Market MealA Climate Change Salon
An anonymous benefactor awarded a series of grants to CityLab7, providing Stephen Antupit and fellow grantees a platform to create food-based projects that connect people with climate change issues. The caveat? Find ways to “do things about carbon without talking about carbon”. Market Meal was the first of three projects funded.
CityLab7 decided to plan + execute + offer a particularly tasty “exploratory bonding opportunity” to a group of urban design + community planning professionals attending an otherwise-generic national conference in Seattle. The strategy was simple: design a convention session focused on “setting the communal table”.
Before walking to Pike Place Market, CityLab7 asked questions of the 16 participants: What are you dinner plans tonight? Where did you plan to eat out? Or at home with a conference host? What’s your budget? What do you like to eat? Are you willing to contribute money, settle on a menu, buy food at the market, and cook together at a participating deli? They were, we ate—peppering it all with talk about climate change. A bonus: people passing by stopped to ask what we were up to (and lingered to snack too). It was serious fun!
While participants left sated from the delicious meal and nourishing conversation, our team demonstrated capability in creatively making friends + talking serious issues. Success started with selling the idea to a national conference’s planning committee, then working with multiple groups to plan, design, and execute an official conference event off-site– including professional education credits made available to the participants. Take-aways focused on “setting different tables” to highlight consequences of food choices + climate change. The long-term ( and long distance) results were best measured by participants who went on to plan collective meal events in their own communities across the country.