Food and drink

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Food and drink are a successful tried and tested way to bring people together. Holding an event which involves a meal can also help to engage time-pressed individuals – they have to eat after all!

Potlucks. A potluck or bring-and-share meal, where each guest contributes a dish, is a great format for an event in itself, or to provide food and drink for a broader event. This kind of event is cheap to run, and as everyone gives, receives and shares what is on offer, it can help to create a feeling of togetherness.

Micro-financing 'soups'. Micro-financing 'soups' are a fun and easy way to raise small amounts of money for local community projects. The basic premise is that food and drink are donated to be served to guests, and those attending on the day pay a donation to receive food, drink and a vote for their favourite community project. Ideas for community projects, either new or existing, are submitted in advance and a short presentation is delivered during the event by an advocate for each idea. Guests then vote, and the project that gains the highest number of votes receives the money raised.

Pub trips. Weekly pub meet ups or ‘green’ drinks are a common activity for lots of community groups. Pub trips are an easy and informal way to bring together like-minded people who might also be interested in finding out about or getting involved with your project.

Picnics. Picnics are another easy and informal way to engage people in the summer months. Pick a picturesque spot, and perhaps combine it with a walk or other outdoor activity. Added extras, such as picnic blankets, a marquee, outdoor games or bunting, can all make it feel that little bit more special.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Low Carbon Oxford North organised a low carbon picnic by the River Thames. The group provided English sparkling wine and local apple juice, and secured some low carbon snacks courtesy of a local small business, Learning for Good. Those attending were asked to contribute a small contribution of food or drink, and were encouraged to bring a swimming costume or shoes suitable for paddling in the river. The event was run as part of Low Carbon Oxford Week.

Country: UK

Southend Soup is a community micro-finance project based on an initiative founded by Detroit Soup in the US. Every few months they invite people to submit Good Ideas via their website, and publicise the invitation through their Facebook page and community network by word-of-mouth. On the day, those attending pay a minimum of £3 to buy soup, a roll, a drink, and a vote. People with Good Ideas have five minutes (with a short time afterwards for questions) to talk about what they want to do and how they would use the money. Everyone in the room votes for the idea they want to see happen and the idea with the most votes wins the money raised. Past winning ideas have included Southend in Transition’s community allotment project, Christmas presents for those receiving support from the local foodbank and an emergency mental wellbeing therapy service.