green, indigo and foodie drinks

You may have heard of Green Drinks. It started in England years back and now is in over 600 cities globally. It’s an event where people in the ‘green scene’ (e.g. academics, entrepreneurs, ngo or government workers) can get together to meet each other in a casual environment.

We host one here in Edmonton and it goes really, really well. We just had one on January 18th and it went super well.

Last year, we hosted an event called Indigo Drinks – which was about bringing together people in the Edmonton holistic health scene. We got about 50 people out and it was a huge success. In the end, the group hosting it needed to step back so none have happened since then – but I think it will be coming back.

Well, here’s another event – for folks passionate about local food. Some words from their facebook event . . .

“Foodies” aren’t just those who care about the best dish – they care about expanding access to healthy food, supporting farmers and animal welfare too.

Come out to the next casual get together for Toronto’s food movement, this time at the Gladstone! The Gladstone serves local, sustainable food certified by Local Food Plus and does much more to support local farmers and the environment:
The new Gladstone is celebrating its fifth anniversary, but this bar’s been rockin since the 1890s.

This month we’ll again be highlighting a local non-profit and business. We’ve confirmed the business will be

Event is free, but we encourage you to make a $10 donation if you’re able to help us cover costs of organizing events and pushing good food policy forward at City Hall.

I chatted with Foodie Drinks founder Darcy Higgins and asked him some questions.

How did this all get started?

There is a lot of energy in Toronto’s food movement. I wanted a casual opportunity for folk involved in many different aspects to meet, mingle, have some fun and share ideas. Green Drinks, started in England (of course), now happens in cities throughout the world. The food movement here is big enough that it deserves it’s own meeting spot.

How often are you planning to run this? And what’s the response been so far?

We plan to have monthly events. January’s will be our second. The response was really good for the first – folks really enjoyed the night – and it’s going to be bigger this month.

Who is this event targeted to?

I’m hoping that staff and volunteers from local food organizations will come, students, workers and entrepreneurs in new food businesses and various parts of the sector, and people just interested in the issues or looking to be involved.

What impact on the community are you hoping this event will have?

I hope that the event supports a scaling up the positive local activity and brings together people to see themselves as part of a larger movement for change in the food system. (People are broken up into working for better food access, sustainable production, urban agriculture, etc. but the problems parts of a better food system, where the problems are symptoms coming from broader system issues.)

If the above happens, we’ll be in a better position to work together for broader policy and system change, which is Food Forward’s piece in making change. I’m hoping that people will learn more about what Food Forward does and continue to watch and get involved.

What are you charging for the event?

At the first event we asked attendees to donate to “buy a drink for Food Forward”, basically help us out a little bit. We want anyone to be able to attend, but if you can afford a drink, maybe you can also skip one and donate five or ten bucks. Food Forward depends on contributions from individuals and group, so this i an opportunity for people not already giving a monthly donation to do o at our event.

What exactly happens at these events? What’s the program?

For each event we are inviting a local food business that’s doing sustainable work, as well as a food-involved non-profit in the community.

What’s in in for Food Forward as a hosting organization?

So at Foodie Drinks people will get to learn a bit about what Food Forward is up to as well as other local events, as well as get a quick profile these two groups – about mid-way through the evening. Other than that it’s just casual opportunity for discussion.
This month will be Not Far From the Tree and Backyard Urban Farm Company – both also very interested in food policy and supportive of our work.

Why did you choose the Gladstone as a venue?

We chose The Gladstone Hotel this month because of they sell Local Food Plus certified foods along with local brews.

How many people came to the first one and how many are you expecting for the second?

We had about 40 people to our first event. For January 31st I’m actually guessing closer to 60-80 people.

And how did you market it?

We’re using our Facebook group/event, Twitter, friends posting through social media, our and other email lists and event notifiers, universities lists.. aside from these the Gladstone is doing a great job helping us by putting the event in their social media and listings, including their ad in NOW and EYE magazines.

And what was the best form of marketing for you?

I’d say building up our friends and contacts through and then letting them know through email and Facebook. Contacting individuals directly and they help spread the word to more networks. And people will then make the effort to come out if they think the event’s “a great idea”.

Consider the advantages of hosting this kind of gathering:

  • it brings your community together and tightens it. Deepens the relationships. This is like taking care of the fertility and health of the soil in your garden. It doesn’t GROW anything – but it makes all growth possible. Trust is the health of the soil in human community.
  • it connects people who might otherwise have never met and gets people out of their silos.
  • the seeds of new projects are planted. They might take years to take root and grow – but without this space – nothing would have happened.
  • it’s sustainable. How hard is it to get a venue and spread the word? Not very.
  • it can position you as the hub if you’re the one hosting it. It can bring together your ideal hubs and prospective clients. They come to you! How easy is that.
  • super fun! You’re bringing together a tonne of like minded people. Woot.


What event could you host for YOUR community?


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