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Feeding The Self/ Engen Arbor day event results summary

Feeding The Self is a trademark of Apotheosis, PBO# 930038248

Background
Prior event

Earlier this year we organised an event to promote our organization and provide an opportunity for guests to engage in productive networking. There appeared to be a done way of going about organizing an event like this, a way we disagreed with. We had arranged to have the event at the Riverside Hotel, a lovely venue with all the bells and whistles one might wish for. The standard approach for these networking events would be to have tables set up throughout the venue which were bought out by groups of people. These predetermined groups would be served and addressed where they sat. We were immediately struck by how inefficient this was if one wanted to promote any real sort of networking interaction amongst guests. Our final decision for the event plan was to have a number of chairs facing the front where the guests could sit come speech time. A buffet table was put at the back of the room, and between these two sections was open space and a few high tables without any chairs. The tea and coffee station was placed in a small foyer outside the room. This arrangement subtly yet forcefully encouraged guests to move around and intermingle; if they were all sitting at set tables, as at most events of this type, it would be very difficult for different groups and organizations to socialize. The end result of this organizational decision was the resounding success of the event. We were approached by a number of people, including a high powered CEO who congratulated us on one of the best networking events they had attended, despite it being our first.
Arbour day event setup

From this, we realized the key was to make it the event encourage the free flow of people throughout the venue, and not consign them to a single chaired area, where they would be spoken at for the duration of the event. We also wanted to ensure direct interaction not only between the guests, but also with the venue and the objects that we planned to give out in a goodie bag. The event was hosted at a superb example of a true eco school, called The Birches preprimary. The school itself boasted a wide range of eco/environmental sights, from a food forest to a permaculture garden. We placed table and stewards at various locations around the venue. Each location held food and an item for the goodie bag, so that after arriving and signing in, the guest would be given their empty goodie bag and the first gift, then travel around the venue, interacting with other guests, the stewards and the school itself, all the while picking up objects for their bag. This allowed the guests to actively engage with each item given, as the steward would interact with them about the item. Furthermore, these tables would then act as meeting hubs, and the goodies given out would then become talking points and served as conversation icebreakers. We decided to have a fluid timetable that began at 9:00am and ended at 13:00pm, with no set events, so people could come at a time of their convenience. This allowed people who ordinarily would not have been able to come through time conflict to make it, but it also helped promote a sense of relaxation. All objects given out during the event were related directly to networking itself or were environmentally themed, with the intent that a full bag would contain everything needed to get started with gardening yourself, from seeds and tools to guides and notebooks.

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Event results
summary

The event plan turned out to be immensely successful once implemented. The one issue we encountered was that guests tended to move in a fairly set line from start to finish, so we moved in a few of the goodie stalls closer to this central route and the problem was solved. We found that our theoretical plans translated very well into practice, with obvious and meaningfully engagement between every attendee and participant to the event. Feedback received has been universally positive as well.

Goodie bag

The goodie bag was designed to operate as an all-in-one kit that would allow a recipient to immediately get on with starting a garden at home, with all the equipment and advice they would need. It was also designed to engage interest, especially among children, and finally to give all recipient organisations the basis for a developed contact list through the Orange book. The contents of the goodie bag were as follows:

A copy of the Feeding the Self (FTS) Dummies guide to gardening. A set of 12 simple sessions that promise to be fun, educational activities that will help turn yourself or your child into a budding gardener. A condensed 4 page gardening pamphlet designed using the FTS materials, suitable for sticking to the fridge. The FTS Orange Book. This booklet is brightly coloured and noticeable contact book containing the details of the relevant parties who attended the event. This in particular was greatly sought after, as something that appears to be lacking in the NGO environment are publicly accessible lists that help people get in contact with like minds. 2 sets of FTS & Engen related stickers. Everyone loves stickers, so we are happy to use them as bribes to entice people into thinking about the environment. A three piece pack of metal tools containing a trowel (spade) and two types of gardening fork. A set of gardening gloves. A lovely pen and notepad set made from recycled materials. An Engen branded water bottle and lanyard. Gardening is thirsty work, and losing ones keys in the garden can be most unpleasant. Last but not least is the goodie bag itself, made from recycled billboard material, these sturdy bags were created and kindly donated by Crushed Lemon. They are perfectly sized and very durable.

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Excess bag recipients

Following the success of the event, we had a number of surplus goodie bags. These bags are being handed out to relevant and deserving people or organizations. For example, bags were given to Crossroads, the Vukukhanye foster home and the Childrens Rights Centre. Furthermore, the cleaning staff at the Birches expressed an interest in the gardening information, so we ensured that they all received a bag as well.

Cillas chickens

The venue rental fee given to the school for hosting the event was put straight into the schools continued goal for sustainability by going towards the purchase of 6 egg producing hens and the construction of an outside roof for the area housing the chicken run.

Photos

We had hired a photographer to document the event itself, so there are many pictures available, with updates still coming in. These are available from our Dropbox gallery (please email for link) or our facebook page, which has a curated selection. We have also tried to document the hand-over of goodie bags to deserving organizations (e.g. Childrens Rights Centre, Crossroads) in the period after the event. Part of the agreement for receiving trees would be to supply photos of the planting or post planting, and we will be receiving pictures in this regard over the next few weeks.

Tools & seeds for Cato Crest

Cato Crest primary school requested that if we had any excess tool kits would we donate some of them to the school. Cato Crest Primary caters to a very economically disadvantaged community and has a large group of children devoted to the idea of growing food on the school grounds. Unfortunately the school is woefully unequipped, and on a previous trip to the school witnessed the children having to resort to sticks, and broken signs as digging implements. The children and teachers have the heart and the will, but just not the tools. After witnessing this first hand, we were more than happy to comply with their request, donating a box of surplus three piece tool kits.

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Goodie bag recipients

The following organisations received goodie bags:


Businesses & partners Treats KTF agencies Crushed Lemon Subz Panties and Pads Bokashi Bran Nedbank/BOE Umbumbulo Agrihub Engen Green Thumbs Students In Free Enterprise Inventive Trading cc Kuhle Life NGOs Open Door The Human Elephant Foundation Urban Earth Lovelife Trust Crossroads KZN Diakonia Tree The Human Elephant Foundation Thisability ELET The Valley Trust Mila Project Whizz-kids Bioregional WESSA North Coast region Wildlands Conservation Trust Imagine Durban Trees and Food for Africa WESSA Eco-schools Doula Schools - pre-primary Glenridge Joyce Broadhead Montpelier The Birches Treetops Schools - primary Allandale Beaconridge Burnwood Cato Crest Claire Ellis Brown Glenmore Gokul Hillview MLS Blackburn Morningside Nagari Pracharni Northdale Ocean View House Orient Heights Ottawa Overport srs Panorama Quarry Heights Rippon Rustic Manor Siphosethu Springfield Hindi St Augustine's St Leo's Community groups, homes & shelters Hands On Foundation Helping Hands Woza Moya Children's Rights Centre The Open Door Crises Care Centre Vukukhanye Foster home Schools - secondary Clairwood Commercial King Shaka High Northbury High Ogwini Technical Overport Reservoir Hills Sastri Park Umlazi Comtech Zwelethu High eLangeni FET colleges Mason Lincoln Special Ningizimu Special Parkridge College

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Tree recipients Tree recipients: summary

There is a full list at the end of this document of organisations that received trees, along with numbers of trees for each organization. Around 50 tree were also distributed at the event to attendees from various organisations. Finally, 14 trees were given as a final gift to the Birches for hand out to participants of a permaculture course being run at the schools. Below are schools and organisations got trees delivered to them, along with relevant quantities. The 130 trees for WESSA Eco-Schools were distributed to a wide variety of schools in the greater Durban area.
Trees 130 30 16 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 Location WESSA Eco-schools Crossroads KZN Inventive Trading cc Allandale Burnwood Commercial Embury College George Campbell of Technology Hillview King Shaka High Morningside Nagari Pracharni Northbury High Northdale Ogwini Technical Orient Heights Overport Overport srs Panorama Parkridge College Reservoir Hills Trees 12 12 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 6 6 6 6 6 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 Location The Open Door Crises Care Centre Various schools Children's Rights Centre Hands On Foundation Mason Lincoln Special Ningizimu Special The Valley Trust Vukukhanye Foster home Woza Moya Ansari sustainable living Lovelife Trust Ocean View House St Augustine's St Leo's Bioregional Bluff Eco Park Cato Crest Gokul MLS Blackburn Whizz-kids Claire Ellis Brown

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