This September, with the buzz of Pollination still pulsating in our hearts, the Bloom Network team set out to Planet Home – a weekend long edutainment experience in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. Planet Home brought together thousands of individuals and organizations in the VILLAGE to amplify solutions to the planet’s greatest environmental challenges. The gorgeous backdrop for the experience was comprised of thought-provoking art and music, and the focus was a good dose of environmental awakening through workshops, talks, and incredible exhibits. The event also included VISIONS – an exclusive summit, as part of the Planet Home program, inviting “world business leaders and global thought leaders to discover actionable environmental solutions.”
The Bloom Network team took the opportunity to network with potential collaborators, reconnect with allies and supporters of our work, and take in the creative collective that was brought together by Planet Home, an EQ event. We also wanted to take the opportunity and extend a warm invitation to attendees to join Bloom Network at an Unofficial “Afterparty”. With the invitation of Sean Stevens, on Sunday evening we moved the festivities to the heart of SF, atop the home of an incredible emergent creator space he’s working on. Momentum ∞ [Momentum Infinity] brings together artists and makers for co-creation and exploration – a perfect space for us to stew in the radiance we’ve been absorbing.
Some 30-40 open minds came through the backdoor of Odd Job – a craft cocktail bar downstairs – ascended the stairs of the co-working space, and stepped through a portal of opportunities on the roof. The Bloom Network team took the chance to invite our guests co-create on the rooftop space with us. We brought pillows and notebooks, puzzles and markers, and asked our guests to help us create the space they’d like to play in. Our backdrop was the warm late-summer air, twinkling city, and the magical blooming techno flower of Sustainable Magic.
The result was a warm gathering of minds, sharing their experiences, brainstorming new connections and re-meeting each other for the first time. The event was a welcome continuation to what started at Pollination, furthered at Planet Home, and continues to this day with the work Bloom Network is doing to connect and co-create a billion acts of regeneration.
New relationships blossomed with experts in fields from solar to finance, from art to technology, movement building, indigenous leadership networks in the Amazon, and permaculture. The conversations that sprouted continue to inspire us!
We invite you to stay connected with us through our newsletter, and stay tuned for updates as our network grows and changes the world. It can’t happen without you!
by Hannah Mitchell – Bloom Network Community Lead, (Miss Hannigan)
Following Bloom Network’s Pollination event, I headed to Burning Man and made sure I saw the Terran Collective* (hosts of one of the Pollination Labs) speaking as a panel at the camp of Burners Without Borders**.
I was blown away by the poise and clarity with which all the members of the Terran Collective spoke. Their assuredness intertwined with vulnerability was a powerful thing to witness.
After their panel, I found Clare and asked how it was that she was able to speak with such coherence. Clare immediately responded that it was from the deep knowing that she was held, supported and trusted within her collective. This gave her the strength to do more than what she would be able to individually.
While we have become adept at embracing self-healing and restoring our individual resonance, building a close-knit team and working together in a healthy way remains a sticking spot for many of us. So diving deeper with Clare, we discussed further about what Terran Collective had discovered in working together to build collective resonance as a small working group.
Clare’s Tips on Building Collective Resonance
Being committed to your own healing and self-work is crucial. It’s difficult to work with people who are unwilling to look into themselves and work through trauma and other issues that arise.
Knowing Each Other
Meet in person – eye to eye, heart to heart. It is very important to meet face to face and to look each other in the eye. This means your energies will integrate better and the trust and collective resonance will grow. (Maori phrase: “kanohi ki te kanohi”).
Get to know each other’s stories, triggers and traumas. As scary as that sounds, it’s important to hear and share your life experiences with each other and how that has affected you.
Understand each other’s stories and hold each other. More than just knowing, it’s important for all members to understand how people’s life experiences have affected them. Then, when you see someone from your collective reacting to something, you understand the traumatised place it’s coming from. This makes it easier and more productive to counter-balance and lean into the situation to help
Commit to “having each other’s back”. Everyone needs a few people they can truly rely on. To be able to fall back on when times are tough, and who will stand up for you in your time of need.
Create shared goals and work towards them together. It’s hard to achieve anything without a clear idea about where you are going and what your goals are.
Work out how to be accountable to each other. Each group will have their own way of keeping each other accountable to the work you are committing too, both in the goals you have set and in the personal work you commit to. Being accountable also extends to the commitment you make to your group and being there for each other.
All of these aspects work together to be able to form a healthy, well-functioning and supportive group. This then leads to the ability to be able to speak coherently and confidently like I witnessed at Burning Man. When you are held and supported by a trusted group the possibilities of what you can do together are profound. Truly, most change happens when we have groups functioning like this.
Photo Above: Terran Collective including Tibet Sprague, Kelly Erhart, Neha Sharma, Clare Politano and Aaron Brodeur at Burners Without Borders theme camp, Burning Man 2019.
*Terran Collective are a Bloom Bay Area Chapter, and hosted one of the Pollination Labs – focussing around trust, and building a measurement tool that could be used to track it. Follow this link to the Terran Collective website: http://www.terran.io/
**Burners Without Borders are also partnering with Bloom Network to deliver trainings to Burners and Bloomers in 2020.
This Sunday, June 16 at 6:30pm we will meet at Elixart to carpool to Coyote Lookout together for a hike! Please bring snacks or dinner if you’d like to picnic at the lookout. Since it’s Father’s Day, we’ll have a loose conversation theme of talking about things we’ve learned from our fathers and grandfathers.
Next Meetup: Wednesday, July 3 2019 Pioneer Park in Nevada City, meet by the bandshell
7pm Gather 7:30-8:15 Skillshare 8:15-9:00 Project Support Session
Swarm Organizing is a form of community leadership for organizing collaborative action, empowering individuals to create what they want to, with a loose general shared direction.
As our local Bloom chapter grows, people have expressed interest in coordinating everything from permaculture projects to a more vibrant local economy, to bringing together deeper support for new families. This training will help us learn some techniques so that we can work on multiple projects together, without having too rigid of structures or hierarchies. Swarm Organizing is designed to encourage mass participation in social movements.
Here are some materials if you’d like to read about swarm organizing ahead of time: ++Rick Falkvinge’s book Swarmwise. It’s a short read! Rick is the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, one of 70 Pirate (Political) Parties in the world.++Here’s Rick giving a video presentation at the Institute for Cryptoanarchy in Prague: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gssuv8oWTXY
Following on from our last meetup where we learned the structured process tools of Sociocracy, this month we’ll learn about swarm organizing! We’ll find both helpful as we move into doing regenerative actions together.
Here are some materials if you’d like to read about swarm organizing ahead of time:
Rick Falkvinge’s book Swarmwise. It’s a short read if you’d like to read the whole thing this month! Rick is the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, one of 70 Pirate (Political) Parties in the world.
Project Support: Mushrooms for Regional Wellness with Erik English
Erik is interested in catalyzing fire prevention, soil building, food sovereignty and job creation project in the Yuba Watershed based on innoculating wood chips with mushroom mycelium. He doesn’t yet directly know the people he would need to talk with to explore how this could be effective and to organize a test plot. We will also need to discuss possible drawbacks and cautions.
You can help him so far by inviting people to this meetup who are mushroom experts, fire fighters, gardeners, people who make wood chips, people who know about carbon sequestration and carbon credits, permaculture nerds, Nevada County Economic Resource Council, policy people, and anyone else you’d like to invite. It will also be important to discuss terraforming work like this with Nissenan people who have lived here for much longer, as well as make sure that regional economic benefits from this project directly contribute to their sovereignty and wellness.
Erik will give a short talk about his vision, followed by a group workshop session to talk through community insights and possible next steps.
This month’s skillshare is led by Thomas Spellman. He’s sharing about sociocracy, so that when we make decisions together as a group, we have a solid process to follow so each person can be heard and our discussions can be effective.
Schedule for the night: 7pm gather 7:30pm skillshare and discussion 8:30pm community networking
Many thanks to everyone who came to our first two meetups so far!! It has been a tremendous delight to share our visions and passions all together. People have shared about their work with soil and water health, food sovereignty, local media, solar, support for parents, and more. We are building community to support each other in community for vibrantly healthy, regenerative local economy and wellness.
In May, we decided to also do a hike with a potluck picnic, once a month on a Sunday evening. We’ll start that in June, since we all got our email intro later than was helpful (sorry about that!). Every first Wednesday we host a skillshare and mutual support night at Elixart. Many thanks to them for opening their space for us to build momentum together.
Lastly, if you want to be one of the 2-3 people who shares about something they would like support with at our July 3 meetup, please let us know!
Below you’ll find more info about Bloom Network. Hope to see you on June 5 at Elixart!
Much love and with regards to all your dreams and the love flowing through your hands and hearts,
Magenta and Raking Bloom Yuba Watershed
About Bloom Network
Bloom Network is a global in-person social network that utilizes online tools to collaboratively work toward regenerating our planet. www.bloomnetwork.org
Join fellow entrepreneurs, activists, artists and visionaries to connect, share info & resources, and collaborate toward improving the regenerative well-being of our communities, ecosystem, and the world.
Like William Gibson once wrote, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed”.
You’re invited to the second ever Bloom Yuba Watershed meetup, Wednesday May 1 at Elixart, 408 Broad Street, Nevada City. 7-9:30pm
Voluntary contributions accepted:
Formerly Evolver Network, Bloom Network is a global in-person social network that utilizes online tools to collaboratively work toward regenerating our planet.
Join fellow entrepreneurs, activists, artists and visionaries to connect, share info & resources, and collaborate toward improving the regenerative well-being of our community, ecosystem, and the world.
Like William Gibson once wrote, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed”.
***This month’s meetup*** Participatory Community Creation
Following on last month’s inspiring and empowering inaugural meetup, this month’s gathering will focus on fleshing out a plan for the Action Circles that were proposed!
You don’t need to have been at the first one to participate in this. We’ll do a short introduction to Bloom Network for new folks, a couple rounds of “speed dating” networking so we can get to know each other, and then in small groups we’ll ask the following questions:
1) What action circles would you want to participate in, and which ones would you like to lead? 2) What financial relationship can you imagine being supportive to your circle(s)? Or would you rather it be freely accessible, or contribution based?
At the end we will gather the proposals and decide next steps!
Here are a few examples so you can think about it ahead of time:
Sommer Davis proposed a support circle for pregnant women and new mothers. There could be a circle on weaving and natural dyes. Perhaps a hiking circle, or energy + water sustainability.
One financial relationship could be people contributing $xx/month to support the coordination efforts of the people doing the scheduling and anchoring that project. Some might well best be free. An example of a contribution based circle would be offering your skillshare in return for receiving someone else’s.
We have the option of using Aragon, a software tool for digital organizations, to manage any financial relationships we decide on. It’s easy to adjust that as we create together. This will connect with the international Bloom Network which supports our global community of local chapters.
The focus for this meetup emerged from peer leadership at our first gathering. Facilitators: Magenta Ceiba, ECO (executive creative officer) of Bloom Network, and Raking L. Williams, Founder and CEO of Spirits of CBD. Bloom Yuba Watershed is forming in partnership with Yuba Village, who are producing a Village Building Convergence this fall.
Profound thanks to all the people who showed up at our first meetup and created such a beautiful, connected container for this initiative to emerge. We’re honored to be part of its blooming!
We acknowledge that this gathering happens in the ancestral homelands of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe. Settlers can help the Nisenan achieve restoration of federal status here: https://www.nevadacityrancheria.org/
The first Bloom Yuba Watershed meetup was beyond my wildest dreams. Since I became the executive director of Bloom Network in 2013, I’ve had to focus most of my energy on setting up the international community layer of the network – our online systems, our business model etc. Now that that’s set up, I finally have the bandwidth to organize a local meetup and in-person community. Please forgive me for the length of this post. I have a photographic memory, so I’m learning how to write concise event reports! Our first gathering was so beautiful everything is burned onto my soul with a light that we have been working hard to cultivate with Bloom Network over the past ten years. <3
This blog post shares about what emerged from our meetup, what’s special about this community, and at the end there is a facilitation format that I highly recommend for any new chapter, since it helped us form an organizing community, a plan, and a shared vision.
Elixart, an herbal elixir bar in Nevada City, offered to host our meetup there every first Wednesday. It’s a gorgeous non-alcoholic bar and art gallery with a genius menu of drinks and raw food snacks. By the way, they recently opened a new one in San Francisco on Market Street. I haven’t been yet. It’s part of an interactive arts and entertainment space (including an augmented reality garden) by OneDome.
We chose to identify as Bloom Yuba Watershed, since many nearby towns are connected as a larger rural community. The incredibly beautiful and dare I say sentient Yuba River is the center point that binds us together. Bloom Network’s community lead, Hannah Mitchell, recommended we encourage local chapters to identify as their bioregion to increase bioregional awareness and organizing. Technically our bioregion is the Sierra, but that encompasses three separate national forests and completely different cultural and production zones.
Our first meetup was so powerful. 14 people came, plus the regular night’s bar crowd within earshot. Many people shared that our region has been needing this kind of gathering space and collaboration point for a long time. It’s a special community that is like a decentralized ecovillage, with many healers, ethically-focused software engineers, permaculturalists and other visionaries. It tends to be particularly cliquey, with people in small tight-knit friend groups and not a lot of interconnection between them. So, people who have community offerings and small entrepreneur businesses have some difficulty building a clientele base. One participant voiced that the separations are reinforced by law enforcement as marijuana cultivators arrests over the past decades have repeatedly broken trust relationships in our community.
I should also mention that our region has a strong radical/conservative split and a fair amount of conflict related to that. We are in the highest risk fire zone in the state, and 45 miles away from the 2018 fire that destroyed the entire town of Paradise. Last summer we were breathing in the fumes of charred cars, buildings, electrical wiring, and humans. The winter before that, flooding temporarily displaced 188,000 people nearby. The First Nations people here are the Nissenan. They are currently working to regain their federal recognition as a reservation.
To start our local chapter, I came with only a loose plan of hosting a skillshare and networking each month, with the openness for people to self-organize how we move forward together. The plan for our local chapter unfolded before us right in this first gathering. To summarize, it’s a combination of skillshare & networking meetups, hands-on action coordination, and micro-circles that meet around a specific focus.
I started with an introduction to Bloom Network, what our local chapters do and how we collaborate internationally through our online network. Our main partner, Yuba Village introduced themselves. More about them in a minute. People asked questions, we meditated to share silent prayer space together, and then we did paired networking to get to know each other. We closed with a circle to share our visions for regenerative culture – during that space our plan emerged.
Participants included Bloom’s marketing director, Kristin Johansen of Merkaba Media, Manuel Maqueda of Kumu Innovation Lab, Alli Gallixsee and Thomas Spellman of Yuba Village, a member of Aragon‘s team, an early child development nurse, artists, writers, administrative people, software engineers working on open banking applications and a U.S. watersheds map, and more folks I didn’t have a chance to meet. We had fun getting to know each other and learning about new things. And we got to get high or mellow on the wonderful herbal drinks Elixart has.
Yuba Village will be in some ways our main partner organization – they are a continuation of City Repair‘s village-building work, where people engage in place-making projects such as community gardens, public gathering places, and cobb benches (made of earth/clay). These projects are touchpoints for neighborhoods to build together and form a healthy fabric of local connection with each other. Yuba Village did a placemaking festival here two years ago, and they’ll do the second this fall. I volunteered to support them with media of their actions, because I want to learn more media production skills, and it will support Bloom Network’s mission of sharing media of local regenerative actions people can participate in to make healthy communities.
So far I had planned to simply host a skillshare and networking each month at our meetup, figuring action-focused work would self-organize from there. Participants at this first meetup were emphatic that they also want to do hands-on action, and to be more deeply accountable to and supportive of each other, not just gathering to talk. One idea that emerged was to form “micro circles”, for example a circle for pregnant women to get together and access support for their journeys into motherhood and healthy parenting. (This is an area many people move to to have children, as there are many public charter schools and home school options, as well as beautiful outdoors and arts life. However, we still have the common American problem of nuclear family and single parent isolation.)
One woman also suggested that we do a skillshare that wasn’t just one person sharing, but was more people sharing their gifts with each other. That might be the second meetup we do, inviting people to come with their offerings and perhaps doing 30-minute sessions with each other. I could see us doing a business-themed version of that specifically too. When I was researching speed networking facilitation, one practice I came across was of having expert networking rounds, where people who are experts in a topic each sit at a table with up to ten people who ask them questions in an open consultation format, for about 30 minutes and then people move to different tables.
At the end of our meetup, a room full of strangers emphatically committed to each other to show up each month and/or for each other on an ongoing basis to build regenerative community. This was asked for so strongly that all I could do was a physical gesture to help anchor us, of getting out of my chair and putting my hand in the center of the circle like a football huddle and inviting folks to do the same, taking a cue from an incredible Rasta man, computer nerd, and solar energy teacher from the Carribean who was there. He offered to help co-organize and tend to the spiritual energy and practical follow through of our Bloom chapter.
There is no way I could write what the feeling in the room was like. It was so powerful, so focused, so vision-aligned, positive, and clear. Not only myself but many others have been seeing the need for this kind of anchor point or nexus for our community. We agree our community has potential to be a model of weathering through climate change and economic disparities, to demonstrate regenerative, healthy, culturally vibrant ways of being together in good relationship with our land and ecosystem. Many people have moved here over the years because of marijuana cultivation, and the economy and lifestyle connected with tending to that medicinal plant has engendered a flowering of skills and wisdom. We want to share all that more deeply with each other and the world.
One thing I’m tickled by is that our meetup is at a non-alcoholic herbal bar; one of the bartenders on Wednesday nights is named Indigo, and she is a permaculture teacher! And former co-organizer of Yuba Vilage. The cover graphic we use on our website and print materials is Jessica Perlstein’s illustration of Califia from The Fifth Sacred Thing, a modern witchcraft book that is a parable for transitioning to a healthier society. We’re creating this utopian vision through Bloom Network, in cities around the world. We invite you to play along if you’d like to.
For fellow community organizers:
I feel lucky the facilitation worked out with my loose structure and participant suggestions. A friend kindly shared with me the advice that “if you’re not going to be a benevolent dictator, you should have some organizing tools in your pocket.” He sent me this video on post-left anarchist organizing, by William Gillis, director at the Center for a Stateless Society: https://youtu.be/dbDtjv_S55w .
One participant recommended I walk into city hall here and ask about local grants funds available for sustainability efforts, to support our local educational organizing and actions.
The facilitation format we used turned out to be really great for starting a local Bloom, so I’m going to share that outline here for future organizers:
Opening talk introducing Bloom Network, our IRL chapters and online network, mission, programs etc.
Pass around email signup list
What your goals are with your local chapter, and how people will gather
Meditation: feel into what regenerative culture looks like to you, here in this community and in the world
If you have a main partner(s), invite them to share what their focus is
“Speed dating” networking rounds in pairs:
each person shares their name, their project or passion, and why they’re here at this meetup. 2-4 minutes, with 1-2 minutes for the partner to ask questions. Then switch places. 6-12 minutes total. Repeat with new pairs.
Gather in full circle to popcorn visions for regenerative culture. Note: our group was 14 people total. I’m not sure this part scales with a larger group; you might need to do a few circles if you have a bigger turnout.
Close with an invitation to commit to continuing to show up to this gathering and for each other. Remind people of when and where the meetup regularly happens. How you’ll stay in touch (email listserv or email list is easiest for now. Bloom Network requests you don’t start a Facebook group, for ethical and effectiveness reasons). Release the circle so people can leave or keep hanging out with each other. I recommend passing a donations basket around or placing it somewhere and pointing it out. Here’s a virtual one if you’ve read this and want to support that way!
by Magenta Ceiba, local organizer with Bloom Yuba Watershed, executive creative officer for Bloom Network