As actress Alicia Silverstone crisscrosses the country promoting her second book, The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning, she’ll be doing the usual interviews and book signings. But there’s a component of the book tour that is uniquely Alicia. In every city she visits she’s also hosting meetups of “Kind Lifers.”
In Atlanta, a dozen people met in a park where a vegan bakery had set up a tent to provide treats. In New Orleans a baker made vegan croissants for a gathering of 15. In Detroit, a few dozen people met Alicia in the hotel where she was staying. She’s planning more meetups in Portland, Ore., and Boston, San Diego and New York.
Creating a community is an essential part of Alicia’s vision. She launched TheKindLife.com as an interactive online extension of her first book, The Kind Diet. She posts recipes, talks about green beauty and fashion finds, and shares photos and videos. Experts share their opinions; readers their stories, comments and questions.
“I wanted it to be a safe, beautiful place for people to connect,” Alicia says. “I’d always dreamed that someone could post, ‘Hey, I live in Hillsboro, Ore. Does anyone else live here?’ And there’d be somebody right down the street and they’d go on to have potluck dinners together.”
When she started the website, “it was this little baby thing and I’d be up all night talking to people,” Alicia says. “I’d recognize everyone on the site.” Today, she says, “I feel a little sad because I don’t know where these people are anymore. The site has become vast. Now we have people from all over the United States as well as Europe, Canada, Asia and Africa.”
Kind Lifer meetups are a way to bring the community back down to an intimate scale. When she hits a new city, she posts news of her arrival on the website: “Hey, Kind Lifers, I’m here. Does anyone want to connect with me?”
Since becoming a mom, Alicia has been thinking of community in another way—as a tribe, that loose collective of like-minded friends, neighbors and relatives who raise children as a community.
“We used to all mother together—your sisters, your aunts, your uncles, everybody,” she says. “Birth and child rearing was completely woven into the fabric of life. If you needed help, if you had questions, you turned to your tribe. But the way we live now, we’re all so isolated. I was lucky enough to have women in my life that I admired and respected. I saw women being kind mamas: the way one friend got pregnant, the way another raised her children. But maybe you live somewhere where you’ve never met anyone who does mama-hood the way you want to do it, with your deepest convictions. The Kind Mama fills that gap, and writing it was a way for me to be a tribe member.”