EVO: So Booda, tell us a little about your EVO experience so far? What brought you here? Is it everything you hoped for?
Booda: Well, I first heard about EVO and took a tour in 2014, since then intentional community living has become a huge value in my life, so a few years ago I decided to get serious about it. I was like most of my friends, I had been talking about community, but I hadn’t actually taken the steps to get real, first-hand experience, so EVO was a great opportunity for that. My initial plan was just to stay for a few months, but I ended up really enjoying living here — the people are excellent and I really got into living in the country.
EVO: Ye haw cowboy! So what it is about EVO that makes you feel like you’re living in the country?
Booda: Well, for example, the first thing I do almost every morning is I go feed the chickens and goats. I also chop wood and make a fire every night in my wood burning stove, but most importantly — I’ve been wearing a lot more flannel and leather — adopting the “EVO style”, as mandated by Kyle Shinners.
EVO: Does Kyle police your fashion choices?
Booda: “Police” isn’t the right word, he’s more like a girlfriend who wants to have sex with you every time you wear her favorite shirt. So at the end of the day, it feels like your choice, but it’s really not. He also bought me a leather hat when we were in Idyllwild that has been nothing short of life-changing since I started wearing it at music gigs. Everyone loves it.
EVO: It’s a really great hat. Speaking of music, can you talk a little about what you’ve done with the EVO Tea House?
Booda: Sure! Last year I converted the Tea House into a rad music venue. It still functions as a community space, but now it has a stage, lights and a great sound system so we can have legit music shows there, kind of like the one we have coming up!
EVO: You must be talking about the show on April 26th with Adam Knight and Angus Wilson!
Booda: Indeed I am, it’s gonna be so fun — those guys are really talented, and we do the shows “in the round” style, which means we’re all on stage together, but we alternate playing songs and telling jokes.
EVO: You are pretty funny, Booda.
Booda: Aw, thanks! I mean, mostly I just say stupid things then put my foot in my mouth. But people seem to enjoy it.
EVO: Yeah we do. Alright, so besides converting the Tea House into a music venue, you’ve also hosted a huge Roman toga party in the pool house, created EVOlympics and now you have a new tiny house and it’s barely been a year. What’s your secret to being such a prolific resident?
Booda: Well I wouldn’t say “prolific”, I just have fun and do whatever brings me joy. I’m just a regular guy.
EVO: Whatever Marie Kondo, don’t sell yourself short — people have been saying you’re the new “Lauren Kennedy”, and that’s a pretty high compliment.
Booda: I’ve never met Lauren but I’ve heard great things, and I probably don’t deserve that kind of praise.
EVO: Humility isn’t exactly what you’re known for, why this sudden change of demeanor?
Booda: I don’t know what you’re talking about, I feel like you’re assuming quite a lot.
EVO: Come on buddy, you’re “Dave Booda.” All the ladies want you, and the men want to be you. You’re practically a local celebrity.
Booda: This is getting ridiculous, I’m really not even sure how this interview got so off track, I thought we were going to talk about community?
EVO: We already talked about that.
Booda: Okay, so are we done?
EVO: I have a few more questions, and a wish.
Booda: A wish? What do I look like… a genie?
EVO: I was just hoping you could play and sing my favorite song.
Booda: No, I’m sorry, maybe another time.
EVO: Come onnnn. Just one song!
Booda: It’s never one song, and you know that.
EVO: But it’s my favorite song.
Booda: You already said that.
EVO: Ugh, fine. Whatever, Mister “local celebrity”!
Booda: I didn’t even say that — you’re quoting yourself. I can’t believe this is happening.
EVO: I didn’t say that, you did. Fake news!
Booda: Really?!? You’re bringing “fake news” into this? I can’t even.
EVO: So just one song? Please?!?
Booda: No, I’m going to back to my tiny home and locking the door.
EVO: I know where you live.
Booda:I know, we live on the same property.
EVO: Okay bye! See you soon!
Booda: Good bye, please don’t publish the last part of this interview.
EVO: I won’t.
EVO: So Booda, tell us a little about your EVO experience so far? What brought you here? Is it everything you hoped for?
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.
It was a cool and windy day when the dawn finally arose. There was stillness in the air, the crackling of anticipation hanging like a twig in a burning fire. After months of banter and chitchat, the battle had finally arrived. It was a battle of strength, of stamina, of ultimate dominion and dominance to decide who was the deftest and daintiest and most determined of the day. It was of course the highly anticipated EVOLYMPICS and would be held between the ten Founding members and a combination of past, present and future Residents of the same number.
Each team had a fearless captain and they would compete on the hallowed ground of Gopher Canyon in a variety of events sure to test even the greatest warrior. There would be ax throwing, archery, wood chopping and everyone’s favorite, “catch the chicken and carry the egg “. Each team had five men, and five women and scores would be tallied whilst bones would be bruised. In addition, style points were given for the team that looked the best. According to sources close to this reporter, no expense was spared as founders and residents clamored for the cup.
At the opening ceremony, the Residents walked out dressed up as their favorite Founder. You heard it right ladies and gentleman, each resident had usurped clothing from the cupboard of their muse and was parading it like a show pony at the Kentucky Derby. This reporter had to take a drink as the Founders marched in dressed as Viking Warriors armed to the teeth with metal and leather looking mean and green. The two teams faced off head to head as the judges separated them, the class struggle palpable.
The games were opened by a competitive game of ax throwing as the Viking Cloverias ousted Nick while the artist pretending to be Amy defeated her doppelganger the stunning, yet out of practice Red Warrior Queen. I’m not afraid to say that this reporter has a serious crush on the RWQ and had to take a couple more sips off the ole hip flask to curb his enthusiasm. The event finished as the oddly shaped Bianca defeated Flavius Nicolais while ReBonHomme tied it up for the Vikings with a stellar win.
Unfortunately for the residents, the wheels of the horse drawn cart began to fall off as they took a stinger in the ringer in archery, and got a bopping in the chopping, putting the Vikings clearly ahead at the end of the individual competition. Showing judges and spectators why they have so much fur in their closets, the Founders were clearly a force to be reckoned with.
By the time the chicken and egg relay race came upon us, this reporter had more than his share of Meade and progressively passed out. Upon waking up it was revealed that the trophy had somehow been given to the children, who were beating up the inflated sumo wrestlers on the main lawn. Everyone was laughing and celebrating, toasting to healthy competition and a jovial day. Tune in for future fun and games from the Emerald Village. Over and Out.
Let’s have a meeting.
What do you think about when you hear that phrase?
Do you imagine a boardroom and a bunch of people listening to powerpoint?
Do you imagine a fresh cup of coffee with friends?
Do you imagine someone has proposed this because “we need to talk”?
Are you excited?
Are you nervous?
Are you looking forward to it?
Are you dreading it?
Regardless of your association, we would all agree that having meetings is inextricably linked with being human. Every collaboration, every tribe and every baby being born all came from some kind of meeting. Meetings can be creative and exciting or they can be routine and boring — but at the end of the day, we need ‘em. And when you live in community you need lots of ‘em.
On Sept 22nd and 23rd, we had a meeting. We called it our fall retreat, and it was a chance for us to come together to discuss what we learned and where we’re going as a community.
Since we have a lot of meetings we like to make them fun, so for example, during our “year in review” in which each circle shares about what they’ve been up to (a circle is a group of people responsible for a certain aspect of life here at EVO), the members of the circle presented their information in a fun way. Some circles sang a song, some did an interpretive dance, some put together a slideshow, and everyone had a grand old time. See what our Human Relations Circle shared about our last year together.
For many, the highlight of the weekend was showing off how much work they had done on their zones. How it works at EVO is each family (and residents) have areas of the property we’re responsible for maintaining. To make things a little more fun and competitive, we all threw in $10 and voted on our favorite zones (you couldn’t vote for your own zone) and the winner got to keep all the money. Although it was a tight race and everyone was very impressive the winners were Jonah, Rebecca ad baby Raewyn, who added an intangible cuteness factor that tipped the scales in their favor.
Speaking of meetings, our monthly potluck brunch is coming up on Sunday October 7th. It’s a great chance to come see all the work we’ve done on the land and get some quality community time! We work on the land from 10am-11 (or you can take a tour during that time) then we brunch hard at 11am. Kids are totally welcome and we look forward to seeing you there 🙂 Sign up HERE
Lots of love,
Many people ask us about how the Emerald Village began. At the inception of EVO, we had not all been best friends for years, nor did we share religious beliefs, as in many other communities. What was the common thread between ten people who decided to buy land, start an intentional community and build a life together… Burning Man.
Nine years ago, ten burners came together and asked themselves some questions. How can we bring the principles that create the culture of Burning Man into our everyday lives? How can we use our energy that we’ve put into going to the Burn for years, into something more lasting and sustainable? (Don’t get me wrong, we still go to Burning Man, when it calls us.) How can we raise our children with the influence of ten adults who have explored self-expression on the playa?
As this Burning Man week is in full swing, we reflect on our beginnings. Further, we reflect on our years together in the grand experiment that is the Emerald Village and how it mirrors Burning Man. As growing individuals, we reflect on our successes and our shortcomings in living the ideals of the Burning Man culture.
Overall, I believe we have done a remarkable job. This weekend, on Friday night we will share a meal together lovingly prepared by one of our community members, for the 20 people living on the land. On Saturday morning, starting at 8 am we have our monthly “blitz” day where we work for four hours building and beautifying. While the adults work, our children will rotate between music and archery lessons. Some of us will celebrate Burn Night dancing under the stars and spinning fire, while others will be curled up at home caring for their newborn baby. On Sunday, the sisters of EVO will go out to brunch together while the men and one of our all-star residents hold down the fort with the children. There will be music playing while much love and laughter is shared.
Burning Man truly has become a way of life for us now. We are forever grateful for the times that we’ve spent on the playa and all we have learned about ourselves there. We send our friends at Burning Man this year much EVO love. Maybe one day we’ll make it to the Burn together to share more of our experience building and living in community where it all began.
Blog post written by co-owner and co-founder Leyla Makris. Check out more of her life work of sharing recipes, crafts and blessings to inspire and delight at The Harvest Honeys. Follow her on Instagram.
We have a few folks who share time with us at EVO for extended stays. Krystin Railing joined us last year and has been sharing her event, performing and water talents with flair.
What is the work that you do?