The previous issue of The Wave focused on how RASA, the "Regenerative Agriculture Sector Accelerator," is starting to participate in activities in the real world. This week let's talk about one of those activities: "Co-Designing Our Regenerative Future: An Unconference on Agriculture & Beyond" to be held in Arlington, VA on October 29.
This will be a one day, face-to-face event at the George Mason University campus in Arlington (close to the metro). It is an "unconference" meaning the agenda for the day will be set by the participants as one of their first activities. If you haven't been to an unconference yet, be sure to come to this one - you'll have a great day. (Read "The Way of the Unconference" for more background on the format.)
Why this Topic?
We chose "Co-designing Our Regenerative Future" because we thought it was action-oriented and inspiring. We really are in the process of building a new version of the future and it is exciting!
Also because it keeps doors open to related, interesting topics (more below) that a narrow focus on "agriculture" might not encourage. For example, while I expect conversations about soil and farmers, I also expect to have a very interesting conversation around "Regenerative Storytelling" which will help guide our work and can apply to lots of other arenas.
Why an unconference?
1) it is very networky. Participants will have lots of conversations and meet lots of new people. These conversations tend to lead to friendships, new ideas, and partnerships. The format is a bit like taking the best part of a traditional conference - conversations at break time - and structuring the whole day around them.
2) they are self-defined. Conversation topics are chosen by the participants not by an event organizer. This makes them a great format for listening and data collection. Participants can get a handle on what topics and opportunities are of most interest, what ideas are bubbling, which efforts are high profile. RASA folks will be paying close attention to use this feedback to help guide our ongoing activities.
3), it is a great platform for organizations to use to advance their work. We're encouraging organizations to bring products and projects for consultation and improvement. Likewise, individuals looking for opportunities or to build partnerships around a specific idea. If RASA is to be successful as a "sector accelerator" it has to be successful at making other parts of the sector more successful.
What topics will be discussed?
Of course, we don't know exactly what will be discussed until we get into the discussions, but there are topics being developed. You can track and contribute to this process through the #RegenU2016 planning document. Introduce yourself and comment on topics you'd like to lead or learn about. Topics that look to be in the works include:
- what do we mean by Regenerative Agriculture?
- what are the principles of "regenerative storytelling"?
- how can we promote regenerative agriculture to address climate change?
- how can regenerative agriculture improve urban food systems?
- how do we build and strengthen cross-regional relationships?
- how do we encourage and finance new regenerative farmers?
- what do domestic and international (including developing country) initiatives have to teach each other?
- what are high impact research opportunities?
- planning for a variety of up-coming events including Net Impact's national conference and SoCap's Neighborhood Economics events
plus, whatever you bring into the room!
Who will be there?
We're expecting about 100 people from a wide variety of organizations and perspectives. You can see who has signed up on the registration page (scroll down). Please join us and share this invitation with your colleagues. The event will be as interesting as the people in the room make it!
Who to thank?
So many people are contributing - it is hugely appreciated. In particular we want to recognize co-hosts George Mason University, Arlington Green, Regeneration International, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, and the Center for Sustainability Solutions, a project of Green America. We are also grateful to MOM's Organic Market for their engagement and for donating lunch!
If you'd like to learn more or get involved in planning (we have weekly planning calls on Wednesday at noon ET) please let me know. Hope to see you there and please, please, share the invitation widely.