Conflict is Renewable Energy: a Conflict Transformation Workshop

Conflict happens!  In many ways, the only way we build trust in cooperatives is through conflict, through how we repair when we rupture. The word conflict means “to strike together,” a friction that throws a hot spark into the room. The energy of fire can burn us or warm us, it’s a disturbance that can destroy like a wildfire or cleanse like a cultural burn to make more life possible. In fact, conflict is the most renewable energy we have! It’s inevitable when we live and work with biodiversity. The question isn’t if we have conflict, but what are we doing with the feedback of heat?

So many collective movements and cooperative experiments split because of the crushing pinch between top-down repression and restriction and internal tension, coercion, and hurt. So many organizers and movement leaders recognize the urgency and vital need for grassroots groups and organizations to practice the future right now in the midst of difference and pain. This workshop focuses on conflict, power, and a transforming and restoring practice of justice. Animated by popular education, rainbow coalitions, and liberating examples around the world, we’ll dream and scheme to:

-Craft intentions and agreements so accountability is shaped by consent instead of being punitive or performative

-See patterns of conflict as a renewable form of energy with processes to transform them

-Recognize the possible ways we enact power

-Feel our emotions as flowing information about what we care about and what we need to do

-Practice feedback as food for the energy of conflict

-Reveal that we can change our actions and habits through tender struggle and compassionate collaboration 

None of this is cookie-cutter, none of it is a cheat sheet that works in every context. Instead, the goal is the way, cultivating some common ground for conflict so we can strike up sparks and shape them into the kind of heat we want to stay with.

Conflict as Renewable Energy Day 1: Practice, Power, and Possibility

This is a standalone workshop that will introduce us to conflict transformation, reshape our imagination around conflict, and explore how power and emotions come into play. We will also collaborate to rethink how we build agreements and how we can shift our practices around conflict. This workshop will take place from 10am till 5pm on Dec 2nd with a break for lunch. 

Conflict as Renewable Energy Day 2: Putting Power and Justice into Action

Our second day of workshop will be a space for anyone who would like to dive deeper into our work on the first day. You must have attended day 1 to join us on day 2. During the second day, we will explore the differences between conflict, harm and abuse as well as practice cooperative ways of shaping power and practicing feedback. This workshop will include an introduction to meditation and restorative justice as approaches to conflict. Day 2 will include breakfast and lunch and take place between 9am and 4pm on Dec 3rd.

Anyone who registers for both days is welcome to camp or sleep indoors slumber-party style with us overnight. If you would prefer to reserve a bed or a room, we have some space to accommodate you for an additional fee. Please contact Tevyn at [email protected] to reserve these additional accommodations!



Dec 02 - 03 2023


10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Dreaming Stone


Dreaming Stone
Dreaming Stone
Jonathan McRay


Jonathan McRay

Jonathan McRay is a farmer, facilitator, and writer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He grew up in the Central Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee and worked overseas before returning home to take responsibility for his life and history. Jonathan helped found and garden Vine and Fig, an urban farm, education center, and supportive home, where he also served as house mediator. Jonathan co-founded the Cambium Collective and co-facilitated Uprooting Racism in the Food System trainings with Soul Fire Farm. He teaches classes and workshops on cultural ecology, conflict transformation and restorative justice, participatory decision-making, and agroforestry and agroecology. He farms with Silver Run Forest Farm, a riparian nursery, woodland collective, and folk school propagating beautiful and useful plants that cross-pollinate food sovereignty and ecological restoration with a vision for land reform and redistribution. Jonathan has facilitated circles of support and accountability in the legal system and community, as well as emotional support circles for a residential mental health and recovery program. He joined grassroots organizing against jail expansions, immigrant detentions, and white nationalists, and helped provide de-escalation and nonviolent protection for local youth-led uprisings in 2020. He has an MA in Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice and trained with the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute. Jonathan does what he does because he loves trees and the land he tends, storytelling and reading out loud, the possibilities of community economy and turning conversations into action, outlandish jokes, and friends and family. He’s also learning to give up erosive perfectionism in favor of joyful growth.


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