Cover of "Common Ground" magazine, May 2009 issue, featuring a deserted road with vibrant sunset light casting long shadows and the headline "Go Towards the Light.

May 2009

The Remaking of Common Ground

DEAR FRIENDS, This Fall, Common Ground will mark its 35th birthday. And while this might have been the party that never was, be assured that party is forming into a groundswell. And you’re invited.

Perhaps you heard that the April issue was the last published by the magazine’s previous owners, the Gaiam Company. This is true. Last month, their managers announced that the local magazine business no longer fit into their business model and that Common Ground, along with the magazines they’d been operating in Seattle (Seattle Conscious Choice), Los Angeles (Whole Life Times), Chicago (Chicago Conscious Choice) and New York (Gaia NY) would cease to be published under their aegis. For me, it was too much to bear to think Common Ground would just disappear. However, after a (sleepless) month, behold! With this issue, Common Ground is once again published locally and independently. Common Ground, the Bay Area’s Magazine for Conscious Community, lives on!

By way of history, Common Ground launched in 1974 as a Free Catalog, with a vision to connect people within the Bay Area’s emerging “personal transformation movement,” a positive outgrowth of the ’60s hippie era. Back then, the eight-page quarterly was printed on folded newsprint and was distributed by friends, family and its advertisers; the entire operating budget, including salaries, was comfortably below $1000. Eventually the page count swelled and the premise of holistic directories started a trend as other cities around the country — and the world — imitated Common Ground. Thanks to founder Andy Alpine, a dear friend and colleague, Common Ground earned its reputation as “the Granddaddy of ’em all.”

It is with great pride that I have been involved with Common Ground for the last eight years, several of those as publisher. With some learned humility and reverence, I now attempt to carry the mantle forward as the new owner.

First order of business: gratitude. From the plumb depth of my heart, THANK YOU to all the folks that have ever been involved with this publication in any way over the past 35 years. This includes writers, editors, photographers, designers, proofreaders, business managers, accountants,
salespeople, printers, contractors, distributors, interns, past owners, past investors and all well wishers for their contributions, large or small, material or intentional. Profound thanks to the readers and the advertisers because your special bond is what keeps this all together. My palms are joined and head bowed in appreciation. I sincerely believe your participation with Common Ground contributes to making the Bay Area a better place.

Publish or Perish?

Common Ground has always been fueled with core passion. For example, when it was learned that funding was cut and April would be our last issue, there was nary a dry eye in the conference room atop our offices at 604 Mission Street. How ironic that this very same building withstood the
Great Earthquake of 1906, and stands proud to this day in a downtown neighborhood dominated by glass-and-steel skyscrapers. It is our hope to continue to breathe inspiration onto the pages of Common Ground, achieving more with less. Please join us in sharing that passion as Common
magazine as we remake our local grassroots focus. The shift is on; we’re in this together.

Despite a very tight schedule and untold obstacles, it was my feeling that a May issue had to roll seamlessly, to show continuity to the community. It was a spontaneous gut decision to keep publishing. No meetings or months spent drafting mission statements or business plans — just step by step with fingers crossed. Enjoy the May travel issue. It’s chock-full of great articles on the benefits of intentional travel during these recessionary times. The title of Clint Spencer’s cover photo, “Go Towards the Light,” just about sums up the events of the last month and the essence of a simple mission statement.

The June issue will have a festive “music” theme. See you then. Thanks for hanging with us. Please support our advertisers—they’re good folk. Viva Common Ground!

Many Blessings,


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