2017 has been a time of incredible shifts in the personal lives of Minga’s leading ladies, and a gathering of momentum in our business. We wanted to provide a little roundup and reflection piece to set the stage for the adventures that 2018 has in store for us, and for those of you who are along for the ride with us.
Not long into 2017, Ami gave birth to her second child; Esmée joined her brother Emile, papa Patrick, and mama on March 16, 2017. This plunged Ami back into the somewhat altered reality of mothering an infant; constant vigilance, 24-hour cycles of feeding, sleeping, waking, and diapers. Only this time, she had the added complication of trying to teach an energetic toddler how to be a caring big brother (“Emile, please don’t pull Esmée across the floor by her leg”). Ami, of course, took all this in stride and with Esmée less than two months old, strapped to her body, helping Emile to climb up a play structure in a frozen snowy park, she turned to Ella and said “I am ready to step up my game with Minga, I need to go bigger, I’m tired of playing small, I’m just not clear on how I’m going to do it.”
Ami had set the intention, and in April, the universe opened up a door of possibility for Ella to step into. Changes in her job pushed her over the edge on some long-simmering soul searching and self-reflection about where her contribution and impact would be in the world. One day, while lying on Ami’s kitchen floor, Ella saw the opening of the universe conspiring for greatness (otherwise known as a “what the F*** do I do now??!!” moment), looked at Ami and popped the question; “would you ever consider expanding Minga with me?” From there the partnership grew. Plans were made, dreams were hatched over kitchen tables while children played, and slept, and bit each other, and pooped in wading pools around them.
Now with two heads and hearts invested in Minga, Ella and Ami worked to articulate what they were up to in the world; how to clearly describe their vision, how to put in place the new pillars of Minga and strengthen its existing foundation? It became clear that Minga is about more than just workshops. Minga is about creating transformational experiences for people; creating opportunities for participants to connect with themselves, their food, their families, their communities, and with the planet in more intentional ways.
Leap of faith
2017 has ended with some fireworks on a couple of fronts; Ella left her job to create more time to focus on Minga so it’s go-time baby! At practically the same moment as Ella was walking out the door of her workplace for the last time, battling a nasty flu, Minga’s Facebook page exploded with messages, negative reviews, and horrific images from a group of very passionate vegans who were unhappy about the butchery and sausage making workshops that Minga offers. This ensuing debate actually presented a great opportunity for us to talk about what Minga values and what we are working to create in the world. It prompted Minga’s supporters to come forward with reviews and comments about their philosophies and experiences with Minga. As a leadership team, we feel like we have learned a lot through this experience that we will carry forward in how Minga operates.
What’s to look forward to in 2018?
After such an eventful 2017, how are we going to keep it up in 2018? Well, we’re tempted to not say anything so as to not be accountable, but that would just keep us small. The plan will likely evolve as we go but here’s what we’re working on for this next year. We’ll start with a facelift; coming down the pipe is a new website that will make workshop registration cheaper and easier for you and will also make it easier for Minga to offer some of the new products and experiences that we are cooking up.
New products and resources
Minga has built a beautiful community through its hands-on workshops. We’ve already got a great line-up set to take us through to the summer time and have a few other lines that we are working on to hopefully add a few more. We also want to make it easier for you to get some of the workshop goodness without attending a workshop. We’re thinking video, downloadable PDFs resources, and a stepping up our game on the blog with a regular publication schedule (yikes!) and even more content that you can use.
New volunteer opportunities
With more workshops and more resources, we’ll be needing some help, so we’re working on a volunteer program complete with training and a reward system that allows volunteers to earn points towards free workshops. We’re hoping that this will help to make the workshops more accessible to folks with limited financial resources, will bring new genius into the workshop execution and administration spaces, and will help to support the instructors to work their magic.
New commitment to our instructors
We will also be spending a lot of time thinking about how to better support our instructors to take their skills to the next level. Minga’s instructors come from a variety of walks of life; some are professionals who make and sell their wares as well as teaching their craft, some are hobbyists who share their passion by teaching others, and some are somewhere in-between. In 2018, we’ll be putting a lot of energy into understanding what our instructors need and how to make Minga a stronger platform for their growth and success.
One of Minga’s largest limiting factors is not having our own space to host our workshops. It’s becoming more and more challenging renting venue space that is appropriate for our workshops, especially ones that require an appropriate kitchen (think sourdough). We have been on the lookout for our own workshop space to call home. This will be a priority for us in 2018.
Whew, that’s a lot to lay on the line for all to see. Now we’re accountable for making it happen! Please continue to follow Minga, continue to share your voice on our Facebook page, sign up for our newsletter to get updates on workshops and events, and stay awesome in 2018!
The Minga Team
(Ella & Ami)