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The Commonweal Garden is a beautiful 17-acre site in Bolinas, California—just down the road from the Commonweal Administrative Building—which has been developed into a large-scale living permaculture classroom and demonstration center for regenerative design.

In 2003, Penny Livingston Stark and James Stark became the caretakers of the Commonweal Garden land, bringing with them the expertise they had developed over decades of landscaping, permaculture design and education, and nature awareness education. The Regenerative Design Institute (RDI) was born.

Today, RDI is a non-profit educational organization with the vision that all people can live in a mutually enhancing relationship with the earth. We envision a world in which people, inspired by nature, create and maintain healthy and abundant livelihoods that enhance fertility and biodiversity on the planet. We envision humans as a positive, healing presence on Earth, creating more abundance on the planet than would be possible without them.

Our mission is to serve as a catalyst for a revolution in the way humans relate to the natural world. As we continue to develop Commonweal Garden into an educational center and demonstration site in permaculture and regenerative design, we serve as an inspiration of possibility for how people can live in a mutually enhancing relationship with the Earth. Through our programs in permaculture, leadership, nature awareness, and urban homesteading, we teach the skills and technology people need to become community leaders and create healthy solutions to the current environmental crisis.

Listen to a New School at Commonweal conversation with RDI co-founders Penny Livingston Stark and James Stark, Commonweal Garden Founder Avis Rappaport Licht, and Commonweal Founder Michael Lerner on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Commonweal Gardens.