Blue Activism - Operations

Blue Activism - Operations

This page is designed to share information about actions to protect the sea. It is fuelled by its sibling page: Blue Activism - Imagination

Operation: 'Blue Menu'

This is a campaign that aims to encourage restaurants in London to add one or more plant-based dishes to their menu.

The idea is to decrease the amount of fish we consume and raise awareness in London about the plight of the sea.

We envision an alternative future for the ocean. One where humans interact with the underwater world differently. We aim to reimagine systems based on care and kindness.

Our ever changing process

As a start, we collectively discussed a challenge to encourage businesses to create a plant-based version of a traditionally fish-based dish. We thought about ways to facilitate the creation of plant-based dishes tailored to the values and cultures of restaurants together with their chef/team, as well as facilitate the operations and logistics with suppliers, if needed, making sure these comply with social and environmental requirements to align to our vision.

We gathered feedback from an expert in the restaurant industry and sustainable strategy. Here is what we learned and how we changed the operation:

  1. Swapping an animal-based ingredient for a plant-based one does not guarantee lower environmental impact (evidence) > what are the principles that need to be delineated to make sure that plant-based alternatives that care for the ocean are used?
  2. The idea about focussing on the creativity and agency of chefs is probably our strength point > chefs have resources to create, promote, and distribute dishes impactfully for the campaign; They have access to suppliers that have access to various plants. What they do is also followed by other restaurants after. Our expert suggested a Chefs Hackaton!
  3. The culture around wine is very influential when it comes to deciding what dish people go for in restaurants. Usually, people ask waiters and waitresses about food and wine match, and the meat/fish combination is the to-go recommendation > staff in restaurants could be a major catalyst for change.
  4. Not many plant-wine combinations have been explored > there is room for the participation of sommeliers and the wine industry.

Further thinking got us to reflect on:

  • How do we use language that includes non-designers? What can we call a Hackaton for Chefs?
  • Sustainability is not enough to justify not using fish in a dish, what is it? Could we have the insights of an ichthyologist (a person that studies fish)? Maybe a monk? or Russel Brand?
  • How can poetry and frugal innovation bring value to chefs and how can we facilitate this?

We then started thinking about the access of plants in the city and how even people who can afford to buy fresh produce have access to the usual restricted number of plants while it is estimated that there are 400.000 species of edible plants in the world. We know that the biodiversity of crops is crucial to store carbon dioxide in the ground and maintain healthy soils that grow healthy foods.

How many plant varieties can we cultivate in the UK and how many ones chefs have access to through their suppliers? And how can our project be a catalyst for food accessibility in cities?

The Blue Map

Email to ask questions, send feedback and tell us your intersts and skills to get involved.

A record of our meetings

Meeting 2 - 6th May 2021

We decided to design a Cookathon for the campaing.

We will be applying the AIDA model to the campaign:

Attention: A visual identity and manifesto
Interest: Links to further info
Desire: Ways to get involved in the movement (run a cookathon, take part in some research, create art/poem etc)
Action: Choose an action and share with the hashtag

Meeting 1

InsightOS met up (virtually) to discuss what we liked about the #seaspiracy documentary, what discomforted us and how it made us feel.

Through this project we hope to expand the concept of 'Blue Activism', and design it's cultural identity. We discussed taking inspiration from:

Next steps:

  • We will crowdsource a logo for Blue Activism
  • Invite collaborators to contribute to a shared Google Doc
  • Call up restaurants to discuss our idea and gather feedback
  • Look-up the creative ways that people are depicting mock-fish dishes on the internet
  • Create a pamphlet of recommendations for restaurants
  • Gather a list of "conscious organisations" to sign up and share the operation on their channels
  • Benchmark places that created dishes for Veganuary
  • Analyse activism more broadly by groups like XR, hashtags, and historical struggle
  • Collaborate with artists to create communication that prompts people to take action and ask a restaurant to create a new plant-based dish
  • Define metrics of measurement to define the impact of the campaign
  • Create a custom Google map showing the location of supporting restaurants to support the success of their new dishes.


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