Terran Cospiracy: An Experiment in Bioregional Community Weaving

Tibet Sprague
Terran Collective
Published in
19 min readDec 29, 2021


In October 2019, Terran Collective organized our largest gathering to date: Terran Cospiracy. We brought together around 150 Bay Area community leaders at the Mushroom Farm, a land project on the Pacific coast on Ramaytush Ohlone land near what is colonially known as Santa Cruz, CA. The purpose of the gathering was to breathe together (“co-spire”) and experiment with bioregional community building. It was an impactful gathering in many ways, and our experiment yielded significant learnings. Two years later, we’ve integrated all the lessons learned and we’re ready to share them with you.

Our primary goal was to deepen relationships among people and organizations working on resilience and regeneration in the Bay Area bioregion, which we loosely consider to be the many counties surrounding the Bay/Delta and the watershed that drains into it. We see strong, trust-full relationships, in place-based communities, as an essential precursor to effective “bioregional coordination”: collective sense-making, decision-making, and impactful action focused on caring for our neighbors and the land we share.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

This gathering was in-part an announcement of our intentions as Terran Collective to help with this bioregional coordination, in-part an introduction and seeding of some of the projects we think are necessary to facilitate this coordination, and in large part pure community weaving. In the mornings, we shared our ideas, in the afternoons we gathered in small groups to discuss specific topics, and in the evenings we gathered for celebration, music, dance, and connection.

Looking back on Cospiracy is especially poignant considering it was one of the last big gatherings for our community before the arrival of covid-19. It wasn’t a perfect event and there was plenty of room for improvement, but we are so thankful in retrospect that we had the opportunity to gather in this way. Here’s how it all went down, and what we learned.

A note about the name: We invented the word “cospiracy” as a twist on conspiracy, which means a group secretly plotting together, and conspire, which can mean to breath together, or act in harmony toward a common end. In this case we are a (not at all secret) “conspiracy” of people coordinating, collaborating and cooperating towards a common good: a thriving bioregion.

The Event Flow

Friday Evening — Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

Guests arrived and got settled. We offered dinner before our opening ceremony and then warmed ourselves by the fire. Our opening ceremony included a welcome and a land acknowledgment by our friend Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayers-Roods. Kanyon is an artist, Indigenous activist, and a Native of the south Bay representing Indian Canyon nation. It was an honor to have her speak to this land — both Ramaytush and Awaswas linguistic territories — near to the village site where the word “Ohlone” is thought to originate.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

That evening, we also created agreements for our time together, reviewed communication techniques including Non-Violent Communication, and partnered up for some Work that Reconnects connection exercises. We also introduced additional artists represented at the event including Casey Cripe.

Saturday Morning

High level overview: We shared Terran Collective’s vision, mission, values, principles and high level strategy. We also welcomed and introduced some of the other people and projects in the room and set the stage for the rest of the event.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Making visible the demographics of the group: One interesting twist was that we introduced real-time voting technology here. Everyone got a little hand-held keypad with numbers 1–10 and we asked a bunch of questions that people could vote on and see the results in real time on the screen. We started with demographic questions so we could all see the percentages of gender identification, ethnic identification, age, hometown, etc. in the room. This was really interesting to look at together and pay attention to at the beginning of the weekend. We also asked questions like: How well do you feel you understand the ecosystem of projects in our bioregion? And How much do you trust the Terran Collective?

Fractal thriving session: Next, we introduced the idea of “fractal thriving.” To create a regenerative culture, we believe we need to help each individual find healing, wholeness, and a meaningful purpose. For that to happen, each person needs to be embedded in a web of healthy relationships, and living in resourced, resilient communities. Cooperation between these communities will move us towards thriving bioregions engaged in social and ecological regeneration. As bioregions around the Earth become coherent, resilient landscapes, we unlock the potential for planetary regeneration and a thriving biosphere. Work to increase health and happiness at any scale contributes to healing of the whole.

We began this session by focusing on individual thriving, with solo time for each person to reflect on their life and write about their purpose, personal goals, and what they need to thrive right now. Then we came together to share these missions, goals, offerings and needs with each other, before breaking into small groups based on interest to explore how the community could help those who shared with their purpose/project/needs. This went well!

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Saturday Afternoon


We brought everyone back together and introduced the idea of the Guild, a domain-specific group of shared purpose. Guilds can support bioregional coordination by helping with information sharing and collaboration in their specific area, making sure we aren’t duplicating efforts, and facilitating the flow of resources to the right places.

We asked people ahead of the event to share what guilds they would like to participate in, and synthesized a list ahead of time. A couple were added or merged in real time, then everyone voted using the keypads on which guilds they wanted to be a part of. The list we ended up with was:

  • Art
  • Community Weaving
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Food
  • Governance
  • Healing Arts
  • Land-base projects
  • Regenerative Agriculture (merged with Ecological Restoration)
  • Relationships
  • Renewable Energy
  • Storytelling & Media
  • Technology
  • Spirituality

Also, one group spontaneously created a Meta-Guild to talk about the process of creating Guilds 😊

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

We then introduced a design sprint process to help each guild explore ideas, projects, and goals for their domain in our bioregion over the next ten years. Unfortunately we didn’t end up having enough time to do this in earnest — it was supposed to be 2 hours and we only had 45 minutes remaining in the session.

In retrospect, we wish we had just focused on allowing people to get to know each other. The intention is to have these guilds become living groups and this process was meant to seed that. Nevertheless, there were some great outcomes and many groups did seem to gel. A few kept meeting for a while after the event, and we hope to bring these Guilds more to life over time!

Saturday Night

Elders Council

After dinner, we had an elders council, where about ten self-identified elders shared their wisdom about community, organizing, and life. We had a few initial questions for them and then opened it up to the crowd. This was beautiful and powerful, especially because four of the six stewards of Terran had parents in attendance who sat on the council.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley


We finished the night with an open-mic style cabaret to invite play and joyful celebration, and give the many talented folx in attendance an opportunity to share their gifts with the gathering. The night was entertaining as well as moving. One moment in particular moved us all, when an African American elder told a story he had never before shared publicly, about a time when he was almost lynched by a mob of white men as a youth, based on a false accusation. He was sharing this story to make visible the trauma he carries, and illuminate what are facing as we work to bridge racial divides, build diverse communities, and heal from our collective traumas. Feeling safe enough to share this story was healing in and of itself for him and his courage and openness was powerful for all of us.

Later that night we had live music by Captures in the tea lounge, and a sweet fire pit next to a steam bath where people chilled and played music into the night.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Sunday Morning

Mapping and Technology

The Terran team presented our plans for mapping of the ecosystem of the Bay Area regenerative movement, to increase visibility into and make sense of the many projects, organizations, needs, offerings, skills and resources available in our bioregion. We shared our ideas about how technology could help with this, and how Terran wants to build better tools (like our platform Hylo) to serve the people and projects in the room. This mapping is an ongoing project and we want it to be done collaboratively and transparently.

This brought us to Trust Graph, our design for a transparent relationship map, where we make visible our connections, the strength of our relationships, and the resource flows between people and organizations. Unlike attention-extraction platforms such as Facebook that have a hidden social graph, we see Trust Graph as a public utility, stewarded as a commons, where each of us have control over our own data, and have the opportunity to share it with people we trust. This would be useful for important coordination activities like resource sharing, collective finance pools, and bioregional governance.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Trust and Inclusion

The idea of mapping trust and relationships with technology brought up a lot for many people in the room. As participants shared their thoughts, the conversation explored the idea of trust, how everyone has different definitions of it and how edgy it is to share publicly how much we trust each other (or don’t).

This discussion flowed emergently to the topic of diversity and inclusion. As people shared with vulnerability and authenticity, it was clear that this was the conversation that needed to be held at this moment in time, so we pivoted our planned programming in the moment and held the space for this conversation to happen for two hours until lunch.

The topic came up in part because the group assembled was 25% people of color and 75% white people. This was not the representation that we’d hoped for, and it was not good enough for many of us in the room. With our goal to connect and bring health to the whole bioregion, it’s important that all the voices are at the table. Despite our efforts to invite all kinds of people and offer need-based ticketing, many voices were missing from that room and that conversation.

In order to make space for this important conversation, we had to let go of another session that was critical to the arc of the weekend: real-time mapping of all the people, projects and orgs in the room, as a start to the ongoing project of mapping the bioregion. Ironically, this real-time mapping of who was in the room may have significantly contributed to building trust if it had happened earlier in the weekend. As mentioned above, we are continuing to work on this, and there’s a lot more to do.

Sunday Afternoon

Open space sessions

For our final afternoon together, we created space for all the attendees to offer their own workshops, rituals, movement classes, whatever felt important after the full weekend of conversations. A number of folks went to the beach 🙂

Sunday Evening

We closed the event with a ceremony in a tent we called the Temple of Gaia. In this space, we created altars to the four directions that contained items we had collected from the East, North, South, and West of our bioregion on a brief pilgrimage we had undertaken the week before. We also asked folks to bring soil and water from their land to add to the altars. For the ceremony, we invited everyone to share their commitments to themselves, to the group, the bioregion, and the planet. It was a beautiful way to wrap our time together as a brilliant sunset fell over the ocean.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley


The People

An incredible group of heart-centered, activated, movers and shakers came together from a wide variety of impactful organizations and communities for this gathering. Some of the groups represented included:

The Venue

The Mushroom Farm is a breathtaking place, right on the ocean, ringed by cyprus trees and native grassland. We made use of the beautiful outdoor spaces and made the indoor industrial spaces into cozy gathering spots. Meals were served outdoors at long wooden tables overlooking the gardens. Everyone camped or purchased glamping tents.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

The Food

We had an incredible kitchen team cook insanely good farm to table meals and do it as ceremony with beautiful blessings and teachings before every meal. Our friend Marissa Weitzman took care of scrumptious breakfasts, and the Loaves and Fishes Collective crafted incredible lunches and dinners. They are “a collective of chefs and farmers supporting land regeneration and reparations. Providing plant-based meals for retreats and private gatherings.” and we can’t recommend them enough.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Transparent budget and pay what you can tickets

We shared a spreadsheet showing the event budget with everyone, and with that information allowed people to choose what they wanted to pay for their ticket. The minimum price was $111 (very cheap for three nights of camping, meals and content), the suggested price was $333 which covered costs + a little extra. People could choose to contribute more by purchasing tickets at the “regenerative” price of $555. The spreadsheet listed what each person paid and showed how that supported our budget, with estimates showing what was needed to make the gathering break even.

This was a great success! Many people were only able to attend due to the accessible ticket prices, and we still ended up with a budget surplus of around $6000 (before paying ourselves anything). We gave just a little to ourselves for all the hard work, and then put the rest into CoBudget, a tool where people could choose how to distribute the money. We created buckets for the organizations represented at the event, and many of the attendees participated in allocating the money to the ones they cared about. As a group, we were able to give donations to many different important projects and people who needed it. This was a very powerful process.

The list of projects and people we donated to included:

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Intergenerational Community

Nurturing intergenerational relationships is important to us, so it felt really special to have many of our parents present in addition to more senior members of the regenerative movement. Overall, our age range was quite distributed. In the future, we’d like to be even more intentional about inviting elders to gather and share their wisdom with us, as well as ensuring our gatherings are welcoming and accessible for small children and their parents.

Volunteer Coordination

Every attendee contributed at least one volunteer shift: helping with check-in, meals, cleanup, space prep, and more. It felt good for everyone to contribute to the event in this way, creating a communal spirit, and it made it easy for anyone from the Mushroom Farm to participate in our sessions if they wanted to.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley


Many amazing connections and collaborations came out of this weekend, and to this day these powerful threads of relationship continue to weave and grow stronger. Here is a selection of the outcomes we know about:

  • Significant funding for the incredible organization Common Vision
  • A business partnership that helped launch Kasaba
  • Teravana retreat center connected with a new land steward
  • The founders of Hylo decided to offer Terran Collective stewardship of this community platform
  • And of course the funding to the many organizations listed above

Learning edges and growth opportunities

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley


Facilitating a gathering is an art and a science. We had ambitious plans for the content we wanted to share with everyone, and didn’t have enough time to get it as dialed in as we would have liked. This meant that some sessions didn’t achieve the outcomes we hoped for, and some important pieces didn’t happen, like our plans to do significant in-person asset mapping of the needs, offers, opportunities and projects represented by the people and projects present.

We’ve learned so much about how to hold space since then. A few of the lessons learned here:

  • Ensure the facilitation team has the time and space to make a thorough plan ahead of time.
  • Invite more help with facilitation and include more community leaders early on.
  • Be more modest about how much programming we can expect to fit into a given amount of time.
  • Give clear signals when sessions are beginning, and start on time as much as possible.
  • Leave space for magic and plan for emergence!

Community Building and Play

A lot of 1-on-1 connections happened organically at meals and in down time. In retrospect, it would have been helpful to do even more small group connection exercises at the beginning to accelerate the introductions and build bridges between communities. Next time, we would also like to incorporate sound and movement: more singing and dancing together!

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley

Diversity & Inclusion

One of the biggest missed opportunities from this event was not doing a better job to include representatives from more Bay Area communities. This event truly underscored just how important it is for us to build bridges and form deeper relationships with all the communities around the Bay for us to be able to do the work we want to do. Terran Cospiracy jump-started this process for us, and despite the pandemic, we’ve done our best since then to make connections with different communities and further educate ourselves on anti-racism, racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion. When we plan future events, we will coordinate with more diverse communities from the very beginning.

Not enough hands in the soil & land connection

We set aside time during the weekend for participants to give back to the Mushroom Farm by volunteering for a few hours on a farm task. For various reasons, this hands-in-soil time did not happen, and the result was that our event did not feel as grounded as it could have. In the future, we will center land connection and not allow something so important to fall through the cracks.

Holding the space and each other

So many beautiful seeds were planted at Cospiracy, and many cool threads came out of the gathering. But as a small team with full-time jobs, we didn’t have the bandwidth to keep the momentum flowing after the event. Case in point: It took us two years to finish this blog post :)

The effort of organizing the event took a lot out of us. Navigating the exhaustion, alongside a few pieces of critical feedback, brought up some tensions within the Terran core stewards. It took time for us to work through and release that as a collective. We used the Way of Council, the Work that Reconnects, and a lot of care and conversation to recover from the intensity of holding the container of Cospiracy.

Photo by Raines Cohen

Nevertheless, the gathering was so worth it. In the two years since, a lot has happened! So often, we’ve heard stories of powerful connections that were sparked at this event and that have turned into sweet ongoing relationships or important collaborations. From the Terran perspective, we have been able to explore and deepen into many new and wonderful relationships. We truly believe that Cospiracy helped strengthen the mycelial web of trust, connection, and collaboration all around the Bay Area, which was what we first and foremost set out to do.


We shared a post-event survey that brought some valuable observations. Here’s a selection of what folx had to say, from those who consented to sharing their feedback.

Who were the people, organizations, and communities missing?

“LGBTQ — BIPOC — QTPOC Local organizations on the ground — who may not have the strongest web presence. Also who may not have the means to attend many meetings with networking without capacity/support.”

“I missed Indigenous people/elders, more African American and Asian people. I missed the presence of children.”

“We needed the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band represented there, they are the ancestral stewards of the land where we met, and they are working hard in their nearby Land Trust to regenerate this land already. We needed lots more African Americans and Latinos, from the organizations who grow food in urban farms, and people doing human rights and immigrant rights work.”

What feedback do you have about the content & facilitation of the weekend?

“There were many excellent circles and events. I would have loved more dyad or small group opportunities. This was a way to get to know people more deeply. I had trouble with some of the language that comes from the technology and business world — neither of which I am much a part of. So glad we created guilds — but of course needed more time to gather. Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion was sooo important! Thank you!”

“I think we could have used more time to work within our guilds and cross-fertilize. As is common in these kinds of events, sometimes there is a lot of content planned, but the process ends up being more valuable.”

What would you have liked to see more of? What was missing?

“More facilitated conversations rather than pure lectures and unstructured conversations with nothing in between”

“A tighter plan, with more clear direction, and strong facilitation that kept the process moving. We too often got thrown off the rails in the effort to honor someone’s particular opinion.”

“More sharing of what people are already doing that is making progress and achieving success.”

What would you like to see happen next with the energy and community built at Cospiracy?

“What’s most present for me with this group is initiating a process whereby we help each other learn and grow, we challenge each other to go beyond our self imposed limits, and we help make each other aware of the ways in which we may positively or negatively affect those around us. A collective of practice.”

What are your biggest takeaways or learnings from Cospiracy?

“How important it is to have intergenerational/intercultural/gatherings. I felt hopeful, heard, honored and was honored by my interactions with people. The discussions on Diversity and Inclusion were powerful and long lasting for me.”

“The greatest gift was making relationships with like-minded activists and people who know a lot about regenerating the earth. The greatest lesson was noticing who wasn’t there and undergoing the process that led us all to discover the importance of diversity and inclusion: we cannot leave anyone behind, or outside of the bioregion, if we want to regenerate.

The bioregional journey continues…

We are in the very early stages of planning the next Cospiracy! However, we won’t call it that. Instead, what we are starting to plan is a modern day evolution of the “bioregional congress.” Bioregional congresses happened all over the United States throughout the 70s and 80s, in large part initiated by the Planet Drum foundation. We are now in conversation with the elders who stewarded this movement decades ago to bring back this powerful idea. Our goal for a modern day bioregional gathering is to weave a coherent and thriving tapestry of Bay Area communities capable of taking collective action to care for the land and people who live here.

By convening the Bay Area communities committed to social and ecological justice, restoration, and regeneration, we will build relationships and strengthen trust, which is necessary for us to take collective action to steward the landscape and over time generate a coherent and thriving bioregion. We imagine a future where relationships based on trust allow neighboring land stewards to make collective land management decisions, and people from all over the bioregion come together to help implement them.

Soon, we will extend an invitation to dream into this vision with us. Our desire is to bring a diverse set of bioregional stakeholders to the table from the beginning of the planning process. In particular, we will follow the leadership of the local indigenous communities that live here, and center activists and community leaders who have already done important organizing work across the Bay.

If you have any thoughts or questions about all of this, or want to get involved in these bioregional coordination efforts, please reach out to us info@terran.io! And in particular if you know of financial resources that could support this work please let us know.

Final Acknowledgements

We have so many gratitudes to offer to everyone who helped us pull off this event. The primary organizers and producers were the five Terran Collective core stewards: Aaron Brodeur, Clare Politano, Kelly Erhart, Neha Sharma and Tibet Sprague. We had loads of help from our close friends and collaborators Nicholas Salmons & Brooke Darshana, and from last minute volunteer Brooke Daily. Also many thanks again to the kitchen team, and all the staff at the Mushroom Farm. Thanks to Carson Linforth Bowley for the beautiful photo work, to Chris Bui for bringing the voting technology. Thanks to everyone who showed up and brought their full, authentic selves, leading open space workshops and starting important conversations. And thank you for reading, hope to see you at the next bioregional gathering!

This post authored by Tibet Sprague and Clare Politano with important contributions from Neha Sharma and Aaron Brodeur.

Photo taken by Carson Linforth Bowley



Tibet Sprague
Terran Collective

Entrepreneur & technologist, passionate about creating the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. http://tibetsprague.com