Meeting Notes / Instigator meetup 12-09-22
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Attended: Balthazar, Martina, Nanne, Ruchika, Tarik

Main talking points: Oogstfeest, delegating the instigator tasks better, improving connection with volunteers

Action points from this meeting

Meeting Agenda / Notes

Quick Instigator status report

How much time do you have for GZG the next month)?

  • Nanne: in the upcoming time, she can’t be kitchen coordinator anymore because of work shifts, but she can be logistic coordinator.
  • Martina: she’s done with her master and she has free Wednesdays so she’s willing to be more active; she could be either kitchen coordinator or logistic coordinator.
  • Tarik: he can do both coordinations but lately it has been very heavy on him so it would be great to give him some time off.
  • Ruchika: because of work and personal events, she can’t guarantee her presence and it is difficult for her to plan ahead. She will keep herself engaged and jump in when she has the time.
  • Balt: he’s currently destroying an house in Italy 🙂 he’s very busy but also actively working on the ‘backstage’ of GZG, improving the website and developing new features.
  • Chloé: I think I will really stay only on external communication, a bit too overwhelmed at the moment with work and need to give that (and mental health and rest) priority.

Oogstfeest report:

How did it go?

  • Nanne: “Fun but chaotic” (Nanne) In general, the Oogstfeest went well but it was quite hard on Tarik and Nanne that were there to coordinate. There were too many volunteers, and most of them did not know what to do / were not self-sufficient, so it sometimes felt that they were a burden rather than a help.
  • Tarik: he thinks that, the next time, we should make sure that everyone is more involved/independent and know what to do, to achieve a better efficiency and less stress.

For next time we should focus on:

  • Having fewer people involved in the cooking;
  • Lower the expectation on the menu: means fewer items and easier to make, like a big stew with rice, a soup etc; 
  • Start earlier with the cooking (it’s a Sunday, so it is possible);
  • Communicate better with GroeneGoed about what we need (i.e. plates, cutleries etc);
  • Take stuff from Kipstraat that could be useful, like serving plates, big pots etc
  • Post the Sign-up post/invitation earlier so people can block the date since it’s a Sunday [Balthazar, can you do that?]

Next Oogstfeest is 25th September

  • Nanne + Martina + Tarik + Ruchika are available that day.
  • We will have a separate call to organise and plan the menu and the day.

Instigator Coordination

It is currently Tarik’s turn to feel like too much is resting on his shoulders, how can we help ease the current pressure on his shoulders?

  • Tarik has been putting a lot of effort into GZG lately. Nanne also expresses sentiments of tiredness and feels that sometimes it is not fun anymore (when the Wednesdays are too busy /chaotic and all the responsibilities are on one person).
  • We should make sure that every Wed there are at least 2 coordinators, one for the kitchen (16-19) and one for the logistic (18.15-21), to lift the ‘burden’ from the shoulder of people that have given a lot recently.

We proposed to invite 2 people as instigators (maybe 3):

  • Bente: she’s been very active lately, she’s very involved and looks like she could be a good match as an Instigator (‘instigator material’ according to Nanne haha).
  • Zuzanne: she’s back and willing to do more for GZG like organising a fermentation workshop. We should check with her if she wants/has the time to jump on the instigator’s group;
  • Fenne: Tarik and Nanne are very happy about her, but we should check better because apparently she does not live in Rotterdam and we are not sure she has the time.
  • This Wednesday (14th September) Martina will talk with Bente and Zuzanna (who are also cooking) and ask them if they are interested in being part of the Instigators.

Instigator coordination Sign-up doc, does everyone agree with this system, how can we fill in the remaining blanks?

  • We mainly find it useful to use the Coordinators sign-up doc (here) and we have filled up the shifts for the upcoming weeks. We stay flexible and leave the communication open for last-minute changes / unforeseen circumstances.

Balthazar’s role and having a project coordinator

During the meeting, we discussed the role of Balthazar and, more in general, the idea of having a person that acts like a project-manager, and is the reference point for the project. Do we need Balthazar (or someone else?) to take a more active role?

  • Balt: He’s willing to be ‘just another instigator’ and only take ‘top-down’ decisions when we can’t agree on a common line, and someone has to take the lead or responsibility.  For him, the unique beauty of this project lies in its ‘unstructured’ structure (see doc describing this here). He recognises that having a project manager position would be helpful (e.g. improving organisation, developing new projects, enlarging GZG) but it would also take away some of the grassroots charm/simplicity of the project as hiring someone inevitably comes with more bureaucracy and accountability. He also sees the risk of the project having just one “face” or person having too big a say in the direction it takes.. So the question is: do we really need/want this? 
  • Ruchika: She thinks that we don’t need this managerial position / we don’t need Balt to have a top-down role. Sometimes it is chaotic and feels unstructured, but we always make it work.
  • Nanne: She doesn’t know if this kind of position is needed or not, but sometimes she thinks about applying for subsidies to have a stable figure that can represent the project and, under a little compensation, work for GZG. 
  • Martina: She thinks that this topic only comes back whenever the pressure is too high on certain volunteers/instigators. We’ve experienced this in the past, volunteers and instigators come and go and the project has always continued despite the changes. 
  • Conclusion: indeed, this is a topic that we have been discussing a lot recently and seems to be important /relevant at this point of GZG. We’ve always opted for an unstructured way, but the fact that it keeps coming back might mean something. We should probably take more time to discuss this and take a clear decision; maybe we can talk about it during our Instigator get-together? 

Adding more structure to our sign-ups

Tarik suggested we come up with a way for volunteers to commit to multiple weeks at a time. Ie that some of the spots on the sign-up sheet can be booked for future weeks as well so we have a more reliable and consistent team. These spots could appear in italics in our sign-up sheet. 

  • Martina: Honestly, I have missed what we decided specifically about this (multi-day sign-up). We discussed evolving towards a more sophisticated way to sign-up (like apps or a tool on the website) but we think that  WhatsApp is, atm, the easiest and most efficient/accessible way for volunteers to sign-up.
  • Regarding the sign-up message, we don’t know if Joris still has the time to do that because he hasn’t been very present recently. Balt will take care of the upcoming sign-up messages and will contact Joris directly to understand his availability. 

Promotion / find new volunteers (connected with next point); two ways

  • Engage with old /already in the chat volunteers (see below point ‘GZG Team buildin’)
  • Find new volunteers: Martina will make some social media posts on Facebook and Instagram to call for new volunteers.

GZG Team building event 🙂 We talked about two different events / moments:

  • Fermentation workshop + potluck: on the first half of October, we would like to organise a day for volunteers (with dinner open ONLY for volunteers) that consists of a fermentation workshop given by Zuzanne (afternoon) and later a potluck dinner in which we would like to connect with our volunteers, create community, listen to new ideas and get inspired for the winter season. Wednesday 14th Martina will check with Zuzanne about her availability, and later we will plan and promote it asap so people can lock their calendars.
  • 29th October: GZG Feest?? : since Balt will be in Rotterdam, we thought about a special event on a Sunday, for volunteers (also open to other people?). This date could also be ‘used’ differently, as an occasion to get together only between instigators (and some other relevant volunteers) and discuss the future of GZG and share our ideas. We need to think about what we want to do on this day.