Fiopa Consensus Collective is moving to Northern California!!! If you’ve been following our work and lives during the last couple of years, you know that our goal has been to establish an Intentional Community that is also an institute for the study of consensus and group dynamics. We’re pulling the strings together to make that happen!

C.T. is moving to the Bay Area for a job, with Wren following in a couple of months. In the meantime, we’re pursuing rural properties suitable for our community and educational plans.

Backing Up: Who We Are

Fiopa Consensus Collective is currently Food Not Bombs cofounder and consensus author C.T. Lawrence Butler and Wren Tuatha, late of Heathcote Community. We are considering applications for more Fiopa members now. All members will be practitioners and teachers of Value-Based Consensus, from C.T.’s books, On Conflict and Consensus and Consensus for Cities. FCC is an income-sharing collective committed to sustainability, social and economic justice, non-violence, and deep community relationships. “Fiopa” is a Choctaw word meaning, “to breathe,” representing the pause and breathing that’s important to our communication work.

Moving Forward: One Property in Our Sights

We are open to our institute being in many parts of the U.S. We have current and past workshop and consulting clients in every region, especially on both coasts. But while on our Direct Democracy Tour, teaching workshops in various Occupy encampments, we felt a special connection to Northern California.

With a long history of Intentional Communities stretching back to the 1960’s, California even has special zoning, called “code K,” which legalizes the simple hippie shacks we love so much!

One specific property is about 30 acres, with eight code K structures. It includes an orchard, redwood forest and is on the south facing side of the mountain, great for solar and gardening. It includes a creek that empties into the ocean less than two miles away. The pictures in this post are of that property.

Our Call for Funding

We ask for your partnership to help create our institute, where we can go deep with students, letting activists and communitarians experience consensus culture, spreading practices that truly interrupt privilege and oppression in groups, letting deep, true democracy emerge.

We’re launching a capital campaign to raise funds for a down payment for this or similar suitable property! We have made an initial offer and are negotiating a deal. We’re raising about $1-200,000 which will be applied to the right property, this or another, within the next few months. We’ve confirmed about $20,000 pledged so far, with more in the works. So friends, family, supporters, students, and people who wish we’d leave the East Coast, please consider those contributions, large and small!

Some people in our circles can only afford $20. Others know that $200 or $2000 will not be missed. There are people who can be major donors with $20,000 or more. You know who you are in this crowd. Now is an exciting moment of truth for Fiopa Collective!

  • To donate via Paypal: send gifts to ctbutler@together.net
  • To donate via check, without a tax deduction: Make check out to “C.T. LAWRENCE BUTLER” and mail to same, at—7304 Carroll Ave #136, Takoma Park, MD 20912
  • To donate with a tax deduction, visit us at our fiscal sponsor’s site: FUSION PARTNERSHIPS.

Our Call for New Members

Do you desire more connection with people and the planet? Do you want to share resources, work and land with like minded individuals? Do you believe that deep communication, listening, and transparency are keys to solving conflicts, experiencing equality, and making decisions together? Do you want to help alternative activist groups, Intentional Communities, spiritual communities, and others achieve their goals of healing the Earth and bringing justice? So do we!

FCC Temple Hills, MD location

Our mission is to deepen people’s understanding of what consensus is and what it asks of us. Moving from power-based to value-based processes, we teach structures of group dynamics that interrupt behaviors that perpetuate privilege and oppression in the very alternative groups which formed to end such injustice. We help them discover a real egalitarian path. Our plan is for several members to earn¬† shared income through consulting, workshops, immersions, facilitation, and mediation.

Our transition looks like this: Fiopa Consensus Collective is currently housed in Temple Hills, Maryland, a southern suburb of Washington, DC. Wren will remain here at least through January, 2014, possibly even until spring. Then Wren will join C.T. in California.¬† People in the membership process are welcome to visit the Temple Hills house but we won’t start provisional residencies until we settle on the West Coast.

Community is a very intimate relationship, requiring transparency and a shrinking of the privacy bubble many are used to. Since it will take time to get to know each other and learn if our missions and values are matched well, our membership process is a slow one. This is a simple overview of the stages prior to full membership:

  • correspondence, phone calls
  • visit the community, attend community events
  • submit a membership application
  • stay for an extended visit (3-4 weeks, in California)
  • move in as a provisional member (1 year, in California)

To ask questions or to begin the process, contact us at fiopa@consensus.net!

And thus begins our new adventure, in which we can finally create a safe, effective, educational consensus experience to all who seek it!

—WT

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