The Garden Center for Peace and Cooperation

The Garden Center for Peace and Cooperation is our beautiful, naturally built office (complete with interior walls made from our own mud over lath, rather than sheetrock).

It opened in May of 2012 on the Full Moon in a celebration that included 20 young people, a bonfire, great food, and live music. This was the celebration were Otis and I first meet Katricia! Auspicious for sure.


The building overlooks our 88-foot circular therapeutic garden and sits at the top of our property facing East, with spectacular views of the farms, vineyards, and green valley below. On a clear day, we can see Mt. Jefferson, one of the Oregon volcanos, on the horizon.


The intention of The Garden Center for Peace and Cooperation:

“A place where personal responsibility and mature cooperation lead to creative actions that serve the greater good.”

The building is dedicated to my parents, Douglas Wayne Owens and Marlene Wessel Owens. They were both involved in the work of peace. My dad was the co-founder of The Center for Middle East Peace (now known as The S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace). Click here to read more about Wayne, and here to read more about The Center for Middle East Peace. My mom was always driven by a strong sense of purpose to serve other people who often were in difficult circumstances. She was a courageous public school teacher and was working with women refugees from the Congo and Burundi when she died. Read more about her life here.

They were amazing as individuals and together as a team. If I give away half of what they gave me, I will have led a good life!

Owens Fam Election
Wayne and Marlene Election
Dedication Plaque

Here’s a funny thing about our building: we thought we were building it for community groups and maybe therapy groups and more. When the intention for the building popped into my mind, I was thinking of how it would be a great a place for people to visit and work together, learn to cooperate with compassion, solve the problems they faced, etc. What I soon realized is that the intention was, firstly, for us! Ha! Otis and I had to come together, learn about personal responsibility (as in, get some), and learn how to cooperate (with a minimum of adult tantrums) with compassion. Our blood, sweat, and tears were required – this is not an exaggeration!


Now, we are focused on the part of the intention about taking creative actions that serve the greater good. We feel we are doing this through our online courses, our consulting work, and our new podcast – which is set to launch soon!

Facing West
Facing South
Facing North

The spirit of the place is best embodied in the reactions people have when they walk into this building, the interior dimensions of which are based on the golden mean. The words change slightly from person to person, but it starts with a deep inhalation, a slow steady sigh, a pause, and then… “This feels like a church or, I can imagine doing something important here.” As in, they themselves could be the one doing something important here.


This is the place from which we work and serve, and the spirit of this place impacts what we do, how we do it, who we serve, and who we are becoming in the process.