have experience with numerous cooperatives, collectives, and communities engaged in a wide variety of activities community and movement building activities. If you’re interested in consultation, resources, interviews, workshops, or presentations, read more about what services I can offer. Find out more about me and my approach.

My Story

Hi! My name is Sky Blue. Yes, that’s my given name. Yes, my parents were hippies. I’m just entering mid-life and am a proud parent to a remarkable young human, who I can’t believe is 18 already. I wasn’t raised in intentional community, but my parents met at Twin Oaks Community, where I eventually moved and raised my son.

I’ve lived in several different intentional communities and have visited over 125. I worked as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Intentional Community and as a Delegate to the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. I spent 4 years in Charlottesville, VA focused on small cooperative business and community organizing. I’ve been a business manager, event producer, fundraiser, mediator, group process facilitator, cooperative governance and policy developer, plumber, tofu maker, DJ, musician, gardener, parent, and one of my favorite jobs ever was doing the weekly dump and recycle runs when I lived at Twin Oaks.

What I’ve done with my life is based on a world-view that I am a global citizen with a responsibility to help make the world a better place, and I approach this from an integrated systems perspective. This led me to focus on creating and demonstrating alternatives, particularly intentional communities, as well as cooperative businesses, and through community organizing. I also have a deep respect and appreciation for direct action, and see the necessity at times to work for change within the system. Personal growth has also been a core aspect of my life, and I believe it to be a necessary part effectively fostering social transformation.

My Resume

I have experience in a number of areas:

  • Cooperative business start-up & management
  • Event organizing & promotion
  • Non-profit and business start-up fundraising
  • Cooperative organizational development & administration
  • Group process design & facilitation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Media production
  • Project & Operations management
  • Community organizing

I’ve lived in and worked for numerous groups with different areas of focus, including:

  • Member, Twin Oaks Community
    • Manager, Twin Oaks Communities Conference
    • Board of Planners
    • Process Team
    • Child Board
    • Plumbing Manager
    • IT Team
    • Management Team, Twin Oaks Community Foods (soyfoods business)
    • Manager, 50th Anniversary Celebration
  • Delegate, Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC)
  • Founder, Co-owner, Alexander House Inn & Hostel
  • Founder, Co-owner, C’ville Foodscapes
  • Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC)
    • Executive Director
    • Board of Directors
  • Co-founder, organizer, West Coast Communities Conference
  • Program Design & Facilitation, Southwest Inter-Community Summit
  • Staff Facilitator, PEACH (FEC healthcare fund)
  • Co-founder, Global Ecovillage Network of North America
  • Member, Cesar Chavez Student Housing Co-operative
  • Board of Directors, Ecovillage Charlottesville
  • Member, Woodfolk House Collective

My Approach

I balance idealism and pragmatism. I believe in possibility and I also want to really look to see if something will work. I have a keen sense for when things are being left out, ignored, or avoided. In any work I do, I try to develop a nuanced, multifaceted perspective and understanding of all the factors and dynamics involved, and see any situation as evolving over time.

I look at acute issues as likely being symptoms and look for underlying causes, and seek ways to address both. All groups have their intractable issues, irresolvable conflicts, and irreconcilable differences, and I look for what’s holding them in place. How cooperative groups function and behave involves structures and culture, and I look for how they conflict or reinforce each other.

I think a well functioning group is one that has a shared understanding of who they are, what they’re doing, and how they want to do it, and works to develop and evolve their shared understanding as situations arise on an ongoing basis. I think it’s important to look at best practices and blueprints, while also recognizing that each group is unique and what works best in one won’t necessarily be best in another.

Where I have often found myself most useful to people is when I’m asking them questions. They know their group and situation better than me, but maybe there are connections I can help them see or ways of looking at it they hadn’t thought of before. The groups that I can be most helpful to are ones that are willing to take a deep, honest, searching look at what they’re dealing with or want to do and come up with clear agreements and plans for how to move forward.