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Brown Paper Bag Portfolio

The Queensland government could provide artist grants for local artists to create compelling, beautiful designs for grocery store brown paper bags that highlight a local grower's story, or help shoppers conceptualize what "buying local" really means. New designs would be released through grocery stores weekly for two or three months over peak growing season, so there's a buzz built and a "collectability" factor.

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Written by DeletedUser

The Queensland government could provide artist grants for local artists to create compelling, beautiful designs for grocery store brown paper bags that highlight a local grower's story, or help shoppers conceptualize what "buying local" really means.

New designs would be released through grocery stores weekly for two or three months over peak growing season, so there's a buzz built and a "collectability" factor. 

By supporting local artists to design the bags, you're contributing to the Queensland art scene in addition to the local food economy.  And you'll be sure to get clever approaches and engaging ideas. 

If enough grocery stores participated, it would be a great awareness raising campaign because it's using an everyday object that ends up in most homes as a  mode of communication about this important social and economic issue. 

This idea takes inspiration from: cereal boxes, which give us fun tidbits of information to chew on while we eat; paper bag puppets, which remind us there's beauty to be made in everyday objects; and from Target's Designer Collections, where the store collaborates with well known fashion designers to release limited edition dresses etc. on a monthly basis or so. 

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Photo of Johan Löfström

Great, just look at the success that Absolut Vodka did with print-advertising. simple model to copy and follow, and since the artists are local, their friends and family will go out and search for his/hers designed bag.

However, i would recommend the shops to print on reusable textile bags that will last many years. Preferably something that is organic, natural and not cotton or petroleum-based.

shops could charge a fee for each bag, (both paper and plastics) that can go to the artists grant or a fund.

I have a very pretty shopping bag made of sturdy jute, and the printed logo on the sides is "Open Planet Ideas" !!! :) i'm so lucky!

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DeletedUser

Johan--

I definitely had a guilty question about paper vs. fabric bags when I developed this idea, but I stuck with paper because that way it will get in everyone's houses, not just those folks who would think to buy a re-usable shopping bag (those people might already get the message).

But, you did inspire me to expand on the idea- what if each bag design is also made into a printed fabric design at the end of the whole project? That way, the art stays around for longer, and the message lasts longer too!

Thanks for the idea.

-- Hannah

Photo of Arjan Tupan

I think that this concept could also be a start of a 'stop using one-time-use bags' campaign. I know that in some countries (or maybe it is just by some store chains), a fee is charged for plastic bags to discourage people from taking them. You could, for example, make the price for the 'use-once' bags 50 cents, and for the artist's reusable bags 25 cents to help people in this cultural change.

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DeletedUser

I actually have too many fabric bags at this point. Every trade event now gives them away & so many businesses give them away during opening events. What if the stores had a leave a fabric bag, take a fabric bag policy, I'd stuff at least a half-dozen in a bin like that... I think there are people that would use fabric who just don't want to pay for it when they get to the register.

Photo of Johan Löfström

If many persons are like Mae, and have too many fabric bags, that they do not use : collect them for this program, and let the artists screen print or paint new art on top of the old prints!!!
( I heard about a t-shirt-project somewhere in Belgium or Netherlands that did this, and always used the word SAVED in large fonts of bright colours on each t-shirt that they collected, reprinted and sold in charity shops ) (sadly i cannot find the link to it now)

Each person that submits one old textile bag that can be reused could receive something, like some free carrots or a head of lettuce, maybe?
Also someone could mend small holes in the old bags, so the new shopping bags will look like quilts or some other nifty design?

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