Medium Short: Backstage at Camp Matereality

Counting, accounting, and recounting on industrial healing

B. Lorraine Smith
7 min readMay 19


Clean-up continues after last month’s ice storm. This mature tree in Montreal’s Parc Lafontaine will be chipped or pulped — one of several ways the city cycles nutrients. (Photo by me, May 2023)

Welcome to the latest Medium Short, a weekly accountability practice highlighting what I’m up to along the unmarked trail towards #IndustrialHealing. Reminder: all my Medium articles are linked for free here.

Today is a backstage look at my business model. It’s something people ask me about, and in parallel I ask industry to be more transparent about theirs, too. It’s also something I’m figuring out in real time, so this is me working out loud yet again.

Specifically, I’ll open up the financials of last month’s workshops, I’ll share how feedback spawned the Matereal World, I’ll plant the seed of #composthaus, and I’ll throw in a dose of art (aka coping).

Experimental workshops worked for this shop

When I hosted the Matereality workshops in April, I cut a deal with registrants. The fee was low ($US44). However to sign up participants agreed to join the live session and answer a feedback survey within a week. They also had the option to top up their fee if they chose.

This was an experiment. I think it worked.

Of the 30 registrants, 28 joined live, 20 responded to the survey, and 11 chose to top up their fee (ranging from an additional $10 to $250). After Eventbrite (the event platform I used to host) and Paypal (the payment system I use for my tip jar) took their slices of the pie, I netted about $2000. This covers a month’s rent, food, and electricity (which is about half my monthly nut — it doesn’t cover other utilities, transportation, fun, or other budget items such as taxes, retirement savings, or vet bills).

That income is less than slave wages if I count the thousands of hours spent creating the assessments and designing the workshops, but a) no one asked me to do this so the word “slave” is officially inappropriate here; b) I received other tips and financial support along the way (including through coaching and speaking); and c) I gained a great deal from the work which will serve me in the future.

Feedback led to the Matereal World



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B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at