Pop-Up-Foundation addresses one of the central challenges of our time: decoupling human progress from resource use and environmental decline. Bringing sustainable living to people in a simple, accessible form, focused on results, Pop-Up-Foundation encourages everyone to participate in the changes and create and share solutions. In this way, all these small changes can connect, consolidate and have a bigger compound effect. This is how Pop-Up-Foundation uses its local perspective to address the global ecological challenge – how to live our lives sustainably.
We see this challenge as an educational issue, and act to respond through schools, communities and businesses worldwide, evolving through social, economic and technological networks.
Our focus is on thinking and action upon the key themes of water, waste, energy, food, growing, buildings, health and wellbeing. The emergent ideas and action serve to demonstrate different ways that people can change their lives to the mutual benefit of communities and the planet.
Pop-Up-Foundation provides a basic design upon which experimentation and innovation are encouraged. Ongoing findings are shared through the website and gatherings of people through our various projects (Pop-Up-Farm, The Thoughtful Coffee Company, Opportunitree our orchard project and other initiatives. We recognise that shared learning, designing, creating, developing and reaping of outcomes enthrals, interests and energises people. This creates a powerful momentum for change, owned by everyone, grown by everyone.
It is a communal approach to sustainable living, revolving around a pop-up shed or other structure that we call “The Plotting Shed.” This is a community building, and celebrates people connecting on the central themes of the work. The building might be a living structure like a willow den; it may be a simple hut, a wooden shed or brick construction. Whatever it is, it will operate as a resource centre for the Pop-Up-Foundation community. Meeting in the Plotting Shed people plan their activities for their project, learning about the key areas of the programme as they do so. They create challenges suited to their environment and take them into their families and communities to find locally specific and relevant solutions and actions.
Pop-Up-Foundation is the umbrella organisation which houses the projects. Each project then gathers ongoing learning and know-how and uses this to create meaningful metrics that report, measure and celebrate progress and identify areas of need. These recording, measuring and story-sharing systems are designed to be relevant to the specific needs and resources of each participant group: funders, schools, communities, businesses and individuals of every kind. This research and development approach ensures that the model maintains a robust methodology which can inform and advance human activity anywhere in the world at a time of global ecological challenge. It is a simple yet powerful, constantly evolving instrument for people to move towards more sustainable lifestyles.
As the many and varied Pop-Up-Foundation solutions develop, patterns of activity emerge. These patterns form the basic developmental material that serves as the template upon which we develop and grow our sustainable communities.
The pragmatism and effectiveness of the Pop-Up-Foundation approach means that children, families and communities learn, take action, share knowledge and make rapid, measurable progress, whatever their initial circumstances.
To date, we have farm projects around the world, in widely differing settings and climates. This diversity guides our understanding of varied habitats and regions. In Burnley, northern England, we have a network of 35 schools; in Hong Kong we have a partner project Ark Eden; in Australia we have Pop-Up-Farms in Adelaide and soon in Uluru in the Norther Territory; in British Columbia, Canada, we have Pop-Up-Farms in Vancouver. In Uganda we are creating Pop-Up-Farms which can be replicated across the developing world.
Our Farms pop up in unexpected places and are always practical and solution-driven. They demonstrate that many of the challenges we face are inter-connected and can be optimised for efficacy, spread and speed of growth. Using methods, tools and equipment that are cheap and accessible for all, whilst being suitable for small-scale application yet available across entire systems, we can move decisively towards a more sustainable future.