We mentor new communities. We’ve been around for more than 20 years and have much to teach others. Given the low success rates of start-ups we think we can greatly improve the chances of your success.

Mentoring New Communities:

We want to help you keep ‘the unity in comm-unity’ to build a solid foundation for the future. Our experienced Mentoring Team is committed to helping you succeed.

Free Initial Assessment: Forming Cohousing and EcoVillage Groups

Our Mentoring Team brings a wide range of experience and skills that can help you succeed in getting your project off the ground.

Our initial assessment form will help us gauge where your group is in the process of forming and building a community. Once complete, a member of our Mentoring Team will follow-up with a phone call to discuss your needs and how we can help you reach your goals.

Mentoring in the Moment

We recognize that the work of going from ‘beginning conversations’ to ‘move-in’ is a complicated process. Working with our Mentoring Team is an opportunity to bounce your group’s ideas off people who have been there. We can provide you with support, encouragement and advice when making major decisions and implementing your plans.

We understand the complexities involved and are interested in working with your group to develop programming that makes sense for your needs.

Mentoring Team Experience

Drawing on decades of experience across different fields, our Mentoring Team possesses expertise in the following areas to help guide you:

  1. Social
    • Initial Vision and Mission
    • Marketing and Membership
    • Community Building Strategies
    • Decision Making
    • Group Structures, Committees
  2. Built Environment
    • Vetting Professionals
    • Planning and Design
    • Green Building and Energy Strategies
    • Infrastructure
    • Affordability Strategies
  3. Financial and Legal
    • Bank Financing and Alternative Financing Techniques
    • Choosing a Legal Form of Ownership
  4. Land
    • Site Search
    • Zoning

Come for a Visit: Join Us For an EcoVillage Experience Weekend

We are happy to tailor a full weekend or partial weekend workshop for your group.

A visit to EcoVillage Ithaca allows you to experience real-world cohousing neighborhoods, compare site designs, visit different individual homes and common houses, learn more about our decision-making process, the experience of getting our neighborhoods built, and so much more.

Depending on your needs the EcoVillage Experience Weekend can offer up to 4 different:

  • Neighborhoods to visit,
  • Design methods used,
  • Resident groups to engage with, and
  • Community results.

The base fee for the EcoVillage Experience Weekend is $120.00 per person with a minimum booking of 10 people and a maximum of 20 people.

Additional costs will vary based on the meals and accommodation requirements for your group. Lodging options can vary from camping, onsite B&Bs and home-stays with residents, depending on availability and dates.

We are happy to work with you to keep the costs as affordable as possible.

On-Going Mentoring

Our On-Going Mentoring support can provide you with expert advice during critical project milestones. On-Going Mentoring can include in-person visits either at Ecovillage at Ithaca or on-site where your group is located, or remote consultations via teleconference, Skype, or email.

Ask about On-Going Mentoring when you visit EcoVillage Ithaca.

Fees for mentoring are negotiated per project and are based on the specific goals identified by your group as part of the initial assessment.

Customized Workshops

Our Mentoring Team can work with your group to provide you with a customized workshop experience either at EcoVillage Ithaca or potentially in your preferred location.

Our Mentoring Team

Liz Walker

Liz Walker|EcoVillage at Ithaca Co-founder

Building on years of experience as a grassroots organizer, Liz co-founded EcoVillage Ithaca (EVI)  with a colleague in 1991. She’s dedicated her full-time work to bring this internationally acclaimed project from vision to reality ever since, serving as both executive director of its educational arm, LEARN@EcoVillage, and as development manager for each of its three cohousing neighborhoods. EVI is now the largest cohousing community in the world, with 100 households.

Liz has written two popular books which have helped to introduce the concepts of ecovillages and sustainable communities to a broad audience in the U.S. and other countries. She’s an inspiring speaker, who is frequently interviewed by national and international media. Liz has excellent skills in group formation, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, compassionate communication, problem-solving, and project management. Her passion is to help more cohousing and ecovillage projects succeed.

Rod Lambert

Rod Lambert Mentoring Resource

Rod has more than 20 years of experience in the ups and downs of birthing and maintaining a community. He is a registered professional engineer but early on turned his attention to the design-build world, especially cohousing and ecovillages. He has designed or consulted on several community builds including a Zen Center south of Rochester NY. He was the co-development manager and principal designer for the Second Neighborhood (SoNG) at EcoVillage Ithaca and for White Hawk Ecovillage in Danby, NY.

His expertise includes vetting prospective professionals, document presentation and permit acquisition from municipal authorities, as well as sales and marketing. He has a background in building science. Rod has made affordability a priority in his approach to design and building. He also takes a keen interest in the social dynamics and processes that make communities succeed or fail, and he is enthusiastic about “giving back” by helping other groups.

Other resource people:

Elan Shapiro

  • Group communication, facilitation, and decision making
  • Non-violent communication (NVC)
  • Integrating Social Justice and Sustainability
  • Conflict Resolution and Mediation

Bill Goodman (Attorney)

  • Legal Structures for Communities
  • Real Estate Law
  • Zoning, Site Plan Approvals, Building Permits
  • Infrastructure Planning

Dawn Montanye

  • Strategic Planning
  • Guidance in Creation of Vision, Mission, Aims

Recommended Resources:

EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture by Liz Walker will give you an overview of the history (and the stories) of founding EcoVillage Ithaca, and what it’s like to live here. It is available from our website here:, you can also get it at bookstores or as an e-book, or on Amazon.

We also recommend Diana Leafe Christian’s book, Creating a Life Togetherwhich is full of nuts and bolts advice about starting a new community.

Contact Us About Our Mentoring Services!

Fill out our Visiting Contact Form or call 866-529-4465