Madfællesskaberne – the movieMadfællesskaberne – the movie

The buffet is full and ready to be served, full of colours and taste. Pierogis, bulgur wheat salad, homemade bread, slow-roast meat, and much more. Appetisingly presented. Still, some did not partake in the deliciousness of the buffet. That is all about to be changed. The Madfællesskaberne project has designed a new take on the buffet to attract more people; but they did not change the food, they changed the physical environment.

The students can get some delicious breakfast, warm lunch, and fresh coffee for only 20 DKK a day at the production school PFFU situated in Frederikssund. And yet still, some students opted out of the canteen’s offerings.

This issue has now been dealt with as students from PFFU and Metropolitan University College co-operated in project Madfællesskaberne. The object of the project was to increase the number of people attending and enjoying the food in the canteen. Together, the students explored and reviewed challenges the canteen was facing, and together they designed a solution. All in 4 weeks. 
Madfællesskaberne is about what food can bring to society. The ambition to create better lives, social relations and stronger communities – all with the help of food. 

Projektdeltagere i Projekt Madfællesskaberne september 2017 

Sorry, what is your name again? 

Food is not about forcing it down your throat. Food is also about the table, which you sit at when eating your food. Food is about the people sitting next to you. Food is about the experience, the mood, and the vibe it creates in the entire room – a wholesome experience. 

The project planning started as the project group visited PFFU to consider what challenges they should focus on. Michelle, student at Metropolitan University College, tells how she imagined the project should unfold: “Before we came to the school and the canteen, we imagined we should sit at longtables and have the whole canteen sing-along. We are very social ourselves. But we quickly found out that was NOT what the students of PFFU wanted for their canteen,” and her fellow student, Diana, says, “It really surprised me that many students had a hard time talking and socialising. I talked with two students, who had been sitting next to each other for almost six months. They never really talked and they did not even know each other’s names. Then it dawned on us that the project should not focus on the kitchen and its food.”

The transformation

The students involved in the project quickly realised that the real challenge for the canteen was not the food, but rather the physical environment. The students buckled down and started working on the canteen’s interior, furnishing, and the room design. Dividing walls and art created by the students of PFFU became the centre of focus for the work. The result was incredible and the effect was immediate; no longer was the canteen a hindrance or an obstacle to enter, no longer were the students cramped in and unable to move, and no longer was the noise level unbearable.

The canteen was transformed and so was the experience of lunch: “The canteen was super boring before. It was plastered with sad colours. But this is really something else” says ‘Krelle’, student at PFFU. Another student chimes in on the new canteen: “I think I have changed a lot since Madfællesskaberne created this. Now I eat in the canteen to socialise and be with my friends. Before I would probably just eat by myself,” says Wik, student at PFFU. 

Madfællesskaberne – the Movie

Such a success should be celebrated and documented. And that is exactly what Danish journalist and film maker, Peter Bischoff, did for Madfællesskaberne. The 24-minute long video gives an insight on how the project has affected the food culture and the community at PFFU – as well as how the project came to be. The reception and celebration took place at a full lecture hall at Campus Sigurdsgade at Metropolitan University College. The celebration was complete with a sneak premiere of Peter Bischoff’s movie, canapés, and liquorice flavoured popcorn. Below you find a 3-minute long video subtitled in English. 

Nordea-fonden supports and co-finances Madfællesskaberne, and project consultant from Nordea-fonden, Anita Sørensen, attended the reception and celebration.

“When I see the movie, I feel proud on everyone’s behalf. It is amazing to see the project plan come to fruition and become reality,” said Anita Sørensen.
The project consultant further commented on the social responsibility such a project promotes: “The Nordea-Fonden supports ‘the good life’ and this is a prime example of what that might be: to include students in ‘change processes’ and become an integral part in the cooperation between agencies. Madfællesskaberne also forms basis for society to create better lives. Everyone who participated in this project creates the foundation for this to happen – to create better lives, social relations, and community. That is the most important thing,” said Anita Sørensen.

About Madfællesskaberne

Madfællesskaberne is a Danish co-created project between Metropolitan University College, Suhrs Højskoe, Glostrup Alberstlund Produktionhøjskole, Netværket af Ungdomsråd, and Ungdomsbureauet.

This project is supported and co-financed by Nordea-fonden. The project will run from January 2016 to December 2018.