• Mobilising 1 mln changemakers to restore, protect &...

  • To reach our goal we are establishing Bioregional Weaving...

  • Scaling systemic innovations



We are mobilising & supporting 1 million changemakers who together contribute to restoring, protecting, and regenerating 1 million hectares of land and sea in Europe, with significant and observable impact on 4 returns by 2030: natural, social, financial returns and the return of inspiration. To this end, we are establishing Bioregional Weaving Labs in 10 different countries in Europe before 2025, that build capacity and catalyse multi-stakeholder partnerships, mobilising at least 100.000 changemakers per bioregion.


The Bioregional Weaving Labs (BWL) Collective is a growing assembly of 25+ international system-changing organisations, funders and impact investors, initiated by Ashoka, co-led by Commonland and OpEPA, and grounded in a community of practice. We are representing hundreds of system changers in the field - including Ashoka Fellows - working directly with farmers, nature conservationists, communities, educators, and other stakeholders in bioregions to restore, protect and regenerate ecosystems and to preserve biodiversity. 


We aim to establish and financially support 10 Bioregional Weaving Labs in Europe, to test our apporach in different contexts. We hope these bioregions can become flagship examples for other regions to follow. To date, we established 8 BWLs: in Ireland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, Austria, Romania and Spain. Through these BWLs we are engaging the key change leaders in each bioregion. They allign on a shared vision and mission, and work together to transform the bioregions from bottom-up, bioregion per bioregion.

From 2024, we are inviting other landscape/weaving initiatives to join our Collective; they will not receive direct financial support, but can particpate in our Learning Network and can use our tools, methods and learnings to advance their work in their own bioregions.


With all Weaving Teams and BWLs we form a Learning Network to build our capacity. We have regular online sessions and we also organise an annual Learning Summit to catalyse peer-to-peer learning.  Together, we want to become more knowledgeable fast on how to restore, protect and regenerate land and seascapes at scale, and how to finance it. This is only the start of a multiple yearlong term effort (a minimum 10 years) to develop collective actions such as campaigning, lobby and advocacy and replicate our multi-stakeholder approach to preserve biodiversity at scale. 


We are also building a (growing) portfolio of systemic, regenerative innovations & practices from all over Europe – including from Ashoka Fellows - that are community-based and scalable, and can inspire and support the bioregions in their regenerative landscape development. This portfolio is also relevant for funders and impact investors who want to contribute to landscape restoration, nature conservation and regeneration at scale.


A bioregion can offer a very relevant, and regenerative business case for communities, farmers, funders, investors and corporations. It has the potential to leverage specific liabilities in the region - like drought, fire, and flooding risk - with systemic innovations, Nature-based Solutions and regenerative practices that can be managed and monitored by local communities and financed through innovative, collective, blended financing models, on a bioregional landscape scale. This can bring us what we all want: a just and inclusive society, a greener environment with enriched biodiversity, healthier soils that capture carbon and produce abundant foods, global warming reversal and new jobs in a regenerative economy. 


The ‘Bioregional Weaving Lab’ concept is a geographically grounded and carefully curated multi-stakeholder partnership process that weaves together people, place and projects, equipping and supporting them to organise for transformative change. We invite cohorts of 40-60 key local stakeholders (farmers, fishermen, landowners, investors, corporate leaders, shareholders, policymakers, educators, community members, etc.) to reimagine a future for their bioregions in which they live in harmony with their environment. We call them 'influential changemakers'. 

They align on a shared vision, formulate a joint mission, and map the needs of their bioregions. Through a carefully designed process, based on Theory-U, they gain a clear understanding of the root causes that drive biodiversity loss and the interconnected poly-crises (climate change, pollution, socio-economic inequality) in the landscape. The get to deeply understand the liabilities (like drought, flood risk, fires), learn about the potential of systemic innovations and NBS to reverse climate change and biodiversity loss, and discover the gaps in systems. 

They align on a holistic landscape plan that can generate 4 returns in the bioregion: natural. social, financial returns and return of inspiration. They form teams to prototype innovations and connect with funders and investors who are interested in funding/investing on a bioregion scale. By participating in a BWL, these influential changemakers grow their collective leadership capacity. With their local communities they are better equipped to drive their own systems change towards a regenerative bioregion.

We share practical tools and frameworks - like a System Change Analyses, a 4 Returns Landscape Plan and the 4 Returns framework - that help Lab cohorts to think and act in a more integrated and systematic way. We introduce systemic innovations from our international (Ashoka Fellow) network, which we jointly validate to be relevant to inspire and support the bioregions in their landscape development.

We invite funders, impact investors and corporations to join our ecosystem and become partners. It is urgently needed to transform the financing system to become supportive of a regenerative economy. We aim to shift from short term, individual, project based approaches aimed at profit maximisation towards long term, trust based, holistic, collective and blended financing approaches at landscape level, aimed at creating real systems change to preserve biodiversity.



Waterford bioregion, Ireland

County Waterford in Ireland is in a region where huge agricultural production levels and rapidly growing population centres are accompanied by degrading monocultural farmlands and challenging long-term socio-economic trends. A Waterford BWL can connect to the Irish Food Vision 2030 and other ambitious national and local policies, and thereby provide an opportunity for this predominantly agricultural South-East bioregion to act as a showcase for an alternative, regenerative, food-system of the future.

Local leading partner: GIY (Grow it Yourself), founded by BWL Ambassador and Ashoka Fellow Michael Kelly, is rooted in this region and reaches millions of people with regenerative food-growing programs. 


Jämtland bioregion, Sweden

Åre Valley, Jämtland County in Sweden is a rural area with a popular outdoor & recreation destination with very big & underdeveloped regenerative enterprises and land management opportunities. A BWL is well suited to kick-start and nurture a multistakeholder & scalable "regeneration ecosystem" model, unlocking potential by "walking the talk" while facilitating win-win symbiosis between interests that so far perceived to be conflicting.

Local leading partner: OTAG AB, founded by Ashoka Fellow Durukan Dudu have been operating in the region for 20+ years in the field of holistic land management, advocating, and working for regenerative development of the local economy.


BWL bioregion: Oltenia de Submunte, Romania

Oltenia de sub Munte, a national park in the Vâlcea County in Romania has some of the highest levels of biodiversity and last remaining virgin forests in Europe. Ecological issues faced by the region are intensive exploitation of resources (forests, minerals, hunting), the abandonment of agricultural land and the pressure of uncontrolled tourism development. A BWL can influence the development trajectory of this tourist destination towards regeneration, by building inclusive and local economies and by shifting the current norm.

Local leading partner: Kogayon Association, founded ​by Ashoka Fellow Florin Stoican, an eco-system builder ​for community-driven nature conservation since 2003.


Altiplano Estepario bioregion, Spain

Altiplano Estepario, a steppe plateau of 1 million hectares in the South- East of Spain and area with the lowest rainfall in Europe, is facing major problems of desertification associated with agricultural practises, resulting in erosion and loss of soil. A BWL can help align stakeholders and shift from development of almond monocultures and the proliferation of intensive agricultural and livestock farming practises to mainstreaming regenerative practices and develop the regional market for it.

Local leading partners: Aland and AlvelAl, Commonland partner since 2015, rolled out initiatives designed to facilitate and transition farmers to regenerative farming in the region.


Adour Garonne watershed region, France

The Adour Garonne watershed in France is a region of 11.6m ha where, thanks to fertile soils and a favourable climate, agriculture has been the major economic activity for decades. Large areas of pine forest were cleared in the 60s to provide farming lands to French citizens repatriated from Algeria. Today it is home to 1/3 of French farms and provides 230,000+ jobs. After decades of intensive farming and with climate change, key ecological concerns of the region include severe erosion, drought, and flooding as well as nitrogen loading and other pollution. A BWL can help as a systemic approach of bringing all stakeholders together and inspiring them towards a shared regenerative vision.

Local leading partner: Association Française d'Agroforesterie aiming to accelerate the agro-ecological transition through research and development, training, knowledge dissemination, animation, sectors structuring and representation of agroforestry.



Thermenlinie Wienerbekcen bioregion, Austria

The region Thermenlinie-Wiener Becken in Austria is located south of Vienna and well connected to the capital. In earlier times it was dominated by both dry and wet grasslands, with animals grazing, marshes and floodplains as well as small villages. Vineyards have existed for about 2.000 years. While the region is one of the biodiversity hotspots in middle Europe and Austria, many ecosystems are threatened today because of intensive agricultural practices, commercial areas, and a large interest in populating the land to escape the big city life of Vienna. ​

Landschaftspflegeverein is building up Network Nature Region – a network of people maintaining and restoring a network of biodiversity hotspots of currently 120 hectares. ​
A BWL could support upscaling the network, gaining new local stakeholders to bottom-up align on a vision, develop a shared identity, upscale existing activities and find new solutions.​

 Leading local partners: LandschaftspflegevereinAshoka AustriaBlühendes Österreich.


Brandenburg bioregion, Germany

Fläming in Brandenburg, Germany, is located south-west of Berlin the primary region in Germany to face direct consequences  of climate change like water shortages, desertification, and wild fires as well as flooding risk in case of heavy rain. There is a lot of political tension regarding the land tenure situation and up to 60 % of agricultural land tends to be owned by large non-agricultural players. The social situation is characterised by politically grown mistrust in collaboration and widespread resignation. Young people leave the region to find work elsewhere. ​
A local BWL could help protect important natural habitat as well as framing regeneration as an economic opportunity for several stakeholders in the region.​

Leading local partners: Arensnester Klimaweide , and Resilia Klimabäume.


In The Netherlands multiple BWLs are active and weaving is also taking place on a national level, together with provinces and national governement.

Zuidelijke Zandgronden bioregion, The Netherlands

Most of the Dutch soil is managed by farmers and horticulturists. The Dutch Foundation De Plaatsen (translated: The Places) is working with them on the realization of 700,000 hectares of sustainable soil management. A vital soil contributes to a better climate, more biodiversity, an attractive landscape, a healthier environment and the regionalization of our food system.

There will be at least four Places for the four different soil types in the Netherlands. The initiators of De Plaatsen want to work with as many farmers as possible. De Plaatsen wants to learn about and work on a regenerative food system with them and various system players (including banks, marketing cooperatives, supermarkets and citizens). Cooperative "De Kleine Aarde" in Boxtel is the first Plaats in the Netherlands, focussing on the Zuidelijke Zandgronden bioregion.

Local leading partner: De Plaatsen, founded by Ashoka fellow Geert van de Veer (also founder of Herenboeren, Aardpeer and the Boerenraad)

Vechtstreek bioregion, The Netherlands

Typical for Holland, peat meadows are home to cows, windmills and (migrating) bird populations. However, the intensification of farming activities and systemic dewatering of peat soils are turning the Dutch western peat meadows into ‘green deserts’ where both nature and farm economics are under pressure. In 2016, Wij.land started exploring how the 4 Returns can help restore ecological functions of the peat meadow landscape in the ‘Vechtstreek’, together with 8 farmers and the Dutch conservation organization Natuurmonumenten.  This has grown into a learning network of almost 200 cattle farmers today who are futureproofing their farm by learning how to work more and more alongside nature and in connection with the landscape. 

Local leading partner: Wij.land, a bottom-up network organization of farmers. It plays a key role in connecting different stakeholders in the landscape to create natural, social, and financial value and to inspire others in joining this cause. Wij.land’s key partners are farmers, Wilder Land, Natuurmonumenten, Commonland, various Agrarian Nature Societies, Rabo Carbon Bank, water boards and entrepreneurs through the region.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Too often, stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in nature restoration, protection and regeneration work in fragmented silos, and are not ensuring that transformation processes are truly inclusive and well governed. In addition, women, youth, minority groups, and vulnerable communities are among the most affected by ecosystem collapse and biodiversity loss, but their voices are usually not well represented in the design and implementation of high-level action plans.  Therefore, we must move away from traditional individual leadership towards collective eco-system leadership, and to cocreate inclusive, holistic, and integrated approaches instead of fragmented ones. Above all, we must become aware of our interconnectedness with each other and with the planet. We can shift from an extractive, degenerative mindset to a regenerative mindset. Together, we are the regeneration!

Portfolio of Systemic Innovations


  • Hoge Kempen National Park (Belgium) is providing a (Re)Connection model for natural ecosystems, increasing socio-economic benefits through eco-tourism while protecting the environment.
  • Sea Ranger Service (The Netherlands, UK, Norway) is training unemployed youth to become Sea Rangers to protect the ocean and restore ocean biodiversity at scale.
  • Kogayon Association & Vacaresti Natural Park (Romania) is cultivating a citizen-driven functional conservation system for natural heritage and environmentally protected areas to ensure natural prosperity and sustainable development.


  • Anatolian Grasslands (Turkey, Sweden) is enabling people and the institutions towards the "Age of Regeneration" by using Regenerative Agriculture as the main leverage and through holistic models, tools and hands-on implementation. 
  • Farming for Nature (Ireland) is recognising, supporting and rewarding farmers for enhancing the natural health of the countryside. 
  • Herenboeren (The Netherlands) is supporting families in developing self-owned nature-driven cooperative farms.
  • Savory Institute is equipping land managers with innovative tools and curricula for holistic management of the land via the establishment of regional hubs. 
  • Vazapp (Italy) is providing farmers opportunity to exchange experiences, encourage cooperation and disseminate knowledge through organising cultural events. 


  • Incredible Edible (UK) is inspiring citizens to grow food in public spaces and share it across their communities to enhance active citizenship.

  • Bioregional is providing a framework and a process for sustainable living that enables companies, communities, and city-regions to make sustainable living actionable and desirable.  

  • Klub Gaja (Poland, Iceland, UK) is engaging citizens to take practical actions for the natural environment and animal rights, like planting trees with the community or with schools  

  • Fundacja Laka (Poland) is facilitating the growth of biodiverse flower meadows in city centers, near roads, and on brownfields to preserve biodiversity. 

  • GIY (Ireland) is inspiring and enabling a global movement of people who grow their own food at home or in the community to reconnect with nature. 


  • Drawdown Europe Research Association (DERA), building on the acclaimed Project Drawdown model and framework to guide and facilitate science-based climate action. 
  • Beeodiversity (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, France, Germany, UK, Bulgaria, Spain, Netherlands, Austria) is redefining the role of bees in our ecosystem through offering an innovative scientific monitoring tool using bees as drones to capture valuable data about the environment.

Interested in journeying along?