By Kathleen Burton, CEO of Perth City Farm
A small but powerful event was held under the trees in the gardens of Perth City Farm on Sunday, May 1. For me as Perth City Farm’s CEO this event was an ideal use of our precious site, aligned perfectly with our organisation’s purpose and values and was the pleasing result of a partnership with another local organisation Befriend. For me as a participant, this event was the best thing I’ve done in a long time and left me feeling warm, connected, happy and a bit magic. I want to share some reflections on this event and the people that made it happen in the hopes that you might join our next one, or something similar in your area.
“Tickets are free and the conversation is priceless”
The event was called ‘Reconnecting: Let’s talk, let’s listen,’ and was run using a warm data lab format. A warm data lab sounds a bit clinical and scientific but at its core is simply an experience that brings people together to reflect, share and connect over life and all its complexities.
In this event we were asked the question ‘what is wellbeing in a changing world?’ We broke into small groups who had conversations with each other, reflecting on this question through lenses such as family, culture, health, ecology and economy. Everyone was encouraged to move fluidly from group to group to hear and share perspectives and stories.
We had a group of 15 people for this event, and they brought a great diversity in age, backgrounds and life experiences. I really enjoyed what people had to say about wellbeing in their lives and found the conversations helped me to uncover my own thoughts on the subject, and left me with some things I’m still pondering.
The magic of this event
As I left, I noticed I felt quite wonderful – warm, connected, happy and a bit magic. I tried to figure out why I felt so good and this is what I’m thinking:
- It feels great to connect with new people and feel seen by them. I’ve realised it’s actually a rare treat to get to talk to strangers about meaningful, real things. I felt like the other participants were all different icecream flavours I got to taste, and I enjoyed them all.
- We held the event in the gardens at Perth City Farm and it felt like the trees and birds were part of the conversations. As if they were somehow joining in and supporting us. I don’t think this experience would have been nearly as magic indoors. We believe a function of our farm is as a haven – a safe place for people to connect with themselves, others, nature and spirit. It’s a function that is undervalued, so it was great to experience an event that really made use of our haven potential.
- The conversations made me more aware and appreciative of the many things in my life that contribute to my wellbeing, such as olive picking with my neighbours, gardening and volunteering at City Farm. And the conversations got me excited about new things I could do, listening to what others in the group really love.
- Coincidentally I was wearing some brand-new sneakers that day so my bounciness was partially from that! And we had great snacks thanks to Rachel.
The magic facilitators
This event was organised by Rachel, Peter and Nicola from Befriend. Befriend are a local organisation on a mission to nurture strong and connected communities that welcome everyone. One of their projects is working with us at Perth City Farm to engage our local community in what the farm does and how they can be involved. Rachel has been working out of City Farm as a Community Builder for about 9 months now, and her efforts have created a range of events that anyone is welcome to join. You can find out about other upcoming events here.
Join us for our next event
I would love for you to join us for the second event in this two-part series, coming up Sunday 15th May 2022.
If you’re reading this blog too late to do that you might enjoy other events from our organisations:
Perth City Farm calendar
This event is part of our Community Education Hub project, which has been generously funded by Lotterywest and the City of Perth.