Blog Posts By

Aerin Dunford

Aerin Dunford

Aerin Dunford is a writer, artist, urban farmer and yoga instructor who has been involved with the work of The Berkana Institute since 2005. From 2006 to 2008 she was a co-steward of the trans-local learning community, the Berkana Exchange. She is currently the Sharing Our Learning Director at Berkana. Aerin has a master’s degree in Organizational Management with a focus on leadership and change from SIT Graduate Institute. She lives in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico.

Berkana Steps into a Bold Experiment in Living Systems

Posted on March 13, 2012

All living organisms and all living systems rest. From the smallest single cell organism to vast aspen groves connected via intricate networks of roots, life must pause, be still, relax, hibernate, lose its leaves. Stillness is a state of being which allows organisms to later thrive. If perennial plants did not shrivel up and lose their leaves in the winter, they couldn’t reserve their vitality to come back in the spring. If we did not go to sleep every night, we would not have the energy to do all that we need to do during the day. There is a Chinese saying: “the circle of wholeness is made up of action and stillness.” We all need to rest from time to time.

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Come On Irene!

Posted on February 28, 2012

No more prizes for predicting the rain, only prizes for building the arks.” —Don Beck

This quote appeared on the invite for the Vermont Art of Hosting that took place in late August, 2011. Little did we know that a week after the training Vermonters would be putting their ark building skills to the test when the torrential rains of Hurricane Irene tore the state apart. The calling question for our Art of Hosting was: What are the conversations we need to have with each other to build healthy and resilient communities now? We explored meaningful conversation as a catalyst for community building in the region, where belonging, identity and neighborliness are dyed-in-the-wool traditions.

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Hablamos de la Comunalidad

Posted on October 26, 2011

Last night I went to a talk by local anthropologist, Benjamín Maldonado about the origins and history of comunalidad. Given Berkana’s focus on healthy and resilient communities, I thought it would be worth my time to learn a bit more about what people here in Oaxaca mean when they talk about community. Comunalidad is a framework that grew out of the work of a small group of anthropologists here in the South of Mexico at the end of the 70s. This theory explores the essence of indigenous communal life in this region. Read More »

Working Locally to Support Upcycling as a System of Influence

Posted on September 16, 2011

This fall will mark the five-year anniversary of the first time I upcycled my own trash. With the help of friends from SoMoHo (Soweto Mountain of Hope) in South Africa, I transformed a couple soda cans into a pair of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet. Since then I’ve become increasingly passionate about the practice and the mindset behind upcycling (making things that are more useful, beautiful or durable from what was previously considered garbage).U.S. citizens generate around 251 million tons of waste a year – 4.6 pounds per person per day. I’m convinced that if we begin to recognize waste as the most abundant resource on our planet, we’ll not only contribute to “solving” what is currently one of our most pressing global dilemmas, we’ll also become more creative, both individually and collectively. I’m also convinced that creative thinking is absolutely essential to develop during times of increasing complexity and uncertainty. Read More »