Tasty catering with no plastic
Primmer praises event centre Logomo and Sunborn Catering for fluent cooperation. The requirements of using no plastic during the congress and providing mostly vegetarian locally sourced food were taken seriously in the kitchen. Coffee was served using china, and water was available in glasses or the visitors’ own refillable bottles.
‘We informed the guests in advance about Finland having the best and purest tap water in the world.’
Kitchen manager Kristian Karnell of Logomo Kitchen created menus for the lunches and coffee breaks utilising as much organic and locally sourced ingredients as possible. Delicious vegetarian meals were served to the evolutionary biologists, as well as fish cakes by the S. Wallin fish store, made using locally sourced coarse fish with a lower price per kilogramme.
‘The lunches served at Logomo were so good that it placed high expectations for the dinner, which is usually the culinary peak of the congress week,’ Primmer praises, smiling.
The ESEB2019 conference dinner was memorable particularly for foreign guests, as it was arranged at Moomin World in Naantali on the last evening of the conference. In addition to the tasty dinner itself, guests were delighted by the beautiful environment and the characters of the theme park. Many of the researchers took photos together with Moomin characters in order to share the experience on social media.
‘The environmentally friendly values of the Moomins were a perfect match with the congress, which the guests also praised. The evening and its sunset was a wonderful experience for them.’
Delegate bags in leftover fabrics
The congress guests received a tip about the dinner venue the year before, when the event was marketed at the evolutionary biology world congress at Montpellier, France, together with the Turku Convention Bureau. Moomin magnets made of birch plywood were immensely popular, and they also sent the message about the environmental values of the congress.
‘The Turku Convention Bureau of the City of Turku and Visit Turku welcomed our green challenge warmly. As marketing support, we received Urban Legends delegate bags made using leftover fabrics. The bags were praised by the participants,’ Primmer says.
The Convention Bureau has previously ordered all delegate bags distributed to congress guests from abroad, but inspired by the ESEB2019 congress and its values, all bags are now sewn at Turku City Employment Services Centre’s Valmennuspiste, which rehabilitates and supports people with their employment goals. Primmer is happy that his environmentally friendly choices were adopted in Turku as heritage for future congresses and events.
‘Sustainable principles should be thought of already in the planning phase,’ he says, encouraging persistence.
‘For example, I absolutely wanted the congress shirts to be made using recycled cotton, even though they proved difficult to find and slightly more expensive. I find it important for ecological products to have a demand, even though the supply is limited at this time. Otherwise, the environmentally friendly message will be lost.’
Supported by an extensive cooperation network
The ESEB2019 congress in Turku was strongly embodied in Craig Primmer, but he was supported by the Turku Convention Bureau, the committees of the event, congress service provider Aboa Congress and Event Services, the extensive local cooperation network, and some forty volunteers who all helped fulfil the ideals of the host.
‘My aim was for all areas of the congress to be better than anywhere else – no more,’ Primmer laughs at his temperament.
‘I would say that 95 per cent of the arrangements were better or at least as good as the previous congresses.’
Primmer enjoyed the ESEB2019 congress even though his focus this time was on hosting and the practical arrangements. Science will come after a short break. He has already compiled a list of presentations he absolutely must see as video recordings.
Text: Merja Kallikari
Photos: Mika Okko