The Groundwork Project

Unite our Understanding.

Community circles for common ground.

Place-based research for and by locals.

Stewardship meets the groundwork of democracy.

Local measures of peace and prosperity.

Economics for Peace Institute provides tools for communities to establish baseline indicators of community well-being and ecosystem stewardship for the purposes of planning, implementation and evaluation.

The Institute is spearheading and coordinating a multi-year pilot study for Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties. Conversations resume in Fall 2023. Outreach and development continues.

About the Pilot Study

The North Olympic Peninsula Groundwork Project is an ongoing two-year pilot study. Locals are welcome to take part in exploratory conversations preceded by an introductory Q&A. This is a standing invitation for locals. Join in when it works for you. There is no “official” start date. We will have ways to help get you up to speed as needed.

Each session offers the opportunity to expand research to include more people; and to calibrate and refine our findings in a participatory way. The Groundwork Project is a framework for research that is iterative and adaptive.

Invitation to Participate

Jefferson, Kitsap and Clallam Counties• If you live in one of these counties full-time, join in! You may participate in the North Olympic Peninsula pilot study in a range of ways.

  • Reflect on ways in which community well-being and ecosystem stewardship is expressed in your day-to day life.
  • Keep notes and observe patterns.
  • Sign up for our newsletter to be informed of upcoming events.
  • Volunteer to support reposting outreach through social media.
  • Schedule an in-person* or virtual presentation about
  • Sign up to be the first to receive the forthcoming “The Groundwork Project Toolkit.”
  • Contribute to funding educational outreach by the Institute.
  • Volunteer in other ways by contacting our onboarding lead to find the best fit for your unique interests and talents/skills.
  • Offer or arrange for venues for participatory conversations in your neighborhood or community on the North Olympic Peninsula.

* When possible, outdoor gatherings around a campfire or picnic table are a wonderful option.

More info on process

Take part in community circles for common ground – participatory conversations that about what matters most. Groundwork project coordinators guide participants through processes that support discussion on what is agreed. The focus of conversation is on community well-being and ecosystem stewardship. Other imperatives or rhetoric are set aside as a ground rule for participation. That is the first step. Participants are given space and time for self-reflection. We all learn together how to speak from the heart in our own words, our own truth and from our own observed experience.

Our research targets community scale experiential understanding rather than individual pursuits. How might you describe quality of life in your own words and in your day-to-day life? We will focus on descriptors that relate to where you live and the people that share those landscapes with you.

The pilot study is designed and conducted under the supervision of experienced and credentialed practitioners in Community-Based Participatory Action Research.

Get involved in the conversation beyond “I” to inform public decisions.

What are we striving for?

What matters most?

What do we seek to protect?

How to participate

If you are on our email list, we will let you know we resume conversations. We do not coordinate our efforts with local people or conduct community engagement through social media. You must be on our email list.

We reserve social media solely for educational outreach purposes.

We will provide hybrid participation options through our video portal. Real-time and in person is preferred in all instances.

About the Institute

The Institute introduces and supports the spread of social fieldwork by locals and planners. The focus of our work is strengths-based and positive. We draw on appreciative inquiry to energize long-range action. Social fieldwork and participatory action research is community research similar to citizen science and place-based research. In our application, social fieldwork is participatory research to inform evaluation of local programs and planning decisions.

Our location

In the Pacific Northwest, the Institute is based at the Chimacum Grange – a relatively central location in the pilot study area for neutral meetups across rhetorical divides.

We will add other locations. Please be in touch if you would like to coordinate meetup logistics at another location. The Groundwork Project coordinators are looking for more locations across the study area in which to have research meetups to encourage access first hand and in person. We welcome your assistance with the footwork.

Starting projects in other regions

As we build out the materials and training for the North Olympic Peninsula study, we plan to develop a toolkit adaptable to studies in other regions.

We will plan to replicate and continue to refine methods and process. The Institute already conducts outreach in other bioregions to encourage understanding and increase landscape scale effectiveness.

North Olympic Peninsula Timeline

Research began in earnest in December 2021 with Wednesday drop in gatherings. Initial project results will be presented to the general community in Spring 2023. We will work towards a baseline of sustainability indicators.

February 2022 – Openhouse at the Chimacum Grange to open our new office and local research lab.

Earth Day 2022 – Coming out from Covid. Following the Community Celebration of Common Ground Earth Day Gathering on Friday, April 22, we offered two culminating research and dialogue sessions at the Chimacum Grange on Saturday, April 23.

Preparation for the Pilot Study

2016 to 2019 – Research prinicipal, Myriem Le Ferrand, lived locally for several years learning about local culture and the landscape before she began the study.

February 12, 2020 – Building a Partnership Relationship with the Chimacum Grange.

At a regular meeting of the Chimacum Grange, Myriem introduced a proposal to conduct community-based research. She received the green light to begin at Chimacum Grange where she was given space to create an office and base for research.

On February 26, at the Jefferson County Library, she presented a well-attended introduction to the study. The talk also included developing “Grange as Research and Sustainable Economic Development Hub” for Social Fieldwork.

She placed the following poster around Port Townsend about “Unite our Understanding” and received supportive feedback.

Fieldwork and trainings were set to begin March 15.

Center Valley – Post and poster from January and February 2020

Covid Restrictions began in early March 2020

Fieldwork was delayed until Fall of 2021. In September, Myriem hit the ground running. She spent considerable time training and engaging few local people. Through that experience, she learned about how best to use her time.

Latest Developments – 2022 and 2023

Myriem is networking nationally and regionally. She is working on a local climate impact study through the Institute’s consulting branch, Participatory Strategies Group. She is lead coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Community and Citizen Science Network.

She is concurrently focussed on strengthening the Institute’s Board of Directors with much success. Her goal is to have the organization function and fulfill its mission without being so reliant on her knowledge and involvement. The download is happening!

The Institute is fully in a growth phase recruiting highly experienced management volunteers regionally and nationally. She has onboarded a management team built on solid core values and great rapport. We use a sophisticated tech stack built on privacy aware tools. The team is setting the stage to conduct educational outreach nationally on The Groundwork Project.

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