Foodscape Collective‘s first online community gathering!
With the circuit breaker halting any community gathering since March 2020, the Foodscape Collective organizing team figured it’s time to learn some new skills and design an intentional gathering online – one that would support our well-being by facilitating deeper community connection, and also bring everyone together to continue visioning our mission to co-create a fair and circular food system for all.
Intentionally keeping the group to not more than 20 – for the purpose of facilitating a more intimate connection within a zoom gallery view – we asked participants to respond to a few questions as they sign up to join this session. Here’re a distilled word cloud of the responses of a few of these questions:
Amongst us are gardeners, farmers, educators, researchers, facilitators, space holders, earth-healer, nature guide, nature lovers, storytellers, illustrator, builders, writers, trained chef, home-cooks, and above all, people living on this planet, who share the hope and desire of coming together as a community to connect as humans, align our vision, and gather in actions for real impact.
With the wonderful facilitation by our friend Madhu, from Forum for the Future, our first online community gathering took place on June 6, 2020 and saw 19 people in the zoom room. While a 3-hour zoom call for Community Bonding and Visioning of a Circular Food System sounded intimidating, everyone who made it surfed through the session with one short break and a beautiful time connecting. After a brief welcome and intention setting, we went around the virtual ‘circle’ for everyone to introduce themselves – name, one sentence on what is your current role is the food system, and one word on what you are most grateful for during the circuit breaker. Many mentioned rest time, quiet time, friends, family, inspiring stories, and of course, the internet – that which allowed us to gather in this way as a community on zoom, from our individual homes.
Part two of the session saw us breaking into small groups of three for more intimate sharing on the above three prompts. The intention of the intimate sharing is for us to practice authentic sharing and deep listening. While one person share, the other two in the room listen without interruption, with one listener actively taking notes. After the person shared, the person taking notes will reflect back to the sharer what he or she heard from the sharer. Like this, we each took turn to share uninterrupted, and listened attentively. Nature, wild flowers, community connections and support, open and considerate communications, are a few of the themes that popped up.
After a short break, we gathered back for part three of the session, where we break out into groups of 5 to discuss the following questions:
Discussions in various groups span from food prices to food waste, farming practices to farming as a profession, carbon footprint to carbon sequestration, scarcity mindset to abundance mindset, policies to socio-cultural considerations, quality of food to health and vitality, education to entrepreneurship.
By the end of the session, we touched on what is a fair and circular food system for each of us. More importantly, people felt the connection we share with one another. The diverse yet resonating ideas and perspectives brought forward were inspiring, challenging and uplifting – a good energy boost alongside the work on the ground as we work in isolation in the garden during this period of time.
Keeping the vision alive, we look forward to the next gathering to further deepen our community connections and find our role in co-creating the vision of a circular food system, and a meaningful life. In the meantime, we continue to grow, make compost, plant new seedlings, regenerate soil, speak up on climate matters, and tell the food story that is real for us.