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Waiter, there’s a grant in Halifax Soup 

Halifax Soup’s bimonthly micro-grants provide a dose of cash and good eating.

click to enlarge PAIGE SAWLER
  • Paige Sawler

Hungry for a little more culture in the city? A new micro-grant initiative, Halifax Soup, is looking to fill your stomach and mind with a basic funding model that has already taken root in other cities.

The idea is simple: community groups submit proposals, which are voted on by diners at a bimonthly communal meal. Diners pay $10, all of which goes towards the grant: the larger the number of participants, the greater the grant will be. Co-organizer Lauren Phillips, an artist and administrator, was inspired by a similar project in Boston she became familiar with a few years ago, Sunday Soup, which was "making really amazingly creative projects happen by the energy of a dedicated few.

"I remember thinking it was an empowering and very accessible form of participatory budgeting," Phillips says.

Halifax Soup has received a grant from the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group to cover start-up costs, which include a garden plot for growing soup vegetables, and has received support in food donations. This month's space at the Khyber can hold up to 80 people, but they plan to shift the dinner to different community locations each time. The organizers are looking to support projects that "engage an identified need or group of people in a creative way, in a sustainable way and in a potentially collaborative way," trying to benefit as many people as possible—though they try not to restrict what people may propose.

The proposals they have received so far aim "to empower Halifax's arts community through affordable tools and resources," as well as creating new ways of showcasing work. Proposing groups will make a short presentation to diners while they eat, and, once everyone is fed, attendees will vote by ballot. Winners will be announced online.

"Every city needs a project like this," Phillips says. "It knocks down the formalities of other funding models."


Halifax Soup
Thursday, May 14, 7-10pm
Khyber, 5521 Cornwallis Street
$10 or pwyc

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