The Land

Welcome!  The land that OAEC inhabits is the territory of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo peoples.  When you visit OAEC, we invite you to join us in honoring and continuing their legacy of land stewardship.

Since the 1970’s these 80-acres of organic gardenswildlands, onsite intentional community, and education center have served as a living laboratory for research, collaboration and forging the transition towards ecological and socially just human settlement.  In developing and collectively caring for our home, we hope to reveal a place of beauty that is deeply connected with nature and full of examples to inspire you to bring regenerative practices back to your own community.

Aside from the beautiful natural surroundings and learning opportunities that the site offers, participants in our courses and retreats can also enjoy other features and fruits of the land, including delicious homegrown organic food, swimming pond, sauna, hot tub, campfire, and comfortable eco-dwellings, as described below.

 

Meeting Facilities

Completed in 2018, our beautiful new Meeting Hall was designed and built with the utmost care for aesthetics, materials, usability and function – a one-of-a-kind space in the Bay Area for effective and transformative gatherings.

  • The Meeting Hall contains a large 1450 square foot main conference room, a smaller 385 square foot meeting room, accessible ecologically designed restrooms, an office/lounge space, and a kitchenette.
  • Opens to an outdoor circular, multi-use courtyard on one side and a spectacular deck overlooking the garden and forest on the other. Designed for seamless indoor-outdoor gatherings and maximum enjoyment of the site’s natural beauty.
  • Centrally heated and air-cooled.
  • Beautiful and natural cork, sisal and madrone wood flooring, high ceilings, and lots of natural light.
  • Fast, unrestricted wi-fi in the meeting hall and every building throughout the site.
  • State-of-the-art audio-visual and teleconferencing equipment in both the main Oak Room and the smaller Olive Room. See spec sheet for details.
  • Fully adjustable high quality speakers in all indoor and outdoor meeting spaces.
  • ADA accessible, all-gender restroom with ultra-modern composting toilets (Read about OAEC’s Compost Toilet Research Project)
  • Meeting and office equipment and supplies included for all your workshop and facilitation needs, including wireless printer/copier.
  • Kitchenette fully stocked with organic coffees, teas and snacks.
  • Flexible arrangement of tables and chairs with yoga mats, zafu cushions, and back-jacks also available.
  • In addition to the deck and courtyard, there is a wide array of additional outdoor gathering spaces adjacent to the building and throughout the gardens including an outdoor stage/amphitheater, a garden shade pavilion, various picnic tables and benches, a shady palapa and even a floating dock on our pond.

 

 

Housing

OAEC’s new Guest Houses can accommodate a total of up to 32 overnight guests.

Each Guest House has:

  • shared guest rooms with XL twin beds*, regular twin bunks in yurts
  • a shared bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet
  • unrestricted WiFi
  • central heating
  • comfortable mattresses

*NOTE: Many rooms with two twin beds can be made into one comfortable king-sized bed upon request.

We provide:

  • all towels and bedding including pillows, sheets, and blankets
  • high-quality soap, shampoo, and conditioner (Greywater from these buildings irrigates the surrounding landscaping. Please help keep our plants happy by using only the greywater-friendly biodegradable products provided.)

Off-site housing:

If groups wish to house additional guests in private accommodations offsite, there are many nearby options that we would be happy to recommend, including the affordable Occidental Hotel which is just down the hill. Please call us to discuss this option.

 

Food

  • We provide three meals a day featuring delicious and plentiful vegetarian dishes prepared by our professional chefs using fresh, organic produce from our gardens and local farms.
  • With advance notice, we can accommodate vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets. However, we cannot accommodate the many other individual food preferences. Those with food allergies should notify us immediately so that we can accommodate and plan meals accordingly.
  • The Kitchen is the hub and hearth of the OAEC community.  Normally, meals are shared with residents, staff, garden volunteers and visitors in our large indoor dining room and outside on picnic tables in nice weather. During COVID times, we are asking that folks mask up while proceeding through the meal service line.
  • Meals are generally served buffet style at the following times – Breakfast at 7:30, Lunch at 12:30, and Dinner at 6:30. We can make slight adjustments to meal times by advance request.
  • Organic coffee and a wide variety of teas are always available in the dining room and in the Meeting Hall.
  • We offer basic organic snacks including chips and salsa, fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts.  You are welcome to bring supplemental snacks and store them in the Meeting Hall fridge.
  • We do not serve alcohol with our meals, but you are welcome to bring it. Beer, wine, and spirits can be purchased at the local markets close-by in the town of Occidental.

 

More Info

More features of the 80-acre site

OAEC is housed within the context of a working farm, research center, and on-site intentional community.  The organic gardens and orchards, Wildlands nature preserve, and “Conservation Hydrology” Demonstration Site as described in the tiles below are part of what make a visit to OAEC unforgettable.

 

Other Amenities

  • Hot tub and sauna are for your use in the community bathhouse.
  • The pond, available seasonally, is great for swimming, quiet contemplation, or for group gatherings on our floating dock.  It’s about a 10 minute walk from the main facilities.
  • There are extensive trails through our gardens and wildlands for walks.
  • The ecology library in the meeting room is available for OAEC courses.
  • Circle around the fire circle in front of the kitchen – complementary smores fixins’ upon request.

Additional/Programmatic Support

We offer tours for all rental groups to get oriented and learn more about OAEC and the land.

For an additional fee, we can work with your group to design custom sessions lead by OAEC’s core staff for your retreat, including:

  • Permaculture workshops and facilitated resilient community design projects.
  • Group decision-making and facilitation workshops.
  • Hands on wildlands restoration, bio-intensive gardening, or permaculture projects.
  • Depending on the group and our staff availability, we can sometimes provide professional meeting and/or strategic planning facilitation.

Surrounding Area

  • Just half a mile down the hill from OAEC is the small and charming yet well-provisioned town of Occidental.
  • Snacks, alcoholic beverages, and other sundries can be purchased at one of two markets, and there are many gift shops.
  • The town of Occidental also boasts several great restaurants and bars, as well as inns and B&B’s.
  • We are a roughly 15 minute drive from the ocean. Coleman Valley Rd., upon which we’re located, takes you right to the coast and is regularly voted the most scenic drive in Sonoma County.

 

Booking

Group Size

  • The ideal group size for our facilities is 16-32. We have minimum and maximum participant limits that vary depending on the calendar and the specific needs of your group. Please call to inquire.

Minimum Stay Requirement

  • Minimum two-night stay.
  • Arrival and departure times are negotiable.

Pricing

Day Use and Private Tours

  • We offer private tours for a fee (waived for overnight rentals.)
  • We can sometimes accommodate day use meetings and workshops for certain values-aligned groups. Please call to inquire.

Limitations

  • OAEC hosts organizations whose work towards environmental and social justice is in line with our strategic priorities. We unfortunately cannot accommodate all requests. We do not host weddings, parties, or personal or family retreats. In addition, we do not host yoga or therapy-based retreats.
  • We are not open to proposals to teach courses at OAEC. We do work with groups that offer courses to their own public, but the group must handle its own outreach, registration and pre-course organizing.
  • No pets please! Because of the sensitive environment, diverse wildlife and native poison oak, we have a no-pet policy, except for leashed service dogs that meet the ADA definition of a service dog.

Accessibility

Please let us know in advance if anyone in your group has accessibility needs (physical, medical, etc).

COVID-19 Protocols For All Retreat Participants and Guests Coming to OAEC:

OAEC is adhering to COVID-19 related mandates and recommendations issued by both the state of California and the Sonoma County Department of Public Health. This guidance, and thus OAEC’s policies, may change as the date of any retreat approaches.

As of February 15, 2022, the Sonoma County Department of Public Health has lifted the mask mandate and does not require the use of face masks for everyone indoors. It is up to the retreat group to decide if they want retreat participants to wear masks indoors. While some of the retreat time will likely be spent outdoors in the fresh air, retreat participants will spend much of their time at OAEC in shared sleeping accommodations and use common indoor spaces such as meeting rooms, dining facilities, bathrooms, etc. 

If you are experiencing Covid symptoms, please do not come to OAEC. We are currently asking all retreat guests to antigen test 24 hours prior to arriving at OAEC. The Group will self-manage testing.

OAEC’s Retreat Manager and the point person for your group who is organizing the retreat will stay in touch with any updates to OAEC’s policy. If your group is interested in booking a retreat with us and you would like to learn more about our COVID protocols, please reach out to .

We appreciate your understanding and collaboration as we navigate how to best support everyone’s health during this still-changing pandemic.

 

Who we work with

OAEC hosts organizations whose work towards environmental and social justice is in line with our strategic priorities. Some groups that have done their organizational retreats here include:

  • Amazon Watch
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
  • Audobon Canyon Ranch
  • Biomimicry Institute
  • Bioneers
  • Break Free From Plastic Movement
  • California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN)
  • California Foodshed Funders
  • California Naturalist Training
  • Causa Justa – Just Cause
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Center for Story-Based Strategy
  • Ceres Trust
  • Chorus Foundation
  • Climate Justice Alliance
  • Climate Workers
  • Daily Acts
  • Designer Fund
  • Ecology of Awakening
  • ETC Group
  • Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
  • Fibershed
  • Folke Bernadotte Academy
  • Forward Together / Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice
  • Food for Thought
  • FracTracker Alliance
  • Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)
  • Kairos Leadership
  • Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project
  • Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
  • North Bay Organizing Project
  • National Housing Law Project
  • Pachamama Alliance
  • Peak Plastic Foundation
  • Permaculture Skills Center Ecological Landscapers
  • Pesticide Action Network
  • Rainforest Action Network
  • Race Forward
  • Rewilding California Convening
  • Ruckus Society
  • Seed Fund
  • Sierra Club
  • Sierra Watershed Progressive
  • Sonoma County Conservation Action
  • Sunrise Project
  • Sustainable Economies Law Center
  • The Cultural Conservancy
  • Thousand Currents
  • Threshold Foundation
  • Tompkins Conservation Advisory Council
  • Transition Resource Circle
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Urban Tilth
  • Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights
  • Water Foundation
  • Water Solutions Network
  • Wild Farm Alliance
  • Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms
  • Women’s Earth Alliance

 

Contact Us

For inquiries about renting OAEC facilities for your workshop or retreat:

Please fill out this retreat inquiry form, email or call the OAEC office at (707) 874-1557 x101.

 

 

More Information:

OAEC Contact & Directions

OAEC Visitor Information