Mama’s (& Papa’s) Co-op began in Fall 2016.

Fall 2016 Mama & Babe Thursday crew. We mainly looked like a playgroup our first year as our babes were all around 2 years old.

After a summer spent watching up to five children here at her house, Cara H. Cadwallader desired to maintain the continuity of connection and playmates for her son.

In conversation with a peer at a playgroup, Cara witnessed herself expressing desire to support women in a fundamental way, questioning the efficacy of social services while recognizing the need for people powered change. Most importantly, she spoke of her passion for creating the world she wants to live in for her young child.

Holding a vision for a space where women can: get emotional support; work on their soul’s work; and have their toddlers tended to for a much needed break and a dose of self care, Cara was thrilled to welcome Erika Williams as our Little Sprouts Learning Garden Director in the fall of 2017.

During our co-op’s second year, we were also excited to announce that the positions of Permaculture Coordinator as well as Main Mama Assistant were filled. We also had a Chinese Medicine doctor on-hand who served as one of our cooperative’s main healer.

Our first summer camp season launched in 2018, but was shortly blown apart by an outbreak of hand, foot & mouth virus. 🙁

As we gear up for our third year, we are pleased to welcome Mama Lynn Babiarz to our team as a Reggio Emilia trained Atelierista. She will be guiding our children through process-based art and exploration, and is most excited about engaging our children within the community around us here at our Cardiff location.

We look forward to our continued expansion and growth.

When Women Support Each Other,
Incredible Things Happen.

Cara H. Cadwallader, Mama’s Co-op Encinitas Founder & Executive Director 

Cara was born in Canada and raised in Vista. She is a passionate life-long educator with over twenty years experiential education in working with people of all ages. She holds a Masters Degree from Goddard College, and has spent the past decade cultivating village right here in San Diego County.
In fall 2018, Cara is thrilled to present her signature movement medicine class, “Mama Moves!” to our cooperative.
Cara is Mama to 4-year old Cahlo and partner to Burt, and she is grateful for the vibrant space her and Burt hold for people to gather together and grow as a community.
Learn more about her sacred work in our world at

Erika Williams, Little Sprouts Learning Garden Director

Erika was raised in Pennsylvania and moved to San Diego 15 years ago. She holds a K-8 teaching credential from Millersville University, and also has a CA Multiple Subject credential & CLAD certificate from SDSU.
Erika has 13 years teaching experience. She taught at a Reggio-Emilia inspired school in Carlsbad, where she fell in love with this educational philosophy.
Erika believes all children learn best through hands-on exploration and experiential learning.
She is thrilled to serve as our Little Sprouts Learning Garden Director and to have her 3-year old daughter, Arielle, alongside her! In fall 2018, Erika will be integrating a mindfulness-based kindness curriculum for preschoolers, which comes from the Center for Healthy Minds and Healthy Innovations, into the learning garden’s programming.

Lynn Babiarz, Emilio Reggion trained Atelier

Judy Osman, Permaculture Coordinator
Judy was born in Israel and raised in Bonita. She is a UCSD graduate as well as a life long educator. She has completed a permaculture design course as well as a naturalist and survival course out of Washington State. She is a master composter and is happiest outdoors – just like her son.
Judy looks forward to working in our learning garden with our children, as well as leading us Mamas at our local, community garden and on local hikes.

Resident Papa & Tech Guy, Burt Lo

Cara’s partner, Burt Lo, works from home as a computer programmer and is can be on-hand to provide a Father’s touch, when needed. He is our cooperative’s go-to, tech guy for questions and needs when Mamas are busy in our co-working studio. He has been fathering for twenty-five years – having helped to raise his step-daughter. His daughter, Sarah, just turned eighteen. He also has over twelve years in recovery and is a compassionate, wise soul who aims to support other men – and fathers – in leading lives of presence, purpose and passion. Learn more about Burt’s work here,

Before the launch of our 2018 summer camps, our co-op crew enjoyed a “Work & Pizza Party” .


  • Adults committed to our own personal and professional development, as well as to the collective evolution of our human culture and local society.
  • Parents committed to loving, mindful and conscious ways of raising our children.
  • A community of people seeking to model healthy and sustainable stewardship for our planet.
  • Non-denominational in our approach to spirituality and religion. We celebrate the sacred, profane and the messy in whatever way that shows up for us on any given day.
  • Accepting of others and allow for her/him to be where s/he is and we make every effort to be together, even in times of uncertainty, confusion and especially when we want to isolate ourselves, and our families.
  • Empowered people responsible for our own experiences. We ask for our needs to be met; we lean in when we feel like learning out; and we move towards less isolation and more integration within ourselves, our families and our village.

We created this Co-op:

  • To meet our children’s needs for – what we believe is – healthy psychological, behavioral & social development.
  • For mothers to feel supported – by having a tribe to participate and confide in as well as a village to help hold and care for their children.
  • For women to get their needs, including time away from their children so that they can tend to their ‘soul’s work,’ including filling their own cups for social and spiritual nourishment.
  • For families to feel connected to each other and their community.
  • For all families to have equal access to social & learning opportunities.

What do we mean by Co-op:

Cara and Burt believe that we can lean in to each other as a group of people in order to help meet our own individual as well as our family’s needs. Beyond working in the learning garden in exchange for discounted membership fees, we know that we can support each other in other visceral – and, sometimes even more, profound ways.

Some ways that people have contributed to our co-op so far:

  • Papas Scott & Burt built benches for parents to sit on in the yard and Papa Brant helped to design and build our living, succulent wall;
  • Mama Grace gave monthly, acupuncture treatments to our members;
  • Papa Judd plays on the playground with the kids, every morning, before programming begins;
  • Grandma Diane and Uncle Todd donate organic food from their ministry programs;
  • Papa Brandon and Mama Nicole donated supplies like our soccer net, classroom mats, and more.

Cooperating can look like: watching each other’s children while enjoying regular play dates and other outings together; and showering a Mama with food and support during her postpartum period. It can also be chipping in when a family needs support for an emergency (for things like: rent, transportation, medical bills, etc.

Our cooperative aims to support our wider community as well. Our intention is to offer regular, pop-up shops where we will educate our larger village on how to shop and buy more sustainably and compassionately. We also hold the vision of growing fresh, organic food for those in need here in San Diego County.

Burt, Cara, Erika, Judd – and so many of us, past and present – have co-created a space where we believe, and know, that this can all happen.

But we can’t do it alone.
WE NEED YOU – our community and tribe. You Are Wanted Here.

What Can You Give,
While Also Receiving?

Our co-op has been graciously supported by the following individuals:

Nicole Mills-Hasman & Brandon Mills
Paul & Jenn Paez
Sonia Reece
Dale Moseley
Kimberly Walter
Miki Lynn
Devi Kirn Being
Jamie Frazee
Will Doeckle
Cara Zappasodi & Grandma Diane
Courtney & Brant Helms
Grace Jun Kim
Jenn Cormier
Judy Osman
John Zap
Erika Williams & Judd Handler
Mama Cara & Papa Burt
plus so many more!