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Womad Festival Campaigning

Posted by Abby Mason Communications Planning and Data Manager

1st Aug 2012

Joella, one of our wonderful Festival Campaign volunteers, writes about her experience talking to WOMADers about what Food Power means to them at WOMAD Festival last month.

 Last week was my first experience of campaigning at a festival and I think I managed to choose the best possible festival to do it at: WOMAD the World Of Music Arts and Dance. Everything about this festival was amazing: the people, the food, the music and to top it off we managed to pick the one weekend in July where summer was in full swing - from the day we arrived on site to the day we left we pretty much had constant blue skies and glorious sunshine.
Joella, our Food Power Campaigner Having never campaigned or volunteered at a festival before I didn't quite know what to expect, but after arriving on site on Wednesday and meeting all the other campaigners, I instantly felt like I was part of a community. We were a group of people (mostly strangers) who had come together for a shared purpose - to help spread the message of Oxfam's GROW campaign and experience WOMAD.
The GROW campaign has been running for over a year now and has so far raised awareness of the some big issues affecting the global food system, such as drawing attention to the practice of Land Grabs in developing countries. However, the emphasis of the GROW campaign at festivals this year was focused a little closer to home. We were asking people to think about the ways in which we as individuals, consumers and communities interact with the Global food system and to start thinking about the power we have to make it more sustainable and equitable.
We asked people to think about their "FOOD POWER", to think about how they personally influence the global food system and then we asked them to share their thoughts, questions, knowledge and ideas with us. The ideas and suggestions that people came back to us with were amazing - as a campaigner it was so inspirational to hear about the ways in which people are making a positive difference to the global food system and to other people's lives. From practical ideas such as creating less food waste, only buying what you need, cooking with leftovers, to growing you own in your garden, allotment or community garden. Meeting someone who was 70% self-sufficient, another person who made her own cheese, to families with three generations of gardeners and a lady didn't have enough time to grow food in her garden herself so she let someone else who doesn't have a garden use hers instead and they share the produce. There were ideas floating around such as shop locally and at co-operatives, only eat food that is in season, give free community cooking lessons and even to stop buying food completely.
I don't know whether it was the sunshine or there was just something in the air but the willingness of people to talk about the issues surrounding the food system was amazing. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people we talked to who grew their own food and enjoyed seeing how animated they got when they talked about the food they had been growing themselves and the joy it seemed to bring them. There were a lot of passionate people at WOMAD, this could be seen by their enthusiasm to share these ideas with us and to have the phrase 'Food Power' stencilled onto them in bright pink face paint! People really did seem to be genuinely interested in what we were talking about and jumped at the opportunity to be able to share their ideas with the world.
As a campaigner this was an amazing experience and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to talk to so many amazing people about such an important issue. I have learnt so much about the ways in which we can positively influence our food system on both a local and global scale from talking to people at WOMAD and now more than ever I feel that we can make a difference.
By getting people's ideas and solutions out there we can inspire more and more people to get involved to work towards a fairer more sustainable food system and to recognise their Food Power - check out all the ideas here and share yours!

Blog post written by Abby Mason

Communications Planning and Data Manager

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Abby Mason