International Members Meeting and AGM Monteveglio 2016

On 12-15 April, GAP members gathered in the beautiful town of Monteveglio, Italy. Fantastically organized by our hosts and Italian member organization InEuropa, the members meeting was both productive and very inspiring. Surrounded by wonderful food & delicious organic wines, creativity and hard work came together during 4 intensive days.

Eco-farm, Corte d'Aibo


12 April

20.00 | Get-together dinner

An enjoyable prelude to the International Members Meeting. After long journeys from their home towns, GAP members got together for a hearty dinner accompanied by an organic wine selection from Corte d'Aibo's own vineyards. Some members have been acquainted for years and some have just met. The atmosphere was amicable and warm.

13 April

09.00 | Plenary overview of the programme

Marilyn Mehlmann started with outlining the programme of the day. She also took the time to give a brief explanation of the Open Space Technology along with the guidelines.

Open space sessions

More on each session below.

Session 1 - Introduction to Food thread (also online)

Marilyn Mehlmann

Marilyn led a session on 'Food'. In her introduction, she emphasized the fact that food is not only the biggest single contributor to climate change but also the biggest sufferer from the change.

She presented the various food programs under development, including the Food Action programme for households; and the Food-Wise Community (FWC) programme addressed to 6 key stakeholder groups: households, professional kitchens, food processing industries, food production, food distribution business and local authorities or governments.

Session 2 - Value of GAP as an international network

Sonja Graham (GAP UK) - also online

GAP UK have found some university researchers and funding to help to measure the impact of the GAP International network and to create tools for members to use to share their impact. This session was the first step in their project.

Sonja Graham led the session and started with the question "What inspired you to join the GAP network?" She then focused on identifying the practical value that GAP International brings to the members.

13.00 Lunch and walk

14.30 Continuation of plenary with break-out groups discussing eg functions of the international secretariat

18.00 - Open space session

Session 3 - FAct! project meeting

Marilyn Mehlmann

Members of the Food Action programme team from Germany, Italy, Spain and International took the opportunity to hold their monthly meeting in Monteveglio rather than online. Hungary was absent. The group was joined by Frans Lenglet, Peter Van Luttervelt, and Peg Mai Lan Meijboom.

FAct! project meeting

14 April

09.00 Individually booked meetings

10.00 - AGM (also online)

Detailed minutes of the Annual General Meeting are available to members.

12.30 - Open space session

Session 5 (Space 1) - INTERREG cooperation ideas

Peter van Luttervelt

Peter van Luttervelt from GAP Netherlands proposed his idea of how circular economy may help regions work together in managing food production, distribution and waste, with an idea of applying for EU Interreg funding for a joint project with Ireland and one more country.

Session 5 (Space 3) - Meeting of the Board

The board had a lot of energy and had received a lot of input and ideas. They worked together during most of the remaining stay in Monteveglio.

13.45 Lunch

15.00 Plenary check-in

Open space sessions

More on each session below
Session 6 (Space 1) - Mass & social media: a Ukrainian success story

Olena Kharchenko

Teachers for Democracy and Parthership's media coordinator, Olena Kharckenko, shared her knowledge and experience in working with the press. TDP has not only achieved outstanding results with the ESDA2 project; they have also received broad media coverage in Ukraine, including numerous national TV spots, thanks to their media strategy. (And a lot of hard work by Olena...)

Session 6 (Space 2) - Revitalizing an international school program: advice requested

Frans Lenglet

Frans has undertaken to support a Sweden-based NGO, Life-Link, that lost its way when the founder and driving spirit unexpectedly died. Life-Link has a network of 400 or more schools around the world, and hosts an annual meeting in Uppsala, Sweden.

Session 7 (Space 1) - Future city leaders: a Polish project

Darek Smiechowski

Darek Smiechowski from GAP Poland presented the Young leaders of the city of the Future project, a collaboration between Norway and Poland to engage youth in sustainable development issues. Through participation in youth councils, student exchange and brain-storming sessions, young people from municipalities in Norway and Poland are encouraged to contribute to the development of sustainable cities in their respective hometowns.

Points of discussion were: how to plan similar projects in the future and use the resources most effectively; how to fit the projects in the town-planning processes; what are the most needed themes (sustainable development, citizen participation, intercultural dialogue, ...); what are the most practical tools in the aspect of interdisciplinary cooperation; how non-professionals can effectively express themselves and help in sustainable planning processes, design, etc; in which aspects and how can we influence the education system?

Session 7 (Space 2) - A flow business model for GAP International

Victor Branagan

Several members gathered to discuss how the understanding of business and enterprise is changing from a focus on the parts to a focus on the ‘flow’ between the parts and what this means for strategy and planning. This session grew out of the language and discussions which were held in the full meetings where we spoke about re-framing the strategic options for GAP.

Victor Branagan introduced the session with a brief background to the philosophy and language we use in relation to organizations and how we might re-phrase these in order to better reflect what happens in 21st century organisations. The debate teased out some issues such as the constraints of traditional thinking, the opportunity to re-imagine by changing the default references we use and how new models are attempting to map this flow in a business context.

17.15 Plenary wrap-up

17.30 - Dance for Change

Peg Mai Lan Meijboom

Peg introduced us to Biodanza, a method for building teams, releasing energy, and many other life-enhancing purposes that she teaches to business and in open classes in the Netherlands.

In 2014 she hosted a 'Dancing for Change' version of the GAP Learning for Change workshop. Inspiring - and energetic!

19.45 Evening: celebration dinner

15 April

09.40 Plenary overview of remaining sessions

Open space sessions

Session 9 (Space 1) - A sustainability dialogue between immigrants & locals

Frans Lenglet

Frans asked this question to participants of his session, "How can we start a sustainability dialogue between immigrants and locals in the Swedish context?" Several ideas emerged: from discussion about food as a common starting point, the creation of a safe place for both groups involved, to the need for structured programs from local government.

Session 9 (Space 2) - Marketing in the third sector

Marilyn Mehlmann

Luca Baraldi, personal member from Italy, raised the question of how marketing in the 'third sector' differs from marketing in business. With him he had an Italian businessman and his economist daughter; Marilyn Mehlmann led the discussion which was joined by Galina Kashevskaya (also an economist) and Shirley Gallagher

Session 10 - Expedition 1 world

Peter van Luttervelt

Peter presented an emerging model to enable us to comprehend and act on the interrelatedness of all sustainability work without getting hopelessly entangled. Food for thought - and indeed, once again, food became a focal topic for discussion.

Could this model help us in our sustainability work with communities - for instance, the Food-Wise Community program? Looks promising, thought the group.

12.10 Plenary closing

Huge appreciation of Corte d'Aibo: the place, the people, the food, the wine, the ambience. And for the InEuropa team for 'finding' it for us.

And not least: a strong belief in the future of our network, and support in charting our way forward.

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