Our office has been invaded by cardboard creatures!
A sneak peak at one of our latest startups - Bucky Box | Tools for a better food system.
Well worth taking a look at the Bucky Box blog as well; they’ve been announcing global partners for their ‘friendly food champions’ scheme which is all about supporting educators, advocates & catalysts of the local food movement.
Oh and check out the Food Matters website as well for a free viewing of their film for this week only!
Thanks to all of you who followed closely as we cranked up the fundraising drive, and wound down on the extravagant meals. Yes, we would firmly say that Live Below The Line was a firm success for bringing attention to the plight of those in extreme poverty.
Last week seems like a distant memory to some degrees, but in other ways, the memory lingers on.
Day 5 was an almighty climax for hundreds of New Zealanders, and others in Australia, America & UK who had spent 5 days living on just $2.25 a day for all their food & drink. There was a virtual cheer raised around the social networks at 12, as many people broke their final-day hunger with a midnight snack.
Although, in all honesty this only goes to serve the point that in fact, whilst it may have been pretty difficult for many of us to take on the challenge - we were simply playing. We walked briefly in the shadow of people who live in extreme poverty, every day, with little to no hope of breaking the cycle. And they do it whilst having to watch as their families and loved ones suffer the same fate.
In truth my feeling from the week, other than pushing the ‘reset button’ on my body and it’s reliance on food, was that I learnt a little empathy for people in poverty. It cannot be easy to concentrate on anything to do with lifting yourself out of poverty, if your stomach is constantly empty - and indeed, you’re unsure whether you would be able to pay for education/fuel/accomodation/healthcare should you want/need to.
We did learn a few things about the Enspiral crew through this challenge. Namely many of us get ill when we’re not well fed; some of us are tenacious terriers when it comes to fundraising; just how much support you get from people when you ask; we LOVE shared lunches & time to chat together; we’re very glad we’re focusing our lives on tackling social & environmental issues.
So we sit, almost a week after the end of the challenge, incredibly happy that the Live Below The Line campaign has raised over $105’000 across New Zealand. As a team, we notched up $4329 at the last count - and are really pleased to see the #1 fundraising team CFU stretching their legs over $4500!
Massive plaudits to everyone around the world who took part in Live Below The Line. We’ve got our strategy ready for next year too…..
You can even check out my personal reflections on things here.
Cheers, till next time…
I love hearing @joshuavial talk to people about @enspiral. We are taking an open source philosophy and applying it to a company. Working together, pulling our network of resources to solve problems // It is an ecosystem of people who love what they do // No blocks in place by top-down hierarchy //…
Guest post by James Samuel (part of the Enspiral whanau)
Taking on the challenge to “Live Below the [extreme poverty] Line” for five days in August, certainly achieved one of the organisers intentions for this campaign - it stimulated discussion.
When asked to define poverty, most Westerners will eventually refer to that well worn phrase “Living on less than a dollar a day”. What a curious obsession we have with crown-imprinted-coin-of-the-realm, and that was the pivotal point of this campaign - both in terms of raising money towards the goal of ending poverty, and the “Line” which we took on to live below - $2.25. Our goal was to eat no more each day, than we could purchase with $2.25 - defined as the equivalent in NZ dollars to living on a dollar a day.
An early point of discussion was about what people who live on “a dollar a day” are using that amount for? I understood that it has to address all their human needs, for food, shelter, clothing and all the rest of it. With my weekly rent, I’ve failed from the start to live anything like my brothers and sisters in poverty.
While gifts were not allowed in this challenge, I imagine that the average Bangladeshi survives on the non-monetary exchanges within his or her community, and this caused our family to think about what money does. It can allow us to become isolated from our community, never needing to show respect or offer a hand to anyone, because we can simply buy our way through life, getting all we want - if we have enough of it.
I respect all the people who took on this challenge, and the changes they have made for these five days, and feel closer to them all, because I know they are having similar conversations.
Food is the other primary focus of this campaign and I’ve been listening to the Facebook comments about rumbling tummies, and wishing for that familiar item in the diet that has been sacrificed for few days.
I’m excited at the possibilities that may be emerging, and recall my experience, while living on a remote island in Fiji for a year. I learnt that not having access to my usual comfort foods affected me emotionally. I would have traded a lot for some bread with butter and vegemite, a bowl of muesli, an apple, or a ginger beer. Not having these foods, made me realise how attached I am to having certain familiar things in my diet, and it made me wonder how I would respond if I was truly hungry, and wanting to feed myself and my family. It made me realise that food is one of the first things we need to attend to, in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.
If you agree with me on this one, then you may want to start pondering the local food systems which supply you with your daily bread. Be willing to look at how vulnerable, and dependent on energy (fossil fuels) and money (corporate and industrial control) our food system has become. Then notice that there are some awesome projects, that are addressing this issue, and if they succeed, we could address this issue of poverty for real, by not inadvertently contributing to it - but that’s another blog post.
Big respect to everyone who conceived of this campaign, promoted it, and participated in the challenge. Let’s make it be the start of deeper change.
Some food and relocalisation projects I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in:
Transition Towns - moving from oil dependency to local resilience
Ooooby - distributing food - out of our own back yards
Bucky Box - software to run food box schemes
A little humourous take on things from the Jon Stewart show: http://bit.ly/o20C5L
You can also support James at the Enspiral Fundraising Page.