LANDWELL: Centering Cultural Innovation and Community Resilience

Living Lands Trust and Landwell Bound by Mutual Intent and Shared Values

Nestled along Jonive Creek, between Sebastopol Center and the Bodega Hills of Sonoma County California, is a 22-acre parcel that is home to a rare grove of old-growth oak trees, fertile farmland soils, a cornucopia of wild flora and fauna, and caring community of people committed to the stewardship of this vital place.  Known as Landwell, this land-based community was seeded in 2016 with the assistance of conservation-minded landholders who acquired and secured the parcel.  Over the past seven years Landwell has blossomed into a true educational and cultural hub that is operated under the auspices of Growing Kinship and the Innovative Learning and Living Institute (ILALI), fiscally sponsored nonprofit organizations that co-create and weave together multiple educational and social enterprises.  These include: the Beehive Learning Center, which is a Waldorf inspired, land-based homeschool with over 30 children spanning grades 1st – 8th and 7 staff members; HeartSeed Farm, which grows a variety of annual and perennial food and medicinal crops and is central to the Beehive’s experiential learning activities; and Soundwell Studios, which offers an array of recording, production, and video services while serving as a source for creative and artistic expression, amplifying the voice of a regenerative land-based culture.  With Landwell flourishing, the landholders are now ready to transfer title to the group as a whole to more fully realize the land protection and cooperative ideals that the initiative was founded on.

Over the summer of 2023, Landwell opened a dialogue with Living Lands Trust about the potential of a partnership to permanently remove these 22 acres from the real estate market and restore them as a gift of nature, part of our shared home and the great commons that supports all life.  Living Lands Trust has always recognized that it is not enough to “save” land, we must also foster a land-based culture that is attuned to nature and can work in harmony with her rhythms and cycles.  Landwell embodies just such a culture, and the 22 acres under the care and stewardship of the cooperative are indeed and important piece of the great commons.  The farmland soils, Jonive Creek, and the greenway between the Bodega Hills and Sebastopol center are all identified as critical elements of Sonoma County’s Vital Lands Initiative.  Living Lands is honored and excited to be in collaboration with Landwell, as well as to help ensure that the vitality of the soil, water, and biodiversity that has been tended by the folks of Landwell will carry forward for generations to come.  By separating title of the land and the buildings, creating a Limited Equity Housing Coop, and crafting agreements that provide for long-term stewardship and shared rights, Living Lands Trust and Landwell hope to serve as an example of how we might continue to move beyond conventional notions of land as property to be bought, sold, or wasted at the whim of a single owner.  Together, we are glad to be part of an emergent and growing movement that holds land as gift, life, and shared home.

We invite you to learn more and support this effort at, Landwell Vision and Opportunity.

Elderflora among the old-growth grove of Oaks

Bird’s eye view of Landwell