Get the best of Commons Magazine — FREE!


September 30, 2012

An Invitation to Join the Commons Network

If you care about what we share in common, follow the link below

You’re invited to help us grow the commons movement
Do you seek to help communities collaborate in new ways? Are you interested in creative resource sharing? Do you often think about what we all share—and work to reclaim and protect it for future generations?

If you are drawn to commons-based approaches, you belong in the Commons Network, a group of individuals and organizations who advance the commons in communities all over the world.

And today we’re inviting you to join us. Read on for more information about how you can get involved. Here’s “how to join”:http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5475/p/salsa/web/questionnaire/public/?questionnaire_KEY=818

The time is ripe
The commons is as much about what we share as how we share. When people come together to define a resource as shared, and to ensure that it is equitably and sustainably used, we call it commoning. The commons, in other words, is a deeply egalitarian, collaborative, and stewardship-oriented approach in which people are not only users and beneficiaries, but also co-creators, stewards, and protectors of shared resources.

Today commoning is on the rise as it has become increasingly clear that “business as usual” is failing us, both economically, and ecologically. People yearn to create a better world and to write a new narrative for the future. As a result, individuals and organizations have begun to embrace the commons as a concept and practical approach for transcending the dominant paradigm of modern life, for solving pressing issues, and for creating a more life-giving future.

Enter the Commons Network
At On the Commons (OTC), we believe that connecting these individuals and organizations through the network will allow us to expand our collective knowledge; to incubate, replicate, and share commons-based initiatives with a wider audience (or to expand the practice of commoning); and to increase the number of resources available to all commoners. Intentionally building this network will also deepen our capacity in the field, both in terms of our ability to demonstrate on-the-ground solutions, and to resource this work.

Our goals for the network include:

  • Strengthening connection, collaboration, and synergy among commons leaders.

  • Developing shared knowledge, tools, and materials on the theory and practice of commoning as an emergent approach for fostering social change.

  • Simultaneously raising the visibility of commons work and increasing its accessibility to all interested communities.

Who belongs in the Commons Network?
No matter the community, culture, or generation you come from, you belong in the Commons Network if you:

  • Are a doer, innovator, experimenter, pattern breaker, paradigm shifter, solution seeker, problem re-definer, or risk taker.

  • Have accomplished goals with a commons orientation, or are currently involved with a commons-based initiative in your field or community.

  • Want to share your knowledge, learn from others, and work with a co-creative and open-minded spirit.

  • Seek and experiment with new forms of sharing, participatory governance, or structures of ownership and belonging.

  • Are drawn to using commons-based approaches.

Does this sound like you? Then join the Commons Network today!
Joining the Commons Network is easy. Simply tell us a bit about yourself and your interests by completing this form.

What network members can expect
OTC will offer both virtual, and in-person opportunities for connecting with other members of the network. Activities may include:

  • Regular conference calls and virtual learning exchanges,

  • Commons Solutions Labs,

  • Monthly e-updates focused on a theme of commons organizing, and/or

  • An online forum for ongoing conversation.

The inaugural Commons Solutions Lab
We’ve scheduled the first Commons Solutions Lab from November 16th – 18th, 2012 at the Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

The Commons Solutions Lab will bring together 20–25 commons leaders who are currently testing commons-based solutions in their communities or fields of work. Participants will represent a wide variety of initiatives addressing our essential commons, such as food, farmland, seeds, water, health, municipalities, parks, public space, and more. Each participant will work to implement imaginative solutions to pervasive problems, and in doing so, will spark renewed forms of community consciousness, collaboration, and change making.

At the Learning Lab, participants can share what they are trying and why, as well as what they’ve learned. We expect our participants to engage deeply with frameworks and practices to advance their work.

Our goals for the gathering include building relationships, exploring the practice of commoning, and defining how the network can meaningfully support and strengthen the work of commons leaders.

At this time, a few spots remain. Please indicate your interest in attending the inaugural Commons Solutions Lab when you fill out the commons network membership form, and we will provide you with additional information about the gathering. Food and lodging will be provided, and travel scholarships are available.

About On the Commons
OTC is a commons movement strategy center founded in 2001. Our purpose is to activate the emergence of a commons-based society by:

  • Building and bringing visibility to the commons movement.
  • Initiating and catalyzing commons work that focuses on commons-based solutions.
  • Developing and encouraging commons leadership.
  • Over the past eleven years, we have initiated successful co-creative projects and innovative strategies for protecting our essential commons, such as water, food, farmland, and seeds; showcased commons-based solutions on a local and national level; and inspired commons activists to make a difference in their communities and the world.