This Wednesday FoodCycle Bristol collected food from The Victoria Rooms in Bristol. The Food was donated by students across Bristol and sorted by volunteers at the Bristol Big Give. Without the help of the Bristol Big Give these donations would not have existed, instead a total of ‘44 tonnes of clothes and goods’ would have gone to land fill.
– Items being sorted by Bristol Big Give volunteers at The Victoria Rooms
At FoodCycle Bristol we were able to fill our two cycle led trailers to the brim with dry goods to take to Easton Community Centre for our weekly community meals. We massively appreciate this sort of donation; our weekly collections primarily consist of bread, fruit and veg.
– FoodCycle Bristol volunteers taking the food to Easton Community Centre
As well as FoodCycle Bristol several Bristol based charities benefited from the hard work of Bristol Big Give volunteers including FareShare and One25. Life Cycle specifically received bikes donated by students which they can use to input back in to the community through schemes such as Bike Back and The Family Cycling Project.
The Bristol Big Give is part of a National organisation ‘The Big Give’; a website that lets donors search for charities of interest in order to make donations go further. This particular project has been an initiative in Bristol for the last 5 years. In the past tonnes of unwanted items were wasted on streets and in landfill towards the end of Student tenancy. This year donation points were set up in and around Student residence by early May. As well as this numerous British Heart Foundation red bins were distributed across the city, in preparation for collections that culminated at the end of July. Items were then sorted by volunteers over 3 days ready for charity collection.
Exams are over, coursework is in and the sun is shining. As another academic year comes to an end, we are saying goodbye to some of the FoodCycle 2013-2014 managers (including myself…).
We thought it would be a great idea to give ourselves, our volunteers, guests, donators, collaborators and supporters a pat on the back and let you guy know about all the amazing things we have achieved this year. Here are our highlights!
Community Kitchen at Easton
Most importantly, we run a weekly Community Kitchen at Easton, providing a healthy three-course meal (for free) for the community. We cook up ‘surplus’ food, which would otherwise be chucked out, collected and transported from local supermarkets and shops via pedal power.
Our kitchen serves anyone, but often those who are vulnerable to food poverty, may be homeless, mentally ill or socially isolated. Every Sunday, people can come and enjoy good food and chatting. If you haven’t come along, do! It is such good fun.
Branching out into the Community
This year, the creation of a core Community team has meant FoodCycle Bristol has branched out a whole lot more. Here’s how:
Kicking off the summer last year, we collaborated with our friends at Feed the 5,000 and FareShare SW at Feed the 5,000. This amazing event saw the inaugural outing of our education tent, along with foody games, face painting, arts and crafts and a pledge tree. In the summer sunshine, 4,324 people enjoyed curry made from ‘surplus’ food, learnt, engaged and shared ideas.
We threw our forks in the air and also participated in the ‘Eat In’ with the Sustainable Food Trust. Check out this video!
Our Community team have also begun a project, revamping the Easton Community Centre Community Garden. In October 2013, rain drenched and slightly cold, we began the epic task of sorting out the litter strewn and overgrown garden, along with the help of Avon Wildlife Trust. It’s now a pleasant space for growing herbs, learning about food and enjoying the great outdoors.
This May saw our Schools Project with Year 3 children at St Michael’s Primary School in Stoke Gifford. The children had already been looking at food waste issues, but two of our Community managers, Katie and Rosie, held an interactive workshop with the kids. Already very well informed, the children wrote letters to supermarkets stating their disgust at food waste and very politely asking for surplus food to cook a meal for their parents. With no prompt at all, the children organised an afterschool ‘food waste picnic’ with their lunchbox leftovers! With our help, the children collected waste food, chopped veg and cooked up a delicious three-course meal for their parents! So we know who our next generation of FoodCyclers are!
Raising Those Funds
We couldn’t function, innovate or develop without money, so we’ve also done heaps of fundraising this year as well.
Totally FoodCycle Brist stylee, we have held four of our famous Pop-Up Restaurants. Always absolutely chaotic but a right good laugh, they have been sold out each time. We’ve tried massively to reach out of the student bubble this year, and slowly but surely we’re spreading the word. With fresh local music, art and great co-host charities and organisations, each night has been different, quirky and fun. I think the BYOB policy helps too!
February saw the Breadline Challenge, where many managers took up the challenge to live on £18 for the week. We all learnt a lot of useful tips for cutting corners when it comes to food and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Not only that, but we raised about £1,000, which is absolutely fantastic and will keep a hub running for about 2 months! So say, about 30 meals for each kitchen, that’s 30 x 8… 240 meals!
We have also had the upmost pleasure of catering for two University of Bristol conferences: RISE (Social Enterprise Conference) and the International Development Conference, as well as Beat the Cold at Easton Community Centre.
It’s been a fantastic year, but we couldn’t do this on our own. We want to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU to Sainsbury’s on The Triangle, and our local suppliers in Easton: Sweet Mart, Star Cash & Carry, Al Noor, Raja, Good Food Plus, Chelsea Mini Mart.
And last but most definitely not least we want to say a huge thank you to ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS. None of this could happen without you!
Help Hussein At FoodCycle Bristol we really value our regular volunteers, who come along week in week out and make the kitchen what it is. Hussein is one of those special volunteers. He comes from Chad and has been cooking with us every week for almost three months. We really appreciate his contribution, as he brings a great deal of laughter, warmth and skill to the FoodCycle kitchen. He is a very conscientious volunteer, and can be relied upon to be with us every week and to always put enthusiasm and attention into everything he does. He is an inspiration to us all. We are all very upset to hear that Hussein is facing an extremely difficult situation at the moment. He is being held in a detention centre and on 20th June he faces deportation from the UK.
You can read more about his case in the petition below, which asks Teresa May for him to be allowed to claim asylum here. Petition: Hussein Must Stayhttps://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/hussein-must-stay We have signed this petition and would like to encourage as many people as possible to support him too. We are very worried and would really like to see him back, safe and sound with us.
Celebrating 5 years of FoodCycle
Some comments from hub leaders and volunteers about Hussein’s contribution toFoodCycle:
“Hussein is ALWAYS smiling and brings a lot of positivity to the kitchen. He works really hard too. I am really slow at chopping the veg, and Hussein spent time with me, teaching me to chop like lightening, like he does (without cutting my fingers!)” – Katie (Community/ Education manager)
“Hussein has always been a very nice, diligent, hard working volunteer. Always laughing and joking” – Dario (Cooking Manager)
“He is diligent and always nice to people. He really likes to ride his bike too” – Sanghoon (regular volunteer)
“I was there on the very first week that Hussein volunteered in the kitchen for us, and I remember being struck by just how easy he made everything, by quietly noting what jobs needed to be done, and getting on with them on a smile on his face without asking me continually for guidance and tasks” – Ellen (Cooking manager)
On Monday 17th March, old minds, new minds and members of the community (call it a ‘council of elders’) met up to think about all things FoodCycle!
The advisory board meeting, consisting of volunteers, managers, community members and local food, community & environmental organisations, creates a lively forum for discussion of problems, ideas, projects and solutions!
Top of the agenda was how to expand FoodCycle’s platform for social change. We’re ever seeking new perspectives to keep our projects fresh and innovative.
If you’ve got any ideas, would like to be involved, or just fancy finding out more about what exactly was said in the meeting, please e-mail Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org
What a lovely start to the week, and for FoodCycle a new year of pop-up restaurants! On Monday 24th February, we hosted our first pop-up restaurant of the year, and had a really fabulous night – we hope you did as well.
As always, our inventive cooking team cooked up another three-course, healthy, veggie storm of culinary wonders! Armed with creativity and a whole load of surplus veg, our cooking managers Ellen and Nell, along with an army of eager veg-chopping volunteers, produced some gorgeous and interesting combinations. (I was particularly a fan of mango and cucumber salad, especially with a generous handful of fresh coriander!)
Starter – Spicy, fruity cucumber salad with garlic bread
Main – Italian vegetable stew with potato
Dessert – Banana bread with fruit syrup
During the courses, we enjoyed some wonderful fresh local talent from Josh Evans and Sarah RK, which set a relaxing mood for the evening.
Our main focus of the evening was on promoting the ongoing work of FoodCycle to overcome the disparity between food poverty and food waste, as well as social isolation. A FoodCycle Bristol veteran, Jon, came back to visit us and gave us a charismatic and engaging talk on why he set FoodCycle Bristol up and what we’re all about.
It’s (sadly) getting to the time of year when all our managers are starting to think about what they’re going to be doing next year. Some of us are leaving, some of us are staying, and to quote pop-up manager Lizzie, “… some of us can’t be bothered anymore or whatever…”
What that means for you guys is that soon we will be recruiting for positions of the manager team for the next academic year. At the pop-up restaurant, each team in turn explained their role and position within the FoodCycle matrix. The teams are:
Communications and Publicity
Co-ordination (Co-ordinator and Treasurer)
We all have very different, yet fulfilling and interesting roles, which utilise and develop different skills. If you are having a wonder about being a manager, why not try out volunteering and see how you like it? Or for more information, e-mail email@example.com.
We would like to say a massive thank you to all our guests and of course our wonderful volunteers for making it such a great night!
We’re back in a month’s time for 24th March – see you then!
What would you say to buying a coffee for £2.50? Seems pretty reasonable? We pay for the coffee without a second thought, and continue to enjoy chatting to a friend or wonder off caffeine fuelled for another long stint in the library. For many people though, it is impossible to be so blasé about buying coffee, as that £2.50 is their daily total budget. Turns things on their head somewhat, eh?
This horrific reality, coupled with the disgusting amount of good food wasted daily, has motivated us to take on our latest challenge. FoodCycle Bristol Managers are embarking on the Breadline Challenge!
For one week, we’re going to attempt to step into the shoes of thousands of Britons, struggling to eat healthily on a tight budget, and live on £18 for the week. £18 will account for all our food consumption, and any other activities requiring money – gym classes, meals out, going out, etc.
This figure of £18 comes from MP Helen Goodman: “£18 is based on the experiences of my constituents, in particular women on employment and support allowance who have had to stop working owing to chronic health conditions, perhaps after 20 years of working life. Out of their £71.70, they have to find £10 for electricity, £20 for heating — gas or coal —£6 for water rates, £4 for bus fares and £10 for the spare room tax, which left them with £23 for weekly living expenses. That £23 has to cover more than food, of course. We did a calculation, and set aside £5 for all the non-food items everyone has to buy—soap, washing powder, washing-up liquid, toothpaste, loo paper—plus a small amount in order to save £50 a year for clothes or a pair of trainers, or in case the iron breaks. That leaves £18.” (Her full article is here: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/trying-live-%C2%A318-week-showed-unfairness-bedroom-tax) We fully understand that whilst this is just a one week challenge for us, it is the reality of many people across the UK, and it is important to be sensitive to that.
We hope the experience will put much of what we take for granted in perspective, motivate our involvement in FoodCycle, as well as give us some top tips for saving money! Please kindly sponsor us, whatever you can. The money we fundraise will go towards funding our ongoing work in the community. With your support, we can help those that are struggling right now in the UK, providing them with a delicious and nutritious three course meal in a pleasant sociable environment to look forward to each week.
We’ve had a busy busy term: weekly Sunday Community meals, our fundraising October pop-up restaurant, starting our new community project of the Community Garden, as well as catering for two fantastic events (Social Enterprise Conference and Beat the Cold). We felt it was high time to get in the festive mood and spread the joy of Christmas, FoodCycle style!
Last week was a super busy week at FoodCycle Bristol HQ, what with a Christmas themed pop-up restaurant on Wednesday 11th and our Christmassy Community Kitchen on Sunday 15th! Oh, but what fun we had?!
Our Pop-Up Restaurant was a great night! In the true spirit of Noel, we decorated with beautifully displayed holly and ivy foliage, and painstakingly hand-made paper chains. Dished up was a deeeeeelishhhh 3 course meal of Pumpkin Soup, Veggie Curry and Bread n’ Butter Pud, all lovingly crafted from surplus supermarket ingredients. To set the Christmas mood, we had some gorgeous gospel (clapping and clicking included) from Bristol Revelation Rock-Gospel Choir, though I may be biased as president… Sam also played some amazing guitar, and we were educated by an inspiring talk from our co-hosts The Bristol Bike Project. A big thank you also to our transport managers Jess and Hattie for talking about FoodCycle. Full to the brim with real good food and music, we hope our guests had as great a time as we did back (and front) stage!
On Sunday, FoodCyclers and guests alike enjoyed a fantastic afternoon of food, music and craft. The party was in full swing, once again with great music from Bristol Revs – this time expanding their repertoire with some improvised Christmas carols, and suggestions from adoring fans! Our community team worked their butts off and had a special craft table and a lucky dip to spread FoodCycle’s Christmas joy even further. Whilst in the kitchen, the cooking team whipped up a sterling Beetroot soup and Veggie Shepherd’s Pie Bake. To end, mince pies and some delightful home-made (non-alcoholic) mulled juice (?) was served. From the smiles on the guests faces, FoodCycle Bristol achieve once again in spreading some Christmas joy!
We would like to say a massive thank you to our amazing volunteers – you guys are great, our guests, and anyone who has supported us over the last term. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Last Saturday, members of the FoodCycle Bristol team rose bright n’ early before 6 am to the glorious Bristolian morning sunshine (dark cold wet) and set off for London. We assembled at Temple Meads, bleary eyed and already buzzing on coffee for our 7:30am, but excited about the day to come, the people we’d meet, the things we’d learn and the food we’d eat!
We were off to the FoodCycle National Conference! A weekend where FoodCyclists from all over the country, from the bitter North of Durham to the far East of Norwich to the beautiful colleges of Cambridge, meet up to share ideas, tips and embrace all things FoodCycle.
After a fairly pleasant train journey and a less pleasant hour long commute from Paddington to East London, we arrived at the conference, were quickly directed towards tea and cake (yay) and our new bright green food cycle t-shirts (see our lovely managers below). Despite being pretty tired, we were all excited about the day to come.
Over the course of Saturday, we attended a series of workshops on Project Management, Pitching FoodCycle, Fundraising, Cooking/ Nutrition and Vulnerable Adults. They were super interesting and informative, and we all picked up lots of tips and ideas to use in our own FoodCycle endeavours. What’s more, there were free burritos at lunch! 😀
It was really great to meet FoodCyclists from other hubs, not only to learn about their projects, events and ideas, but to share our knowledge. I have to say I felt pretty proud telling people about our community garden. Being the second oldest FoodCycle hub, Bristol is well known for innovation through our creative ideas for expanding the word and work of FoodCycle, and our huge team of managers! In fact, we won an award for being the most enterprising hub!
At the end of the day, and by far my favourite, there was a panel debate on the topic: “What would a sustainable food system look like in 2030?” Being a geographer, and currently studying a unit all about the complexities and intricacies of food, food cultures, and food systems, I was in my element. The panel was composed of Simon Bennett – an organic farmer, Ed Dowding – Founder and CEO of FoodTrade (a social enterprise), Kerry McCarthy – Bristolian MP and Denise Bentley – Founder of Tower Hamlets Food Bank.
The discussion was heated, discussing issues of distribution, waste, consumerism, policy (CAP), education, climate change, agrofuels, energy crises, government funding, tax, co-operatives, livestock, crops, harvests, imports, subsidies, poverty, production, surplus, social activism, economics, politics, knowledge structure, power…. the list goes on. I could write an essay but I won’t because I feel it would be more productive to put my energy into the actual food essay I need to write for my course…
After a busy day, and a delicious dinner made from surplus food, I travelled back to Bristol with another FoodCyclist, whilst other members of our team stayed for day two. From my understanding, day two was equally as fun, interesting and thought provoking with more discussions, workshops and of course food!
Last night was the first Student Restaurant of the year. And what an incredible night of scum-diddily-umptious culinary delights, some sweet sweet jazz, inspiring talks, organised chaotic running around and fun!
As we started setting up at 4:30pm already the kitchen were in full swing. Piles of vibrant fruit and veg covered every surface, the air was fragrant with the aroma of sautéed onion and an army of super salad choppers were busy at work. Meanwhile in the Coexist venue, we were setting out tables, enjoying some reggae tunes and using our inventiveness and resourcefulness to figure out how exactly to hang up artwork with minimal wall space and almost no screws…
After a few near stresses of not-enough-seating-oh-no-where-are-the-band-and-what’s-the-deal-with-the-guest-list, at 7pm the first of our guests began to arrive and suddenly everything ran smoothly like a well-oiled machine. No doubt the multiple cans of Country Cider helped with team morale 😉
Creating and improvising from the surplus food given to us by supermarkets and shops, on the menu last night was:
Starter – cucumber, pomegranate and mint salad
Main – Aloo Gobi surprise, lentil dhal, grape & onion chutney, raika and fried okrah
Dessert – Shortbread & fruit compote
The food was divine and very well received by both our guests and all the FoodCycle team! We managed to use up all of the food given to us which is great. No good food should be wasted.
Our music last night was provided by the super cool Reggae Soc and a quintet of musicians from BUJO (Bristol University Jazz Orchestra). As I was rushing in and out of the room with plates of steaming curry and Christmas smelling fruit compote, I very much enjoyed the snippets of music I got to sample!
Last night wouldn’t have been complete without our co-hosts BVDA (Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad), who not only gave an inspiring talk on their efforts to alleviate poverty in the developing world but were super helpful in both setting and clearing up. Thanks guys!
I would like to say on behalf of the FoodCycle team, a HUGE thank you to our volunteers! Without you guys, it just wouldn’t happen 🙂
Hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as I did. See you next time!
On a wet October Sunday, a bunch of green fingered friends gathered to kick start FoodCycle Bristol’s new community project: the Easton Community Centre garden. The group was made up of a mixture of FoodCycle managers, volunteers and our community partner Matt from the Avon Wildlife Trust.
Before we started, the garden was disguised by a knotty, tangled mess of brambles and bracken which had grown absolutely wild. As a disused and wasted space, the garden was heavily littered with bottles, cans, some slightly less desirable items and some random pieces of junk including shoes, boots, a car radio, a lamp and a head lamp. Our mega litter pick resulted in about 15 bags of assorted recycling and rubbish! GROSS!
After the site had been de-littered, our attention turned to a session of extreme pruning. We cut back piles and piles of bracken and weeds which we placed over the fence to rot down over the winter. With the expert advice of a local tree surgeon, a few rogue trees were pruned back to a less imposing size.
Still the rain continuously and relentlessly poured down, soaking everyone through to the skin. Literally, pants and everything. Despite our discomfort, we laughed our way through 3 hours of wetness, worked like a well-oiled machine and achieved a huge amount too.
Once the wilderness had been tamed, a very sizeable garden was revealed with raised beds, a pond, fruit trees and other plants. Matt (Avon Wildlife Trust), who has several projects in the Easton/ Lawrence Hill area, and the community team have big plans for the garden. They would like to plant spring bulbs, create a wildlife habitat near the pond, have a proper compost bin (rather than just a heap) and grow wild herbs to use in the Sunday community kitchen.
Slightly bedraggled looking, we retired to the community kitchen for some well-earned food. The kitchen was really busy with loads of people enjoying the scummy menu of Italian potatoes & salad, Saag Aloo and Apple Surprise. Thanks cooking team! 🙂
We’re only at the start of our project but already the garden looks so much better, and it is really easy to see the potential.
Continue to keep updated with the progress of our community garden, and if you’re feeling green fingered and would like to be involved, do contact us or keep an eye on our rotas.