BCNlocaleats gives study abroad students each semester a chance to give back to the community. By creating this Instagram account, we have established a source of local, healthy, and sustainable restaurants that anyone who follows the account will be exposed to. For semesters to come, the students at IES Barcelona will not only have access to the restaurants we have already researched and recommended, but also can expand on that and further develop the strength of the account. We believe that in this generation the most effective way of reaching the general public and helping it improve is through social media. As a team we have investigated various restaurants throughout Barcelona and believe many are worthy of sharing to promote a more sustainable environment here. These places are built on principles like sourcing their food locally, being eco-friendly, or providing 100% organic products. As the account grows in popularity we aim to influence each follower in a positive way by helping choose where they eat on a regular basis.
1. Description of the Action
For our group’s action, we created the Instagram blog, BCNlocaleats to enable people to learn about and visit healthy, local and sustainable places to eat in Barcelona. By using Instagram as the platform for our blog, we can easily reach people in a very social media-conscious generation, and rapidly grow our readership via word of mouth, hashtags, and easy searchability. The social nature of the app also makes it possible for many people to comment, interact with, and provide feedback that can make the blog better. Because posts on Instagram can be tagged with a location on google maps, the application makes it easy for people who learn about new sustainable eating options to visit them and take part in a more sustainable lifestyle. This layer of conducivity to community involvement also means that the blog will continue to thrive and foster a sense of community and awareness around sustainable eating after the semester is over.
1.1. Similar Actions From Previous Semesters
Some actions from previous semesters that resemble our group’s project were the map of local and sustainable businesses from last year, the Where to Eat in BCN website from 2011, and the Localvores of Barcelona wordpress blog from 2014. All of these are similar to our action in that they provide people in Barcelona with a way to learn about and locate sustainable restaurants and businesses. Both the Where to Eat in BCN website and its later iteration, the Localvores of Barcelona wordpress blog are similar to our Instagram blog, BCNlocaleats in that they provide descriptions of the restaurants featured, and allow people to more easily locate these places. The 2015 map, which remains in prototype is similar to our action as it, in its goal to allow people an easy way to locate these businesses, maintains the same spirit in which our project was concieved. Our blog, BCNlocaleats also incorporates a google map of tagged locations by virtue of its host platform, instagram, essentially merging the map concept with a blog, in a highly interactive manner.
1.2. Why Similar Actions Did Not Succeed in Previous Semesters
A barrier to success for actions attempted in previous semesters was the difficulty of continuing them beyond the semester in which they were conceived. Because they were not designed in a manner that allowed them to be easily continued in subsequent years, they weren’t truly sustainable. The previous websites, What to Eat in BCN, and Localvores of Barcelona fell short in that neither website was truly sustainable or provided an easy venue for community participation. Unless someone retained the login information for either of these blogs, then their continuation would be effectively halted once the semester came to an end. By making use of the Instagram platform, our Blog BCNlocaleats avoids this error, at least in part, as instagram allows not only for the creators of a blog to post content, but for their followers to interact. Followers are able to make comments and tag people who they feel might be interested in something being posted about. Followers can even tag our blog in posts they make about sustainable foods and these will appear in one of our feeds. This wider range of participation allows more people to add content that could improve the reading experience for the whole comminity and means that when we are not able to add to the blog, that it can continue to grow and improve.
1.3. SWOT Analysis
• Quick and easy access to students who want to eat locally/ sustainably
• Zero cost project
• Encourages students and their friends to eat sustainably
• Easy to get out to the public (it takes just seconds to post a picture on Instagram)
• Potential to boost the local economy for the sustainable restaurants
• There has been past work done for this subject in this class
• Using flyers is a great way to access IES students specifically
• Little way of knowing how effective this project was
• The Instagram can only keep being updated by this group for a short period
• Some if not many of the restaurants are pricy
• Does not look to target any of the local community outside of IES students
• Students in this class in the future can access this account and information to improve it further
• Learn more information on local sustainable restaurants in the U.S.
• Can gain more followers on Instagram to share with a larger public
• Find more local sustainable restaurants in Barcelona
• IES students may recommend certain sustainable restaurants to future IES students in Barcelona
• This Instagram page may never be used again once the semester ends
• The information on the Instagram page will be lost
• The amount of people that the Instagram reaches may not be enough
• Other food blogs have a much larger share of the public in Barcelona
• Other non-sustainable restaurants are cheaper and more popular
• A lot of the restaurants are located pretty far away from most IES students
1.4 Feedback Loops
-> Students follow Instagram page (+) students gain knowledge of different local sustainable restaurants (+) students try out places recommended by the Instagram page (+) students spread the word about the local sustainable businesses and where they found out about them (+) students follow Instagram page.
This project should be fairly easy to advertise since it is primaraly aimed towards IES students here in Barcelona. Our initial idea and most obvious one is advertising our Instagram through word of mouth. We will tell one person and they will hopefully tell the next and it snowballs from there. Another useful advertising method is using hashtags in our Instagram pictures. This allows the picture to be linked in a certain hashtag, for example, #Organic. This allows our picture to be sorted in with the #Organic so anyone looking for organic food in Barcelona will be able to see the picture, even if they do not follow our Instagram page. Another useful method of advertising that we will implement is the use of flyers. What is good about this is that the flyers can stay at IES and it can be seen at any time by the IES students that walk by it. The flyer is intended to get IES students to look at and hopefully follow our Instagram page to get them to go to our recommended restaurants.
2. Why this action makes things more sustainable
This action makes things more sustainable because our Instagram account is a free and simple resource for people to easily find local, sustainable, healthy, organic restaurants and businesses throughout Barcelona. Our hopes are that our followers will use our posts and Instagram's map feature to help them locate and patronize these featured businesses. Therefore, by us promoting these sustainable businesses and getting them more customers, we are helping promote sustainability as a whole. The places we feature all practice sustainability in some way, whether that is by sourcing their produce from local Catalan farmers or using recycled materials in their restaurants. By getting more people to patronize these businesses, we are promoting local, sustainable businesses.
2.1 Potential Costs
Our project has few costs, since it is mostly on our phones or on the internet (Instagram). However, the biggest cost, particularly in the beginning of the project, is what each of us spend personally in the restaurants we feature in order to take pictures to post on our Instagram account. We have been paying to eat at sustainable, local, and organic restaurants, but split between the six of it, it is not a major cost. Other than buying meals, the only other potential costs this project includes is advertising. We have printed out a few flyers to put around IES, which is a very minimal cost, but most of our advertising is online and free.
In the future, we hope that people going to sustainable restaurants will take pictures of their meals, tag us or feature us on Instagram, and we can repost their photos, fostering a more collective community and minimizing the cost for the people running the account.
3. How will you implement it
The implementation of this project is quite simple, since it only requires us to create the Instagram account and post pictures of food from local, sustainable, organic restaurants. Making the account is the easy part, but getting more pictures to post and more people to follow the account is the more difficult part. In order to get more followers, and therefore more contributions, we have advertised in a few different ways. To gain more IES student followers, we have spoken to our classes and posted flyers in the IES building. To gain more outside followers, we make sure to tag businesses or people in our pictures, add a location so that people can find our post through the location tag, and by adding hashtags to our photos so that when people search those hashtags, they can find our posts and follow our account.
Can be found online at https://www.instagram.com/bcnlocaleats/ or from a mobile device on the Instagram app using the handle @bcnlocaleats when searching under the people category.
See below a picture of what our feed looks like from a mobile user:
Here is what our feed looks like from a desktop or laptop:
Our Instagram account has proven to be successful due to the positive response and user interaction. For example, a post of a picture of food from the Taste All Those market there is a comment by the vendor itself, called Warike.
Restaurants/Markets included in our Instagram feed include:
Tribu Woki Organic Market
Flax & Kale
Taste All Those food market
Palo Alto Market
Satan's Coffee Corner
Brunch & Cake
Eat Street Market
Our followers can find where the local places are located by looking at the map tag on our account. They can zoom into the area to find the exact location we tagged the restaurant, cafe, market, etc.
See screenshot below:
3.2 "Cradle-to-Cradle" Design
Our project follows the "cradle-to-cradle" concept since our Instagram account is an open-source account, with no expiration date. Instagram is free to join and use. Users can access our visually-enhanced information in a format that is relevant and popular with our target customer. Social media does not have an end date. Our account can be continued by sharing the username and password with future IES students, whether or not they take the sustainability course.
Another idea to sustain the account is to share directly with administration at IES to share with next semester students in case they do not decide to continue with this project.
Our flyer, as seen in the image below, was posted on each floor's bulletin boards in IES. Only four flyers were printed to minimize waste. But we deemed a flyer as important since it is a quick way to get the attention of IES students outside of our classes, and who have not found us on their own on Instagram.
Here you can see the flyer on one of the bulletin boards in IES.
For one, our idea to eat healthy, local, and organic food is an incentive in itself, for it is an attractive invitation for people to live a proactive and sustainable lifestyle that mutually benefits both their body and the environment. Today in society it is becoming increasingly popular to offer vegetarian and vegan menus. Instead of eating fast food, tapas, or heavy meats such as cheeseburgers and steaks, people will opt to try whatever food we post on Instagram if it looks appealing enough to them. In addition, we will inform our followers of discounts and special offers by the restaurants and establishments we post on our page, encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunity. Also, almost all of our food looks creative, and thus people will opt to try our food as opposed to whatever traditional Spanish food they are used to seeing around Barcelona.
3.5 Relationship with the other initatives being implemented
Our project is a sustainable and practical one. There is a possibility that future students in IES Barcelona will take our idea and learn from and expand upon it, making our project better. Their incentive would be to come up with an idea that improves our project somehow, such as getting more people involved such as locals and getting the idea out. They will obviously want to give their best effort if it is for this class.
3.6 How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
People who live in Barcelona and those who are visiting will know of our page and will take advantage of it by visiting the spots we have already posted. For one, when we started this project there already existed Instagram pages in Barcelona which proposed the same ideas and posted food from establishments which met our criteria of a “localvore,” so it is not like this idea we have pushed will die out as soon as we leave Europe. Also, by taking initiative and starting this project, we will have hoped to encourage others to start similar ideas that include our mindset of eating local, healthy, and organic food. This can most aptly be observed by those who like, comment and follow our page as they will continue to look for places which meet our criteria after we have left and may even ask to take over the project.
Our project can also be sustained by other users on Instagram interacting with our posts and profile. For example, a real user's personal account tagged us @bcnLocalEats in one of her posts of a sandwich she got at Palo Alto Market. Most likely because we had recently posted a picture from the market as well and it came up in her search.
See in screenshot below:
3.7 Comparison to actions of previous semesters
In short, both this semester and the systems put in place in the past attempted to do the same thing: inform the people of Barcelona of the benefits of eating at sustainable and healthy restaurants and where to go to find them. The only major change put in place this semester was the avenue of reaching the community. This semester’s principles were built on the most effective way of reaching the community: Social Media. Instagram was chosen as the platform because we believe it to be the most powerful way of not only reaching the public, but educating them and affecting how they think or act. Even though we strongly believe in the intentions and idea behind the “Where to eat in Barcelona” website and the “Localvores of Barcelona” blog, we do not believe in the effectiveness of the platforms used. Hopefully, if regularly maintained, this account could make a very uplifting impact on the sustainability of Barcelona community.
4. What to do next
For semesters to come, there should be some sort of prototype schedule of what can be done when the incoming abroad students arrive and learn of this system in place. Here it will be outlined the recommended actions to be taken as the semester begins and progresses.
· After the groups are arranged and they learn of the basic principles of this system, then they should follow some of these steps
o First, familiarize yourselves with the Instagram account and previous business used.
o Next, try out some of the restaurants used in the past and take the best possible pictures of whatever you buy in order to attract followers when you post them.
o Simultaneously spread the word about the account to friends you’re studying with and new friends that you meet. Don’t forget to have them like the posts!
o As the semester progresses, it is just important to remind of the previous sustainable restaurants as it is to find new one. It is key to re-visit and post something new!
o Ask the faculty of IES to send an informative, yet convincing e-mail to all of the abroad students on what the account is and why they should actively use it to benefit themselves and the community.
o Continue to promote this account on social media, not only on the BCNlocaleats account, but also on your personal accounts for both Instagram and Facebook.
o Something that may work is to print out some sort of map containing the locations of the restaurants in the areas near the IES building. It also might be a good idea to add quick little profiles of the restaurants listed so that way people can choose a place that best fits him/her.
o Lastly, another key part of informing others that this account even exists is posting very attractive flyers (in addition to maps) around IES that briefly explain to students why it is so great to follow this account.
o It is important to emphasize the point to fellow IES students that this account can simply be used by those who are just looking for a good place to eat and cannot decide or are too unfamiliar with the city to find somewhere new to eat
4.1 Who should do what
The bulk of the actions should be completed by the group designated to this project, however it is just as important to get others involved to optimize the success of the account. As often as possible, inform the IES faculty of the opportunities in which they can help you promote the account to others. Most importantly, followers are key, so using the help of friends to attract more followers will help the account grow and reach out to more people in the community.
4.2 What has been done this semester
This semester our group has hopefully found a way for both IES abroad students currently and in the future, as well as the general public of Barcelona to eat healthy, local, and organic food. We also hope that our localvore idea is sustainable, meaning that it will continue to live on and make an impact primarily through the social media application Instagram. Our created the Instagram account and have posted pictures with relevant hashtags to gain followers and promote local eating in Barcelona.
5. Document Format
HTML and Word Document and Instagram
See links of restaurants in section 3.1
7. Other References
8.1 Copyright license of your report
Attribution CC BY: This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. It is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
We picked this license because we want our project to be something shared with everyone and we want others to add information and build off of what we have created. We used information from last year's project and added upon their work, and they as well believed that this type of information should be shared with other individuals. Therefore, we feel like this copright license is the best option in order to allow the next group of students to use what we have created and make it better. As long as the information is credited, we feel like it should be openly shared with those who wish to improve it, and this copyright license helps allow us to do that.
8.2 What did you learn and what did you incorporate from the feedback received?
The feedback that we received from the other classmates gave us some good ideas to improve on, specifically there were multiple comments suggesting that the SWOT analysis be fixed so that it was more visually appealing, while multiple other comments talked about how the feedback loop should be explained more in depth from what was originally showed. Another popular suggestion was to explain how the account will be managed in the future when the semester is over. We have reviewed these comments and have changed them accordingly.
Thank you to Professor Xavier and the class for their feedback. Also thank you to IES for supporting our project through promoting it on their FaceBook page and allowing us to post it on their bulletin boards.
8.4 Students involved in this action