the laurentia project


Laurentia brings together creative minds in food, design, art, science, writing, and policy, focused on dialogue that needs to happen now.  To simultaneously talk and make; on critical topics toward actionable progress. Laurentia is workshopping re-made.

Flash Over: A Dinner Conversation for the Anthropocene

We are living at the incredible transition of one geologic epoch to another: no longer defined by the delineation of layers of rock, but by the impact of a single species on the Earth. The Anthropocene Epoch represents just 0.01% of the whole of Earth’s lifetime, and yet our ability to fundamentally affect change cannot be denied. 

Surrounded by the art of Justin Brice Guariglia and fed by the food of Shelly Boris, this facilitated dinner sought out the flashover point: “the moment a conversation becomes real and alive, which occurs when a spark of trust shorts out the delicate circuits you keep insulated under layers of irony, momentarily grounding the static emotional charge you’ve built up through decades of friction with the world.” (Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows). 

Some of the themes our 30 Anthropocene thinkers explored were:

Trust + Vulnerability
What happens if we make the discerning choice to focus on a single imperative or conviction, with everything we have––with all the energy we have? 

Nature, Fervor + Expansiveness
When we recognize that we are of nature—that the wildness of nature is in us and always will be– what fierce transformative passion emerges out of you?

Community + Ethical Flourishing
What changes about our process if  we consider communal ethics as an outcome of our projects?

Intergenerational Resilience + Societal Evolutions
What new forms of encounters, interactions, and relationships might be evolving to shape how we face the future possible?

Curiosity + Interpersonal Agency
Can we create new social practices––new rituals, new traditions, new orientations––that help us to be truly with and for each other? 

Anthro - Elly peeking small.jpeg

I Am Here Only.... A Slow Design Workshop

A group of brave, inspired, sustainable designers and advocate professionals joined us for a re-imagined workshop: an interpersonal opportunity for broad thinking and creative co-speculation on the “practice” of integrative design. The result was explosive and affirming. We heard this resounding feedback: "This is what we have been missing. All thinking spaces should be created with this intention."

We asked attendees to begin their the Living Future “unConference” experience: by chopping, kneading, grating, folding, and mixing. The only hints we gave were to have an expectation of a multi-sensory exercise of smells, flavors, textures, patterns....inviting them to laugh, to toast, to discover, to dig a little deeper. To simply be willing to be moved.

Because our collaborators and guests arrived with a sense of openness this edible engagement resulted in contemplative, companionable, and nourishing discourse.  As we track results of the gathering, we have come to understand that there is a lack of beauty and consideration in the spaces we think in and with a small amount of effort, the mtg protocols and stale structures that lead to group-think or circular thinking vanished. It was personal, communal, consequential and just the beginning.

Our guest collaborator (the man with the prawn) and former professional forager, Matt Dillon made his name as a chef serving hyperlocal, unpretentious food in a tiny 20-seat space. He was a 2007 Food & Wine Best New Chef and a James Beard Award winner in 2012. Upper Bar Ferdinand is Chef Matt’s newest project in Capitol Hill's Chophouse Row. The focus is on wines, sourced with care from family owned, small production bodegas from all over the world. Matt pairs beverage offerings with a food menu of simply prepared dry aged and cured meats, cooked in an open fireplace, and local seafood, served raw, cured or smoked in a passive heat masonry smoker. Vegetables are served pickled or roasted.


Our Living Future 2016 off-site gathering was transformative, and affirmed for us that we're on the right track with this process. We're excited to introduce more "think tank dinners" in 2017. Join us...