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Using an event as a call to action – Feeding the 5,000

By Joss Davidge

How do you get people talking about the amount of food that is wasted every day? 

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We are used to seeing facts and figures in newspapers and reporters with concerned faces telling us we should take action. 

But how can you get a sense of the situation when you only ever see your own waste?  Organise an event that feeds 5,000 and let them witness the waste first hand, of course!

Sibilla Foxton from the BEcause Australia team went to “Feeding the 5,000” to find out whether the experiential event hit the mark and for some free food! 

Feeding the 5000 was run by OzHarvest, a leading Australian food-rescue organisation and was held in Sydney’s Martin Place on the 29th of July.  The idea was to feed 5,000 people with “rescued ingredients”- food that would have otherwise been thrown away.

The event team was made up of hundreds of OzHarvest volunteers alongside some of Sydney’s top chefs who created a delicious lunch of vegetable curry, with the all the necessary yogurt and chutney sides.

As events organisers, when you hear about an experiential campaign that promises to feed 5000 people a free hot lunch in the space of two hours, you are naturally a little anxious for the organisers. The team would need to bring their A Game to ensure that the event ran smoothly and attendees experienced the great things that can be done with “rescued ingredients” rather than experiencing long queues or badly prepared food.  feeding_the_5000_2

While our concerns were seemingly unfounded, as the team did a fantastic job logistically managing the process, the question we came away thinking was, ‘how do you effectively communicate information at an experiential event like this?’ Yes, we saw that you can use rescued ingredients to feed 5,000 people, but what were the broader campaign messages? What can I do as a consumer and who should I speak to abofeeding_the_5000_3

There were cards communicating stats like ‘Did you know 20 - 40% of fruit and veg are rejected before they even reach a shop?’ which were certainly interesting but neither they, nor the event ended with a call to action.

Then again we arrived at the event as people who don’t like to waste food anyway (can you see the halo?) so while enjoying our delicious curry and homemade lemonade maybe the full impact of the event was lost on us as we are already highly engaged.feeding_the_5000_4

In true Gen Y style we did tweet about it, Instagram a photo or two and I’m blogging about it now so the potential for amplification is tremendous from 5000 attendees! I’m sure if half the fed and watered participants told a friend, posted on Facebook or used that almost-off pumpkin to make a soup, less engaged consumers will at least realise how silly they were to miss out on a free hot lunch on a Monday!feeding_the_5000_5

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