Local Chapter Report: Bloom Bay Area

Local Chapter Report: Bloom Bay Area

On September 15, Regenerative Future Planning – Bay Area brought together 70 people engaged in efforts to create a regenerative future – one that protects the planet while improving the lives of the beings (people & otherwise!) living on it. The event was co-produced by 10 Bay Area based organizations working in agriculture, finance, business and media.

Our desired outcomes were to strengthen the local network across sectors, refine our shared language, better understand each other’s efforts, identify opportunities to collaborate, and discuss approaches for future coordination.

David McConville of Buckminster Fuller Institute shared a big picture overview of regeneration in literature and design. Jeff Hohensee of Natural Capital Solutions shared conclusions and next steps from the recent Regenerative Future Summit in Boulder, CO. After each short talk we split into breakout groups to discuss frameworks for regenerativity, and practices for building community in our industries. 

Plans are now in the works for a next gathering!

I had a wonderful time meeting new people and was inspired at how many people are thinking about regenerativity in their industries and across society as a whole. I also had a productive lunch date afterward with Susan Silber, the director of the NorCal Community Resilience Network, about nonhierarchical governance design and media production. I’ve heard many other groups had similarly fruitful post event networking lunches.

​I had the honor of giving an end of session summary, and suggesting what next steps this group of people can take together to maximize mutual support: What am I hearing?

​I had the honor of giving an end of session summary, and suggesting what next steps this group of people can take together to maximize mutual support:

What am I hearing?

  • A pattern I’m hearing is difficulty of scale (subsequent Facebook discussion brought up “the network power of the richly interconnected, federated small” -Gil Friend, and “local adaptive propagation” -Michelle Holliday).
  • A tension between changing or enrolling the existing structures, and creating new ones. There seem to be significant resources and attention tied up in this dilemma.
  • The importance of accessible narratives that help us achieve our goals and infiltrate existing systems and industries with regenerativity.
  • The need to redefine capital. For example, how do we include regenerative indicators in the accounting?
  • The intersection of environmental and social justice is a high leverage point

What are our next steps? / What should we do to create mutual support among this group of people?

  • Support indigenous peoples’ autonomy and leadership, from however you can in your industry. For example defense of intact large carbon sinks.
  • Stay connected. Reach out to people you resonated with today and have a coffee date or a phone call soon.
  • Contribute to re-localizing production.
    • A need I heard is for a consulting service for people/projects who are in the middle zone of receiving finance (i.e. they don’t quite fit existing systems for getting the capital boost they need to contribute regenerativity at scale). Connect the dots of existing consultancies, foundations, funding and advisory mechanisms.
    • Future event idea: finance models for regenerative endeavors, and transforming existing finance structures. Living Economy Advisors in LA is convening an event on this soon.
  • Keep protoyping. Demonstrate what looks like a fantastic well-prepared alternative.
  • Future event idea: How can we influence large organizations to do things a different way?
  • Listen for bottom up solutions from existing local groups, rather than telling them what to do. “Start a coordinated ripple effect” instead of “boom we’re going to intervene”.
  • “Watch for the solar systems and gravitational pulls so we can orbit around each other” – David McConville
  • Participate in creating a global network to be stronger together
    • Coordinate the full stack – systems design, on the ground work, messaging, policy, and “influence the power players”.
    • Get involved with a working group from the Regenerative Future Summit
    • Bloom Network is hosting an internationally coordinated conference + action day on regenerative solutions. The first will be in July 2018 in SF. Get in touch with Magenta if you’d like to collaborate. Bloom’s local chapter networks across the world is an infrastructure we can utilize to help scale regenerative practice across sectors.
    • Think with your heart and embodied intelligence, and tap into the collective mind of this group of people. To feel the next moves you can make for highest leverage. Our existing infrastructures are not built to support regenerative, cross-sector coordination, so we have to hold each others’ hands to open up the pathways for connecting resources in novel ways.

More next steps people suggested:

  • There’s a New Zealand visa available for people to innovate on regeneration – it’s called GIVES – global impact visa – 3 year, no minimum stay, no education requirements. It’s a fast track to residency and a passport.
  • Share elevator pitches of what regeneration is.
  • A next event could give people a deeper look into how specific industries are looking at regeneration.

I’ll close this blog with a fantastic graphic summary from Amanda Ravenhill of BFI:

Thank you to the co-producing organizations of this gathering: RASA: Regenerative Agriculture Sector Accelerator, San Francisco Permaculture GuildLift EconomyRegenerative Agriculture FoundationHummingbird LabsInquiring Systems IncBloom NetworkNew Resource BankThe Determined and Green World Ventures.

Blog post by
Magenta Ceiba, Bloom Bay Area, executive director of Bloom Network

ReportBack: Decentralized Web Summit 2018

ReportBack: Decentralized Web Summit 2018

By Magenta Ceiba, executive director, Bloom Network

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Decentralized Web Summit, which gathered something like 600 people to collaborate, communicate and engage communities about the decentralized protocols and apps that are being developed for a peer-to-peer internet.

You can watch the livestreams of many of the talks on the Internet Archive’s Youtube page.

What is the decentralized web?

Wired has you covered: https://www.wired.com/story/the-decentralized-internet-is-here-with-some-glitches/

Why did I go?

I view Bloom Network as a DAO, but a physical community of people. We work on IRL decentralization and global decentralization of power and resources. Local Bloom leaders have their ears on the ground connected with multiple different movements and community needs. They help guide the direction of our global community – where we allocate resources, how we develop our website and communication channels, and how we govern ourselves as a collective.

Bloom Network founders initially found each other through an online social network that dissolved. We’ve known people are developing the kinds of web tools we need to facilitate communication and resource-sharing, so we’ve been waiting until they’re done rather than try to build them in house. So I was at the Summit to learn what tools exist now and where they’re at in terms of usability. To my great heartwarming surprise… I discovered that the community around them is ahmazing!!!

What did I learn?

One of the sessions I attended was a panel on decentralized governance, with representatives from Aragon, Protocol Labs, and COALA. One of the concepts Matt Zumwalt from Protocol Labs discussed was how to dampen information without censoring people. For example, on Twitter sometimes women coders are using block lists, where there are known harassers. Instead of kicking someone off a platform, that’s one decentralized way to dampen signal flows. Aragon will be working on testing/researching best practices for making different governance bodies audible to each other in a decentralized network, so information and decisions get to where they need to.

The opening night had a talk with Cory Doctorow interviewing Mike Judge, the creator of HBO’s Silicon Valley, Beavis and Butt-Head, Office Space, and King of the Hill. It was a joy to hear Mike talk, definitely the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head.

I learned that an exciting thing about blockchain technologies is that they’re open, meaning anyone can fork a tool and build off what’s already been created, rather than creating competing proprietary gardens. This, combined with the huge amount of capital that is flowing in the space, makes for rapid iterations of the technologies.

One thing I appreciated about networking and talking with people in this community was how open and generous people were about sharing information and tools. There’s a general spirit of open collaboration and deep curiosity. It *is* a decentralized collaborative ecosystem and it’s endlessly fascinating. I’m eager to wade in deeper!

I spoke with a woman from Omisego, which is an organization working on providing banking services to the unbanked through decentralized exchange of cryptocurrencies and fiat. Many countries don’t have banks, so sending money from another country to family back home in that country tends to be very expensive. It’s also hard to get loans from a normal bank if for example a farmer doesn’t have a title to the land they live on. That issue often comes up at regenerative agriculture meetups I’ve attended over the years. This is one example of where connecting one decentralization movement with another can create positive, symbiotic impact.

At an afterparty I met a woman named Anushah Hossain who is studying how marginalized communities use information technologies. She described that people in India don’t see some Pakistani content, and similarly other countries will selectively block data. She spoke at the conference on her research.

​Lastly, I emcee’d a set of Lightning Talks, recorded here

Why is the decentralized web relevant to regenerative culture?

It’s people working on liberation and equitable access to resources, information, and power.

What about the energy use of Bitcoin?

My perspective is that solutions to the computing power will come through. 

So what tools are Bloom interested in using?

Generally we have an interest in helping to mainstream awareness that these approaches to building internet technologies exist, and in boosting adoption. It looks likely that we’ll set up a Bloom organization on Aragon, since it has a great simple dashboard for proposals, discussions, and voting. I’ll be proposing decentralized tech tool alternatives over time to our team. We’ll likely report on technology development in this space, interview makers etc. For example, Decentralized Autonomous Dataset (DAD) is a decentralized dataset solution, which could help communities access more robust datasets and balance the huge aggregation of power that is happening where companies like Amazon and Google have disproportionate access to AI.

My overall impression of this community was that it’s full of incredibly smart, creative, caring, passionate people. The density of brilliance with using cryptography tools for collective well-being was really fascinating. Many of my closest friends are herbalists and healers, and I don’t have a lot of people close to me to relate with about technology development. It was a huge relief to be able to talk with creative developers who are focused on building technology for more equitable distribution of power, more free access to information (rather than gatekeeping, walled gardens, censorship, and monopoly).

The conference helped me wade deeper into the world of the peer-to-peer web. I look forward to watching the recordings of more of the talks, and continuing to learn more.

Other blogs and media about the event:
Internet Archive Twitter: https://twitter.com/internetarchive
Internet Archive Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFa_X02QhJnP0FNpFAKyRRg

Photos: by the Internet Archive unless otherwise labeled.

ReGen18 – regenerative conference in San Francisco May 1-4  2018

ReGen18 – regenerative conference in San Francisco May 1-4 2018

From May 1-4, hundreds of world-changers in philanthropy, business, government and citizen activism will convene in San Francisco to foster the emergence of a new regenerative society. Help bring about a rapid shift from a degenerative economy to one that supports the mutual thriving of people and planet.

Register to attend with code R30_Bloom for 30% off your tickets.

Bloom Network is producing a sister conference to ReGen in September, called HiveMind, so we will be there to support networking and collaboration across the two events. Magenta Ceiba will be reporting on social media throughout the event to share insights and practices.

One of the strong focuses at ReGen is financial models for regenerative work. As an example, here’s an article from ReGen’s blog, by Wendy Weiden. 

Philanthropic Capital Can Regenerate Food Systems Passionate entrepreneurs, investors, advocates, and business leaders are having conversations about creating regenerative food systems. Yet policy continues to protect incumbent interests and their economies of scale. As a result, we have yet to see fundamental shifts in the underlying systems. Philanthropic capital has untapped potential to change – or break – the status quo.

Early stage ‘Good Food’ companies are not supported because they are judged too risky in the current system. This system of laws, regulations, and financial incentives forces the pursuit of market rate returns. Facing this persistent pressure, how can the private sector be a catalyst for and a driver of systemic change?

​Here is something I’m trying: rather than chasing investors for my clients based on proving a business case for sustainability that generates near market-based returns, I’m shifting my energy to using philanthropic capital. Freed from expectations around strictly financial returns, philanthropic capital can be leveraged in a wide variety of ways to nurture the kind of innovative, creative ideas we need.

Benefits include:

  •    lowering investment risk for early stage and unproven entrepreneurs
  •    expanding financing to those without access to credit
  •    establishing and implementing non-traditional success and impact metrics
  •    creating long-term runways for regenerative ventures

The monetary incentives for donors are built into the existing system. They understand and are more receptive to off-balance sheet returns.  This increases the odds that some firms will achieve escape velocity and scale. As a result, they may intervene in the policy process, accelerating transformation in a regenerative cycle. I believe that philanthropic capital is uniquely positioned to viably bring new responsible food entities to market AND reshape the market structure in which they operate.

Nowhere are the structural issues more pernicious than in the food industry. After over a decade witnessing the problems caused by the way we make, sell, and consume food, I am ready for something different. It’s time for new thinking on how to catalyze a more comprehensive ecosystem for food-related social entrepreneurship.

By definition, regenerative practices give back to the system from which they originated, whether that’s a plot of land, a social network or neighborhood, or an urban ecosystem. As participants in this movement, we do not need to wait for a widespread “aha” moment within our inherently extractive financial system. Let’s make better use of the tools we do have to nurture and launch the change we want.  I look forward to deepening connections and conversations about this emerging, exciting frontier of philanthropy at ReGen18 in May.

About the author:
Wendy Weiden has over ten years of experience as a food systems entrepreneur, consultant, and educator. She graduated from Presidio Graduate School determined to “change the (food) world.” While at Presidio, Wendy developed and co-taught a class on market failures, exploring the usually hidden role that government plays in driving or hindering the options for scaling social ventures.

Mushroom City Art Festival, Oct 21, Bloom Baltimore

Mushroom City Art Festival, Oct 21, Bloom Baltimore

With both a focus on personal and planetary healing, MCAF is an informative and interactive exploration of mushrooms with foraging, identification, cultivation, and psilocybin research all part of our event. Sculptures and paintings inspired by this mysterious, mycelial life form will be featured alongside hands on workshops and educational discussions revealing the many real world applications for mushroom cultivation in contemporary urban life.

With grant funding provided from Free Fall Baltimore – this is a free event! and with thanks to Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks!

Mushroom City Art Festival is going into its fifth year! And, this year Mushroom City is collaborating again with Nature Art in the Park to integrate outdoor mushroom art installation into the nature art trails curated by Nature Art in the Park!!

Held again outdoors at Leakin Park: lectures, workshops, art exhibitions, food, music and more all comprise Mushroom City!! 

With both a focus on personal and planetary healing, MCAF is an informative and interactive exploration of mushrooms with foraging, identification, cultivation, and psilocybin research all part of our event. Sculptures and paintings inspired by this mysterious, mycelial life form will be featured alongside hands on workshops and educational discussions revealing the many real world applications for mushroom cultivation in contemporary urban life.

Tentative Schedule

1-2 Woody Lissauer 
2-3 Dr. Matt Johnson – JHU Psilocybin Studies
3-4 William Padilla Brown – Cordyceps Farms, Local Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms
4-5 Robin Gunkel – Grandmother Mycelium & Regenerative Culture
5-6:15 Real Food Farm log workshop w/ Dylan Moran
6:30 -7:30 Troposphere 
7:30 – 8:30 Darsombra

1-2 Marisa Cascia – Mushrooms and Permaculture
2-3 Alex Dorr – Mycoremediation
3-4 Xiphoid Process 
4-5 Kenneth Johnston 
5-5:30 Ursula Populoh – Puppet Performance
5:30-? Psymposia -Psychedelic Stories

1:30-3 Michael Weese – foray
3-4 Holly Wheat – foray
4-5 Eric Jospeph Lewis – The Yoga of Plants
5-6 Marisa Cascia – foray
6-7 Twilight Trails Art Tour with Nature Art in the Park

Gazebo and Field
Mycelial Threads Stitching Station: Learn to Embroider HERE

Immersive Sound Bath
by Tom Montagliano
1-9 All Day!! 

Live Painters
Grateful Dad
Will Shanklin

Exhibiting Artists 
Dawn Duff
Kalin Cornelius
Ralph Famularo
Robin Gunkel
Jen Hagan
Prudence Haze
Vee Johnson
Chris Kaplan
Rob Lee
Peter Makela
Fred Merril
Justin Miller
Matt Muirhead
Ryan Smith Thoth
Scout Smith
Micol Souviney
Jillian Storms
Dan Van Allen
More TBA!

B-More Alive
The Sacred Kitchen

Free Tree Giveaway
hosted by Blue Water Baltimore

Brandi Smith
Clothes & Fannie packs
Close Call Studio
Hemp Kettle Tea Company
The Paradise Tie Dye Co.
Night Owl Trinkets
Nik da Pooh Designs

more TBA…

Pictures from our Planning Meeting for “Business Tools for Visionaries”

Pictures from our Planning Meeting for “Business Tools for Visionaries”

Here are photos from Bloom Network’s recent planning meeting for the upcoming online class series: Business Tools for Visionaries.

With Manuel Maqueda, Alisha Morton and Magenta Ceiba. Manuel Maqueda will be facilitating the classes. He teaches at UC Berkeley and other business schools around the world, and runs an accelerator for transformative activism, called Kumu. Manuel and his partner just had twins, so it was a joy to have a meeting with babies!!

​This course will teach skills like agile development, business canvassing, communications for raising capital, and more. Schedule and course descriptions coming soon!