A Center for Contemplative Ecology

802. 453. 8111

Regenerative Community Design

Regenerative Community Design

Create innovations for sustainable societies

June 10 – June 25, 2016

Every program is available for credit in 15, 9, or 6 day format.

June 10 – June 25, 2016
15 days, 150 hours, 3 credits

June 10 – June 19, 2016
9 days, 100 hours, 2 credits

June 19 – June 25, 2016
6 days, 50 hours, 1 credit

Metta Earth Institute Regenerative Community Design

Today, we are experiencing a culture in crisis, the sixth mass extinction, land degradation, and widespread social, economic, and political crises.  To respond to this need, we look to an emerging generation of leaders who are cultivating an understanding of the urgency to refresh, regenerate, and renew our community practices and processes – a generation of leaders who understands the inherent interconnection of the human realm with the natural world.

This Regenerative Community Design Leadership Intensive looks to bridge the gap between theory and practice, equipping participants with both technical design skills as well as a deep understanding of various theories and practices behind designing whole, healthy communities rooted in nature. Through an exploration of various systems of economics and governance,  biomimicry and natural design practices, land stewardship, and social justice models, this training provides a holistic view on how to move our communities towards deeper sustainability and resilience.

Regenerative Community

The nine day session will weave together three major threads of regenerative community design. These include bioregional community solutions, alternative social models, and a guest workshop with 350VT on leadership for social change. The nine day session will culminate with 350VT’s weekend leadership training focusing on climate justice, racial justice, theory of change, campaign building and planning, facilitation skills, and the power of personal narrative.

The six day session will focus on integrating these aspects of community through collaborative, applied design through a place-based group project for the Metta Earth Community as well as an individual design project. Students will leave with ability to envision and strategize innovative solutions for their own communities, whether urban, rural, or suburban.

Program Information


Download an application here. Priority is given to earliest applicants.


15 days: $1500
9 days: $900
6 days: $600

Tuition Includes:

  • Program, meals, and accommodations
  • Three thirty minute life/leadership coaching consults after the training to help participants sustain change.
  • Financial assistance may be available to those in need.
  • Credit with your university or college is usually available as independent study. We will offer assistance, as needed, for this process.


Every program is available for credit in 15, 9, or 6 day format.

  • 15 days, 150 hours, 3 credits
  • 9 days, 100 hours, 2 credits
  • 6 days, 50 hours, 1 credit

Meals & Accommodations

Metta Earth is nestled in the quietude of the mountains, the stunning headwaters of the New Haven river with abundant waterfalls and pools for swimming, wilderness trails to walk or bike, and 158 acres of Metta Earth land to explore.

Meals are vegetarian and lovingly prepared with seasonal, local and organic foods, much of our food comes from our own 3⁄4 acre organic garden and farmstead. Participants assist and have the opportunity to learn about harvesting, cooking, putting food by, and other aspects of organic, local food.

Options for sleeping accommodations include peaceful rooms in the main Metta Earth house, shared space in one of the yurts, or space to set up your own tent.

The Metta Earth main house provides bathrooms, laundry, phones, wireless internet, library, kitchen and dining facilities, and teaching, study, and practice space.

Daily Schedule

6:00 – 7:00am
Yoga (self guided practice)

7:00 – 7:30am
Sitting Meditation

7:30 – 8:30am

Experiential Learning Activities

12:30 – 1:30pm
Lunch Community Meeting

1:30 – 2:30
Open Time

Experiential Learning Activities

5:00 – 6:15pm
Metta Earth Yoga Class

6:30 – 7:30pm

7:30 – 9:30pm
Evening Program

Selected Readings

  • Metta Earth Yoga: Contemplative Ecological Practices for a Sustainable Future by Russell Comstock
  • Quantum Community ~ The Archetype of Communion & Community, An Interdisciplinary Inquiry by Gillian Kapteyn Comstock
  • Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice on and Off the Mat by Richard Faulds
  • Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People by Hildur Jackson
  • Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World by Wendy Johnson
  • Moving Like a Gardener by Deb Soule
  • Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel
  • The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Radical Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Soul of Nature: Visions of a Living Earth by Michael Tobias
  • The Way of Council by Jack Zimmerman

9 Day Session

June 10 – June 19

Regenerative Community Design Theories and Practices

Regenerative Community Design

This session provides the essential design elements of community, both in the realms of experimental project and also local initiatives. We will interplay between these two dynamics of fringe, utopian, frontier, intentional community and integrated solutions in mainstream culture. We will utilize a holistic approach to the primary aspects of human settlements including food, shelter, clothing, transportation, education, and economics.

  • Cultural Worldviews for Sustainability
  • Observing Nature’s Design: Chaos and Creativity
  • Visions, Missions, & Covenants: Refreshing Social Structures
  • Land Stewardship Models: Ecovillage, Community Land Trusts, & Cohousing
  • Transition Towns and Bioregional Innovations
  • Design Practicum in Regenerative Community Design
  • Sharing Leadership Intentions, Next Steps, Feedback

Communal Lifeway Practices For Ecological Sustainability

As a culture, all of our modern conveniences have created a schism between our daily practices that sustain us and the natural world. The afternoon session will provide hands-on instruction of knowledge and skills to rekindle a healing daily existence with the earth. This Regenerative Community Design daily study is particularly focused on daily lifeways that create a healed relationship with earth. We apply environmental resilience to survival by looking closely at land use and food systems in order to have a healthy relationship with our food sources, processing techniques, and storage systems.

  • Food Preservation in the Village
  • Tea Gathering & Tea Ceremony
  • Community Supported Herbalism
  • Cooperative Gardening
  • Communities of Culture: Dairy, Kefir, Yogurt, & Cheese
  • Fiber and Craft Guilds
  • Animals, Carbon Farming, and Herd Behavior

Core Processes of Community Building

Metta Earth Institute

With the understanding of the theories and practices to help create regenerative communities, understanding leadership and communication processes, along with theories of oppression provide important tools in working with this complicated interface of the environment and society. These skills will help provide participants with the necessary tools to catalyze change and help communicate and fulfill their visions in an effective way.  In addition, forms of activism enrich the possible dimensions for the expression of change.

  • Creating Sanctuary
  • Co-Listening, NVC, and Conscious Communication
  • Unconscious Communication
  • Leadership Models
  • Activism Models: Way of Council

350VT Leadership Training

This session will culminate with a weekend long training run by 350VT facilitators on climate change leadership.

  • Climate Justice
  • Racial Justice
  • Theory of Change
  • Campaign Building
  • Facilitation and Skill Building
  • Self Development and Personal Narrative

6 Day Session: Leadership Visions & Applied Design

June 19 – June 25

Vermont Regenerative Community Design

This aspect of the intensive is an opportunity to bring the design process to life, envisioning regenerative models for communities in our own lives.  We will focus on applied leadership through mentoring and designing and will culminate our work exploring our intentions for our own communities with a sharing of our visions and design. Each day centers on a primary aspect of community design and is woven throughout the day, beginning with an application of that focus to the Metta Earth Community Design in the morning, continuing this application with participant’s personal design in the afternoon, with design time, sharing, and reflection in the evening.

Teaching Team

Gillian Kapteyn Comstock

Russell Comstock

Russell Comstock

Kristen Andrews

Kristen Andrews

Participant Testimonials:

“Metta Earth is such a beautiful place where I felt at home so easily. The openness and grounded nature of Metta Earth made me so incredibly grateful for the ability to be myself. The amount of trust I felt here was immense and I was especially grateful to be surrounded by such friendly cows and beautiful nature. I learned so much about myself, ways to connect with others, and our planet Earth.” ~ Harper Simpson, Social Change 2015

“The last two weeks have been incredibly empowering. Metta Earth provides a place to reconnect with your inner strengths and passions while seeing how these things relate to the greater whole. We were able to learn through experience, improvisation, and deep discussion. I know this has left a lasting impression in my way of being.” ~ Kaila Pennock, Social Change 2015

“I felt that the social change leadership training was an incredible experience. Between comprehensive organizing strategies, lessons on communication, reskilling classes, and learning vital self-care techniques, I left feeling nourished and more clear in my intentions for how I chose to live.” ~ Matea Mills-Andruk, Social Change 2015

“Nourishing food & people. Creative & comprehensive curriculum.” ~ Matea Mills-Andruk, Social Change 2015

“I learned so much of what I felt had been missing in my education.” ~ Matea Mills-Andruk, Social Change 2015

“Being at Metta Earth for the Social Change Leadership Training was a powerful experience. The continual willingness to adapt and grow within our group, as individuals, and Metta Earth as a whole created so much space to learn and be vulnerable in our processes.” ~ Magdalene, 2015

“My experience at Metta Earth was life changing. Being part of the Social Change Training taught me so much and has given me the confidence to step more fully into my role as an activist for environmental change. I loved every moment of being there, from the classes to the yoga to the community. If anyone ever has the chance to visit or enroll in a Leadership Training, they would be crazy to pass it up.”  ~ Emily Campbell, Social Change Activism, 2014

“This place is absolutely magical. No matter what you’re trying to do or figure out at this stage of your life, the time you spend at Metta Earth will leave you feeling clarity, power, and the profound strength that comes from fully realizing your connectedness to the Earth. With the guidance and loving wisdom of Gillian, Russell, and Kristen, surrounded by the rhythms of the farm, I developed courage to be gentle in the often harsh world and to act from my heart. Yoga, meditation, and three insanely delicious meals each day nourished me as I learned more about myself in 2 weeks than I have in a very long time. It’s heaven here. People are grateful and contemplative in everything they do. This place has truly become my home, and I know I’ll be back again and again.” ~ Ali Riggen, Social Change Activism, 2014

“I am writing this testimonial nearly six months after my time spent at Metta Earth. I can say with confidence that my experience was transformative on many levels. Prior to attending this leadership training I had very little knowledge or experience with activism. During my Social Change Leadership course I gained the tools, resources, and knowledge  needed to feel confident enough to insert myself into my local activist community and to set up my own organization if I chose to do so one day.

I feel that the experiential learning process was as much about providing me with the knowledge I needed going forward as it was about bringing forth a voice that I didn’t know that I had.  Through the highly engaging and interactive lessons, I gained more self awareness and better communication skills.  My ability to communicate honestly and openly with those closest to me has improved greatly since returning home. I left Metta Earth with a strong community of loving people who I am still in touch with today.  We are all there to support each other along the way as we each enter our next journey.” ~ Spencer Tower, Social Change Leadership Training, 2014

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop