Movement Strategy Center Staff Pull Weeds and Sip Tea during a Team-building Volunteer Day at Festival Beach Food Forest in Austin

Daniel Parada, Karmella Green, Jamillah Renard take a selfie in front of greenery

As a mostly remote workforce, MSC staffers don’t have a lot of opportunity to connect and socialize in person. But last month, MSC’s Movement Infrastructure Innovation Center (MIIC) team met up in Austin, TX — where several team members live — for a strategy and team-building retreat. They were joined by folks from the BIG We Foundation, a member of the Movement Strategy Network, for a day of volunteering at the Festival Beach Food Forest for herbal tea, plant identification, harvesting, and a chop and drop activity (where crops are cut close to the ground and dropped to provide mulch and enrich the soil).

Lauren Wheat, MSC’s MIIC Process Manager, said: “I loved getting out in nature with the MSC team and the BIG We Foundation. We learned a lot about native plants and permaculture, and had the opportunity to get our hands dirty to support an upcoming community event. Simply put, it was just a really refreshing way to bond with our team!” 

Attendees included Jonathan Barona, Alejandra Gacría Lezama, Karmella Green, Daniel Parada, Jamilah Renard, and Lauren Wheat of MSC; and Tamika Evans and Boh Ireland from the BIG We Foundation.

Festival Beach Food Forest is a grassroots project in East Austin that has transformed two thirds of an acre of city-owned land on the shores of Lady Bird Lake into an edible forest garden. Open to the public, any garden visitors are free to forage for and enjoy fresh food. Fruits, nuts, vegetables, and herbs now flourish in this experimental pilot project that aims to reclaim the public commons. To learn more about Festival Beach Food Forest, visit their website.