OAEC is a non-profit education center in Sonoma County that works to promote ecologically and culturally sustainable communities. Learn more.
The Sowing Circle Intentional Community
Sowing Circle is a residential intentional community organized as a California Limited Liability Company (LLC). In July of 1994, the Sowing Circle members purchased the 80-acre site in Occidental and created the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, a nonprofit corporation, to develop horticultural, educational and advocacy programs based at the facility. While Sowing Circle and OAEC remain two distinct legal and financial entities, they share a common vision. Sowing Circle has contributed an enormous amount of love, labor and money to care for the OAEC gardens, orchards and wild lands, and to create facilities and infrastructure that enables OAEC to actualize its programs.
With long-term stewardship of this land in mind, in 1994 Sowing Circle, the Sonoma Land Trust and the Warsh-Mott Legacy (the previous landowner) collaborated to author and endow an Organic Agricultural Easement to protect in perpetuity the organic gardens and orchards from any development or any use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The Sowing Circle members are committed to sharing resources, skills, labor, and ideas, and to exploring new approaches to the challenge of living in an ecologically sustainable way. As an intentional project in shared living, Sowing Circle seeks to help reverse current social and economic patterns which create hyper-individualism, consumerism and alienation from nature. Sowing Circle and OAEC are both dedicated to creating a vision, practice and culture of right livelihood.
The members of Sowing Circle reside on the property, sharing the responsibilities of communal life, including cooking, cleaning, landscaping, and facility maintenance and repair. The land and buildings at the site are owned in common, and the Sowing Circle members use consensus process to make decisions. Half of the members work on-site for the Center, while others work both on- and off-site in their various fields. The partners and children are Nick Allen, David Berman, Ezra Berman, Lisa Bruce, Brock Dolman, Kendall Dunnigan, Kelsey Henson Dunnigan, Doug Gosling, Dave Henson, Martha Kowalick, Alexandra and Jacob Kowalick-Allen, Susan McGovern, Katy Mamen, Carol Nieukirk, Adam Wolpert, and Sabine Mamen Wolpert.