Arriving at Camp: First Impressions
September 13, 2017
Experiencing a Healthy Ecosystem in the Spanish Altiplano
November 6, 2017

I am proud to say we have a great online community. On our website, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram we share messages, images and videos about the community and the camps and in the Facebook group even more people share their knowledge about Ecosystem Restoration as such. But I am convinced that in order to change things for real we also need real meetups, in real life so to speak (never thought that I needed to explain this ever, but the moment is there I guess). Many people have asked me to tell a bit about it, so other people can organize them too. Here is my recipe.

Step 1: Include John Liu or another inspiring member of our community and set your date

One of the great qualities of the Ecosystem Restoration Camps movement is that we have John Liu on board as founder and indeed one of the great inspirators in this field. And with him come a lot of equally inspiring friends. I am lucky to live in the Netherlands: John visits our country a lot. Therefore my first action around organizing meetups so far has been to check with John when he is in the Netherlands and whether there is a possibility in his agenda. When you are in another country: even when John is not able to make it physically, he is happy to join meetups through ZOOM or Skype or to help you find another person that is an inspiring innovator in this field. This is the foundation for all kinds of people to want to come to a meetup about Ecosystem Restoration: an inspiring and knowledgeable speaker. If you complete this part of the recipe you have the first main ingredients for your meetup: a speaker and a date.

Step 2: The location is key

Meetups work best in my view, if they are not held in some dull (read cheap) place, but in an environment that in itself already is an inspiration. I organized three meetups now, and in all of them the location itself was an inspiration too. The funny thing is that this works as a win-win. Because, inspiring places very often have inspiring owners who love to help organize inspiring meetups with inspiring people that -if you choose the right place- are in complete accordance with their own target group. The latter point is key: if you know who you want to attract to your meetup, then you can look for a location that wants to attract the same folks too and then the win-win for both parties is there.

So, for example: see the movie below. In the Netherlands we have a very inspiring modern estate, called Roggebotstaete and there you actually can see how you can restore places and how you can develop new forms of agriculture. So when I had my date I just called them and asked them whether they wanted to be the host. You do not need to know these people, but if you have an inspiring subject and a great speaker, I guarantee you, doors will open. It is a matter of aligning interests and target groups.

Step 3: Always have great quality food and drinks

In its core Ecosystem Restoration is about health. Health of the planet, health of the food and therefore of the people. If you organize a meetup about this subject you have to have honest, great, locally produced organic food. Period. No concessions. The kind of people you want to attract very often are happy to pay for the costs of it.

girls playing harp at the Roggebotstaete event

Step 4: Invite, inspire and have fun

If you have organized an inspiring speaker, great food, a fantastic location and a subject that matters,  you can start inviting people. Of course we want more members and more funds to make our camps a reality, we will not deny that, but we are convinced it does not work to have meetings that have money as a subject. Some people can help with money, some with their time, other with their connections etc. etc. It is not about camps, it is about a bigger subject and the fact that groups meet each other already is very valuable. I have already experienced enough to be sure of that. So yes please hand out flyers and do not hesitate to ask people for help in whatever way they can, but the subject is bigger and must have inspiration at its core otherwise the magic of win-win will not happen.

We can help you with all of this. We can help you with finding a great speaker, a good invitation, we can help with the look and feel, the texts, share your event through our social media channels and we have flyers and postcard designs for you to print locally. If you want our help or advice: please do not hesitate to contact us.

Check the fundraise page for more ideas, contact and downloads, or take a look at the invitation for the Roggebot summer feast.

1 Comment

  • Justin R-Söndergaard says:

    Hi Marieke. Thank you for sharing your thoughts around event organisation. I am currently busy with a river-basin, landscape (socioecological) project here in southwestern Portugal where we are currently arranging events (meetings) with landowners to develop management plans for their land. Many are looking to transition from their current industrial styled agriculture to agroecological (regenerative) practices, and many have adopted permaculture as the way forward. Bring in someone like John is an option we are considering, not only to raise the profile of the project (covering 25 000ha), but also to bring his perspective to the way forward. Thank you, Justin.

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