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Reconnecting with Purpose FAQ


How does the program define ‘farm and food system change maker’?

The program considers a change maker to be an educator, facilitator, supplier, community organizer, funder, steward or network builder in the New York food and farm system.  If you serve, support or collaborate with farmers (urban or rural) and/or NY food businesses in any way, this program welcomes you.

What will happen in the retreats?

This project approaches the theme of reconnecting with purpose or vocation as seeking insight on personal motivations, accessing individual strengths and gifts, accepting our challenges and limitations, and finding new inspiration and direction to our efforts. The retreats will draw upon diverse wisdom traditions through story, poetry and metaphor to guide personal inquiry, and use a mix of small and large group conversation as well as personal reflection.  Participants will draw from the retreat experience to create a set of intentions or practices to incorporate into their work with farmers and food businesses in their communities.  Specific skill-building opportunities in the retreats will include:

  • Cultivating self-awareness in our work with collaborators, farmers and food producers.
  • Listening and speaking from a place that honors equity and inclusion.
  • Strengthening capacity to listen, pay attention, and be present in relationships.
  • Practicing constructive strategies for holding and dealing with tension with, among and between our colleagues and collaborators

What are the monthly peer learning circles?

Peer learning circles will take place each month from November – February in the form of virtual 1.5 hour facilitated video meetings (zoom) with 3-4 participants.  Participants will come to each meeting with a “learning goal” – a question, action or issue around which you want to receive support, drawn from the set of intentions or practices you created during the opening retreat.  Peer learning circle members often learn as much when supporting others as they do when they are presenting.

What approach is used for this program?

The “Reconnecting with Purpose” project uses the Circle of Trust® approach developed by the Center for Courage & Renewal. The Circle of Trust® approach uses a set of touchstones intended to create a process of shared exploration—in retreats, programs and other settings—where people can find a trustworthy space to nurture personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. Participant’s sharing in the circle  is always by invitation, not demand. To learn more about how the Circle of Trust® approach differs from other approaches, we invite you to read this PDF description.

Is this an all-virtual program?  What technology do I need to participate?

The program is entirely virtual.  A computer with internet connection that enables participants to join a video call (zoom) will enhance the experience, but it’s also possible to participate in the entire program by phone only. This will not be led by ‘sage on the stage’ facilitators; facilitators will be guides on the side with your active engagement throughout.  Prior to the program, you will receive a packet of materials via postal mail to reference during the opening retreat.

What is expected of me?

A Circle of Trust® Orientation to take place October 18th from 5-6pm will introduce participants to the approach.  If the approach resonates with you, we ask that you commit to attending all future sessions.  In anticipation of this, we ask that you have all dates (listed below) on your calendar at the time of application.

During the two virtual retreats and the following peer learning circles, we strongly encourage you to find a way to set aside time so that you can be fully present.  In addition to your committed participation and full attention throughout the program, participants will create a set of intentions or practices to incorporate into their work with farmers and food businesses in their communities.

What are some examples of ‘intentions or practices’ I might incorporate into my work with farmers and food businesses?

While participants will craft these individually based on the ideas or themes that most resonate with them, the following are examples:

  • Design or change educational programs to foster deeper consideration for farmers’ and food producers’ health, happiness and well-being.
  • Incorporate strategies in program design that facilitate greater connection and trust among participants or community members.
  • Model the art of listening for what is not being said and asking open and honest questions designed to access greater meaning and understanding.

What are the 2021-22 key project dates? (All are virtual)

  • October 20th - 22nd: Opening Retreat
  • November 19th (1.5h slot TBA) Peer Learning Circle
  • December 17th: (1.5h slot TBA) Peer Learning Circle
  • January 21st, 2022: (1.5h slot TBA) Peer Learning Circle
  • February 18th, 2022: (1.5h slot TBA) Peer Learning Circle
  • March 23rd -25th, 2022: Closing Retreat

How do I apply?

Application period for 2021-22 is now closed.