Six months ago, I started working as a general manager of AlVelAl Foods, a company committed to boosting the regeneration of the Altiplano Estepario through business development. We don’t do this alone but in a landscape partnership of partners who are committed to the same regenerative vision for the landscape. And as a landscape, we are connected to other landscapes worldwide to learn together and exchange experiences on holistic landscape restoration.
The Mountain Trail was an example of this. This three-month online learning journey facilitated by Commonland allowed me to connect with fellow landscape practitioners from all over the world and reflect on what truly mattered to us. The theme of this year was “scaling for systemic impact” and I was lucky enough to represent AlVelAl Foods for the Altiplano Estepario in Spain alongside other projects from Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, and India.
The journey was about exploring new perspectives, gathering knowledge, and synthesizing lessons to help us move forward. Commonland, the facilitator, created a safe and inspiring environment where we could learn, grow, and openly discuss the challenges we face in our work in landscape restoration. For me, the Mountain Trail was a game-changer that helped me refocus my priorities and zero in on what truly matters.
I was able to delve into meaningful discussions during the five online co-creation sessions. One of the most enlightening experiences for me was a case clinic where I was able to clearly communicate the obstacles I have faced since I began working for AlVelAl Foods and collaborating with the AlVelAl association in southern Spain in July 2022.
The idea of the case clinic method consists of presenting a specific challenge, guided by some questions suggested by the U-process, and having the other hikers serve as coaches. The questions are:
1. Current situation: What are the key challenges or questions?
2. Stakeholders: How might others view this situation?
3. Intention: What future are you trying to create?
4. Learning threshold: What do you need to let go of, and what do you need to learn?
5. Help: Where do you need input or help?
This learning approach prioritized the creation of trust and positive energy among the group and focuses on listening deeply. As a believer in the benefits of collaboration and being open to new ideas, I see the case clinic as a way to bring innovative solutions to leadership challenges.
The case clinic gave me the opportunity to share the challenges we face in scaling regenerative practices on the lands, measuring impact, and attracting more farmers to the association. It was valuable to hear about the struggles that other organizations face and to gain valuable insights that I can bring back to my team.
The Mountain Trail also taught me a few valuable lessons on scaling in a landscape context that I would like to share with other landscapes and my colleagues at AlvelAl:
1. Understanding our resources and limitations is crucial in making informed decisions on whether to focus on reinforcing the existing landscape restoration initiatives or scaling to larger numbers. We must ensure that we have the resources in place to support growth in a positive way.
2. Focusing on the most important things is key to finding the next step in your scaling journey. It’s important to have a clear objective and target for the next year to stay focused and make progress.
3. Simplifying processes and having a successful sales strategy in place is crucial. Working together as a team is what will ultimately help us succeed, especially in a market searching for transparent value chains that guarantee the traceability of products and their positive impact.
I’d like to extend my gratitude to Commonland for inviting me to participate in this journey and to all of the participants for their valuable words and insights. The atmosphere was open and collaborative, and I felt like everyone was genuinely interested in finding solutions to the challenges we face in our work. I came away from the Mountain Trail feeling energized and motivated to continue working towards our common goal of making a positive impact in our communities. Thank you again to all who made this experience possible.