Facilitation and training

Supporting groups in harnessing their collective knowledge, Cultivate! designs and facilitates strategy meetings, conferences and learning processes. We use and re-interpret interactive tools and methodologies, drawing from approaches such as storytelling, open space, appreciative inquiry, embodied learning, World Café, Theory U, sociocracy and mediation. The group´s goal, and the context, composition and resources of the group guide the process, and we design activities that stimulate creativity. We believe that having fun is the best way to generate ideas and to explore new ways of thinking and doing. Our facilitators can work in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch.

What others say about us:

“A stimulating, participatory process”

Our gathering was designed as a playful and stimulating participatory process. Janneke Bruil and Jessica Milgroom both created lots of space for participants to define discussion topics, reflect in small groups and plenary sessions, participate, debate, and learn from each other. Interactive sessions such as poster making enabled participants to communicate their story diagrammatically, and a theatrical session made for a hilarious and bonding exchange of ‘Theories of Change’. We all felt that the exchange added strength and solidarity to a growing agroecology movement.”

Lynne Davis, Land Workers Alliance, UK

“It was like a living thing”

Over the course of our days together one discussion and activity built upon the previous and fed into the next. People were invited to give suggestions derived from their experiences as well as offer creative inspirations from the moment. The schedule was like a living thing that derived not from hierarchical, but rather lateral inputs from the diverse voices in the space. While people were still focused on structure, the structure was in service of connecting different representatives to common causes, while respecting fundamental differences.”

Scott Fitzmorris, Co-Chair Wallace Global Fund, US

“Rewarding and enriching”

The gathering was very rewarding and enriching. It was important to learn about the work of other groups, and to share what has worked for us and the lessons we have learned. The site visit allowed us to learn about the culture of African communities. This experience reaffirmed what small farmers can achieve with their own knowledge, and by adding new techniques. We also recognised the importance of linkages that strengthen our work, and that provide both positive and critical feedback to our collection of experiences.”

Maria Estela Barco Huerta, General Coordinator of DESMI, Mexico

A few examples of our facilitation work:

> Facilitation of international gathering on Agroecology and Food Sovereignty (May 2019)

Partner: Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University

We feel this is a moment to build bold agendas and push more radical boundaries. That is why we came together with the Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at the University of Coventry in the UK to organise an international gathering with key people in food sovereignty and agroecology research and movements from around the world. In a 3-day meeting roughly grounded in Open Space methodology, we strengthened relationships, did a joint context analysis, explored deeper collaborative work around urgent issues, and carved out time to prioritise creativity, walks in nature and experimentation.

Contact: Jessica Milgroom, jessica[at]cultivatecollective.org

> Facilitation of Global Conference on Agroecology, Senegal (November 2017)

Partner: Groundswell International

Bringing together NGO staff from Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nepal and the US, Cultivate! facilitated the 5-day annual Global Conference of the network of Groundswell International in November 2017. In Thiès, Senegal, the group worked in dynamic constellations, often breaking up in regional, language or thematic groups to draw out insights from the past two years and make strategic plans for the next two. We created safe spaces for participants to explore sometimes difficult questions, as well as the complexity and diversity of the context in which they work. Using heads, hands and heart, discussion alternated with playful situated experience, helping to harvest essential insights and commitment.

Contact: Janneke Bruil, janneke[at]cultivatecollective.org

> Facilitation of international Agroecology Learning Exchange, Uganda (2016)

 Partners: AgroEcology Fund, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

In May 2016, members of Cultivate! facilitated a four-day Learning Exchange, organised by the Agroecology Fund (AEF) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). Over 70 people from six continents met for four days on an agroecological training centre near Masaka, in central Uganda. The Learning Exchange aimed to share lessons on what people are doing to promote agroecology in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, and to identify better ways of amplifying agroecology across the world. It also aimed to facilitate networking and collaboration. Janneke and Jessica co-designed the Learning Exchange together with the AgroEcology Fund in a way that stimulated participation and interaction. We used creative methodologies such as open space sessions, poster presentations, small group reflections and theatre skits, and used indoor and outdoor spaces. There was ample space for participants to make process suggestions. The event generated a range of insights on how to amplify agroecology. We also documented the outcomes in a report (also available in Spanish).

Contact: Janneke Bruil, janneke[at]cultivatecollective.org