Tracy From La'akea Community (Big Island) &
Fellowship for Intentional Community
Deep breath in, deep breath out. I sit on one of the twin beds in our upstairs meeting room, leaning against the wall, with a steaming cup of freshly harvested and brewed turmeric ginger tea, mildly sweetened with honey from the bees on the farm. A small smile of contentment and anticipation plays across my lips as the drumming of the rain on the roof fills the room and individuals start appearing at the top of the staircase. A wet morning rewards the choice to spend time with chosen family, discussing important issues and fostering our common vision.
I am a founding member of La’akea Community (Big Island, Hawaii), which, formed 10 years ago, has 11 adult members, two kids, and one trial member. Our years of success stem from a shared belief that people must continuously connect with one another and the land to live sustainably. A primary way we connect is around food.
Business meetings at La’akea follow a format designed to encourage the honest sharing of minds and hearts. We begin with “check-ins,” then move on to “appreciations” and “withholds,” followed by “announcements,” “homework,” and then finally the “agenda.” Some of these processes I will describe further on.
At the meeting today, our facilitator starts by calling for check-ins. These are typically brief reports where individuals share their current emotional state and any plans for the day. One community member—a tall, dark-haired man, a strong presence on the land and loving father—speaks first. “I feel refreshed, well-rested, and happy the weather is complicit with our need to stay in this morning. I do not relish being soggy.”
As others take turns sharing, I appreciate the wisdom and intelligence of our most senior members, the patience and joy of several of the women, and the peaceful energy of several others. Our group is diverse and eclectic, ranging in age from 32 to 84, in education from high school to Ph.D., and in financial status from enough-to-get-by to established-retirement-fund. We are all fit and healthy within our varying body types. More than half of the group initially connected through the Network for a New Culture.