For the first meetup of 2023, the HappyPorch team headed to the picturesque town of Buxton, England. Surrounded by the beautiful Peak District National Park, we kicked off the meetup with a walk through the hills during which we took the long way round in our expedition to reach Solomon’s Temple – a Victorian folly built in 1896. Having such great access to these diverse green spaces – from forests, to farmland, to rocky hillsides - really set the tone for the week’s discussions on how we can continue to grow our positive impact and preserve the natural scenery around us.
Our daily team discussions covered a wide range of topics and we took the opportunity of in-person communication to explore ideas concerning the future direction and focus of HappyPorch. As usual, it felt refreshing to have this time to reflect and realign ourselves with our commitments to the environment, and to ourselves as the people who make it happen. One of our discussion topics was centered around the growing availability of AI tools and how we responsibly utilise them within our work. We also considered the environmental impact associated with the use of AI and how we as a company should use these tools in a mindful way.
One of our goals from the last meetup was to improve our management of food waste. With so many people living together it can be difficult to judge how much food to buy and our ability to dispose of food and packaging responsibly is very reliant on the bins provided by the accommodation. This time around, there felt like a significant improvement as we were able to put food waste into the organic waste bins and also made sure to be extra creative with leftovers throughout the week. We also took the opportunity of us all being together to do some volunteering at the Buxton Pavilion Gardens. After enjoying this beautiful green space for our stay, helping to clean and repaint a bridge in need of some TLC felt like a nice way to give back to the community who puts so much work into maintaining it all year round. It was surprisingly tough work - but really satisfying!
Near the end of the week we embarked on some treetop adventures at Go Ape. Our meetups always feel quite mentally intensive with two daily discussion topics, so it was great fun to do something a little challenging in a different way. It was lovely to see the team give each other support through the occasional wobbly moment or sometimes the (figurative) push we needed to leap off a tree and Tarzan swing to the other side. It was definitely one of the high points of the week. Being able to spend downtime with each other doing something so different from our day-to-day lives felt really energizing and was a great way to celebrate our first meetup of 2023.