The Bioneers community has had a significant impact on my work, introducing me to the visionary work of people like Joel Salatin and Paul Stamets. Every time I go, I learn something and invariably find a few gems.
Michael Pollan, author Omnivore’s Dilemma
When we started the Bioneers Conference in 1990, forget being on the radar screen—we might as well have been UFOs. The work and people we were highlighting mainly spanned outlier topics. We featured diverse leaders including the voices of Indigenous peoples and marginalized communities. They were often the greatest people you’ve never heard. Many have gone on to wide recognition and influence.
The original cultural DNA has persisted, while evolving and coevolving with the world. Attending the conference is like drinking from a fire hose of knowledge. Nature-inspired solutions occupy the practical and philosophical center. Systems thinking is the lens, polished by the clear light of humility in the face of how little we know or can know. The compass is values of justice, democracy, diversity, equity, and freedom.
Our holistic big-tent framework provokes rich novelty and innovation. As in nature, the edges where different ecosystems meet are the most fertile, innovative and diverse. The conference is a hatchery for a community of leadership across disciplines, cultures and walks of life.
We’re a hub of civil society groups, professionals and visionary start-ups; nature-inspired scientists and artists; Indigenous leaders; women leaders; social and racial justice advocates; innovators in food systems, health care and the healing arts; educators and students; media professionals, writers and filmmakers; social entrepreneurs, green business innovators, philanthropists and economists; public servants and engaged citizens.
Over the years, Bioneers has grown into a network of networks and a nexus of movements. At the end of the day, it’s about the symphony, not the soloist.
Perhaps above all, the Bioneers Conference is a deep experience of community. There’s an intangible power in coming together around the council fire to share visions and models of the world we want and how to get there. It’s a learning-and-action community. It’s alive with growing edges. We’re radically inclusive and collaborative. We embrace paradox, contradiction and pluralism.
The conference continues to be a real-time co-creation story of social transformation and movement building. It’s a social coral reef of nourishment, fertility, innovation and mutual aid. We give thanks for this great gift of the Bioneers community of leadership in a time we’re all called upon to be leaders.