Bianca Heyming on Community Life

What is the work you do?
Currently, I am getting back into sustainable education and program development, after taking some time off to focus on being a mom.  10 years ago, it seemed like I used to teach or facilitate a gardening or homesteading workshop every weekend.  Since having my son and moving to EVO, I’ve been focusing more on design work for landscapes and innovative workplaces.  It’s been great working with clients to help them express themselves and get inspired by their living, growing environment.  
 
I’m also involved in community organizing, helping bridge between disparate groups around common goals such as gardening, health and wellness, and family. I know it sounds crazy, but I love working with county and municipal officials, because there’s always grassroots ways to help them in their roles as civil servants.  Many people find bureaucracy boring, but to me it’s fascinating and I love the challenge of finding consensus between groups that are traditionally in opposition to one another.

How does living in community support or inform the work you do in the world?
 I feel like it gives me perspective and insight into a more traditional way of living.  A hundred years ago, most people lived like this, and for the majority of human history we knew our neighbors and could rely on them for everything from food, to festivals, to good old fashioned barn-raising.  Most people don’t get that kind of connection with their neighbors any more, but here at EVO we regularly come together to build and break bread.  So we’re kind of a throwback to that way of being, and when I’m out there helping people connect with their gardens, or organizing an initiative, I bring that sense of remembering to the people I work with and it really scratches an itch many of them didn’t realize they had.
 
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from living in community? 
The greatest lesson I’ve learned while living in community is to listen more and be as present as possible to other people.  In fact I believe this is a way to avoid many unnecessary conflicts or misunderstandings.  If we really take the time to put the cell phone away, maybe close the door for less distractions, or square away personal time with another person- that person may feel really seen and respected.  However, it is when we don’t take the time to be present with someone that we miss the opportunity to understand where they are coming from and that their intentions are more often than not very pure and relatable.

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