To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。

Monday, March 30, 2015

TUP 2015 Bay Area Urban Permaculture Gift Ecology experient


I'm currently touring around Japan with my all time hero Satish Kumar and his wife June. What a super special treat. I first met him in college around 2004. And now I am hanging out with him everyday, translating for him and asking him all sorts of questions. Even hanging out in the hot springs! Very exciting.

Soon to do the same with the Plum Village monastics (unfortunately Thich Naht Hanh had a medical emergency) who will come to Japan in May.

My next big project:

Tokyo Urban Permaculture’s new (r)Evolutionary project has started.
It took us both a long time to decide but we finally committed ourselves to make our “Life Transforming California permaculture tour” we host in June to be based in gift ecology (aka gift economy).

Our feelings go up and down almost every single day between getting super nervous about our decision and super excited about it. But we want do something with an edge to shift our world and help us grow! Our fellow giftivists helped us take the next step.

Gift Ecology - the ecosystem based on trust and mutual support, the world of abundance with gift and love. A difference of paradigm from out exchange and scarcity based economic system.

We believe in it, we want to show that it is possible, so here we go entering into this new experiment!!!

****************** Project Announcement *********************************

TUP 2015 Bay Area Urban Permaculture Gift Ecology experiment
San Francisco, Santa Cruz, East Bay

In this project we are offering an experiential tour showcasing Bay Area’s leading models of urban permaculture, agroecology and concrete examples of life in the gift ecology.

Here is the story behind this crazy project.

It all started from the conversation between Kai Saywer (Tokyo Urban Permaculture) and his brothers, Pancho and Sam at Casa de Paz (Fruitvale). Pancho and Sam are incredible giftivists (gift activists) who are doing (r)Evolutionary works in Oakland, CA. Kai went to their house to ask if we can show their place and their experiment at Casa de Paz as a model for gift economy. They told Kai that what they are trying to embody is not mealy a gift economy but is to live in the ecosystem of abundance based on mutually supporting human relationship that does not rely on money. They call it gift ecology. We were hoping to introduce their philosophy as a model but they encouraged us to see this as an opportunity to practice gift ecology ourselves.

Kai got really inspired by this conversation and brought this idea to Eri. After multiple discussions and self questioning, we have decided to do the tour with gift ecology principles. We are thrilled at our adventure ahead and also quite nervous not knowing how this will turn out. Originally, our conventional thinking lead us to offer a tour for $1500 per person aside from the flight cost to cover the cost of rental car, lodging, tour fee for guides, Kai’s flight and coordinating fee for both of us. We had a practical concern for how to pay for the car rental, lodging, flight, and our rent, so then we thought of having a fee to cover just the basics (rentals, lodging) and our time and efforts as a gift. But that complicated matters in us when we started talking about to what extent we include to be the fee. Since we are aiming for a shift in consciousness, it seemed like mixing conventional economics and gift ecology wouldn’t manifest the highest potential of this project. In the end, we told ourselves “let’s just make it all a gift and see what happens!” We believe in the power of the relationship that gifts generates and we wanted to have participants feel what it is all about not just by learning conceptually but to experience it. Being the change we wish to see in the world!

It is our invitation to the world to experience what soulful giving bring to us. We want to share how relationship can be cultivated when money is not the bottom-line of exchange and giving. Besides, we cannot put a price tag on people we think are super inspiring urban permaculturists and places that we think are incredible. We wanted participants to see the value and decide the value themselves.

We also shifted how we chose participants from first-come-first-serve basis to more involved selection process. It takes more time and effort in our part but we wanted to know more about who they are.

What’s amazing is that once we decided to make this tour into a gift, we already started to receive gifts. Pancho and Sam gifted us with housing and food for three days and our new friend Ayako invited us to her house for three days in East Bay.

We want to pay forward these gifts we are receiving to the participants as gifts.

Let’s make the “impossible”, possible.
Life is a gift, and nature provides us with abundance.
Each of us have so much to give.

We just have to circulate these gifts.

Kai and Eri

* To know more about giftivsm, please see below

About Pancho

About Casa De Paz

About Canticle Farm (Urban Permaculture Garden run by Casa de Paz)

Nipun Mehta Super inspiring giftvist who has started Service space and Karma Kitchen

* If you would like to support/contribute/participate in this experiment in anyway, please contact us at tup2015baytour(a)   


  1. Dear Kai-san,
    はじめマシンて。頑張ってください!Your Bay Area event sounds great, and I commend your courage and vision in experimenting with giftivism. Having participated in the New Story Summit at Findhorn last fall, which was also based on giftivism (with like 400 people!), I have a new appreciation for its potential and its challenges. I'm sure your conversations with Satish must be very rich on this topic (and everything else). Lucky you!
    I've learned a bit about you and your outstanding work from Eri-san, and I hope to meet you when you are in the Bay Area. Eri-san is an amazing ambassador for all things and people. I feel very fortunate to be connected to her, and her growing ecosystem of people.
    Anyhow, I'm just wanting to say "hi" and express my appreciation and respect.
    Warmly, Alan Zulch

    1. Hey Alan. Thanks so much. I also almost went to the Story Summit after Yuka Saionji really encouraged me to go, but unfortunately had to pass last year. Yes, Eri is an amazing ambassador and I am super grateful to be working with her. Lets keep the gifts alive, since being alive is such a gift. The story continues.....