CommonSpace Community Land Trust of Sonoma County, a newly formed 501c3 started in 2017, is committed to providing affordable housing and ecological land stewardship in perpetuity. Exploring solutions to the housing and ecological crises in Northern California, our volunteer working group: Darryl Berlin, Katherine Yates, Cassandra Ferrera, Jerry Green and Carolyn North have envisioned a multi-generational, multi-cultural and innovative model of cooperative community in Sonoma County.
- To remove land from the speculative market in perpetuity, providing attainable access to land, quality housing, sustainable agriculture and woodland, cooperative communities and cottage industries.
- To develop practices that steward, preserve, protect and heal the natural environment – its land, air and water.
- To demonstrate this stewardship of the environment and attainable housing by providing information, resources, replicable models and expertise to the general public.
Inspired by the CLT communities on Lopez Island, WA and in the Bay Area, one of us purchased and donated a 3-acre property with farmhouse near Sebastopol, California with the intention of modeling an innovative life-style not dependent on owning land. Our vision is of many small household communities joining together in an extended network of such mutually dependent communities.
Five people volunteered to come together to work out the vision and logistics, and after a year of meeting, we are ready to launch:
Darryl Berlin, Cassandra Ferrera, Katherine Yates, Jerry Greener and Carolyn North.
Our Board of Directors
Carolyn North is a writer and dancer who is committed to shaking up the accepted order of things in the direction of justice, equality, and beauty in every way she can. She started Daily Bread, a food recovery program that still operates without a budget after 37 years! She built the first load-bearing rice strawbale house in California in 1994, and now is helping to get the CommonSpace CLT started in Sonoma County.
She lives in Berkeley, California where she and her husband Herb Strauss raised their 3 children, and is the grandmother of 2 girls and 2 boys, all quite amazing young people!
Here’s to the next generation!
Ms. Yates’ lifelong interest in rural, outdoorsy living around animals, a love of design and gardening, coupled with a need to leave a career as a psychotherapist, led to the purchase in 1994 of a rural farm property in Sonoma County with multiple structures and rental units on it.
Through keeping rents affordable, selecting tenants who value community, and plowing proceeds back into the property, the place has transformed itself into a village, with rich social interactions and beauty everywhere. It is Ms Yates’ dream to replicate the success of this project, so others who share the sense of longing for something lost in our society can realize their dream to live happily in community.
Cassandra Ferrera is passionate about cooperative stewardship and has put her real estate license to work over the past decade serving the growing cultural movement toward shared property ownership. Her work with groups and multi-unit properties led her to the solution offered by community land trusts, and her volunteer work became focused on the endeavor to bring about secure, permanently affordable, cooperatively managed housing in Northern California. Cassandra works for a progressive real estate company, Green Key Real Estate. She lives with her family in an intentional community in rural Sebastopol.
Developing Cohousing Through Community Land Trusts, Darryl has studied and practiced the art of natural building for over 20 years. Co-founder of Natural Building in Community, a three-month, hands on building intensive and apprenticeship, he’s led aspiring students and building professionals through the history of building with materials gathered directly from the site. He also helped establish and lived at Emerald Earth Sanctuary, an intentional community based on permaculture principles: care for the earth, care for the people, return of the surplus.
Through his work as a builder, design consultant, community member and educator, Darryl is able to merge his passions for fine craft, ecological stewardship, relationship to place and social justice, all while getting in the mud and building homes.
He’s employed as Construction Project Manager for Fair Oaks EcoHousing, a cohousing neighborhood 18 miles east of Sacramento. Darryl is also Project Manager with Acme Sonoma Properties, developing a 30 acre Agrihood in Sonoma County.
Darryl recently completed a year long program with Cohousing Solutions, which provides development consulting services for Cohousing neighborhoods and other collaborative groups.
Jerry A. Green, JD graduated from University of California, Berkeley and Boalt Law School. He maintained a general trial practice in San Francisco and has specialized in medical malpractice and health care for over twenty years, including advising and representing health care professionals regarding licensing and scope of practice matters. He currently serves as special consultant to other attorneys on medical issues in malpractice and personal injury cases. He has lectured and consulted on risk management, informed consent and medical decision making. See www.medagree.com. Since retiring from law, he does corporate consulting and coaches clients on handling their own legal affairs. An arbitrator and mediator of disputes (www.GreenerMediations.net,) Jerry also developed an embodied conflict management training (www.CommunicationHarmony.com) that incorporates the principles of Aikido.
Cindy has been practicing real estate in Sonoma County since 2004 and has continually expanded her focus as a community advocate throughout her career. Growing up in Marin County, Cindy was the only girl with many brothers and was part of a large, close-knit extended family. This culture included a strong focus on the theology of Community and Contribution to the Common Good.
Cindy previously worked as a pre-school teacher and Director of a co-op pre-school; as a Fire Captain at San Quentin, responsible for training a 15 man inmate fire crew; and as Director of Religious Education at her local parish.
Currently, Cindy resides in a multi generational family community in Sebastopol, CA. Her passion is to bring innovative community and sustainability ideas to folks who are living according to conventional practices. Cindy is an advocate of “housing for all” and embraces the opportunity of CommonSpace Community Land Trust to provide affordable and secure housing in Sonoma County.
Since completing her BA in Environmental Studies and Religion from Oberlin College, Eden has immersed herself in a variety of cultures and communities throughout North and Central America, always attentive to which elements contribute to inspiring creative, peaceful and willingly interdependent people. This exploration brought her to California in 2010 where she studied at the Regenerative Design Institute while working as a Spanish/English interpreter.
Since then, she has facilitated inside of San Quentin prison, received Teen Talking Circle and Dancing Freedom facilitator certifications, worked as a nature connection mentor and started West Marin Talking Circles. Eden is also involved in the California Global Youth Peace Summit, bringing together refugee and immigrant teens with teens from the USA, dedicated to heart-centered leadership, cultural exchange and intergenerational mentorship.
Currently, Eden leads Shakti Feminine University, the multi-campus transformational education branch of Shakti Rising, a women’s social change organization with over 18 years of service to women nationwide.
She is in love with sensory exploration of the world around us and lives on Commonspace CLT’s first project in Sebastopol.
Born in San Francisco, Robin Rudderow grew up in the East Bay city of Lafayette. With a BA in Psychology from Sonoma State University, Robin joined the business world for several years and then went to Golden Gate University School of Law, graduating in 1984. After a 30+ year career in San Francisco as a business and real property attorney, Robin’s practice now focuses on estate planning and shared property ownership.
Being a part of her community is important to Robin. She enjoys being the Archivist for the Rancho Bodega Historical Society and the Manager of the Community Garden at the Bodega Bay Community Association.
Robin is thrilled to be a part of the opportunity that CommonSpace Community Land Trust presents to bring people together in community.
Mark Hall became a rat race refugee in 1997 when he left his life in Silicon Valley and moved to the foothills of California. In Nevada County he found a more sustainable rural quality of life, and has been fighting to defend it ever since. Mark’s degree in Geography combined with his graphic design background has made him an ideal person to understand and communicate complex land use issues to the public and government officials. This, combined with his personal values of environmental protection and social justice, lead him to became the political campaign communications manager for dozens of local political races in which land use was often a key issue impacting peoples lives. He served as a board member of the Rural Quality Coalition in Nevada County, helped found Save Our Historic Canals and Nevada County Gleaners. When he became permaculture certified in 2008 he has gained experience as a natural builder in cob and straw bale. Mark eventually moved to Sonoma County in 2014 and now lives in Sebastopol. He currently operates a business providing personal house management services to senior citizens and others.