Note: this is the 2nd part of a 2-part series.
Once I had received enough feedback, the next step was communicating individually with each person that had expressed interest in the initial idea. In order to keep the group moving in a direction that everyone was enthusiastic about, I wanted to establish a solid baseline of people's previous previous experiences with fermentation, as well as their motivations for joining the group and their opinions on what the functions of the group should be. To do this, I sent out a survey that looked something like this:
Thanks so much for your interest in the fermentation collective! I’ve received some really enthusiastic responses so far, so I’m really excited to get the ball rolling.
If you have a few spare moments, would you mind answering the questions below? It's a general survey I'm sending out to everyone who's expressed interest in the group, and your response would be really helpful for me in starting to get the group organized.
1. From the interest I've received, it looks like there would be a variety of different kinds of events:
(a) in-depth house workshops (skill shares)
covering a single topic;
(b) tips/discussion sessions covering multiple topics;
(c) potluck dinners/swaps;
(d) casual “making parties”;
(e) larger-scale events where either I or someone else teaches
a community-oriented class/workshop in a community space
Which of these would you be interested in attending? Are there any other types of events you would be interested in?
2. Would you be interested in hosting an event? For example, a smaller workshop in your home. If you were to ever host an event, you would have complete say over the number of people, type of event, duration, time, etc - I would work with you to make sure it was something you were 100% comfortable hosting.
3. Would you be interested in leading/teaching an event? If so, what would be the focus? It can be anything, as long as it's fermentation related.
For example, you could teach a hands-on class about how to make sauerkraut, or you could teach the history of mezcal, or you could lead us on a multi-point discussion of why your favorite beer brewing airlock is indisputably the best.
Note: You don't need to be an expert on anything! I'm happy to help leaders/teachers develop their materials, and I think the most important thing is that you're enthusiastic. They say the best way to learn is to teach.
4. If you don't want to solo lead/teach (or even if you do), would you be interested in leading/teaching with another person?
5. Would you be interested in helping me organize the collective? Depending on your level of interest, this could involve anything from helping to set up and moderate events to developing a website, and would be completely up to you.
6. Would you be interested in meeting up briefly with other people in the collective (perhaps at a coffee shop or my house) some time in the next month to meet everyone in the group and do a little organizing/planning/brainstorming? If you don't want to, that's okay too! We can always send out notes from the meeting.
Thanks again - I really appreciate your interest and I'll keep you in the loop as things progress!
I was going to write a post entirely dedicated to question #1 and how I decided on those types of events, but figured they were pretty much intuitive. It goes without saying that before you start making a group you have a good idea of what you want the group to do - in my case, I wanted the group to be a teaching and social exchange at a small-scale/intimate level, but also able and willing to use our pooled knowledge to coordinate larger community events.