July 20-21 Nonviolent Communication with Jack Lehman

Nonviolent Communication® with Jack Lehman, Certified NVC Trainer on July 20 and 21, 2019

We’re all thirsty for connection, real connection. By integrating the principles of Nonviolent Communication® (NVC) we can break free of conditioning (blaming, arguing, fault-finding, over-dependence on the left brain, etc.) enabling us to embody the more grounded, wild and joyful parts of ourselves.

The Foundations of NVC training is an opportunity to deepen our practice of empathy—the ability to listen to self and others and honesty—the ability to express what’s ALIVE in us, in a way that creates connection rather than conflict.

Get a one day introduction on Saturday, July 20 or attend the full two-day training. For more information about the training inquire of Jack at girafferide@gmail.com. 12 Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) approved by the New Mexico Counseling and Therapy Practice Board are available.

There are opportunities for camping and nature connection. Bring your own lunch or preregister for wild foods, plant based lunch below.

Suggested donation: $175. No one turned away for lack of funds.

To reserve a spot and to register fill out the information below or email us at wildcooperative@hotmail.com or call (970) 921-5351.

From Jack:

I was born 47 in an Italian neighborhood, which was turning into a black one, within view of the Statue of Liberty. My Dad was a mortar gunner in Pattons 4th Armored Division. His experiences in combat and of course his own childhood prior to it, made violence a major theme in my childhood. Fighting was glorified, anger and violence were modeled, and dogmatic theology was promulgated. In ’69 I went to Europe where I spent 3 years and scratched my productivity itch. I took a Masters in Philosophy at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, and at the same time, most of another in French Lit. at NYU in Paris.  I trained in Karate, eventually reaching 3rd degree black belt,  became fluent in French and conversational in Italian. I spent the next 10 years in Asia where I had some significant realizations. The most important happened in Daramsala, where I was taking teachings at the Tibetan Library. I read J Krishnamurti and realized that my fundamental modus operandi in life, which was based on physical and intellectual domination, would never get me where I wanted to go. In fact, most of my thinking was actually a form of suffering. That blew my mind. The way out of this suffering is the process of choiceless observation, which has been my main practice since that time in 74. Living in Rajneeshs (aka Osho) commune in Poona, India, and later in Oregon, afforded me a place to test out this model of inquiry and make many other experiments. In those years I learned about the interface of meditation and sexuality, about power, jealousy, conflict, how to celebrate everything including death, and had my deepest experiences of letting go and unconditional love, not to mention punching cows and riding horses! I moved to Santa Fe, NM in 85 and spent a lot of time in what I could call mens work which was essentially reclaiming parts of myself that I had pushed back into the shadow, things like fear, shame and grief. Anger was a kind of cap on the well of these deep painful emotions and beliefs. Sitting in mens circles helped me get more clarity about how I was holding all this together and at what price. I went back to school again in 94 for an MA in counseling psychology. I wanted more meaning in my life and saw psychotherapy as a way to contribute to others in the context of right livelihood. In 95 I listened to a cassette tape of Marshall Rosenberg on anger, which again blew my mind. He taught me that I alone am the cause of my anger, and everything else I feel. This insight helped me integrate my default emotion, which had been eating my lunch for over 50 years. NVC has also given me a very succinct way of playing/working with myself and my clients on the path to getting free of conditioning, a way that interfaces so harmoniously with the other practices I had explored and continue to explore like Vipassanna, martial arts, dance (especially Tango),  and enJoying the Wilderness with both my gaited horses. I love working with couples and individuals in the role of NVC trainer or psychotherapist.   What’s more fun than getting free of conditioning?  Getting free together.     Cheers,   Jack

July 6 Bioregional Herbalism with herbalist John Slattery

July 6, 2019


Workshop fee – $75

In this workshop we will explore the fundamental aspects of becoming a bioregional herbalist: developing relationship with place and the plants within it as we amble through the lush riparian landscape of the Smith Fork on the western slope in Colorado.

Bioregional herbalism is about getting to know the plants within your home environment. But not just by name. The sensorial relationship of knowing a plant within its natural home landscape carries with it a rich fabric of information and inter-relatedness that hard data does not possess. The intimacy experienced through this type of relationship is what strengthens our connection to all of Nature and informs us about our place in it and what is happening all around us. This includes how to heal ourselves.

To register please go to http://www.johnjslattery.com/upcoming-events/2019/7/6/bioregional-herbalism-plant-energetics-and-healing-with-nature

John is a bioregional herbalist helping people develop relationship with wild plants. Seeking out local traditional knowledge and fostering relationships with traditional healers John works towards keeping traditional knowledge alive while embuing it with new perspective gleaned through deep relationship with plants. He founded Desert Tortoise Botanicals, a bioregional herbal product company, in Tucson, AZ in 2005 in order to bring his wildharvested plant medicines to the people of the Southwest. He maintains his Vitalist clinical practice in Tucson, AZ and offers plant walks, foraging expeditions, field trips into Sonora, Mexico, and his annual Sonoran Herbalist Apprenticeship Program featuring multi-day field study excursions into the mountains of Arizona and Sonora. He enjoys traveling to new bioregions, learning new plants, and to encourage people to become bioregional in their approach.

John received training with herbalist Michael Moore at his Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, and at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism.

2016/early 2017 accomplishments and goals


A private access to the land is created at the top east corner of the property. We officially have an address now (for good or for worse…).

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We are still working on finishing of the 800-square-foot community building. Insulation and finishing touches are in progress. Major tree work was done around the building to protect it from any damage from storms. We also have an approved septic system plumbed to the building.



A 1650-Watt solar power system was purchased and is in the final stages of installation.


Just kidding… but I love my solar cooker



1500-gallon concrete cistern was buried at the top north-east corner of the property for gravity fed water system. The pipes are buried below the frost line.


We had two top bar hives housing honey bees but unfortunately the winter wasn’t kind to them. We have placed some bait hives to catch some new local swarms. We will try to change the location of the hives so the bees can have every hour of the winter sun.



A 75′ x 24′ greenhouse was installed for season extension. Unfortunately, the roof frame of the structure ended up being too flat and the greenhouse wasn’t shedding snow efficiently. We will need to adjust the framing to create a steeper roof.



We have fence posts ready to be pounded into the ground. We need to finish the perimeter fence to partially protect the land from free roaming cattle since they are coming on our side of the mountain this year.


We are actively looking for partners to share this beautiful place and create a supportive community. We see this future partnership as a model for successful living and business cooperation. This voluntary group of individuals with various skills and knowledge but common ethics is creating a healthy living environment for each other, greater community and nature. The business possibilities within the permaculture demonstration and education site allow the community to be financially solvent.

There are many ways to design the land to accommodate community members with a private quarter of an acre to one acre. The possible sites are ideal for small (under 600 square feet) natural homes. The dwellings can be earth-sheltered with passive solar design to approach zero-net-energy-consumption. The community stuarts the remainder of the land and has shares in the Wild Cooperative which grows in value and quality.


Proposed building sites 4

If you’re interested, please reach out to us at wildcooperative@hotmail.com for more information. We are open to discussion, owner financing, and see many possibilities how we can make this happen. Looking forward to hearing from you!

In Search of Community


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The land is an area of 15.6 acres at about 7,000 ft elevation at 38° latitude with:

  • a pasture on the north end,
  • a forested Saddle Mountain side on the south end,
  • and two creeks, Little Coal and Smith Fork in between.

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It is not in the flood zone and the land comes with irrigation rights from a ditch at the highest northern boundary maintained by three neighbors.

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The climate is cold semi-arid with a continental effect. It gets about 19 inches of rain and about 48 inches of snow on average per year. The land is mostly sheltered from the wind in the valley. The average summer high temperature is about 89°F and average winter low temperature is about 13°F. The USDA hardiness zone is 5a with about 124 frost free days (with an average first frost date on Sep 21, and last frost date on May 21). 

At summer solstice, the sun positions are from 60° to 300° and the maximum sun angle is 74°, giving 15 hours of sunlight. At winter solstice, the sun positions are from 120° to 240° and the maximum sun angle is 25°, giving 9 hours of sunlight. The sunlight is not blocked by the Saddle Mountain almost all the way down to the creeks even at the shortest day of the year.

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IMG_8525 - IMG_8526The approximately 67,000 sq ft pasture was previously used by horses and flood irrigated. It has a gentle, about 5% south facing slope. It is surrounded by gamble oak and covered with grasses, chicory, and patches of milkweed. The alkaline, about 8 pH combination soil is occasionally aerated by rodents.

The lower northern shelf, just above the creeks provides a bit cooler microclimate. It is where an abandoned trailer is being repurposed to serve as a community building, classroom and a workshop.



IMG_8577The riparian buffer around the creaks creates another unique microclimate with possibilities of ponds and plethora of moisture and shade loving plants and mushrooms.








Across the Smith Fork creek, on the northern slope of the Saddle Mountain, there is a leveled shelf. It is a possible building site for seasonal cabins for hot summer days surrounded by native flora with medicinal and edible understory species among the majestic cottonwoods.


Valley-sunrise-sm-590x387We are located in the North Fork Valley, the organically creative hub of Colorado. The land is about 5 miles east of a quiet town of Crawford, 16 miles to Hotchkiss and 18 miles to Paonia. We are surrounded by vast stretches of wilderness and public lands and are about 15 miles from the eastern entrance to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

 image of the sunrise over the North Fork Valley from http://www.northforkvalley.org

The land is about an hour drive to the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt and we are blessed with a wonderful regeneratively focused community with many local permaculture and biodynamic courses being offered. The many craftsmen, artists, performers and activists provide many possibilities of rich cultured social life for kids and adults. The mostly agrarian entrepreneurs drive our local economy and the epicurean locals like to make it alternative with bartering, future food hubs, and other cooperative businesses. The local farmer and baker was the driving force behind the 2012 Colorado Cottage Foods Act, which launched many home businesses around the state. Paonia is the home of the training facility of Solar Energy International, a non-profit educational organization that strives to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower people, communities, and businesses worldwide.



This is a brand new permaculture site. We purchased about 16 acres of raw land in late 2014 and are developing it now. Currently, we are finishing the solar-powered off-the-grid community house which will have a kitchen, bathroom, workshop, an attached greenhouse, and a large classroom ready to receive students, activists, entrepreneurs, and community members. We are also working on fencing, domestic and irrigation water systems, and various earthworks projects, including access driveway. Depending on time and resources we would like to start building our natural earth-sheltered home, masonry heater, and an outdoor pizza oven. Our main focus after creating a shelter is healthy soil building, as well as regenerating and stewarding environmentally damaged areas. We would like to build myco-remediation beds to filter out neighboring horse stable runoff before it goes into the creek and improve the riparian buffer along the creek with propagating suitable plants. Our goal is to create a natural, earth-friendly ecosystem that energizes people on all levels and allows for personal and group endeavors, as well as shares and returns the surplus of energy and knowledge.



There are many building sites for satellite natural buildings to house the Wild Cooperative’s community members as well as interns and apprentices. We are developing all the structures, including: cabins/homes, greenhouses, bee hives, water cisterns, grey water reclamation pool with filtrating plants, humanure biogas digester, and composting toilet(s). The access driveway, pathways, and trails going up the Saddle Mountain and into the surrounding public lands are formed.

An initial containment pond to pacify the irrigation water is dug, filled with rocks and the edge planted with wind and sun shading vegetation. Swales are created to spread and soak the water and planted to a food forest with alley cropping in between the swales. Our edible forest garden supplies all of our fruit, nut, vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, mushrooms and honey, fire and construction wood, as well as surplus of these products for replacement of components of the ecosystem and for profit. It gives us private secure relaxing shelter, a demonstration and experimentation site as well as a place of employment.

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We are a community cultivating cooperative and facilitating relationship with nature and each other and share the knowledge of our living experiences. We are concentrating on changing our life’s perspective from human centric to bio centric where all life, in any form is part of our family and relatives.


Community members have about a quarter of an acre to build a sustainable natural home to provide privacy. These natural homes are under 600 square feet and approach zero net energy consumption. The community stuarts the remainder of the land and have shares in the Wild Cooperative which grows in value and quality.

Community members agree on a group ethic. In our “doacracy,” people that are doing the tasks are making the decisions by consensus, where (quoting Bill Mollison) “there is no one way to do anything” since “‘one solution’ systems evolve from the concentration of power in one or other form.” We make our decisions based on the holistic management framework with permaculture ethics at its basis while practicing non-violent communication.

We are open to visitors but we ask them to consider our community and personal space and call ahead before coming.


The Wild Cooperative is looking for two to three partners to share its vision. The land stewardship basically follows the Mollison’s Village Development model. Each party contributes approximately $80,000. A third of the generated funds supports the development of community infrastructure, including buildings, pathways/roads, equipment, tools, fencing, and irrigation; another third covers the land cost; and another third is given to the community for later use.


Voluntary association of individuals with their various skills and knowledge that want to be together and have common ethics will act upon them in much easier fashion than separately or in an involuntary model (most towns or neighborhoods). It is not hard to imagine a situation where we are dependent on each other and we want our community to support us. Just as we design a resilient system on the ground we want to have the same resilient social, economic, cultural and educational guilds.

Brand Spanking New!

As we are developing our permaculture homestead and education site we’ll be sharing more and more links and posts about our experiences, resources, acquired knowledge, and eventually products and services. We are hoping to host and give many workshops  and would love to support the community by making at least one spot available free to someone who is doing great work in the community and cannot afford to attend, so stay tuned.

Rocky Mountain spring ephemeral native

Creeping Mahonia (Mahonia repens) – Rocky Mountain spring ephemeral native (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/culturing-science/files/2014/03/Mahonia-repens.jpg)