Join Bioneers for a Kinship Movement Building Expedition in Spain’s Basque Region

Kursaal Donostia San Sebastián Basque Country

We invite you to join us for a European Bioneers Global Conference from June 24th-26th, 2016. It will be followed by a Kinship Circle movement-building expedition to learn about and engage with progressive initiatives and movement leaders in Spain and Europe.

Hosted in San Sebastián in the fabled Basque country of northern Spain, we’re partnering with the Basque Autonomous Region government (a primary funder of the event), Symbiolab, our longtime ally filmmaker Pedro Barbadillo and the Mondragon Cooperatives.

We chose the US speakers primarily for “actionable intelligence” – solutions that can readily be put into practice in Spain and Europe. Our goal is to see change on the ground – quickly. No doubt we will also learn very valuable knowledge and practices from our European allies. We will keep you posted on program developments beyond the confirmed US speakers. Holland’s water wizard Henk Ovink, whose keynote you may have seen this year, will be joining as well, which is very exciting.

It will be a dynamic weekend of cross-cultural exchange on issues ranging from local economy movements to women’s leadership, biomimicry and movement building.

The conference itself will take place in San Sebastián, a famously beautiful, cosmopolitan city on the Atlantic coast in the Basque Country. The city boasts the most Michelin stars per square meter of any city.

Organic Valley Family of Farms will be a sponsor because as a cooperative they want to deepen their connection with the Mondragon Cooperatives – the world’s largest with 75,000 employees (and owners). It represents a third way: an ethical, worker-owned, transgenerational enterprise competing successfully on a global scale. The conference will begin with a field trip to experience first-hand the renowned Mondragon Cooperative. By the way, Organic Valley is now the biggest US coop with annual revenues topping $1 billion.

The conference will take place at the Kursaal, an iconic seaside venue in central San Sebastián. The timing could hardly be better – San Sebastián is the European Capital of Culture for 2016, an annual honor bestowed on Europe’s leading cultural hubs. The Bioneers Conference will represent an important component of an entire year of cultural activities, funded by the Basque Government with support from the European Union.


A comprehensive conference website will be up and running by mid-December with registration to launch in the spring. If you are interested in coming, please let us know and we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with the latest information as it becomes available.

A Two-Step Kinship Circle Expedition

We are planning a two-step donor expedition after the conference. On this Spain trip, we’re very happy to be able to offer an expedition to donors at lower giving levels for the two days in San Sebastian and the region, as well as a deeper dive in Barcelona with our Kinship Level supporters.

On June 27th-28th, we’ll lead an expedition in the immediate region for two days for a larger donor group. We’ll visit with key projects and local leaders to learn more about progressive projects, initiatives and movements, and see more of San Sebastián.

Then we will take four or five days in Barcelona for a smaller Kinship group. We’ll engage with several of Spain’s social and environmental leaders, including the social activist and now Mayor of Barcelona, Ms. Ada Colau (depending on the elections!).

We’ll also build in some time to be together – one of the best parts! You, our Bioneers donors, are an amazing circle of folks and it’s a joy for people to meet each other and get quality time together.

Here are the terms of engagement: The two days in San Sebastián and the immediate area are open to donors who give $5,000 or more annually. The Barcelona Kinship Circle trip is for our higher donors ($25,000 and above) and those committed to considering a gift of that size.

We’ll let you know the specifics as they emerge. We will have very limited space, so do let us know right away if if you plan to join us or are seriously interested. It’s going to fill up fast. We’ve already got RSVPs from several of you, and it’s shaping up to be a wonderful group. We hope you can join us on what will be a truly important and memorable expedition.

Please contact Branden Barber – – or call him at 415-948-8323. We look forward to taking this magnificent journey together.

More on the Kinship Circle

Our Kinship Circle consists of our most supportive of supporters ($25,000 and above). You help provide the financial oxygen that keeps the fire of Bioneers burning bright.

Yet this circle brings far more than financial mojo. It is a community of highly accomplished people who offer deep expertise, wisdom and working partnerships in our shared work. In fact, we started the Kinship Circle after we realized what an authentically amazing donor circle Bioneers has, how few of you know each other, and how much everyone would benefit from getting connected.

Our first Kinship gathering in 2014 took place in Hana, Maui: a deeply Indigenous community with ancient roots, brilliant contemporary vision and ongoing struggles. In partnership with our Indigenous Board member Melissa Nelson and Indigenous Knowledge Program Director Cara Romero, we created a five-day learning journey at the beautiful Ala Kukui retreat center with some of the Islands’ greatest Native elders, teachers and allied activists.

The expedition was a smash success in all ways. It was a profound learning-and-action journey that will have lasting repercussions and results. It also brought together a truly astounding circle of people who have now formed deeply meaningful and perhaps lifelong relationships and collaborations.

Our 2015 Kinship Circle trip to British Columbia’s Vancouver – North America’s Greenest City – and Cortes Island’s Hollyhock Centre was profound. We visited and toured with First Nations leaders, leading climate activists, social entrepreneurs, green planners and policy makers, and progressive political leaders to explore movement building and place-based change.

Our presenters and partners included luminaries and inspiring change-makers such as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer, visionary social entrepreneur Janice Abbott, Idle No More’s Eriel Deranger (now a Bioneers Board member), climate leaders Tzeporah Berman and Karen Mahon, mycological magician Paul Stamets, and the founders and visionaries behind the Hollyhock Centre for Social Change. It was an incredible time spent learning and engaging and becoming true family together.

We can’t wait to do it again in Spain! Please join us.

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