What do you get when Vancouverites mix community activism with democratic capitalism, add a pinch of soul food, and stir? You get Vancouver Soup, a delicious new way to crowdfund community projects on a full stomach.
Here’s how a “Soup” works: Attendees pay a nominal fee for admission, they hear a number of 4-minute pitches from community groups with projects to fund, they eat a soup dinner while discussing the merits of each project, and they vote for their choice. After the votes are counted the winner takes home all the money raised from attendance. And a good time is had by all.
Kerrie O’Donnell, the organizer of Vancouver Soup and a new mom, got the idea after watching a documentary called “Funded,” which featured the Detroit Soup, the progenitor of all Soups. “In the depths of my sleep-deprivation I got really excited about it.” What inspired her about Detroit Soup, and the problem in Vancouver she felt a Soup would solve, is people’s difficulty in creating connections.
“One great way to connect with people is over food. With the Vancouver Soup, you’re nourished by food at a very low threshold, you get to hear about the positive solutions people are putting together and celebrate that, and then you can exercise the vote – something on my mind after the recent US elections,” she tells me.
To get Vancouver Soup cooking, O’Connell networked with people to partner with, including fellow employees at Ecotrust Canada who introduced her to the folks at Groundswell Cafe.
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Read more of my story about Vancouver Soup in the image below.