Learning Man Groot Marico

Groot Marico LearningMan Festival
13 April to 17 April 2017

Thank you for enquiring about the Groot Marico LearningMan. Thinking of coming to the event? Here are a few things you need to know.

Do join the LearningMan Groot Marico facebook page where we will post regular updates, additional info and the offerings and timetable as it develops.

Focus and intention
The focus of this skills-gathering is to empower individuals, families and communities to become more resilient and self-sufficient. All festival-goers come together to co-create a temporary village and the participants provide the content. It is a platform to share our skills, knowledge, artistry, crafts and entertainment.
The intention is for everyone, adults and kids, to learn from each other, make new friends and expand their knowledge base.

The date for the event is from lunchtime 13th April 2017 to 17th April 2017. However, if you want to come earlier to camp and help with the setup or stay longer afterwards to assist in returning the venue to its former state, you are more than welcome but please do arrange it with the organisers. We are also having a working weekend from 31/03 - 02/04 to cut grass and see what else needs to be done to get the venue festival-ready, let us know if you would like to pitch in for that as well.

The Venue
Under the billion-star bushveld sky on the N4 between Swartruggens and Groot Marico you will find the farm Lago de Valencia (there is a pin on Google Maps).

What you can expect at the venue;
The U-shaped Twyfelpoort dam was built in the 1920's and makes up most of the 200ha farm. It is a perfect venue for camping, hikes, bird watching and fishing. If these activities interest you, make sure to bring your fishing tackle and a good pair of binoculars and your favorite bird book too. There is ample space to explore the bushveld on the farm on foot and maybe you will spot some Kudu, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Warthogs or other wild animals and of course the abundant bird life. We also ask that you respect the veld and be respectful to and conscious of the animals that roam freely on the property.
Of course water lends itself for aquatainment. If you intend to swim, windsurf or canoe make sure to have the necessary safety equipment. The dam becomes deeper with a gentle slope and is quite safe for kids (and adults) to play in. Life saver volunteers will be on duty everyday to look after the kids but please be aware and alert at all times. A designated area for swimming will be provided. No speedboats and jet skis please (i.e. no motorized equipment).
The farm is a permaculture project in the making. Please be considerate and stay within designated paths if you venture into the gardens.

Smokers are asked to be respectful and to carry some kind of container to dispose of their butts responsibly.

There will be a dedicated compost- and recycling area with ample signage to help you manage all your waste so we leave the venue as pristine as we found it. That said, packing and shopping consciously to avoid excessive waste is always advisable.
Please note that there is NO electricity at the venue. While there will be some light at the communal spaces you need to bring sufficient solar lighting devices to illuminate your private space and your theme camp if you have one. If you insist on bringing a generator, please consult with the organisers as to what hours it is permissible to run it (i.e. when the venue is pumping water anyway, for example, no-one wants excessive noise).

Cost of the tickets
• R350.00 per adult for all days
• R100.00 per child (6 to 16) for all days
• Children under 6 free
• One day entrance R150 (per day)
• Meal Tickets from the main Kitchen R65/day for breakfast and Supper. R260/person for all meals

Quick steps to get on board;

1. Get a CES trader number (compulsory, more detail in the section below):
2. Buy your ticket or tickets online from Quicket:
3. Buy meal tickets from Dee
4. Start preparing yourself for a magical off-grid learning experience!

LearningMan Groot Marico is a participatory Talent Exchange-based gathering where we learn how to live off-grid and how to trade without money by using the CES 'Talent Exchange' system. More information regarding the system can be found here registering on the system is at no cost and you can register on whatever exchange is closest to where you live.
If you run into difficulties or have questions about registering on your local Talent Exchange you can contact the administrator of that particular exchange, or contact Stephen or Hanneke. (Contacts on the web page)
You will need to add an 'Offering' and a 'Want' when you register as a trader on CES. This can be absolutely anything you would like to trade on the system or a service you render. Everything counts - from massages to debt counseling, tanned sheep skins to piano lessons, second-hand clothes to pool cleaning - whatever your particular talent, offering, service or product is. This offering need not be the same as what you bring to the festival, it merely encourages you to start (and keep) interacting with other CES members. Going forward you can add as many offerings and wants as you like, but for registering for LearningMan only one of each is required. Kids should also register in their own name - it encourages them to start thinking in alternative and non-monetary ways about their own special skills and talents.
One Talent (T) is equivalent to one Rand. You can go into debt up to an amount of T500 during the course of the festival but you should think of ways to earn some Talents to bring your balance to zero as soon as possible.
At the festival the seller / service provider can either record the transaction for capturing later or capture it immediately using the mobile app. They may want you (or you may want them) to sign for the trade if is not being captured immediately. Please don't be offended - it is a trust-based system, but it is still good practice to have record of mutual agreements for future reference.
Don’t be too concerned about earning some of those elusive Talents - there will more than likely be other festival-goers that would be quite willing to trade their Talents for some of your hard-earned Rands.
Talents are not money as we know it, they are simply a measure of value given and received within a community. There will be a talk on how to use the system and for more understanding of the CES, please consult the timetable for when and where (probably close to the beginning of Day 1).

Bring what you can teach, take what you learn
Bring whatever you feel can add value to the communal village. Though it is the essence of the festival, it is not absolutely compulsory to bring a particular skill or offering and you don't have to feel pressurized to perform. You can also just come and enjoy time with friends old and new but be warned, you're going to wish you had participated more!
If you have something useful or some kind of invention that makes off-the-grid living easier bring it along and share with the community. Please do let us know what you intend to bring so we can factor it into our planning?
Offerings can be anything from a gadget, some craft, an idea or a skill, ancient knowledge, expert service, a little stall or café to sell artisan bread, coffee or pancakes, hand-made products for trading etc. You can bring this either as a gift to the community or to promote whatever it is you are starting or doing or believe in. Remember - any trading is to be done in Talents through CES.
If you don’t want to use the Talent Exchange system for big transactions at the festival please make contact with the buyer/seller after the festival. There is also the option of making a trade of mixed Rands and Talents. This is asked to keep to the spirit of the festival.
This is also a good platform for an aspiring theater group or music collective to come and strut their stuff for an audience. Please let us know of any specific requirements and we'll do our best to accommodate you.
If you need a timeslot in the main stage or workshop area to do talk, lecture, performance, demonstration or create something in the workshop please make sure you let us know beforehand if at all possible. There will be gaps in the program where you can slot in, but the more we know before the festival, the more likely we can place you exactly where and when you want to be.
Please tell us about your offering before the festival if possible so we can post it on the facebook page and so we can make sure it is displayed on the community notice board. You can e-mail Stephen with details, or you can post pictures and details on the facebook page yourself.
You are also welcome to host a space, tribe or theme camp away from the designated spaces, but do make sure your info makes it onto the community notice board!
The venue will become a village as the participants arrive and build their camps. A general layout indicating certain designated areas will be provided and there will be 'quiet' and 'noisy' zones, please respect your fellow festival-goers when making your camping choice.

What to bring - for yourself and for your themed camp
Of course prepare whatever you need for your offering. You need to bring all the gear you will need as if camping off-grid for all types of weather, including cooking equipment and food. Please carry adequate safety equipment, especially for cooking activities. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you'll be! A gazebo is an asset for any camp and decorating your space provides eye candy for everyone, whether it is a theme camp or not. There are flush toilets and rocket showers on the site and composting toilets will be placed at places where the future food forest will be located. Participants are encouraged to use the composting toilets as much as possible. There is limited hot water, and that only at certain times of day on a first-come-first-served basis. We hope to build extra bush showers too, though a lot depends on who volunteers for what! Please be sure to only use biodegradable body and cleaning products.

Daytime Activities
During the day there will be various workshops that you can attend and activities you can take part in. There will be lectures, workshops, debates and lively discussions happening all over. You can attend classes, go swimming, attend meditations, spend your time reading, walking, or just hanging around with friends. There is no MUST, but the more involved you get, the more you will enjoy yourself.
For the children there will be activities in the children's playground and enough time to be just children and play while making new friends. Teenagers usually figure out what they want to do without adult input.

To allow everyone to attend as many activities as possible and not be stuck 'working' at a 'stand' for the whole festival, there will be a designated Market Place at the end of each afternoon. Here you can set up your offering or stall or just display your wares on a blanket, whatever catches your fancy. If you have not had time to make signage, there will be an art station with materials to do so - the more creative the better. Should you also wish to display your wares or demonstrate your skills at your own camp you are welcome, but you will have to take responsibility for letting people know where and when. If you have or can collect any art material or recyclable items for eg. Old paint, brushes, cardboard, wool or any other item please bring these along and share with the community.

Evening Activities
You can either join a wisdom camp fire to listen and participate in the discussions or you can go and shake your body wherever lively music is being played. Bring your drum or other musical instrument to jam at the sunset drumming circles. This is an opportunity to practice your skills and for those who don’t make music themselves, to be able to sing and dance or just enjoy. Bring your flow arts and fire toys too! Or you can initiate something of your own - co-creation is the name of the game!
Main Kitchen, Food and drinks
You can either bring your own food or buy food and drink from those participants who will be offering meals or snacks for Rands and/or Talents.
Should you wish to partake of vegetarian meals from the main kitchen, please make sure you book these with Dee. You will be issued with the applicable meal vouchers when you arrive. Please use your Community Exchange account number as a reference.
The selling of main kitchen meal tickets will close 2 days before the event and until then refunds can be arraigned for cancellations. We have a team of four ladies from the Groot Marico Community who will be working in the main kitchen every day and they need to stock up before the event.
DM Boyce
Capitec Branch 470010
ACC 1319504394
Cell No 076 596 6646

Remember to bring your own eating utensils as there will be no take-away packaging from the food sellers. You bring your own and wash your own.
The main kitchen area can also be used by participants during the day as a workshop area for those who wish to demonstrate their cooking skills in the outdoor. Solar stoves will also be used and on display in this area.
This is not a platform for people to get out of control on alcohol or other intoxicants but if you are a responsible user and won't make a nuisance of yourself or annoy others, feel free to bring your own refreshments. No alcohol will be sold at the event.
There is also no ice at the venue, nor fire wood for individual camps, so please bring what you need. Fires only to be made in designated areas please.

To ensure the gathering runs smoothly we ask that every festivalgoer volunteers for one hour per day. Past experience shows that people tend to enjoy the socialising around their volunteer activities so much that they end up contributing overtime, but this is by no means required. The volunteering roster will be displayed at the Info Centre. Tasks include anything from cooking to hauling firewood, helping with building projects, manning the gate, helping in the garden, recycling, composting, security and safety and anything else that might be necessary to do. Please advise us of any special skills you may have so we can see how best to utilise your time (such as lifesaving, or first aid etc.).

Gardening and growing.
Calling all permaculturists and green thumbs to come and teach participants all about composting, soil improvement, groovy worms and bacteria, seed saving, companion planting, food forests, swales and key-lines and all the other permaculture techniques. The demo garden will be a permanent fixture for the venue and who knows, the next event might just offer food harvested from this garden. Please also bring seeds to contribute to the seed swop station - heirloom, open pollinated, non-GMO of course :-)

That was a lot to read, but once again - the more prepared we all are, the more likely we are to have a good time!
We look forward to seeing you at Lago de Valencia in April :-)

Groot Marico LearningMan crew.