Community Building

Many "big" words, such as sustainability, progress or community have different meanings for different people. Their meanings are often twisted to suit specific self-interests. It is very important to clearly define any "big" words. Otherwise, even though we read the same word, each one of us may have totally different ideas associated with it. Community, as understood by the Centre, doesn't mean a neighbourhood or any other group of people who do something together but rather a state of deep connection among a group of people that binds them together. Of course, people connected in such a way will have a tendency to stick together, attracted by the bond that have been created between them. This approach and understanding was taken from M. Scott Peck and the Foundation for Community Encouragement (FCE). Building a community is a process that can be stimulated and guided by principles defined and refined through numerous community building sessions conducted by FCE.

Formation of a community is always tied to some specific purpose. Community may appear spontaneously at times of great dangers (wars) and disasters (earthquakes). During the sessions organized by FCE (which can also be organized at the Centre) the sole purpose for people who gather is to experience a community and the process that leads to it. Such a process leading to formation of a community is difficult, always chaotic and emotional, with no guarantee of success. However, emotional rewards, that can be only experienced and never truly described, can many times exceed the time and effort involved. Community is a state when people drop their defences, open themselves to others and trust each other and the group. The state of community can be described as a safe home, emotional rather than physical.

We at the Centre believe that all people have a deep and unsatisfied longing for a bond with others, a longing for community. A long time ago this could be a natural state of living in groups (tribes) and it is an integral part of what makes us truly human. Seeking and encouraging community is an essential part of the process of binding people who share the same worldview and are trying, together, to make a difference in this world. At the Centre, we want to make possible for people to experience the process of building a community but we also want to help incorporate community building principles into networks that may be inspired by or have links with the Centre. The common purpose that may link all these people can be contributing to developing a new sustainable food culture and to healing of our food, of our relationships and in the process, also of ourselves.

We will make a continuous effort to build and operate the Centre with the principles of community building being an integral part of the process. Our effort may also help others representing progressive organizations to learn and use it to help in their organizational struggles. However, involvement in the process of building a community may touch us on a very personal and deep level and because of that we don't think about it as something that can or should be imposed on anyone, even if only by peer pressure. Part of the learning programs we will propose will be committed to sharing the experience of community building. The Centre in Mundare will be perfectly fitted for that purpose.

Recommended Books 

 The Different Drum

The Different Drum by M. Scott Peck