I just want to briefly write about the teams that I'm putting together
which is the online resource that we're
building for Greg Wolff of UnaMesa to help people understand and engage
the world's food supply chain.
We'll need 6 teams, each with 1 coordinator ($500 and bonus) and 4 field
agents ($100 each). Each month we'll feature a team, but the idea is
that they will be building momentum on some topic that can attract
content in the long run. We get to choose the crops. So I'm pairing
- a crop
- a human value that the crop helps us pay attention to
- a technology which fosters that value and therefore favors that crop
For example, Jeff Buderer is interested to lead our team that would link
"fish farming", "sustainability" and George Chan's Integrative Farming
and Waste Management. It would be good to have a new working group for
this. We need somebody whose key concept is related to sustainability.
Jeff, do you know and suggest somebody? Or would it fit at Back to the
Root? I think of "fish" as related to leadership, as in Jesus's images
of "fishers of men". And I think of psychological and social
sustainability as relevant for "back to the root", too. But perhaps I'm
In October (this month!) we'd like to feature the wifi/echoupal
technologies (as at http://www.echoupal.com)
which we could possibly
link to the human value "willingness to take risks" and the crop
"coffee". (Note that wifi and the echoupal Internet kiosks allow
farmers to respond to global and local prices and conditions and
therefore grow a crop such as coffee which is higher price variability,
higher risk and higher profit margin, and also combine that with related
crops and alternate crops.) We could link this to the AirJaldi summit
(which Joy Tang of One Village will attend)
and also to Gary Bolles work. We need a person with a "key concept"
related to "willingness to take risks" who we might organize around and
who might host our work. I'm thinking that Dante-Gabryell Monson might
be a great person to host this work at a new working group he might lead
on "fostering paradigms for inspiration" and/or work as our team
coordinator on this subject. Dante, please let me know soon if you'd be
interested! as I know your interest in wifi (and perhaps coffee, too?)
Jeff, please consider if we might have Dante lead a team that could
support One Village's interest in wifi, would that make sense? And who
would you like to be active on this team and also the IF&WM team?
Also, I spoke with Pamela McLean (and thank you for your letters at
illustrate "thinking out loud"!) A crop that might encourage us to
"learn from each other" is chicken (and eggs, which are important for
nutrition in the developing world). This could also link to Lucas
Gonzalez Santa Cruz's concerns regarding preparation for a possible bird
flu pandemic. I'm wondering what would be a relevant technology?
Perhaps Solaroof? I think of Rick Nelson's key concept "Opening
ourselves to direct knowledge". And we both thought, Janet, it would be
wonderful if you might work as team coordinator for Pamela if you would
be interested, and perhaps this might develop into an income stream for
you and your projects, and more funds for field agents, as we'll be
looking for more business opportunities. Please consider it! and let us
I also invite Markus Petz, Samwel Kongere, Benoit Couture, Valdas
Kavaliauskas to consider working for us as team coordinators, and Rick
Nelson, Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz, Eluned Hurn, John Rogers to consider
hosting our efforts at your groups based on your values. For example,
it would be excellent to have a crop that fosters community currency (I
think of Jesus breaking the bread) or peace (I think of water) or
self-reliance (as with Gandhi's salt marches to break the British
monopoly). Please let us know what might interest you!
You may think it a bit crazy to match a crop with a value and a
technology. But I think of it as three amazingly complex systems -
Nature and its wonderful collection of species, each of which
contributes some bounty of fruit towards the whole - Technology and the
logic of its opportunities, existing and forthcoming, each of which is
optimized for some problem - and human Values whose profound richness
we're discovering at our lab, as they help us make sense of everything.
It's not so surprising that there might be near optimal correspondences
across these three systems which allow for robust metaphors for any
given crop, or any given technology, or any given human value. Indeed,
the human mind organizes categories in terms of paradigmatic examples
that highlight our expectations for that category, what is most basic,
important, essential, what is the most robust illustration. I imagine
that is how it works with beauty, too, it is an appreciation of the most
optimal example. So it is not so strange that there is a crop which is
especially helpful at illustrating a human value metaphorically, or
likewise a technology that supports that value and that crop. We know
in nature that certain species can be the determining species - such as
oaks in a forest, or beavers in a river bed. But humans are able to
make ANY species the focal species, which is what agriculture is all
about, and which means that we need to be especially sensitive as to how
to acknowledge and work with the other species around it and make sure
that we are finding the right scale which may be quite small. This
approach would hopefully develop a very subtle, deep, lyrical, poetic
language of crops and technologies and values. It would also would help
us recover our sensitivity to the kind of tribal thinking that
Levi-Strauss wrote about, which is that of classification systems (such
as bear clans vs. wolf clans or sunflower vs. rose) by which people
apparently naturally organize knowledge. The goal would be to show that
if those who enjoy a food tune into the associated values in growing it,
then that food would find it's proper place in our lives (so that, for
example, coffee drinkers would focus more on the element of chance that
it can encourage socially when they find time or place for it, rather
than becoming predictable addicted consumers). Less would go much farther.
I share below my draft of my agreement with Greg Wolff, which we're
still negotiating, but so that you could see what kind of work we'll be
Also, peace to all in Sri Lanka. Thank you to John Rogers and Eluned
Hurn for including us in the peace meditation!
+370 (5) 264 5950
+370 (699) 30003
Today I sent Greg a draft of how I would understand our agreement. The
budget and targets are as he proposed. I share my draft in case we see
some angles that we should consider. Also, I will need to write
agreements for our team coordinators and for our field agents. Andrius
This is an agreement between Greg Wolff as Founder/President of UnaMesa
and Andrius Kulikauskas as sole proprietor of Minciu Sodas.
UnaMesa is funding Andrius Kulikauskas and his Minciu Sodas laboratory
to work from October 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007 to bring to life Greg
Wolff's vision of a participatory online resource for understanding the
world's food supply chain and engaging its participants.
The purpose of the work is to start up the resource as soon as possible
and openly evolve it so that it might enjoy as much momentum as possible
and hopefully critical mass. Desired outcomes, in order of preference,
A) A resource that is actively used and steadily improved by
contributors who directly and indirectly benefit from it in ways that
have them personally invest themselves in its growing success.
B) A pilot project that attracts the attention of those who wish to fund
work to develop it further.
C) An experiment that details the variety of challenges that need to be
overcome for such a resource to sustain itself, and makes tangible a
variety of reasons why such a resource is valuable.
This agreement is pursued in the spirit of co-investment, which is to
say that both parties are contributing, developing and sharing assets
which are more profound than the money at stake. Payments are therefore
structured so that there is not undue loss or hardship on either side if
the work for any reason by either partner is interrupted, paused or halted.
Greg Wolff is responsible for openly and continuously clarifying his
vision so that his underlying values become ever more evident, for
example, by thinking out loud about an investigatory question that he
doesn't know the answer to, but intends to answer. Andrius Kulikauskas
is responsible for giving shape to this vision in a way that can most
profoundly motivate the current and prospective participants of the
Minciu Sodas laboratory and all people who care about thinking.
The principal asset being developed is the network of contributors to
the resource. During the six months they will primarily be enrolled as
participants of working groups at the Minciu Sodas laboratory that are
helping develop the resource. Andrius Kulikauskas will, by the end of
the six months, organize the network of contributors so that, whether or
not they are affiliated with Minciu Sodas, they may participate through
venues (either directly at the resource's interface or at related
working groups) that favor principles by which individuals are able to
share with others most actively:
* Venues are visible and open for the success and inclusion of all so as
not to exclude anyone who is able to behave constructively.
* Venues declare that original content by participants is in the Public
Domain unless they clearly mark it otherwise.
* Venues assume that people are developing shared assets as co-investors
and that as such they are structuring their business relationships so as
to meet each other half way so that all participation is truly voluntary
and does not rely on money as the means for control.
* Venues are organized around individuals whose personal growth they
serve and who thus have independent authority to make any decision
regarding the venue and have priority over any allegiance to groups,
organizations or brands.
Andrius Kulikauskas will reach out to integrate all people and projects
that Greg Wolff might suggest subject to their willingness to favor such
Andrius Kulikauskas will organize the online interface for contributing
and presenting content and integrate it with participating venues. He
may host the interface on his own server. He and Greg Wolff may agree
to use an interface that another party may develop or supply. In any
event, the interface will be available as open source software, and the
resource's content available for export or as an API, as Greg Wolff or
Andrius Kulikauskas might request. After the six months, they are both
free to further develop the interface and content together, should they
agree, but also separately, as they might wish.
Andrius Kulikauskas will organize six teams of contributors so that each
might be featured for one month and each might attract and build
momentum for sustained contribution. He will receive $2,000 per month
(a total of $12,000) for him to distribute to himself and his teams as
he decides. He will invoice prior to each month for that month's work,
and also for $1,000 for the subsequent month's work so that he may have
that on hand to distribute to his teams.
Andrius Kulikauskas will receive a bonus of up to $12,000 for himself
(which he may share with his teams as he decides) if they meet the
following targets that demonstrate the success of the resource:
* A directory of 1800 producers that contains information on how and why
they may be contacted.
* A collection of 60 personal stories from producers or others regarding
their role in the food supply chain.
* Six vibrant communities - which may coalesce directly around a topic
within the resource as they contribute to it - or may be working groups
with an activity or project of their own or for a client - that
references and leverages the resource in ways that have them steadily
contributing to it.
Andrius Kulikauskas will provide a means for listing and counting the
producers and the personal stories. Greg Wolff will decide if the
targets have been met. If he or Andrius has any doubt regarding his
decision, then he or Andrius Kulikauskas may turn to Kevin Jones, or
another person that they may both agree to, to make a final decision.
The decision will be made some time between April 1 and April 30th.
At Andrius Kulikauskas's request, Greg Wolff will provide feedback as to
the extent to which a team has achieved its quota of targets (1 vibrant
community, 10 stories, 300 producers). If a team has clearly met its
targets, then Greg will award early a portion ($2,000) of the bonus for
Andrius to keep and distribute as he decides.
This agreement is public. It may be amended by a public exchange of