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Prototyping Earth Regenerators in Barichara

By Jakob Seidler

Hello everybody,

this is Jakob writing from Barichara out to the wide world. As Joe said in the Barichara updates call yesterday, we were indeed all away on a swimming trip to one of the most beautiful places in the region, which I could not miss the opportunity of showing to those who will have to leave here so very soon.

I have not written any of my own Barichara update articles until now, because I am still relatively new to this network and didn't really feel like I had much to talk about, but I thought I would take up Joe on his request and fill in the things that were probably cut for time.

After the purchase of Las Albercas and with it the building of the central Ecoversity campus hit some major obstacles and Joe chose to leave our regular Monday morning check-in meetings over some internal tensions, we were all a bit shocked and scrambling for what we would do with our time in the following weeks. As we set out to find projects we could support, we slowly started developing some prototype structures, which we hope will serve all Earth Regenerators coming to Barichara in the future.

One of the key elements of this is the secret Barichara course (group), Penny Heiple, Cathy Holt and I set up here on Mighty Networks, which we have filled in with lots of information on how to come here, live here and which projects to help. Calling ourselves the Welcome Committee, we have made Penny the first-point-of-contact for all Earth Regenerators desiring to come here and written a Welcome Page together for her to send out, with the basic information to integrate into the town. We are also planning on designing some simple Barichara and Bioparque tours for everybody just quickly passing through.

Fun times at Rio Pescaderito! Missing are photographer Cathy, and Steven who is achieving spiritual enlightenment in a shady cave nearby. (And of course Joe, Penny and Elise, who stayed behind to update you on all the other amazing things going on)

At the same time, CharLes Upton has been so kind to fill another role, which we are prototyping: the field work coordinator. Besides himself almost every day being invited a finca to share his expertise with members of the local community, he has helped organize weekly work visits to Origen del Agua with Jessica, where we are digging swales, planting trees and starting another Syntropic Agroforestry field site with only hardy native species to slowly regenerate the incredibly eroded soil.

Another fun part of our weekly routine is the language exchange that we have started to organize. Twice a week now, ever growing numbers of the local community and us English speaking volunteers mingle to help each other on a reciprocal basis learn English and Spanish through conversation, no money involved. Last time we were already over 20 people! Soon, Alpha Lo is hosting another reciprocity based event which we hope can turn into a regular thing together with Margarita Higuera who is the key figure in the Food Transformation Learning Center: a giving circle. This Sunday, we will hopefully be able to get all sorts of people from the town together to strengthen the community through the power of freely offering help and being helped with one's needs. Alpha Lo also recently wrote a really interesting analysis of the local climate system and what we can learn from it here. I highly suggest you to check it out, if you have not done so already.

Meanwhile, Chad Monfreda has been meeting regularly with Margarita to use his expertise in support of organizing her food businesses and fostering networks of reciprocity around it. This is something that I have personally heard least about, but, I have the sense, might be one of the most transformational.

One of our favorite parts of all living here together also has been the incredible amounts of learning made possible by a gathering of people with such different backgrounds. One of our last impromptu workshops was held by Steven Morris on Holochain and the transformational power of re-defining our understanding of currencies (current-sees), which I found very illuminating. Definitely something, I will read more into.

In order to provide some stable structures for people coming to Barichara in this group with incredibly high turnover, we have decided to dedicate parts of our weekly Monday meetings to work through the Prosocial framework and how it can apply here. Each week, one person prepares to facilitate a 30 minute session on one of the Core Design Principles, so we can explore it together. The first session on CDP1 was facilitated by Cathy Holt and yielded our shared purpose:

We want to support the local people in regenerating this bioregion and live communally while learning from each other.

And our shared identity:

Part of this group are all Earth Regenerators in Barichara and those they invite into it.

The second session on CDP2 facilitated by me yielded a resolution on how we would deal with perceived unfairness in the distribution of benefits and contributions in the future:

Everyone feeling there is unfairness in the group can contact the Empathy Coordinator (another role we are prototyping and currently lovingly filled by Cathy Holt) and work through their issue in a 1-on-1 session. If the issue cannot be resolved this way, we have an open slot in our Monday meetings to let such issues be heard.

My role in all this flurry of activity has mostly been writing everything down, integrating it into an accessible structure and designing efficient information flows, so that everybody that needs to have access to some resolution we made, has that access. I have been taking notes in every Monday meeting and prototyping the roles mentioned throughout this article. I have assumed the role of Event Coordinator and been designing the flyers for the various events we have held with the community, organized social outings and communal lunches, and been filling the calendar feature provided by Mighty Networks to help everybody keep on top of what is going on. This is the current week:

Besides this mainly Joe Brewer and Penny Heiple have still been going to the Bioparque from 4-6pm every day to keep maintaining the syntropic agroforestry site and expanding the reach of our regeneration efforts into the grasslands. I always enjoy it very much to just grab a pick-axe and hang out with the two of them up there, joking around, pulling a bit of grass and feeling the cool afternoon breeze on my skin.

We have learned a lot in the last 1,5 months and have slowly built ourselves into a functioning group with growing amounts of relationships to the outside. I will dedicate my next few weeks to continue working on creating a model for volunteering and learning programs with the local community under the umbrella of the Ecoversity, so that future Earth Regenerators coming here don't feel like they are thrown in the deep end as we did for a while as what seems to be the first major cohort, and at the same time continue fostering the beautiful sense of communal living we have been developing through all our shared activities both within our small group of Earth Regenerators and the "big" group of the few thousand people in Barichara. I hope, I will be able to help heal the rifts and tensions that always form when people let down their guards to work in cooperation and trust and continue to enjoy this beautiful place, which I have the privilege to have landed in.

Until the next time, I hope you are all having a great day,

Let's Regenerate the Earth!!!

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