Skip to main content

During the Soil Regen Summit 2021, John D. Liu transported us to the Loess Plateau in north-central China. Over several centuries, humans profoundly degraded that expansive highland ecosystem, triggering a chronic cycle of extreme poverty for the human inhabitants. As a videographer on assignment in 1995, John was able to witness, from the beginning, the immense project undertaken by the Chinese government and the World Bank Group to restore balanced, functioning ecosystems to the region.

John returned repeatedly over several years to the Plateau to observe and record the progress of the project. Not only did the effort successfully reestablish functioning natural and agricultural systems, it also renewed the health, food security, and livelihoods for over 2.5 million people of the Plateau.

Over the years, John has been involved in several large scale ecosystem restoration projects and has documented many of these, producing a number of inspiring videos. The techniques and successes of the Loess Plateau project were the inspiration for the Ecosystem Restoration Camps organization, which John founded in 2017. At the time of this writing, there are 43 Ecosystem Restoration Camps, involving around 15,000 restoration campers working to restore 5,477 hectares (13,534 acres) in 30 countries on 6 continents.

What Do Ecosystem Restoration Camps Do?

Ecosystem Restoration Camps (ERCs) empower local residents and visiting campers to rejuvenate severely degraded, large-scale ecosystems. Using Regenerative Agriculture methods to increase the organic matter, carbon content, and water retention capacity of the soil, ERCs restore natural functions to the land. These efforts can result in increased biodiversity and carbon sequestration, cleaner watersheds, and cooler overall temperatures. Additionally, the farmers, landowners, and communities involved with the ERCs can enjoy improved food security, health, and livelihoods.

How Can Ecosystem Restoration Camps Accomplish All of This?

ERCs follow a general template for each of their projects, which is tailored to address the traits of the local natural environment and the needs of the local human community.

When needed, the global organization behind the ERCs can connect camp founders with experts to assist with camp design, business models, local and global networking, and, in some cases, they can provide limited funding. Some projects are funded solely by camp founders, and other camps develop a revenue-generating business model to fund their project.

It is essential that each camp extend the project boundaries beyond the fence line of one individual landowner so that neighbors, nearby residents, and other community stakeholders are involved. To further amplify the effects of each project, if the local political situation allows, volunteers from other parts of the world are welcomed to the camp to learn about and participate in the restoration work.

In order to teach people how to restore the land, the camps act as centers of research, training, and innovation. The ERCs strive to instill in the participants a deeper integration into the natural world where they camp and work.  The ERC organization website explains, “It is this changed attitude of people – as they start to see themselves as part of nature and not separate from it – that will enable a personal transformation and build the strong foundation for our sustainable success.”

One Example: Camp Regenesis, Philippines

Located on Bohol Island, a popular destination for visitors to the Philippines, the 17 hectare (42 acre) Camp Regenesis sits in the interior highlands of the archipelago. The formerly dense tropical forests of the island were reduced to cover only 27% of the island due to slash and burn farming, overgrazing, and other excessive agricultural activities.

Ecosystem Restoration Camp participants - Photo credit: CAMP REGENESIS/The Regenesis Project; Carmen, Bohol, Philippines

Ecosystem Restoration Camp participants, Carmen, Bohol, Philippines – Photo credit: CAMP REGENESIS/The Regenesis Project.

Camp Regenesis plans to use fire management, water capture and storage, tree and grass planting, System of Rice Intensification, and other regenerative approaches to enable the ecology to return to health and functionality.

The project has already established a nursery of bamboo, fruit trees, and native trees to be planted on the site. Additionally, an earthen water-impounding facility was constructed and will be a gravity-fed irrigation source for replanting projects and rice cultivation.

Campers with expertise in syntropic farming and agroforestry are particularly needed, but the camp also welcomes adventurous folks who can embrace the tropical climate. While the pandemic has slowed the flow of international visitors, the camp continues to host monthly, two-three day restoration/adventure experiences for local residents.

There are plans for construction of a multi-purpose center on the site that will be a training and visitor’s center as well as housing. The Camp Regenesis goals also include creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods for local human communities, and to someday become the center “for regeneration in the Philippines and eventually the South East Asian region.”

This is just a glimpse into one of the many Ecosystem Restorations Camps–be sure to visit the ERC’s Join a Camp page to explore other projects in diverse climates with wide-ranging goals and methods.

What Can You Do to Support the ERCs?

The goal of the Ecosystem Restoration Camps organization is to expand to 1 million people working in 100 camps worldwide by 2030. There are at least three ways you can help them meet this goal.

Become a Supporter

If you have the means and the motivation, then you can contribute to the ERCs with important financial support. Learn about why your donation is important and how you can provide it.

Join a Camp

If you have time and energy to offer, then consider joining one of the existing camps around the world. Each camp offers different activities, facilities, and training opportunities. Visit the ERC upcoming events calendar for a list of camp experiences available around the world.

Start a Camp

The most profound way you can support the ERCs is to start a camp in your community! Visit the organization’s website to download a roadmap document about becoming a camp. It would be a huge undertaking, but a land- and life-changing one.

ERCs for the Future!

We will keep in touch with the Ecosystem Restoration Camps as they expand their reach around the world in coming years. We also look forward to hearing from John D. Liu this March when he participates in our Soil Regen Summit 2022: Farming for the Future!

Photo credit for header image: ff5722 @, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Heather Boright

Soil Food Web School Communications

Heather lives on a 4-acre homestead in the Willamette Valley of Oregon with her husband and a bunch of leafy, feathered, furry, and wooly macroorganisms. (Plus, of course, countless microorganisms.) She has a BSc in Environmental Education from Western Washington University and loves learning and writing about the science of the natural world.

Leave a Reply

What Does This Privacy Policy Cover?

Soil Foodweb School LLC (“SOIL FOODWEB”) is committed to your right to privacy.  This privacy policy explains how we may use or disclose information that we obtain from or about you through your use or in connection with your use of our website.  For the purposes of this Privacy Policy, the term “website” or “websites” identifies all web pages found on or related to the following URL’s:

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at [email protected].

How Do We Collect Personal Information:

SOIL FOODWEB provides access on or through its website to a wide range of content, services, and media.  Users may subscribe to register for classes and workshops, subscribe to electronic newsletters, request services, inquire about training sessions, and apply for job opportunities.  SOIL FOODWEB may require you to voluntarily provide personal information that we use to facilitate all of these features.

What Personal Information We Collect:

Personal information may include your name and contact information, like your company name, mailing address, phone number, user or login name, password, or email address, payment information (like credit card numbers).  Personal information also includes any written text or communications, notes, or inquiries that you provide either on our website or by e-mail communication directly or indirectly with SOIL FOODWEB.

How We Use Your Personal Information:  

SOIL FOODWEB uses (or “processes”) personal information only as necessary for our legitimate business interests, which include improvements to our products, services, and content on our website, and also in order to respond to queries or requests, complete registrations and payments, fulfill orders, and schedule service or training.  From time-to-time, SOIL FOODWEB may use personal information to contact you to send you information about our company, classes, or other services. 

You consent to these processes by providing your personal information.  You may update your personal information or “opt out” from receiving certain communications and correspondence from us at any time through email correspondence sent to [email protected].

Retention of Your Personal Information:

SOIL FOODWEB will retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill respect processes, as well as to fulfill any obligations under applicable law.

Rights of Data Owners in and to their Personal Information:

Where applicable law requires (and subject to any exceptions), you may have the right to request SOIL FOODWEB to provide you with your personal information or to delete your personal information that is held by us.  You may also have the right to restrict or object to use or processing of your personal information. You may exercise these rights by contacting us through email correspondence sent to [email protected], using the subject line “Personal Information Review Request” or “Delete Account” or “Delete My Information.”

Disclosure And Access to Personal Information:

SOIL FOODWEB considers your use of our website to be private.  However, SOIL FOODWEB may access or disclose information about you and/or the content of your communications with us, in order to: (1) comply with the law or legal process served on SOIL FOODWEB; (2) enforce and investigate potential violations of our Terms of Use, including use of this site to participate in, or facilitate, activities that violate the law; or (3) protect the rights, property, or safety of SOIL FOODWEB employees, customers, or the public.  From time to time, SOIL FOODWEB may also disclose information to selected business partners, or other third parties offering products or services in which you may be interested, provided that such third parties agree to comply with the provisions of this Privacy Policy with respect to the use of your personal information. You consent to the access and disclosures outlined in this section.

How We Collect Non-Personal Information:

SOIL FOODWEB may obtain non-personal information from your use of our website and through the use of commonly-used information-gathering tools.  These tools may include “Cookies,” which are pieces of information shared between your web browser and a website. Non-personal information may include information about the browser that you use to access the site, the operating system that you are running, what items you clicked on the applicable web page, how long you viewed a certain page, and information about the website you accessed immediately before you accessed our website.  SOIL FOODWEB may aggregate your non-personal information with the non-personal information of other users of SOIL FOODWEB’s website or of other non-personal information collected offline. SOIL FOODWEB also may collect anonymous aggregated information, like general traffic patterns within our website, to help maintain the flow and content of the website. Any and all of this non-personal information may be used to support SOIL FOODWEB’s commercial, marketing, and customer service activities, or for any other reason.

Use of Cookies:

Use of cookies enables a faster and easier experience for the user.  A cookie cannot read data off your computer’s hard drive. For information on cookies, please refer to

There are different kinds of cookies with different functions:

Session cookies These are only stored on your computer during your web session. They are automatically deleted when the browser is closed. They usually store an anonymous session ID allowing you to browse a website without having to login to each page. They do not collect any information from your computer.
Persistent cookies A persistent cookie is one stored as a file on your computer, and it remains there when you close your web browser. The cookie can be read by the website that created it when you visit that website again.
First-party cookies The function of this type of cookie is to retain your preferences for a particular website for the entity that owns that website. They are stored and sent between SOIL FOODWEB’s servers and your computer’s hard drive. They are not used for anything other than for personalization as set by you. These cookies may be either Session or Persistent cookies.
Third-party cookies The function of this type of cookie is to retain your interaction with a particular website for an entity that does not own that website. They are stored and sent between the third-party’s server and your computer’s hard drive. These cookies are usually Persistent cookies.


We generally use cookies as follows:

Functionality Some cookies allow our Sites to remember choices you make (such as your username, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced features. For instance, a Site may be able to remember your login details, so that you do not have to repeatedly sign in to your account when using a particular device to access our Sites. These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, font and other parts of web pages that you can customize. They may also be used to provide services you have requested such as viewing a video or commenting on an article. The information these cookies collect is usually anonymized. They do not gather any information about you that could be used for advertising or remember where you have been on the internet
Performance Some cookies collect information about how visitors use a Site, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. They also allow us to record and count the number of visitors to a Site, all of which enables us to see how visitors use a Site in order to improve the way that the Site works. The information these cookies collect is normally anonymous and is used to improve how our Sites works. However, some of these cookies may include Personal Information. Please consult your web browser’s ‘Help’ documentation or visit for more information about how to turn cookies on and off for your browser
Marketing These cookies are used to deliver content relevant to your interests on a Site and third party sites based on how you interact with our advertisements or content


Use of Web Beacons:

Other tools include “Web Beacons,” which are clear electronic images that can recognize certain types of information on your computer, such as cookies, when you view our website tied to the web beacon, and a description of the website tied to the web beacon. SOIL FOODWEB may use web beacons to operate and improve our website and e-mail communications.  Web beacons can be used alone or in conjunction with cookies to compile information about users’ usage of our website and interaction with e-mails.  SOIL FOODWEB may use information from web beacons in combination with other data we have about our clients to provide you with information about SOIL FOODWEB and our services.  SOIL FOODWEB may conduct this review on an anonymous basis.

Use of Google Analytics:

SOIL FOODWEB may use Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. (“Google”).  Google Analytics uses cookies to help websites analyze how users use the site. The information generated by the cookie about your use of our website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States.  Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the applicable website, compiling reports on website activity, and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage for SOIL FOODWEB.  Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, however, please note that if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of our website.  By using our website, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner and for the purposes set out above.

Links To Other Websites:

Our website may contain third-party links that provide access to other websites, not maintained by SOIL FOODWEB or its affiliates.  If you click on these third-party links, you will be directed from our website to another external website, which SOIL FOODWEB has no control over and assumes no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, practices, or services.  Your use of any external website is not governed by this privacy policy.

Children’s Privacy:

SOIL FOODWEB does not knowingly solicit, collect, or retain information from any individuals who are under fourteen (14) years of age.  If we learn that we have obtained personal information of a child under 14, we will take steps to delete the information as soon as possible.

How We Secure Your Information:

To prevent unauthorized access to your personal information, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of such information, SOIL FOODWEB has put in place physical, electronic, and managerial procedures as well as encryption and transaction security software to attempt to safeguard and secure the information SOIL FOODWEB obtains from this website.  However, no safeguards or security procedures or software is completely effective, and we do not guarantee the absolute security of any information provided to SOIL FOODWEB through use of our website.

Attending Webinars

Soil Foodweb School LLC occasionally creates live webinars for either promotional or educational purposes, or other. Should you choose to attend such a webinar, your voice and/or image may be recorded during the course of the webinar. Soil Foodweb School LLC retains the right to publish the recording of the webinar on its website ( and elsewhere. By attending the webinar, you are agreeing to this.

Policy Revisions:

SOIL FOODWEB reserves the right to revise this Privacy Policy from time to time in our discretion.  If SOIL FOODWEB makes modifications, SOIL FOODWEB will post the revised Privacy Policy on the website, which will take effect immediately upon posting. It is your responsibility to periodically review this Privacy Policy.

Contact Address:
PO Box 287
Corvallis, OR 97330

Our Privacy Policy
Read our Privacy Policy.
Provided that you are eligible to use the Site, you are granted a limited license to access and use the Site and to download or print a copy of any portion of the Content to which you have properly gained access solely for your personal, non-commercial use. We reserve all rights not expressly granted to you in and to the Site, the Content and the Marks.


You may be required to register with the Site. You agree to keep your password confidential and will be responsible for all use of your account and password. We reserve the right to remove, reclaim, or change a username you select if we determine, in our sole discretion, that such username is inappropriate, obscene, or otherwise objectionable.
You may not access or use the Site for any purpose other than that for which we make the Site available. The Site may not be used in connection with any commercial endeavors except those that are specifically endorsed or approved by us. 


We care about data privacy and security. Please review our Privacy Policy [CLICK HERE]/posted on the Site]. By using the Site, you agree to be bound by our Privacy Policy, which is incorporated into these Terms and Conditions. Please be advised the Site is hosted in the United States. 
If you access the Site from the European Union, Asia, or any other region of the world with laws or other requirements governing personal data collection, use, or disclosure that differ from applicable laws in the United States, then through your continued use of the Site, you are transferring your data to the United States, and you expressly consent to have your data transferred to and processed in the United States. 
[Further, we do not knowingly accept, request, or solicit information from children or knowingly market to children. Therefore, in accordance with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, if we receive actual knowledge that anyone under the age of 13 has provided personal information to us without the requisite and verifiable parental consent, we will delete that information from the Site as quickly as is reasonably practical.]
Our Terms & Conditions