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'Buy a plate. Fill a plate'

July 02, 2020 13:24 IST
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'Each plate sold sponsors 250 meals for a worker's family.'
'Our goal is to provide 100,000 meals within the next month.'


Over 140 million people in India have lost their jobs in economic constriction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with most of them being daily wage-earners and migrant workers.

To lend a helping hand to the needy and suffering, Cholorophyll Innovative Lab, a collective that helps businesses solve complex brand, business or societal problems, started a 'The Plated Project' whereby they have collaborated with artistes in 10 different countries to produce designer plates.

Under this, the Cholorophyll Innovative Lab has launched 'The Plate Full of Hope' project where the sale proceeds from the sale of these plates will be used to provide 100,000 meals to the needy.

As Chlorophyll lacks the wherewithal for this, the money is being donated to the NGO Goonj's Rahat Initiative which provides meals to the poor and the needy.

Chitresh Sinha, below, CEO, Cholorophyll Innovative Lab and the brain behind The Plated Project, tells A Ganesh Nadar/, "Our simple mantra is 'Buy a plate, Fill a plate'."

How did you come up with the The Plated Project initiative?

Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and terrorism combined.

However, most of us don't realise the significance of hunger as an issue.

So with The Plated Project, we were trying to find a way of getting people to donate to charities working on eradicating hunger. We also wanted larger level conversations to start around this issue.

That's why we did something innovative and put art on plates.

Our simple mantra is 'Buy a plate, Fill a plate'.

The art plates when sold help fund charities and when these are displayed at homes, they spark conversations with guests that help raise awareness about hunger as a global issue.

I head Chlorophyll Innovation Lab where our goal is to solve complex brand, business and societal issues. We use design thinking-led processes to do this.

We used the same processes to come up with the idea for The Plated Project after brainstorming for five days and evaluating various ideas.

And 'The Plate full of Hope' came up as part of this initiative?

'The Plate Full of Hope' is a series by The Plated Project where we sponsor meals for migrant workers and daily wage-earners who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

Over 140 million people have lost their jobs across India and a major chunk of these are migrant workers.

In this series, we are donating 100% of the funds to Goonj's Rahat Initiative.

This lets each plate sold sponsor 250 meals for a migrant worker's family.

Our goal is to provide 100,000 meals within the next month.

How did you select and contact the artistes involved with creating the plates?

The platform is 'by invitation only' for artists.

We are lucky to have a very talented team of curators working with us from India, Canada and the US who spot talented artists and invite them to be a part of this platform.

We already have 100+ artists on our platform who have all signed up because they want to use their art to make social impact.

These include artists from Indonesia, the UK, Ireland, Canada and the US, in addition to India.

Was it easy to get sponsors for the project?

We reached out to brands and industrialists via our network and a lot of them immediately agreed to be a part of this cause!

Are you sponsoring meals in a particular region or are they happening across the country?

Goonj operates across the country so via them we are able to ensure that we provide meals across the country.

When did this project start and how long will this continue?

The Plated Project started in June last year. The 'Plate Full of Hope' series was launched last month.

Have you told artists to continue creating plates?

We only create 50 art plates for each artist's design. This ensures that the plate is a collector's edition and very exclusive.

We are planning on launching new plates every week with different artists.

We already have 100+ artists on our platform and we on-board at least 4-5 every week after curation.

Every series has a specific goal.

For our last series, we wanted to sponsor meals for children in a school in Mumbai for an entire year. We met that goal and ended that series.

For the current series, the goal is 100,000 meals.

We will first meet the goal and then decide if we should continue or not based on the response.

Do you suggest the themes for the plates to artists, or is it their own idea?

We work closely with artists and come up with a strong creative idea and a theme.

Post that we let the artist interpret the theme in their own way and create a unique piece of art.

Has it been easy to sell the plates?

The project is like a start-up. We have had to learn everything from supply chain management, vendor management, digital commerce and content marketing.

It has not been easy, but it has been really enriching.

Most of our plates are sold via word of mouth and via our strong digital community.

How does Goonj identify the needy migrants?

Goonj has an extensive network of volunteers who work across the country. We leave the charity efforts entirely to them and just donate money to support their efforts.

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