Final Reflections Blog (4/9/13)

It went something like this: “Do you know what we are doing here today? We are running a food waste awareness campaign. We formed partnerships with a couple local bakeries and restaurants and they donated food to us that they would have thrown out last night. All the food you see here would instead be in landfills today. We are bringing it to you so you see how perfectly edible, delicious and nutritious it still is… Do you have an idea about how much food waste we produce as a nation?”… 

Amazingly, most people paid close attention to what I had to say. Never before had I been to an event where people actually wanted to learn more – maybe because food is so near and dear to our hearts that the thought of all that yummy food being in the trash was something that they just couldn’t make sense of. I am pretty sure that, for that moment with us, our audience felt repulsed and angry, and wanted to change their behavior and the behavior of others. It is hard to say what happened to each individual as they walked away – did they retain our message and work on their habits; or did they munch away on the bagel and move on to whatever they were dwelling on before? Impossible as this is to answer, I hope that our choice of giveaways has a direct impact with our audience at home.

I thoroughly enjoyed our event and believe we accomplished what we set out to do. We have learned a whole lot about food waste and have passed that knowledge on to others in our community. Within the time span that we had to complete this project this semester (very brief 3 months), I could not be more satisfied with our most important deliverable – a sharp yet simple event that was created by each and every one of us and executed to a measure barely short of perfection.

I am very proud to have been part of this project and feel blessed to have been a part of this class – for all that I have learned and for having met some amazing individuals who renew my faith in humankind and let me believe that one day, food waste will have been history. (Sarah Muller)

I can’t say enough…(4/7/13)

Seriously, I can’t say… at least not very effectively. You see, I am generally a quiet person, so talking for almost two straight hours about food waste has left my voice somewhat coarse. So, since I’m temporarily impaired from speaking, I’m going to write this blog.

Event Photo - Full Group 1
Org Dynm 615, armed with free food and powerful information

Our food waste awareness event was an amazing success. Our project team, also known as DYNM615 in the Organizational Dynamics program, put together a feast of excess food by collecting donations from local vendors. Even after a semester of studying the global food waste issue, we were amazed at the amount of quality food that was heading for the landfill. Armed with totes, magnets, and T-shirts in addition to A LOT of food, we invited students to stop by for some free gifts and food. Shortly after setting up, we had a crowd of people stopping at our table.

Event Photo Our Table and Students in Action
Org Dynm 615, armed with free food and powerful information

I had expected that giving away free food would attract hungry college students, so the crowd didn’t surprise me much. However, what did surprise me was that after people realized why we were there and understood that the food giveaways were originally destined for the landfill… they didn’t leave. A highly energized project team told the story of food waste over and over. Guests leaned in to be able to hear the team members over the crowd noise. Some people asked to be contacted for future efforts, others asked follow-up questions to better understand how this could be true, and many just shook their heads in disbelief. Facial expressions told the story fully, as guests at our table displayed emotions of shock, disgust, and in some cases, anger.

Do I think that raising awareness will change behaviors? If this event is any indication, you bet it will!

The amount of food we collected from just a few vendors was appalling. The use of technology to spread the word via websites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter was phenomenal. The video was superb and highly impactful. The production of “free giveaways” items from design through deliver was excellent. The energy, teamwork, and cohesive effort to make an impact on this global issue were unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Even if I had my voice fully intact, I still wouldn’t be able to say enough about this project team and what they accomplished through the Spring 2013 semester and on the afternoon of Thursday, April 4, 2013…