Kicking Off Blossom Impact Accelerator
The first Blossom Impact Accelerator was born in summer 2022. Thirteen businesses were carefully chosen to embark on a four month long journey. All of the businesses are mission-driven and making their mark on food systems in the UK. The businesses range from regenerative farms and consumer products, to waste processing and tech-enabled service providers. Some are really similar and others are wildly different, and we were excited to discover the impact of bringing them all together.
When Be the Earth was thinking up the programme that would be developed in collaboration with The DO and supported by Bertha Foundation, we knew that bringing people together IN PERSON was a non-negotiable. Having run programmes in the past, all the feedback we received pointed to a strong desire to connect and spend “unprogrammed” time together getting to know one other. We have experienced for ourselves that this is where the magic happens, so when we launched Blossom, we decided to make a 48 hour in-person kick-off retreat at 42 Acres a mandatory part of the programme.
Reflections on the Kick Off Retreat
On Tuesday July 5th, twenty-one founders of thirteen businesses, slowly started to trickle into 42 Acres where they would be for the next 48 hours on an immersive retreat to kick-off the Blossom Impact Accelerator. Despite the programme being called an accelerator, the intention of bringing everyone together was really to do the opposite - to slow down, reconnect with individual purpose, connect with each other, and spend time in nature.
As people started to arrive, it felt like the first day of school, with a bit of nerves and lots of excitement. By the time the first session was set to start, the facilitators could barely get the group to stop chatting as they had settled into each other’s company quickly, and connected over the clear thread of passion for making a positive impact through business. Over the course of the first evening, people had a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses, set an intention around a beautiful bonfire, and enjoy wholesome food in great company.
On Wednesday morning, the day started with a restorative yoga session, and ended with a forest feast in 42 Acres’ magical woodland forest. In between there was a challenging session on Relationship to Money, workshops on the 5 Dimensions of Impact, and an opportunity to collaborate around a needs and offers market. In the middle of the day, the group was taken on a tour of 42 Acres where they got to learn about the agri-wilding plans on site and visit the beaver’s home by the lake! They were also taken through a short ceremony using cacao as a medicine to connect the head and heart. The day was full of variety and everyone was challenged and supported in a different way.
On the final morning, the brave ones in the group went for a wild swim in the (cold) lake. After breakfast as people started to pack up their rooms, it was clear that no one was ready to leave.
The day went by very quickly, as the morning was spent in nature: learning about the biodynamic market garden and picking delicious produce as well as with 42 Acres’ very own in house forager-extraordinaire, learning about outdoor log mushroom inoculation! Having an element of putting hands into the soil was really important as there is nothing that brings one closer to food than working with it on the land. The varying knowledge in the group made the experience even more interesting. After lunch, there was a final closing session in the yurt, before the group started to bid each other farewell and make their way home with renewed energy, flourishing ideas, and strong new bonds.
It felt good leaving with everyone wanting more, as even though the next time we would all be meeting was online, this was just the planting of the seeds that had started on their journey to blossom.