One year ago almost to the day was the launch of the Living Soils Symposium Montreal, yet we still had no idea what would come of it. Us, a handful of civilians with a passion for a cause – all ladies, as a side note – we dared to organize a three-day event on one of the least sexy topics out there: SOILS. As many good projects, it emerged from a kitchen conversation, between a few motivated citizens with lofty dreams. Chatting around the table over some tea, we made a pact that we would organize an event to raise awareness about soil health as a climate solution, to spark a movement around this in Canada.
We aimed high, and guess what – it worked. Four hundred people coming from all sides of the world showed up, over 35 speakers from diverse backgrounds presented their perspective on soil regeneration, we got multiple sponsors, we got government grants, we got media coverage, and we survived the three-day sprint with smiles on our faces. But most importantly, we received incredible feedback from participants, who said they had learned, met kindred spirits and enjoyed the experience. For a first event, with less than a year to organize and only one full-time staff, it sure overcame our expectations.
From this experience emerged a mandate: to continue building a movement for soil regeneration in Canada, with a focus on relationship building and knowledge dissemination. What we noticed is that there is a growing number of innovators doing regenerative work out there, whether they be farmers, researchers, organizations or others, but that they are quite isolated from one another. For a paradigm shift to happen, we believe there is a strong need to unite these voices in order to amplify them, as well as to create connectedness between them and foster beneficial collaborations. The need for more general public education about the potential of soil regeneration also became obvious at the Symposium, and is, in our opinion, crucial in order to drive demand for regenerative goods and build public engagement for this cause.
In this context was founded Regeneration Canada. In the last year, we aligned on our vision, built a website, launched our membership, organized a few local gatherings and produced a web series. Now five teammates strong, we are excited to start planning our next Symposium in the spring of 2019, which we aim to make a unique networking and learning experience, as well as a gathering to foster innovation and drive policy changes. We hope that you will join our network and be part of the conversation to help us drive meaningful change.