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For most people, ‘sexy’ is probably not a word that comes to mind when thinking about food protection. As far as Kirsten Adamczak is concerned, it should be. “You can tell people about the theory of a project all you want to, but they have to get emotional contact with it.” The project manager of Emschergenossenschaft, a water board in the densely populated German Ruhr Area, considers it a challenge to get people interested in the relevance of food protection measures.

The goal of Adamczak’s project is to revitalise the river Emscher, a tribu-tary of the river Rhine catchment. Since the 19th century, the Emscher

and its tributaries were developed as open waste water sewers, due to in-dustrialisation and extensive mining. In the ALFA project, the Emscher

Genossenschaft wanted to create an emergency polder to cope with foods using existing infrastructure such as a former railway embankment.

Touch people’s hearts

Communicating the ‘sexiness’ of this project is ‘really difcult’, she says. “You have to touch their heart.” Another project of her organisation, considering the discovery of archae-ological relics in the ground, taught her that to appeal to people, it is a good idea to involve children. “It may sound unfriendly to say that children sell, but if you organise a nice event with children, it brings good press. It shows that you take care of the local people, that you are aware of their needs.”

A complicating factor in appealing to the community was the fact that

there had not been any foods in the area since the 19th century. “That made it hard to convince people of the need for our project.” In that respect, the severe foods that were in the area since 2008 were helpful. “From an educational point of view, foods are important. If there hardly ever is a food and you keep talk-ing about the need for prevention, people lose trust in you. A real food enables them to see the relevance of measures themselves.” <

Inspiration | Innovation | Cooperation

“ You have to touch their heart.”

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