The Tribe of Gaea anticipates Hearths, Villages, and Clans to be located in different kinds of locales. Some will be urban, some suburban, some sub-rural, and some rural. Each of these kinds of locales present different challenges for zoning and use, building codes, occupancy restrictions, perhaps community covenants. Each location where the Tribe Hearths and Clans might be located will have a different political climate and dominant cultural environment.
“Open House” Festivals
Several times a year, we hope to open up Tribe grounds to the public during a festival that we host. These festivals are an opportunity for the public to see how we live, with sustainable housing, gardens, greenhouses, pastures, barns. They see how we worship and what we believe, if they choose to witness our rituals. We will welcome local businesses to open up booths, and local entertainers to showcase their acts. We hope these festivals will be fun events that will bring many to appreciate and respect our way of life.
Public & Media Relations
Outreach to our civilian neighbors will be vital to the success of the Tribe. They are the ones who can either defend us or denounce us before government councils and bureaucratic agencies. The old saying “it’s easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar” applies here. We want to present ourselves as friendly, responsible, non-violent, non-criminal, neighbors who just want to help Planet Earth as we raise our families. The Tribe has a “good neighbor” and media relations plan. We also hope to make great commercial connections in the areas we locate. If a Hearth isn’t producing all its food, we will be buying from local CSAs and Farmers Markets, and as we furnish and decorate our homes, will try to keep all our buying local, supporting local businesses. Many Gaeans will choose to work in the communities where they are located, and we hope that they will represent the Tribe by being model employees and professionals.
Of particular importance is reaching out to the churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions of the area. Some fundamentalist churches won’t ever like us, simply because of what we believe and how we choose to live. We fully expect to be labeled as a “satanic, licentious cult” by some extreme elements. Naturally, this couldn’t be further from truth. We believe in proactively reaching out to moderate and liberal religious institutions in the area to explain who we are, what our goals and vision are, and that we wish to co-exist peacefully with them.
Getting the Tribe set up will require us to be in frequent contact with government bureaus. We want to establish friendly relationships with these various agencies. Although the Tribe will likely be retaining an attorney for various functions related to running a religious non-profit, we hope that the necessity of having an attorney represent us with governmental offices won’t be necessary. We’d much rather work in a “power-with” paradigm, rather than “power-over”. Besides, the old saying, “You can’t beat city hall” is one that we’re highly aware of.
Furthermore, we want to establish great relationships with local law-enforcement. Local police, county sheriffs, state troopers, and federal agents should all be treated with utmost respect by Gaeans. That said, we also know our rights, and will exercise those rights. It’s not just for our own good, but for theirs, as well. Keeping law enforcement honest is in everyone’s best interest.