Meet the Communities – An evolutionally stable design

by Paxus

from Your Passport to Complaining

Evolutionarily Stable Design

There are some evolutionary marvels out there.  Designs so stable that they make the dinosaurs look like the new kids on the block.  I am speaking specifically of dragonflies, jellyfish and cow sharks.  

Turns out one key to all of these creatures is their success in hunting.  Top hunters stay on top.

Say you have an event where you have brought together 200 participants and perhaps 100 of them are hunting for a new community (the others are from communities or are just community-curious).  Let’s say there are 40 communities represented.  How do you get the key information to the right hunters so they can make good choices?

I don’t know exactly who developed the Meet the Communities format that the Twin Oaks Communities Conference has used for decades, but it is an evolutionarily stable format, because it works so well. 

Can you be compelling in 1 minute?

You could say it is basically formatted around the controversial propagandist axiom “there is no such thing as a long story”.  You line up all your communities and say “you have 1 minute to present yourself and then people who like you will come for more personal and longer talks after all the communities present themselves”.  Yes, the communities movement basically invented speed dating.

After these introductions community presenters spread out to picnic tables and put up their signs and hunters who were intrigued at the short presentation come and have a longer, more personal and more focused conversation.

There are some organizational pieces you have to include to make it work.  You need someone who is watching the clock and when people hit their 1 minute mark gently moves them off the stage.  Ira did this for many years.  [Which resulted in Pat Therrian intentionally running over her time so Ira would have to grab her, which Pat quite liked.]  And you have to explain to the sustainability network guy how, while his project is important, he can not get up and present himself as a place based residential community.

Ira kept things moving

Another proof of evolutionary stability is imitation.  The West Coast Communities Conference (when it was happening before the pandemic) also used this format as does the QuinkFair event happening Oct 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Mineral Virginia.  These are the communities who have been invited to present themselves during MtC (most of whom have confirmed and/or said they are likely to attend) on October 2 in the morning.

AcornMineral
Abrams Creek/CFNCStorm Mountain WV
Baltimore Free FarmBaltimore
CambiaLouisa
Community of PeaceLouisa
Cosmic HoneySan Francisco Bay a
Cuckoo CompoundCuckoo VA
Cville EcovillageCville VA
Federation of Egalitarian CommunitiesUS
Foundation for Intentional CommunityNorth America
Glow HouseDC
Hawks CrestRichmond
Living Energy Farm (LEF)Louisa
Little FlowerLouisa
Magnolia (LEF affiliate)Louisa
Open CircleEtlan VA
Serenity (forming)Louisa
Twin OaksLouisa

Sadly, there is no Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC)  this year and QuinkFair is quite a different type of event.  Nevertheless, this long held tradition will be repeated in an undisclosed location in Mineral VA on October 2.

Meet the Communities – An evolutionally stable design

Call for Workshops: Twin Oaks Communities Conference

May is the month when the organizers for the Twin Oaks Communities Conference ask people to think about Labor Day weekend.  Specifically, we ask people what types of workshops they might be interested in offering at the Twin Oaks Communities Conference (TOCC).  These come in two broad types.

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Fixed Time Workshops:  This is the collection of 16 (or sometimes 20) workshops which are selected in advance and are all relating to intentional communities.  We are exploring different themes and it is likely we will choose a couple of them.  If you are interested in presenting on an intentional community related topic we would encourage you to submit this workshop proposal form.  The deadline for proposals is May 31st.  These workshops happen Saturday, Sept 1st and Sunday morning. Workshop presenters who are selected for these fixed time slots will get their registration fee waived.  And if you are coming from NYC metro area (or south of there) you might be able to come on our totally groovy bus.

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Open Space Technology Workshop:  There are way too many clever and interesting people at the TOCC to not provide a forum for them to demonstrate or propose their own workshop even if it has little or nothing to do with community.  The problem (from an organizers perspective) is which ones do you choose?  Fortunately, this problem has been well worked by others and there is a democratic, self selecting mechanism called Open Space Technology.  These workshops are giving Sunday (Sept 2) midday into the afternoon and typically we do between 10 and 20 workshops ranging in size from 25 participants (like at a urban squatting or polyamory workshop) to just a couple of excited participants (bird watching or Python blockchain programming).

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Even if you don’t want to offer any workshop there are three types of people who might want to come to this annual event, which often has over 150 participants and 40 plus communities represented:

  1. You want to find an intentional community to move into
  2. You are starting a community with friends
  3. You live in a community and are looking for new members

If any of these three things is true for you, then you can register for this event here.  If you want to see who is already coming and who is interested go to the Facebook event (35 attending and 215 interested so far (May 1), and we have just started our outreach).

Call for Workshops: Twin Oaks Communities Conference