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Making Change Through Events, Featuring Connectors Malmö

At the end of January, in Malmö, Sweeden, a salon about food waste took place. Food waste experts from Europe, and community members joined together in a relaxed evening to mingle, enjoy music, and dive into the cross-sectional issues around wasting food. 

Hosted by Connectors Malmö at start-up HUBn, a co-working space, speakers presented on the issue of food waste, followed by a guitar performance, all while dining and drinking. The organization has been been experimenting with events, projects and interventions to push citizen-driven change for three years. This being their 36th event, they seem to have found a magical formula!12631399_1087622594636975_3626597328651676421_n

“From around Europe, we’ve invited the leaders of the anti-food waste movement to Malmö to tell us how to stop being so trashy about food: from the grassroots to international policy.”

They were able to draw a crowd of 100 people including students, and industry professionals. With a diverse audience, rich discussions were guaranteed. 

Speakers included Arash Derambarsh (France) who led a campaign that forced all French supermarkets to donate their waste food to charity, Zeenath Hasan (Sweden) who runs a local, grassroots waste food catering company, and Sanne Stephansen from Copenhagen’s Rub&Stub who is working to re-brand waste food as something much more appealing.

To learn more about the models of change the featured speakers generated, please take a look at the webpages listed below. 12524039_1087622817970286_4903911965870652025_n

Hasan spoke about perceptions of food waste and meeting the demand with appropriate recovery capacity.

Do you agree that if it doesn’t make it into your belly, it should be counted as food waste? That is Hasan’s belief. In North America, we’ve largely accepted that if food is composted, that’s a-ok. Is this messaging diluting our ability to take more radical actions, such as donation and reduction policies being instated around Europe? 

Stephansen noted that, ironically, one of the struggles in the European anti-food waste movement is an inability to take-in enough food waste. Restaurants like Rub & Stub are being flooded with more surplus produce than can be used, but they also don’t want to see it wasted. This highlights an opportunity for more restaurants to open using the same model of serving rescued food. 

And finally, Derambarsh invited those located in Europe to sign his petition try to end food waste. They almost have 800,000 signatures, and want at least 200,000 more! 

Inspired by the Connectors Malmö Event? Interested in hosting your own event? Or, taking food waste action in your community?

You can now order a guide book about this style of work. Charlotte Ormston, Events Expert at Connectors Malmö, was kind enough to share some experts tips just for our blog readers. Here they are!

How to go about organizing change making events:

1. Start with the intention. Think about the aim of the event: is it to inform people about problems, to inform them about solutions, to get people to meet each other and build networks, to get people to come up with projects?
2. Use your intention to choose the appropriate structure, content, speakers, graphics and environment. Always keep the aims in mind when you’re planning an activity.
eg. A cosy and relaxed event with music and snacks is good for getting people to talk to each other and listen to information but a very structured event with time-constraints on activities might be good for pushing people to come up with project ideas quickly. 
3. Make it beautiful! People work best when they’re in comfortable surroundings. Good lighting and seating is always adds value. 
4. Show people. Show, don’t tell is the way forward. People like example, stories, and experimenting. Visuals, and images to simplify facts, and make them tangible is key.
5. Make sure to document it. If you’re going to be doing future events, then this is how you’re going to spread the word to get new audiences (photos) and learn how to improve events (reports and feedback sessions).
6. Be friendly! If things are not going to plan, just remember to keep cool and pleasant – nobody’s going to lose a limb if the event is 15 minutes late. It’s normally more important for people to be in a nice, relaxed atmosphere. 
7.  People want to help. Let them! It’s a good cause, so if you tell organizations and people far in advance that you need volunteers, food donations, materials, seating, a space to use, whatever, they’ll deliver! You don’t need to have money to do an event. 
For extra inspiration, you can order a book called “A Guide to Co-Creation”. Proceeds go towards a crowd sourcing campaign Charlotte has launched to grow this style of work into new countries. Connectors has moved to becoming the Connectors Society. You can even request specialized coaching and training in this work through them.  
Over the three years they’ve been doing this work, 60% of the projects conceived of at ‘For Malmo by Malmo’ have actually happened, including Rude Food –Swedens 1st rescued food catering service

Explore More At:

Connectors: www.connectorsmalmo.com

STPLN: www.stpln.se

Arash Derambarsh: twitter.com/Arash

Rude Food: www.rudefood.se

Rub & Stub: www.spisrubogstub.dk/en/

Crowd Source Campaign


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