We invite you to join us in co-creating a welcoming and respectful conference culture which supports a rich learning and community building experience for everyone.
- Be fully present. Turn off or silence and put away your phone and other devices. Minimize distractions and disruptions for yourself and others. Be here now.
- Give and receive welcome. Say hello. Share a smile.
- Listen deeply. Listen not just to words, but to the feelings, ideas, and inspirations behind them.
- Stay curious and open. Ask questions. Practice inner inquiry. Expect and accept a lack of closure or agreement. Stretch your willingness to be uncomfortable.
- Make space, take space. If you tend to be the last person to speak, consider adding your voice sooner. If you tend to jump in right away, practice patience and listening.
- Share your knowledge, skills, and questions. Don't expect that we all come with the same language. If you use words or concepts that may be unfamiliar to others, check in to see if an explanation is needed. If you don't understand something, ask to slow down and clarify. No one knows everything, but together we know a lot.
- Speak from your own experience. Use "I" statements rather than generalizations. As you listen to others, understand that their experiences are unique to them, and your experiences are unique to you. Be aware of your biases and privileges, and allow space for voices that are different from your own.
- Embrace difference and diversity. Practice "yes/and" thinking, exploring how apparently contradictory ideas, observations, or experiences might be true at the same time.
- Respect others' identities, backgrounds, and boundaries. Listen to how people introduce themselves, look at name badges, and use the names and pronouns that people prefer. Do not assume anyone's gender identity, cultural background, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Get consent before touching anyone, asking a question like, "May I give you a hug?" and listening carefully to the answer.
- Take care of yourself and each other. Stand up, move around, drink water, step outside, rest. Offer support when you sense it is needed.
- Be aware of both intent and impact. Even though we may intend no harm, sometimes our words and actions can be unskillful and hurt others. Listen to what you actually say, not just what you meant to say. Recognize that impact is often different from intent. If someone tells you that something you said or did caused harm, listen, acknowledge their experience, reflect, and reengage.
- Call each other in, not out. When someone acts in a way that challenges your values, use it as an opportunity to invite or call that person into greater awareness of their impact. Be accepting that you might also be called into acting more skillfully. Let’s all help each other to learn and grow.
These guidelines were co-created by Biodynamic Association staff and the conference advisory committee, with inspiration from Soul Fire Farm, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA, and Finding Our Voice.