Social Permaculture

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Collaborating in Chaotic Times 

COVID-19 has forced us apart, but the crying need for justice is propelling us into action. But when this moment passes, we will need to do the hard, long-term work of making systemic change. Online or in person, the work of change and transformation must be done with other people–those annoying beings who do not always agree with us, and want their own way!

Collaborative groups may be healing, nurturing, and inspirational—or they may founder on the rocks of conflict and poor communication. But when we understand their patterns and challenges, we can design structures that favor supportive, nurturing relationships.

In this six-week online course, Starhawk guides us through her book The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. It’s the book she wrote that draws on her decades of experience—often wonderful, sometimes painful—in activist groups, spiritual groups, permaculture groups, collective households and more.

Insights from both permaculture and magic will help us learn to be more effective and joyful as we work together to regenerate our world.

Course Details

Class Dates: Sundays, October 3rd-November 7th, 2021
Live Class Time: 9:00-11:00 am Pacific

Course Community: Access to a private virtual classroom within our Earth Activists Training network. This space will host lessons, homework, teacher support, and provide a gathering space for students.


Click here to register and submit payment.

6-Week Course Tuition: $199

Diversity Scholarships Available – Please reach out if you are interested in receiving an application at

Questions? Contact our Support Team via email.

 Social Permaculture:
Nurturing Effective and Creative Groups

Now it seems ever more relevant to explore the ways we can work together more effectively and structure our groups to nurture creativity, connection, and impact. 

In doing so, we’ll need to confront some of the deep structures that separate us, as racism does, and learn to be more effective allies.

We’ll explore how to create a group vision and mission, how to balance power and responsibility, accountability and trust. We’ll learn good communication skills in face-to-face and virtual interactions, and focus especially on some of the tools we need in this challenging time to talk with those who don’t already see the world in the way we do. We’ll look at the patterns that make for problems in relationships, and how we can shift them.

Collaborative groups can be healing, nurturing, and inspirational– or they may founder on the rocks of conflict and poor communication. In this course, we’ll explore how to structure our groups for maximum group health, how to share power fairly, improve our communication skills, mediate conflicts and facilitate group processes.

We’ll explore issues of power, privilege and diversity, and how to shift ‘call-out’ culture to call in understanding, mutual respect and support, and real relationships.  And we’ll share tools for decision making and constructive critique. Starhawk’s book, The Empowerment Manual, will be our foundation.

Who is this training for?

This course is for you if you belong to:

  • A group or organization seeking to make change
  • A nonprofit or NGO that seeks to work collaboratively
  • A spiritual circle, ritual group, or faith community
  • A community group, Transition Town, collective, or worker-run cooperative
  • An intentional community or household–or hope to start one
  • A collaborative arts, theater, or music group, or band
  • A family or a community of friends that want to improve communications and ways of handling conflict

Topics include:

Permaculture principles for social permaculture:

  • Designing structures to support beneficial relationships
  • Valuing diversity and edge
  • Stacking functions
  • Designing the physical to support the social
  • Working with diversity– race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Group vision: picture of the world, mission, goals and governance
  • Norms and Rules
  • Effective group structure
  • Power: Power over, power from within, earned and unearned social power
  • Communication:  Text and subtext, nonviolent communication, ladder of inference
  • Effective feedback
  • Conflict—embracing, mediating and resolving group conflict
  • Dealing with difficult people (starting with ourselves!)

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