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Care for Earth

“Everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation. The more interpretations we gather, the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole.”  —Margaret Wheatley

The environmental movement has taught us a great deal about how everyday lifestyles and behaviors can have an impact on the quality of life on our planet. The types of transportation we use, how we heat or cool our homes, the types of clothes we wear and the food we eat all affect our quality of life. As global citizens we need to adopt environmentally responsible behaviors in the ways we live. We must consider the materials and energy we use, the cleanliness of water and air, habitat and land, flora and fauna, place, construction, settlement, emission and waste.

As we become more conscious of how central food is to our health, it draws our attention to the importance of food security. If we want to know how our food is produced, how it is harvested and handled, and how far it travels, this is best done through local production. If we want to be educated about the effects of diet and keep our health in our own hands, this is within the capacity of our local community.

Our way of producing and relating to food integrates many of the elements that are key to satisfaction. Supporting local producers and markets does our part to solve the energy problem caused by transportation of food.

Circles currently forming (If you would like to join a circle, click the contact to send an email request.)
Cathedral of St. Paul (Episcopal),
 contact Cathleen Bascom
Grannies for a Livable Future, contact Barbara Schlachter
IA River Friends, contact Mel Schlachter
Indian Creek Nature Center, contact Jan Aiels
Indian Creek Nature Center, contact Jean Wiedenhelft
Living Water UMC, contact Lisa D. Schroeder
Matthew 25, contact Jerry Oakland
Metro Catholic Outreach, contact Christin Tomy or Barb Kane
Solstead, contact Tim McCoy
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Chuch, contact Linda Manatt
St. Timothy’s of Cedar Falls, contact Linda Butler
Trees Forever, contact Joann McNiel
Unity Center, contact Jan Griffith

Art and Creativity

“In these… times we don’t need more command and control; we need better means to engage everyone’s intelligence in solving challenges and crises as they arise.”  —Margaret Wheatley

Take time to learn the ways in which different cultures give expression to the human spirit—engagement and identity, performance and creativity, culture and art.

Circles currently forming (If you would like to join a circle, click the contact to send an email request.)
Cedar Rapids Neighborhood,
 contact Carol Sindelar
Indian Creek Nature Center, contact Jean Wiedenhelft
NewBo Books, contact Mary Ann Peters
Pieceworks: An Art and Healing Ministry, contact Kristi Christensen
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, contact Linda Manatt
Voicebox Poetry, contact Carl and Jan Christian Roth

F. John Herbert, executive director at C.S.P.S., invites any of the circles to meet at the Legion Arts Building. If your circle would like to meet there, please contact John.

Engaging Community

Save the Date for Engaging Community, Narrating Change Phase 2!
Wednesday, November 20, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.

Tens of thousands of people build community, not because it is their job, but because of who they are! The hope of all who engage associational life is to bring into conversation the collective wisdom present within each and every individual and organization within the community, co-creating restorative, sustainable, abundant community.

Exciting changes are being narrated in our communities since the April Engaging Community, Narrating Change conference. A number of partners—both individuals and organizations—are convening six conversations inviting forth possibility, accountability and commitment of citizens, and creating collaboration and a greater sense of belonging.

On November 20, Peter Block returns! Author of many books to help citizens imagine an alternative to the patriarchal beliefs that dominate our culture, Peter’s work is to bring change into the world through consent and connectedness, rather than mandate and force. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 20, he will assist in lifting the learnings and initiatives arising from the circle conversations.

Singer/songwriter and musician Barbara McAfee will blend practical content, sassy music, useful wisdom and sophisticated humor as we deepen our commitment.

Peter also has offered to meet with individual circles via conference call. If your circle is interested, please contact Ann Jackson, PBVM, at or 319-213-3384. Please keep us posted on what’s going on in your circle!

Engaging Community, Narrating Change Phase 2
Featuring Peter Block and Barbara McAfee
Wednesday, November 20, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
at St. Pius X Catholic Church
$40 if purchased by October 31 ($45 after October 31)

To register for this Phase 2 event, click here.


“We face a crisis about the common good (today) because there are powerful forces at work among us to resist the common good, to violate community solidarity, and to deny a common destiny. Mature people, at their best, are people who are committed to the common good that reaches beyond private interest, transcends sectarian commitments, and offers human solidarity.” —Walter Brueggemann, Journey to the Common Good

Can you feel the growing movement? It’s happening across the world! People are convening locally to pursue a common vision for the common good. Sustainable, self-organized communities occur when individuals and organizations recognize their interdependence and evolve in ways that support the diversity and viability of all. These communities are marked by mutual relationships, resilience and capacity to create a shared vision on which participants feel impassioned to enact.

Prairiewoods is committed to the creation of restorative, sustainable, abundant community. As a catalyst of sustainable community, we seek to bring into conversation the collective wisdom present within each and every individual of a community. Conversation facilitates collaboration among residents, churches, local civic organizations and institutions. The fruit of these conversations leads to a greater sense of belonging and comprehensive, asset-based community development. Several partnerships with various communities are launching six conversations that will offer people powerful tools and strategies of possibility, accountability and commitment.

Prairiewoods invites circle partnerships that are interdependent, adaptive, resilient, intentional communities of practice. We believe that whatever the problem, community is the answer! These “people circles” will demonstrate how local social innovation can co-create solutions to many of the world’s most intractable issues—such as community health, ecological sustainability and economic woe.

We invite leaders, neighbors and communities to connect to one another, nourishing relationships, sharing gifts and resources, learning, supporting and encouraging them to share their stories to illuminate examples of the future evolving now.

Circles of Sustainability suggest life is understood holistically across an integrated series of fields:

Click here for a printable document with details on how to host your own circles. (Or click here if you would like a list of resources related to Peter Block, John McKnight, Walter Brueggemann and topics of community engagement.)


Invitation to blog…
A culture is built through the stories we tell and what we choose to talk about—our narrative. A primary function of a family, neighborhood or community is to create its story. Telling the story gives body to the collective. Communities become competent when people tell stories that link to their gifts.

Please contribute examples of what’s possible, of what our new world could be like. Illuminating, making visible and sharing the stories of these efforts is vital as we encourage others to step forward on behalf of the issues that most concern them. These inspiring examples help to show that the future we yearn for already is coming into form in many places around the world. We invite you to use the “comments” section on this page and the circle pages to contribute to the story.