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The Commonweal Garden

Nestled in a beautiful valley, surrounded by the wild land of the Point Reyes National Seashore, and within listening distance of the murmur of the Pacific Ocean lies the Commonweal Garden. Oak woodlands and soft chaparral form a wild embrace of the cultivated garden within, a natural sanctuary of beauty, abundance and healing.


The Commonweal Garden invites people into a healing and reciprocal relationship with the land. From the first biointensive gardeners who began developing the land in the early 1970s, a deep reverence and understanding of natural systems has guided the garden’s development. This reverent respect for the wisdom of Nature continues to orient the unfolding understanding of the human-Garden relationship.


For the last fourteen years, the Garden has been the home of the Regenerative Design Institute, with Penny Livingston and James Stark directing the integrated, ecological, multi-dimensional living classroom. As James would say, the Garden became a “vision nursery”, in which participants in the transformational, ecologically oriented courses cultivated an appreciation of what is possible for themselves, their communities, and their world. Students studying permaculture principles (applied to both the inner and outer landscape) have been held and inspired by the Garden, and the Garden has been lovingly tended. Her soil has been nourished and replenished, her water thoughtfully managed, and an abundance for the benefit of all of her living inhabitants realized. The Garden has become a beautiful demonstration of a mutually enhancing way of being in relationship with the Earth.


The Garden now invites us to listen deeply to the voice of Nature, to explore the edges between the wild and the tended, and to cultivate the rich Medicine that comes from letting the healing energies of Nature into one’s being. Through cultivating an appreciation of beauty and wonder, medicinal and culinary herbs, nourishing foods, an awake presence and a quiet mind, we reconnect to our essential human nature and our vital, living world. As we listen with all of our senses and remember our place in the natural world, we relearn the language of inter-relatedness. We regain the essential soul-nourishment of honoring the sacred in the natural world. We begin to heal the alienating wounds of separation and ravages of consumerism. We move toward wholeness.


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