Lost Valley Educational Center
Lost Valley Educational Center is an intentional community and ecovillage located on 87 acres (350,000 m2) acres of mostly forested land in Dexter, Oregon, United States, approximately 18 miles (29 km) miles southeast of Eugene. The center was founded in 1989 and is located on the grounds of the old headquarters of the Shiloh Youth Revival Centers.
The non-profit educational center is dedicated to the practices of non-violent communication and personal growth, permaculture, sustainability, and simple living. Its mission is to create and foster mutually beneficial relations between humans and all parts of the web of existence. Between 20 and 30% of the food consumed on site is grown in its gardens. Some of the natural features on the land are gardens, a large meadow, forests, ponds, and a creek. Some of its projects include numerous building material structures, solar ovens, solar showers, beekeeping, a hot tub and a sauna. It runs a community supported agriculture program during the summer months as well as hosts workshops throughout the year, such as the Ecovillage and Permaculture Certificate Program, the Permaculture Design Certificate course, and Sustainable Homes: An Introduction to Eco-Building and Appropriate Technology. The Ecovillage and Permaculture Certificate Program immerses participants in the theoretical, physical, and social aspects of ecovillages, community living, and permaculture.
The site of Lost Valley was originally the Shiloh Christian Youth Camp, a part of the Shiloh Youth Revival Centers. In the 1980s the Shiloh organization sold the property to a group of people intent on starting their own eco-village. The intent was for the Lost Valley Educational Center to be both a community and an educational center. For years the main educational focus of Lost Valley was a heart centered workshop program called, "Naka Ima" which evolved into an evolutionary inter-personal growth workshop called, Heart of Now, which is currently run off-site, in the city of Eugene. There are regular weekly practice groups and residential weekend workshops facilitated in Eugene, Portland and elsewhere, when possible (even other states).
In 2006 a community member organized a Permaculture Design Certificate program called the EPCP, the Ecovillage and Permaculture Certificate Program. With the success of this new program the educational focus of Lost Valley moved away from the traditional "Naka Ima" programs to a more traditional Permaculture Design program, with an emphasis on community building. The EPCP program recently has evolved into the Camassia Institute, named after the indigenous Camas plant, a subsidiary body of the Lost Valley organization.
In 2008 the culture (the focus and goal of the community) of Lost Valley underwent many transformations. The organizational and governing structure of Lost Valley, which had been conducted by consensus was replaced with sociocracy and sociocratic methods of governance. This change led to the departure of numerous community members, including the remaining founder. Consensus-based community decision making was done in a group called 'Purpose Circle', where all residents had a say in all matters concerning the community, the site and the programs. The consensus based decision making process proved difficult to manage the affairs of the community and the business of running educational programs. Many of the remaining members felt sociocracy was a more efficient and effective style of government.
Lost Valley is one of several intentional ecovillage communities in Oregon, including Aprovecho research center, located in the outskirts of Cottage Grove; Cougar Mountain Farms and Maitreya Ecovillage located in nearby Eugene.