Diana Leafe Christian: Publisher and editor of Ecovillage newsletter

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Living Green episode 35: EcoVillages & Intentional Community: Diana Leafe Christian

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Diana Leafe Christian is publisher and editor of a new online ecovillage newsletter, Ecovillages, with the mission  to help encourage and inspire ecovillages with news of already-existing ecovillage projects worldwide. (EcovillageNewsletter.org/subscribe.

Between 1993 and 2007 Diana was editor of Communities magazine, a quarterly publication published by the nonprofit Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) about intentional communities in North America. 

Her new book, published in June, 2007, is Finding Community: How to Join an Ecovillage or Intentional Community. As Communities editor she was privy to dozens of anecdotes and stories from communities across North America about what works and what doesn’t work in terms of new people joining them, as well as stories from people who’ve visited communities that impressed them and those that did not. Drawing on these stories and from her personal experiences of joining a community herself and later focalizing its membership committee, she offers practical advice to help community seekers research thoroughly, visit enjoyably, evaluate intelligently, and join gracefully. Topics include important questions to ask (of community members and of yourself), signs of a healthy (and not-so-healthy) community, joining costs (including a “What It Costs” comparison chart), and common blunders to avoid.

Diana will soon be the web host of the new “Find Your Ideal Cohousing Home” Premium Access pages of the website for the Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US).

For her first book, Creating a Life Together, published in 2003, Diana learned from dozens of community veterans and founders about what it takes to start successful ecovillages and intentional communities in today's financial and zoning climate. In it she used success stories, cautionary tales, and step-by-step advice to cover typical time-frames and costs; the role of founders; getting started as a group; vision documents; power, governance, and decision-making; legal structures; finding and financing land; zoning issues; sustainable site plans; selecting new members; and good process and communication skills for dealing well with conflict.

Diana gives presentations on ecovillages, intentional communities and Peak Oil issues, and how to join a community and start new ecovillages and communities. She offers workshops and consultations nationwide on resolving structural conflict issues in existing communities; on the practical steps to start successful new ecovillages and intentional communities (including mission and purpose, decision-making, communication skills, legal structures, and finding and financing land); and on how to research, visit, evaluate, and join a community. 

Conferences and fairs where she has been a keynote speaker include the Japanese Ecovillage Conference, Tokyo, 2007; Urban Ecovillage Conference, Chicago, 2007; Women Living in Community Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, 2007; and Sustainable Living in Community Conference, Langara College, Vancouver, BC, 2007.

She has also given talks at National Conferences of Cohousing Association of the U.S; Green Festivals, San Francisco and Washington, DC; NICA (Northwest Intentional Communities Association); Northern California Cohousing Association; Network for a New Culture Summer Camp (East and West); Twin Oaks Communities Conferences; Fellowship for Intentional Community’s Art of Community gatherings; and Real Goods/Solar Living SolFest, California.

Diana has led workshops for the following educational organizations and intentional communities: Windsong Cohousing, B.C.; Yarrow Ecovillage, B.C.; Roberts Creek Cohousing, B.C.; Pacific Gardens Cohousing, B.C.; Du-Ma, Oregon; Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm, Tennessee; Los Angeles Eco-Village; New Earth Song Cohousing, Bothell, Washington; Cranberry Commons Cohousing, Vancouver; Westwood Cohousing, Asheville; Koinonia Partners, Georgia; Mimbres Hot Springs Ranch, New Mexico EPCP Program (; Ecovillage and Permaculture Certificate Program), Lost Valley Educational Center, Oregon; O.U.R. Ecovillage, British Columbia; and Easton Mountain Center, New York. 

Colleges and universities where she has presented include Nihon University, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan; Langara College, Vancouver, Canada; Oregon State University, Oregon; Evergreen State College, Washington; Lewis and Clark College, Portland; Warren Wilson College, North Carolina; University of South Carolina; and Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.
Her articles on ecovillages and intentional communities have appeared in publications ranging from Mother Earth News and Communities magazine to the Communities Directory, Earthlight magazine, and the Encyclopedia of Community. Her work has been cited in the New York Times, Harper’s, AARP magazine, Bio City magazine (Tokyo), New Dimensions Radio, Peak Moment TV, NPR, and the BBC.

Diana lives in an off-grid homestead at Earthaven Ecovillage in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.