Two pairs of hands holding a seedling in a garden.

Why We’re Building a Garden Inside DrupalCon

The Kalamuna Team
| May 31, 2023



It won’t be a wild jungle. It won’t be a Victorian conservatory teeming with exotic plants. But when you visit us at booth #422, you’ll be able to plant a seed in a patch of (something like) dirt and co-create abundance at our DrupalCon quasi-greenspace. While our garden won’t yield the crops you get at the produce market, it will yield donations to a very special nonprofit.

What’s this all about?

You likely know that Drupal, as a free and open-source content management system, originated as a tool anyone could augment. As it grew, using it didn’t depend on the permission of a centralized authority, nor did the framework’s installation and administration require programming skills. It didn’t matter if you had millions of dollars and a huge corporate phalanx of developers behind you: you could still use Drupal to build a communications infrastructure. Drupal was thus adopted by, among others, scrappy activists, community-minded groups, and other mission-driven people putting technology at the service of social causes. The open-source community continues to embody this ethos of transparency, sharing, and a leveling of social hierarchies, and this empowers anyone with the heart to make something happen, happen.

It is in this spirit that we created our agency, Kalamuna, and that we use our DrupalCon booth every year to connect with conference-goers and promote a local nonprofit. While we acknowledge there are problems with this part of the open-source paradigm, open-source is all about donating time and energy without an expectation of compensation, all to create something that none of us could have created alone. It’s about a self-driven expansiveness, growing a resource that benefits all. Kind of like a community garden.

These were some of our thoughts as we mulled over how we’d show up at DrupalCon this year. We also considered our travel to Pittsburgh and how we might contribute to the greater good there, instead of being rapacious tourists. As people enjoying the luxury of traveling, we have the opportunity to leave Pittsburgh a bit better than we found it. So this year, wanting to do good where we go, and with the spirit of abundance on our minds, the nonprofit we’re supporting is Pittsburgh’s Grounded Strategies, a group that reclaims vacant lots and helps communities turn them into greenspaces. When you come to our DrupalCon booth and plant a seed in our garden, we’ll donate to them.

When you go to Pittsburgh, you might see that the area suffers from chronic and increasing levels of vacant lots. This is due to pressures exerted by macroeconomic forces including deindustrialization, urban flight, and more recently, worsening income inequality. The current parcel maintenance system structure does not allocate enough capacity to maintain all vacant parcels. This results in overgrown vacant parcels concentrated in our most vulnerable communities. Those parcels that are maintained are clear-cut with no regard for the ways in which the land could be serving social and ecosystem services for the neighborhood.

These vacant lots compromise the quality of life for residents, negatively impact property values, and represent a missed opportunity for conservation of urban green space. To respond to the absence of proactive and innovative land-use strategies, Grounded supports grassroots community clean-up and beautification efforts. Grounded is now in its 16th year of transforming neglected vacant lots into treasured community spaces.

So when you come to DrupalCon, we hope you’ll come to our booth to say hi, catch up, plant a seed, and help make a greener Pittsburgh.

About That DrupalCon Programming

Aside from growing a garden in the exhibition hall, we’re contributing to the hivemind with these events:

Make Digital Inclusion a Cornerstone for Your Website

Join us as we dive into digital accessibility in our talk, “Beyond WCAG Compliance: Next Steps in your Website’s Commitment to Digital Inclusion,” on Monday, June 5th at 3:00 PM EST. Our Senior Architect, Mike McCaffrey, and CEO, Andrew Mallis, will provide practical tools and tactics for maintaining accessibility standards during a website redesign or legacy site improvement. You'll learn about accessibility audits, user testing programs, and how to champion accessibility within your organization.

Build a Culture of Trust in Your Organization

Don't miss our interactive session, "The Art of Giving and Getting Feedback" on Tuesday, June 6 at 4:10 PM EST. Our Director of Technology, Anna Mykhailova, will provide valuable insights for both new and seasoned managers on improving the quality of 1:1 meetings, eliminating the stigma of performance reviews, and cultivating a culture of trust and growth.

We’ll see you there!

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The Kalamuna Team

Save the World

Kalamuna partners with socially impactful institutions, associations, agencies, and governments to help them solve today’s most pressing problems. We do this by empowering them with the research, strategy, design, and technology that will transform their organizations so they can better serve the needs of their audiences and communities.