About Living Systems Network-Part I

Diane Lefroy
Living Systems Network
6 min readMar 26, 2021


“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” ~Margaret J. Wheatley.

Living Systems Network is part of a growing global movement that is regenerative, distributed, and mutually beneficial by design.

Through the sharing of knowledge and other resources in our local context, we are doing our part to catalyze the shift from “Game A” (business as usual) to “Game B”— a new “operating system” for a global culture that has planetary health and the well-being of all living systems as its guiding principle.

We are parts of an interdependent living whole after all — what we do to the Earth and our fellow beings, we do to ourselves.

Some very smart independent thinkers are joining together in greater and greater numbers and using their collective intelligence to intentionally design this new culture-wide operating system — one that has regeneration of our fragile and unsustainable cultural and economic systems as its foundation.

There is an abundance of research and theory behind our actions and we are active contributors to that conversation — including complex living systems theory, game theory, distributed governance, social change theory, economic and monetary theory, psycho/spiritual development models and more. At the end of this article I will provide links to the work of some of the most prominent thinkers in the Game B space and how to engage more deeply with their work.

Founding members of Living Systems Network in the coFood Collaborative Garden - Emily, Jenny, Diane & Danny

At the time of writing, our Network’s founding members and core team are four individuals who have been working together in the local change space for several years — mostly in the local food ecosystem. We are the directors of a recently formed Member Funded Society- Living Systems Network Society, a legal entity that we believe is the most flexible and least compromised by Game A structures at this time.

Together, through our project nodes, we are actively practising the Game B values that have grown from a deep investigation of what has gone wrong with Game A, how we got ourselves into the current untenable situation, and what needs to change in order to heal the damage. We are committed to building a Game B world where we live and work — readying ourselves to share the tools, resources and best practices we have been prototyping for the past several years, drawing both from our own experience and the wider collective intelligence of our peer to peer network.

Our fundamental, guiding practices — of equal importance — include:

  • Design Global, Manufacture Local‌

This follows the logic that what is “light” (knowledge and design) becomes global, whereas what is “heavy” (producing goods) is local and ideally shared.

  • Regenerative, Sustainable and Reduced Resource Use
Laying out the beds using permaculture design principles and practices

This includes practicing permaculture design principles, prioritizing waste prevention and reduction — up-cycling, reusing, sharing, reducing, and accounting for the dysfunctional realities of global economics, ecosystems and resource flows when making purchasing decisions — e.g. buying local, renewable materials.

  • Commons-Based Peer Production (CBPP)

Moving from private, rivalrous model of production, sale and ownership to one grounded in a sense of common and shared value and responsibility. Value is created in a shared commons through participatory, community collaboration. Value creation does not rely on hierarchical management structures nor financial compensation.

  • Stewardship (and Sharing) over Ownership

Our practices are meant to prompt a conscious evolution away from over-consumption and accumulation of private assets towards commoning resources in order to meet shared needs and objectives. A culture of sharing that dismantles the existing culture of acquisition and exploitation for private gain.

  • Peer Governance

Decentralizing power and distributing governance empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own actions, and ownership over outcomes. This is an incredibly deep catalyst for change which supports and enables all the other practices.

  • Re-framing Capital and Resource Flows

Actively investigating and piloting alternative ways of moderating resource exchange, beyond fiat currencies. This touches on, for example, multiple forms of capital, commoning vs commodifying, reciprocal exchange vs transactional exchange — i.e. mutual credit.

Because Living Systems Network is an emergent organization, we are learning as we go and there is much to do. Our work is focused on catalyzing small local regenerative projects/nodes in reciprocal exchange & solidarity while remaining networked to Game B-aligned projects in other contexts.

“We are moving from a view of the world that is about ‘things’ to one that is about the relationships between things” ~ Richard D Bartlett

It’s now time for us to reach out to the natural allies who share our fundamental values — those committed folks in the Pacific Northwest bio-region, specifically Vancouver, BC, who are seeking connection and mutual support in order to move closer to realizing our shared mission. Tapping into the collective intelligence of our peers is the best way to increase the opportunities for creative collisions, regenerative relationships and new ideas to take root. We are “gardeners” in this emergent space — literally and metaphorically — planting seeds of change, gauging the weather and soil conditions, and carefully nurturing the new and still tender shoots that can lead to greater abundance and nourishment for all.

Cedar waxwing harvesting service berries

“Gratitude and reciprocity are the currency of a gift economy, and they have the remarkable property of multiplying with every exchange, their energy concentrating as they pass from hand to hand, a truly renewable resource. I accept the gift from the bush and then spread that gift with a dish of berries to my neighbor, who makes a pie to share with his friend, who feels so wealthy in food and friendship that he volunteers at the food pantry. You know how it goes.”

~ Robin Wall-Kimmerer

Currently, Living Systems Network project nodes include:

  • coFood Vancouver and the coFood Collaborative Garden Project—holding space to build and celebrate community, coFood Vancouver catalyzes projects doing good work in our local food communities. We practise collaborative urban farming with a permaculture lens and convene dinners and dialogues on food waste, food supply, food justice, food tech and food education;
  • Alphaponics —Alphaponics experiments with DIY indoor growing foodtech including aqua- and hydroponics in “Alpha”, a shipping container retrofitted with a greenhouse roof, all in the coFood CollaborativeGarden;
  • Alternative Currency Node — focusing on emergent technologies in the mutual credit ecosystem, such as Holo, Open Collective, and SEEDs;
  • Common Space Node Prioritizing stewardship of common spaces over ownership, the coSpace node pilots and hones methods for effective, collaborative management of common spaces. Together we work to bridge between private and public space, to coWork and coCreate.

We are also germinating the following emergent project nodes:

  • Communications and Media node — telling our story through various media and online platforms;
  • Distributed Governance project — in depth research and practise in collective decision making and participatory collaboration.

We are looking to connect with potential contributors to all of the above project nodes as well as inviting submissions from folks who have regenerative project ideas and are seeking support and resources in order to make their ideas a reality.

Here’s a short video we made in 2020 of our community doing just that in the coFood Collaborative Garden:

If you are seeking a community of practice where you can find your niche and contribute your unique gifts in service to something greater than yourself we invite you to follow us on social media for updates.

Community gathering in the coFood Collaborative garden

Some resources for more in- depth study of Game B and regenerative culture:



Diane Lefroy
Living Systems Network

Community activator, gardener, core contributor at Living Systems Network and coFood Vancouver