For Practical Tools to Build Better Worlds

Broken glass everywhere!
Mosaics on the sidewalk
Kids playing foursquare
If it ain’t about my hood ya know we just don’t care

Localities by the score
Get tight and unite next door
The volunteer core got a sing-alive vibe word is born
Rhizomes find home in your rhyme-zone, singularities punching
Compass Junction, the hacked triple-stack laced the function
Heads bumping


Saint Johns crew with the biggest and the baddest
Backyard bamboo lattice with the asset map status
I’m in the attic with the raddest and the bombest
Planet Repair Insta-troupe
Brewin’ up a sick tight song list

Shit hits the fan, the plan: my neighborhood glue
Canned foods for land feuds in the 2012 Coup
When sibyl-eyed minds redesign time for human truth
And poets float notes to civilized youth:
Placemake the blank space, show the globe slowly
You’re free So are we, pounding feet into adobe

Medicine is the weapon
Intersections spinning out the needles
Love-kissed alchemists and music for the people
The myth cried insurgence
Emerging from observance
Collides citywide in the Indra-net convergence
We stomp grounds and pound footprint in solid rock
You got it locked
Terra- forming like ant hives
On my hottest block



Written by the editor of Village Alchemy, Joe La Sac.

Working on this movie has lead me to ask many questions, both of myself and those I am interviewing. Mainly, why is something like Placemaking important?

You would think I would have that answered before making the movie, however, that is, I suppose, why I am making the film.Some might even ask, “What is Placemaking?” – the short answer is the reclaiming of spaces and turning them into places where people can experience a deeper connection and sense of enjoyment. It may come in the form of a bench, a kiosk, a garden, or an intersection that is painted by neighbors.


Driving on the South East side of Portland yesterday, I passed one of the many cob benches that have been built during the last 11 years of the VBC. I saw a group of teenagers seeking refuge from the sun and sitting in the cool shade of the living roof which covered the bench. Seeing their smiles and the pleasure in having a place to hang out made me understand what is being done here.


More then just benches to sit on or pretty paintings in the streets, the projects of the Village Building Convergence leave a lasting legacy of community. It takes community to create them, to up-keep them, and to enjoy them. Providing more Places for people to gather and get to know each other helps lead to less crime in a neighborhood, less isolation, and less fear of the unknown neighbor.


The importances of a modern-day village go much deeper. And the steps to get there are the focus of this movie. It is intended to be like a recipe book for other communities to cook up their own village magic. For more inspiration, please check out the movie when it is done! Follow along on the web site, or “Like” Village Alchemy on Facebook for up dates.

~ Hannah ~

This project has really been fun to work on, and to get to know some of the key people involved with the Village Building Convergence on a deeper level. The interviews we have done have also included figures who work for the city, and I have really enjoyed hearing their perspective on the VBC.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz was not only articulate about the importance of creating community, but also very pleasant personality who truly cares about the well-being of her city. When I inquired about the jersey on her office wall with the number 7 on it, I was shocked to hear it was in honor of her being elected Portland’s seventh woman commissioner! WHAT? I had the feeling Portland was so progressive, I would have thought many more women would be elected at the city level.


Women of Portland, sounds like there is room for you to get more involved at an elected official level. Just want to send out some inspiration for others to get involved.

~ Hannah ~

Filming at the Commissioner Fritz's office

The weekend of August 6th and 7th, I ventured to an amazing music festival held just outside of Portland at the Pendarvis Farm. It was called Pickathon, and hosted a wide variety of talented musicians on an 80 acre forested farm. I went to see the Village Building Convergence folks work more of their magic as they used large swaths of material, wood from the forest, and recycled building materials to construct stages, chill zones, and trails for the event.

It was great to see so many of the people who had worked so hard to produce the VBC to come together again to turn spaces into places. The structures they created offered participants of the festival much needed shade, a great viewing spot for the main stage, and a unique ambiance when walking in the woods. “The Nest” from the night time events at the Village Building Convergence morphed into a beautiful area for kids and adults to hang out and enjoy the fun!


"The Nest" finds a new home at Pickathon

I could see the bonds between the builders grow stronger, and even some romances gain momentum. We danced late into the nights, and slept in the woods! What could be better?

Pickathon went out of its way to be a very eco-friendly event, with only reusable bamboo plates, reusable mugs from Klean Kanteen for the beer, and a bio-diesel shuttle. I understand that part of the proceeds from the beer sales will be donated to City Repair to help fund future VBCs!

The importance of getting together to have fun and enhance the experience of others by providing unique places for them to gather really shined through at Pickathon. It was great to see the lessons I learned at the VBC be brought to light in another setting.

Some of my friend’s thought Pickathon was a berry picking festival. I’m glad to say it was so much more!



Photos by Holly Marie Suda:

VBC crew creativity lights up the Wood Stage

Sunday Valley rockin' it: no shortage of talent at this gathering!


Joe and Hannah taking a break from filming


Sebastian and Lula taking a break at Pickathon

Hannah playing in VBC wood art

Hannah and Holly filming in the woods

Like what the film Village Alchemy is about so far? And you want to go in depth with a hands-on course?

You’ll definitely like the 8-week Village Building Design Course then. Taught by Michael Cook and Mia van Meter, two VBC core volunteers who know how to make places and inspire people to do it themselves, these design courses have been partially the inspiration for the content of our film Village Alchemy. The courses features guest permaculturists, natural builders, and many others.

This will be held in the Fall of 2011 at the Healing Arts Resource Project (HARP) – a VBC placemaking site as well.

location: 2926 NE Flanders St. Portland, OR. (


Specific dates:
Tuesday nights, Sept. 13 through Nov 1 (8 Tuesdays), 6:45-8.
Register soon! Find more info on the City Repair’s website and HARP’s website.

World Village Building Gathering


July 30th through August 13th, 2011.

Information and schedule from the gathering’s Facebook event page:



Free Gathering with Focus on Natural Building


…Come join in a Tipi Building Workshop, Cob, Post and Tier, and More!

Co-Creating a Kids Village in the woods along the Siuslaw River

Children’s Activities include;
Mineral Paint Making, Herbal Medicine Making, Natural Building, Organic Food Preparation, and More.

Native Ceremonies

Acoustic Musicians

3 Meals Served Daily

Community Tipi’s and Tent Camping

Peace Village (Yoga, Kirtan, Meditation, Sweatlodge, and Massage)

directions from downtown eugene to village….

head south on willamette
turn right on west 18th
turn left on chambers
turn right at next stop sign on top of hill at Lorane Hwy.
turn left at next stop sign on Lorane Hwy. (continued)
turn left at next stop sign on Territerrioral Hwy
Go 6 miles to Lorane
make right at general store on Siuslaw Rd.
make left at next road right after mile maker # 43
make next immediate left on gravel rd.
go a couple hundred yards on look to your left

(please dont block road) and please also dont cross the bridge neighbor likes his privacy.
thank you

This year we have been seeing many placemaking convergence pop up in the Northwest. This weekend — August 11th – 14th — Olympia, Washington is putting on their own Village Building Convergence.


Olympia Village Building Convergence


For more info go to the website for the Oly VBC –


The schedule as printed on


The Olympia Village Building Convergence will be taking place at Fertile Ground August 11-14. We will be hosting work parties during the day to transform the commons, and events during the evening to transform the community.

Work parties will be from 10a-5p each day of the OlyVBC… come for a few hours or the whole day, however much you would like to participate. Learn new skills, share your own, and meet some fine folks along the way.

Projects include:
• Community welcome gate
• Living roof for the cob pizza oven
• Intersection mandala painting
• Chicken tractor lounge

Evening events begin at 7p. The main event on Saturday night will cost a $5-$15 donation, all other evenings are free!

Thursday, August 11:
Compassionate Communication
Nonviolent communication workshop with Liv Monroe

Friday, August 12:
Food Security in the South Sound
Food Summit update with TJ Johnson

Saturday, August 13:
Main event! $5-$15
Mark Lakeman and Mighk Simpson of the Planet Repair Institute
Followed by music with the Erev Rav Klezmer Orchestra

Sunday, August 14:
Community celebration!
Come down to Fertile Ground and check out the energy, love and transformation

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