I was asked this past fall if Root to Rise takes a break during the winter months. I think the way it was stated was, “so I guess we won’t see you until May?” Yes, there is some truth behind slowing down in the late fall to early spring from the outdoor implementation of our permaculture efforts, however, Root to Rise has had a very busy winter season developing what might be one of the first permaculture designed strategic plans. As an organization whose vision is to Plant Seeds and Grow Permaculture Everywhere with Everyone, the Root to Rise board members and staff decided to embark on a different type of strategic planning process, one that integrates the ethics, principles and practices of permaculture into its structure, operations and programming and utilizes the permaculture design process as a means to collecting data and organizing strategies and action items going forward. The idea is to consider more cyclical processes for our work instead of traditional linear processes and ways our work can be regenerative to our partners and the community but also to internal operations. The Root to Rise board is creating a structure that mimics an ecosystem where not one species is more important than another and what is most important is the relationship and connection between species. The board has adopted this way of thinking into the structure of the organization as well as into the way programs are developed and relationships are built with partners. The board is also work to ensure key permaculture principles such as building diversity, catching and storing energy, accepting feedback, and valuing the edge are integrated into every aspect of the organization and its work. The board has created a list of core values that are the foundation of the organization’s work and that will be shared with project hosts and community partners including honesty and transparency, building trust, and embodying the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care, and fair share. Although many organizations have developed more sustainable practices and embrace “greening” their operations, Root to Rise sees itself more as an ecosystem than an organization and is taking a more intentional approach to walking their talk. It is the goal of Root to Rise to develop a toolkit for other organizations and businesses that may be starting out, restructuring or working on their strategic plans and business plans to designing the most regenerative programs, processes and products that support the triple bottom line of planet, people and profit, again, aligning with the permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair share. It is important to Root to Rise to show that it is possible, and necessary, to create organizations and businesses that restore the natural world, build and support community, create trusting, respectful work environments, and value all forms of support from social capital to experiential capital, living capital and cultural capital. Root to Rise will be sharing their unique strategic planning process at the upcoming Northeast Permaculture Convergence at D Acres Permaculture Farm and Education Homestead on July 24th – 26th which is a great venue for learning more about permaculture, regenerative leadership and community building efforts happening around New England. To learn more visit: http://northeastpermaculture.org/convergence-tickets/. And stay tuned for more information on how you can work with Root to Rise on developing a more resilient, regenerative community!