Ecologies of Participation

Observing the last 5 years of work/play (what we call “plerk”) at TLC Farm, we've observed that there's quite a variety of different ways that people participate. All of these are just rough outlines, and many people fit between or beyond these categories (of course).

Some people are generalists: they're excited about many different kinds of plerk, and will respond to a wide variety of requests for help. Eg. cobbing a wall, canvassing a neighborhood, coming to a meeting, answering emails. This is beneficial for its flexibility & openness!

Others are specialists: there's a specific kind of engagement that they really dig, and that's mostly all they'll do: bookkeeping, teaching, farm hosting, etc. This is beneficial for its focus & expertise!

Some people are rooted: they have long-term, regular commitment to this place and project. Whether a couple times a year or almost every day, their participation is consistent. This is beneficial for its reliability & history!

Others are nomadic: they may be really focused on TLC Farm for a while, and then be off to another project across town or across the world. This is beneficial for its intensity & cross-pollination!

Some people are solitary: they really prefer to do something alone, if possible. This is great for minimizing the coordination of schedules etc. to get things accomplished.

Others love guilds: they do best when surrounded by a tight, highly functional groups with complementing abilities. This is awesome for ongoing working groups or projects where a variety of perspectives are key.

And others are communal: they love being part of a big community event with the energy of lots of different people. This is perfect for getting a lot done quickly.

Some people are looking to be (learners or) mitochondria: they'd like the steps in accomplishing something to be laid out for them. This is great when someone else has a clear idea of what needs to be done and just needs more hands.

Others feel called to be (coordinators or) enzymes: they're motivated to help bring all the different pieces and people together, co-create goals, support folk in reaching them, etc. This is valuable when folk want to just get out and do things but lack a structure for it.

Still others want to be (advisors or) neurotransmitters: they're best suited to offering verbal or written perspective on how to improve decisions or actions, rather than implementing things themselves. This is great for getting outside perspective & expert wisdom from someone with lots of experience, etc.

There are obviously a lot more categories! Still, having some idea where you see yourself in these terms will help us to know how best to support you in engaging in the way you want to here.

Feedback and participation welcome! Please send bug reports to