Village Building Convergence

I am floating on a cloud of inspiration and joy! ❤

Traveled up to the beautiful forests of Portland, OR to run the waste management at City Repair‘s Village Building Convergence.vbc logo

A 10-day Community Building, Permaculture Action, Paradigm Shifting Festival where neighbors came together with visitors to create community spaces that feature public art, gathering places, permaculture gardens and natural building in a process they call “placemaking”.

During the day there were 40+ hands-on Community Action projects around the city and at night we all came together for workshops, delicious meals, dance and play.


The first day of festivities I coordinated a River Clean Up along the Willamette River in partnership with Solve Oregon, Surfrider Portland Chapter and The VBC. 

kateandsarah  river clean up rivercleanup

We gathered trash to clean the river bank and to collect material for trash art or “Tart” to be created throughout the week. Picking up trash feels like a treasure hunt, looking for interesting colors, textures and beauty in discarded materials. Here is a picture of the sorted trash (aka free art materials:) from the river clean up.


I call this trash picking practice Tart Waste Management. Creating trash art to get people to think about the life cycle of the materials they come across in their daily lives.  Everyday new friends would come together and create art out of these discarded materials. Here is a picture of Kate & Eric about to cut up some trash and some trash found on my walks around Ladd’s Addition.


For the waste management during the festival we put out Compost and Recycle receptacles to make it easier for attendees to know what goes where and to encourage conversations about the absence of trash.

recycle compost

The VBC was the most inspiring gathering I have ever attended. All of the people there were so loving, warm and divinely activated! I am filled with gratitude for being welcomed so open heartily into their inspiring community.

Combing our love for the whimsical trees of Oregon we began creating this tree mosaic out of the “trash”. IMG_8634 IMG_8641IMG_8650

Kin-necting and working the passionate people of the VBC made my overwhelming feelings regarding the state of the world subside a little. I kept thinking, wow! Here are some people living their values and effectively engaging and inspiring future leaders!

The festival was so close to zero waste! They used reusable plates and utensils for dinner (many thanks to all the dishwashers!), they had stainless steel city repair cups at the event for sale and the plastic solo cups they did have were cleaned and reused. There was hardly any trash created at the festival, but the two main trash items were coconut bliss bar packaging and Plastic solo cups for serving beer and komubcha.

I really wanted to figure out something we could do with the Solo cups and came up with the idea to create Han Solo and tie him and the tree piece together with saying “May the Forest be with You” ❤ Infinite gratitude to all the beautiful souls hat came together to create this art!

IMG_8685  IMG_8670












The last day of the convergence was the most inspiring day for me! In the morning I went over to “Share-it Square” to help re-paint their intersection and to get a tour from Mark Lakeman, the founder of City Repair, of all the beautiful things they had done in their neighborhood to create a living community.

Touring around the neighborhood made me feel like I had been transported into an enchanting ecotopia! Cisterns, grey water systems, cob structures (benches, saunas, chicken palace), solar powered t-stations, kids play houses, information stations, gates joining neighbors yards, community compost system, gardens, green roofs, shared art spaces, and best of all a community swing! 🙂 They are taking steps towards going 100% off the grid while still living in the city!

cisterns cob bench pri  tstation chickenpalace thorse

The hub of all this activation is The Planet Repair Institute, where they had the first VBC 15 years ago.

Here is a video of the intersection painting this year.

The day after the festival a bunch of us all got together at Kelley Point Park to celebrate, swim and relax along the river.


My friend Kirk and I picked up trash along the shore and created this fairy home together. ❤ 🙂


The next step is to bring this inspiring convergence back to my own community in San Luis Obispo 🙂



Check out this video of Mark Lakeman talking about the VBC and the roots of City Repair and the Village Building Convergence:


Sending infinite love ❤

Sarah Bellum

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