Common Ground Ecovillage has a strong core of committed members who are giving of their time, talent, and resources to building a community together. We are a growing group of individuals and families from the Triangle area, ranging in age from 20’s to 70’s. Except for a few retirees, we have middle-class jobs in the area as teachers, farmers, business managers, computer technicians, artists, musicians, and more. Here are some of our members:
I am a professor at a university in North Carolina (hint: think red), and conduct research related to socio-emotional development. I am very interested in processes, particularly the socialization processes embedded in cultures and families that help inform individuals about their experience and understanding of emotion. I am also very interested in the socialization of gender, and have heated but happy arguments with the more biologically-based researchers in my family about gender differences. I also have thought deeply about issues related to race for a long time, and am grateful for the opportunity recently to turn toward social change work in my research. I work a lot (all right, my family might say all the time), and when not working (which I consider proof that I don’t work all the time), I am equally busy: gardening; fooling around with the cats, chickens, children; exercising in the form of yoga or hiking; or making things with fabric, wool, wood, or clay. I love traveling, especially traveling cheaply, and have hiked in the Yukon, Australia, and New Zealand, and lived briefly in the Philippines, Israel, and Costa Rica.
Planning, Design, and Development Circle Operational Leader According to Wikipedia, I am “an American philosopher, teacher, and writer, author of widely used primers in critical thinking and ethical practice and [have] written a variety of unconventional books and essays on philosophical topics”, though apparently my thinking is also too wide-ranging and practical! I am companion of Amy and father of our two lovely and adventurous children; a carpenter and mason thanks to building from an early age with my architect father and jack-of-all-trades grandfather, both of whom also had longtime associations with Frank Lloyd Wright; a musician (vocal a capella groups mostly), avid backpacker and wilderness lover, chess player, watercolorist (thanks to my mother) and nature journalist, and urban gardener. I am the current record-holder for the number of nights camped out on the land.
Being the best mother I can be to this little guy entrusted in my care lead me to Common Ground. I believe it takes a village not only to rear children, but also to create substantial change that our society and planet will need to thrive toward our fullest potential. Each moment we spend with the people involved in this community and each task we complete help us to grow just a bit stronger in some way. Every step in my past from earning a BA in Motion Picture Production at Brooks Institute of Photography to studying Global Sustainability at UCLA and managing real estate investment properties has lead me here, with a burning desire to work passionately toward a better future for our children. I most specifically see that happening by reconnecting with the environment and our food. I am wholeheartedly inspired by this communities work in collaborative skills and conflict resolution tools. We look forward to living in a manner that most reflects our life’s mission here at Common Ground Ecovillage!
Governance & Training Circle Elected Representative. My background is broad and varied, from professional musician, corporate manager, sound and energy healer/teacher, to helping to build an intentional community. For the past six+ years at Common Ground, my chief focus has been to foster governance and cooperative skills practices that are in tune with the regenerative vision and culture we want to manifest in these crazy times. My deepest fulfillment and joy comes from spending time in our glorious land, particularly around wildflowers!
Land Stewardship Circle Operational Leader I grew up in the relative seclusion of the woods of the rural Georgia piedmont. From as early as I can remember, my primary passion other than being outdoors was school, especially science. I followed that passion to an enjoyable career in neuroscience research. Since retiring from that endeavor I have taken up a second career in market farming and returned to the woods. What attracts me to Common Ground Ecovillage is its lovely piece of land and its core agrarian mission. I have been a member of Common Ground since 2015, and along with my wife Margret, are now farming a portion of the Common Ground land.
John enjoys spending time with his grandchildren. He is a photo enthusiast, and likes outdoor activities including biking. He works as a clinical social worker at Lincoln Community Health Center in Durham. He lives with his wife, Maria Teresa.
The search for intentional community came from wanting to fulfill a way of living I had enjoyed for short periods. Gonzalo, my partner, found the CGEV website while we were living in Florida. The principles and intentions really caught my attention. They upheld the ideals I value and am trying to live by. Growing up biracial (Korean & White) I felt like I had to work extra hard to be accepted. In community I can offer my talents and let go of the fear of not being good at everything. We’re coming from such different experiences, orientations and filters. The work of weaving these together to make something alive & beautiful is art. It’s the art that thrills me.
Planning, Design, and Development Elected Representative With a varied background in landscape architecture, construction, business and nonprofit management, Katy is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to creating communities which integrate low-impact development with restorative agriculture and land conservation. She grew up as a “free-range” child on a small 100-acre farm near Atlanta, GA learning skills such as gardening, canning, animal husbandry, butchering (chickens), sewing, basic mechanics, and carpentry from her grandparents. Katy holds a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia, and has previously held professional licenses in real estate and commercial construction. She has worked as a civil engineering technician, onsite construction superintendent for multifamily communities, and senior VP for a national real estate development firm. In the latter role, she was responsible for pre-development activities including land acquisition, feasibility, permitting, rezoning, and coordination of design professionals. She co-founded and managed a Raleigh-based software company with her husband for almost 10 years, which was named as one of the Triangle’s “Fast 50” fastest growing private companies. After that, Katy served as statewide outreach coordinator for the NC Solar Center (now the NC Clean Energy Technology Center) at NCSU, and later as executive director for Sustainable North Carolina.
I moved to Chapel Hill from NYC in 1983 and have lived more than half of my life in North Carolina. In my adopted home I raised a son and lost a marriage. I have had the privilege of getting to know many older adults through my work as a social worker with the Orange County Dept. on Aging. Visiting in their homes and listing to their stories helps me feel rooted in Orange County. Some of what gives me energy is making music (mostly singing with others), observing nature, being courageous in relationships, and listening. The Common Ground Ecovillage circle meetings, structured by Sociocracy, are teaching me the joys of simply listening to others.
Land Stewardship Circle Elected Representative I have been involved with Common Ground Ecovillage since 2015, when my husband Jeffry and I were given a tour of the land and subsequently fell in love with it. I serve on the Land Stewardship Circle, which guarantees I keep up with all things land-related, both positive (trails, wildflowers, workdays) and negative (exotic invasives, poison ivy, trash clean-up). For the last couple years Jeffry and I have been very busy farming on a portion of the land and have recently gotten a number of community members involved as well. I have had a life-long interest in both participating in and painting the natural world, and consider myself an informal naturalist and botanical fine artist. I fantasize that some day I will have enough free time to create a series of watercolors documenting this bountiful, beautiful piece of unpaved paradise.cycling and dancing.
Maria Teresa G.
Maria Teresa, together with husband John W., moved to Durham from Omaha in 2015. She enjoys creative ventures of many kinds and outdoor adventures in the beauty of North Carolina. She is grateful for three great sons and being close to one, Felipe, and his wife Casey and their two children, Micaela and Theo. Originally from Cuba, Maria Teresa has enjoyed getting to know some others in the Latino community and volunteering with the Faith ID program. She is an industrial/organizational psychologist and serves as the director of Foundations of Christian Leadership at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School.
Financial and Legal Circle Operational Leader. While Paul is trained as an applied demographer and statistician, his passions regarding intentional communities run deep. He recalls being instantly captivated by the idea in 1972 when the magazines Comunitas and Communities first hit the shelves of alternative book stores. Despite this tug toward communitarian living, he embarked instead on a conventional family life and a long career. For 30 years, his professional activities mostly were related to his role as a faculty member in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. In 2008 he took a part-time position with UNC’s famed Odum Institute for Research in Social Science, to consult and teach in the occult arts of spatial econometrics and multilevel modeling. Having failed at retirement twice, Paul finally left university life in 2016. He enjoys visiting Philadelphia where his daughter (Cameron) and her family live, and he’s immensely proud of his college-age grandchildren, Declan (21) and Eliza (18) – both students at Swarthmore College. He is married to Hope Horton with whom he happily shares a large home in Mebane, NC with two other members of the Common Ground community. Part of his Common Ground responsibilities involve exploring the financial and legal pathways to establishing a limited-equity housing cooperative (as our home ownership structure) and the joys and challenges of cooperative living (“cohouseholding”).
Randy’s lived locally since the late 1960s which includes residing in a cohousing community for 23 years. He currently works in local government where he has enjoyed being involved in projects about local creeks, climate resilience and action, and other eco/environmental initiatives. Some interests/hobbies include: permaculture; natural building; beekeeping; local food; renewable energy; alternative transportation (meaning alternatives to fossil fuels, and driving); appropriate gadgets and gizmos (solar ovens, portable chicken coops, wood fired hot tubs, solar dehydrators, bike blenders…..); sharing stuff, responsibilities, decisions, and life in general; singing; and alternatives to power over, winner/loser, plutocratic, and hypertechnocratic paradigms. He’s been involved with Common Ground since the spring of 2014, with a few highlights being: building a little cob hut; beekeeping; care of the forest (aka, the “Wood Wide Web” project); making a short video; and serving initially on the PDD circle and more recently on the Land Stewardship Circle.
Membership & Marketing Circle Operational Leader, Rita currently resides in Raleigh with two great housemates. She’s been involved in Common Ground Ecovillage since 2013 and finds it a fulfilling way to spend her time. Having felt for a while more a consumer than a producer, she’s interested in creating a way of life that improves the world. Other things she enjoys doing are playing board games with her boyfriend, and spending time with her parents and their chocolate lab.
Although I am a fairly new member of Common Ground I have jumped in with both feet as I am often energized by leaping into change. I am a climate refugee from the wildfires of the west coast although I originally herald from rural Michigan as a one of 7 siblings. Those early years planted the seeds of living in an agrarian community since we had a small house; I became skilled at shared living and spent most of my time outside in the forest and at home in the natural world. Now more than ever as we face ecological crisis, I am passionate about cultivating deeper relationship with the earth and each other to create a more healing and restorative ecosystem for us to thrive in.
I have spent many years planning and creating intentional communities sparked in part by the desire to embark on the journey of motherhood yet realizing how isolating the nuclear family model is. Being a parent is one of the most beautiful and challenging parts of who I am. I live into a loving reciprocity with life and enjoy being of service and sharing my rich spirituality. I am a deep and expressive communicator and skilled conflict mediator of 30 years. I cherish bringing aliveness, intimacy, and play to this community and I am often dancing, singing, or creating magic in the kitchen.