The aim of the Seeding our Future project is to evolve and share ways that individuals, communities and front-line public services can grow their resilience skills and wisdom to thrive and adapt to meet climate change and other pressures positively. We aim to do this by running pilot projects, and then sharing our experience to encourage others to use it.
Seeding our Future (SOF) is a non-profit project, started in 2017. The founder and prime mover is Alan Heeks, a social entrepreneur and writer (see www.naturalhappiness.net). Alan has been exploring resilience for many years: he has led numerous workshops on this theme, and set up Hazel Hill Wood, a 70-acre conservation woodland and residential centre showing how to learn resilience from natural ecosystems (see www.hazelhill.org.uk). SoF is an independent project within Schumacher Institute, a registered charity and environmental think tank, through which SoF receives grants and donations.
We currently have five active programmes: two of these are in Alan’s home town, Bridport, Dorset, and two, Future Conversations and Front-Line Futures, have completed successful pilot programmes and are available for bookings from new clients groups and partner organisations.
A. Bridport Climate Response: SoF is working with a small team and with local organisations to launch a programme of initiatives in spring 2022. Aiming to increase local awareness and practical action, including emission reductions, resilience for emergencies like flooding and power cuts, etc. Plans include free workshops, a new website, social media campaign, and giving young people a voice on these issues, and helping them to share their views. See more here.
B. Bridport Food Matters: Disruptions to food supplies and prices are forecast to be a major impact of climate change within the next few years. SoF, in partnership with Bridport Local Food Group and Transition Town Bridport, has set up a Bridport Food Matters website and newsletter. Initiatives under way include Allotment Ambassadors to advise home growers, information resources including local food poverty projects, and support to increase local production. See more here.
C. Future Conversations: The aim of this project is to offer knowhow and facilitation to help members and organisers in local communities to explore the upsides and downsides of the next 10-20 years, including impacts from climate change, and raise their skills and confidence to enjoy the years ahead, drawing on natural resilience, deep ecology and other methods. The format is a series of facilitated conversations, covering individual/family issues, global concerns especially climate change, and community needs. In 2019 we completed successful pilot programmes of 6-8 sessions in three locations: South London, Nottingham, and Clydeside. We can now offer programmes for individuals or groups, online or in person: for more info, see Future Conversations.
D. Front-Line Futures – Nature Resilience Immersions: The capacity of front-line public services is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing: these include the NHS, local authority functions, and parts of the voluntary sector. Currently we are seeing a severe upturn in burnout and staff turnover in many areas, alongside rising demand and shrinking resources. To help address this, Alan Heeks developed the Nature Resilience Immersion programmes in collaboration with Professor David Peters of Westminster Centre for Resilience, and they trained other facilitators to work with them. Evaluation results have been very positive, and more programmes are planned for 2022. Enquiries from individuals or groups are welcome. See more here.
E. Food and Farming: Climate change is already impacting food supplies, and is forecast to create much greater disruption in the years ahead, both in the UK and across the world. However, future weather patterns in the UK bring opportunities as well as threats. With adaptive cultivation methods, changes in crops, and support from consumers, the UK could increase its food security and reduce its vulnerability to imported supplies. Seeding our Future has commissioned research to explore these issues. The report on Growing through Climate Change is now available as a free download and we can offer briefing sessions on how local communities and professional producers can apply the findings. For more info, see Food Security – General.
Partners are a central element of our strategy for this project, and we welcome approaches from other potential partner organisations. Those already involved include:
Bridport Climate Response
- Working informally with a range of local organisations.
Bridport Food Matters
- Bridport Local Food Group: organises the annual Food Festival and a range of other initiatives in the sector.
- Transition Town Bridport: The local branch of Transition Network.
- The Surefoot Effect: this Community Interest Company, based in Scotland, works across the UK and beyond to equip people, communities and organisations with skills for resilience and sustainability and is working with Seeding our Future to deliver Future Conversations: www.surefoot-effect.com.
- Westminster Centre for Resilience: A leading expert in resilience research and training for public and private sectors, and strengths in evaluation of such work: part of Westminster University, London.
- Hazel Hill Trust: Alan Heeks is the founder and a Trustee of this registered charity which runs Hazel Hill Wood, a 70-acre conservation woodland and education centre near Salisbury, and which has proved a valuable setting for resilience programmes.
- Schumacher Institute: This non-profit think tank and research network headquartered in Bristol, has many years’ experience in exploring futures issues.
We welcome approaches from potential partners for all of our projects.