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How to win friends (and community) with salad




The children of the 90s will probably remember the episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa comes out as a vegetarian to a horrified and fully unsupportive Homer and Bart. The two famously formed a conga line, singing “You don’t make friends with salad! You don’t make friends with salad!”

CSI has been proving Homer and Bart wrong for more than a decade, winning friends (and connections and community and collaboration) with our Salad Club.

Steve laughing

Salad Club

One day a week at each location, this perennial favourite brings members together for a delicious communal lunch. But it’s not just about eating; it’s about community building. Salad Club creates the opportunity for people to meet and to converse. New connections are formed, and people gain a greater awareness of who’s in the community and what they’re working on, which often leads to new collaborations.

people eating

Salad Club breaks down barriers, making it easy for anyone to participate and to meet new people. All anyone needs to do to participate is to contribute a food item, either a fruit, vegetable or protein. The organizers pool the contributions together a half-hour before lunch and prepare the ingredients into a beautiful medley of healthy deliciousness, like an open source salad bar.

people getting food

Salad Club Tips

Provide the Salad! You can count on participants to contribute but you should make sure to provide the basics such as, well, the actual salad! Since it’s the very basis of Salad Club we recommend that the organizers provide the salad and the participants contribute the toppings.

Get People Talking! Salad Club is a great way to get people together talking. You can let it happen organically, or do a bit of facilitation. This could include kicking things off with a short presentation or writing a question on a blackboard for people discuss.

Always Have Extras! To make it a true success, Salad Club should be inclusive. In large groups, someone is sure to forget to bring a contribution, and in an organization like ours, it’s customary to welcome new members with a lunch on the house. So consider having a little extra!

food spread

Spread the Word! The first rule of Salad Club is that you talk about Salad Club. The second rule is that you talk about Salad Club. You need to spread the word and share the love. Make posters, send emails, get your founding members to recruit new members, ostracize those who refuse to join your club! Maybe don’t do that last one. Be nice.

Partner Up! Salad Club is not just a great opportunity to meet people, save some money, and eat healthy. It’s also a chance to possibly bring in an awesome new partner. We’ve had some Salad Clubs sponsored by local restaurants, and recently we partnered with Newman’s Own, a social enterprise that donates a 100% of after-tax profits to charities and nonprofits. This partnership also takes care of the second most important ingredient of Salad Club after salad (well third if you count people, and you should!)…

Bring the Dressing! You need salad dressing! Seriously! This cannot be overstated! Salad with bad dressing or no dressing at all is generally pretty unpleasant to eat, and may even give credence to Homer’s mantra. Make friends with salad. Bring dressing.


Salad Club Recap

  • Start Salad Club: set a date, time and place, and spread the word.
  • Bring ingredients: Ask people to bring one vegetable and one protein. As the organizer, bring lots of salad and salad dressing… have you tried Newman’s Own?
  • Set-up: Either get people to drop off ingredients half an hour beforehand so a couple volunteers can do the prep or, even better, get everyone to prepare together.
  • Talk: It’s not just a lunch; it’s a lunch club. So make sure you talk to your fellow salad eaters.

Win friends. Eat Salad. Love life. Start a Salad Club in your organization and tell us about it!

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