I am obsessed with bananas, not even because I really like eating them (they’re okay and liven up my porridge –plus banana smoothies). But mostly I’m obsessed because they are one of the UK’s most wasted food, with 1.3 million bananas chucked out every single day in the UK. I see preventing this waste as an opportunity, and have decided to change the world, one brown banana cake at a time.
Therefore, when Co-op Local Forum asked FoodCycle to get involved in a cake sale coffee morning for FairTrade fortnight, raising money for BabyBank, my mind jumped to bananas. Bristol’s (if not the world’s) biggest banana cake to be exact. Co-op provided us surplus bananas (almost 1000 of them!) and all the ingredients we needed. We were ready to bake against food waste.
The turnout wasn’t amazing, but the kids we did have were so excited and keen to get involved. So we all got a bit messy, and a few cakes got burnt, but we made 50 banana cakes using 120 bananas! Don’t worry, the rest went to good homes.
As there is no world record for the largest (or most) banana cakes made from surplus bananas (or any bananas) we’re claiming this! I really felt we succeeded with the message to both kids and the parents, that a brown banana is not a bin banana, but in fact the perfect banana for a banana cake, and everyone went home with a recipe card.
All the families took home banana cakes, and extras were handed out to anyone in need of some food in the Bear Pit.
Our fantastic banana cake costs around 30p all in (not including the brown bananas, preferably too squishy to eat) and are vegan. I have a deal with my colleagues that if they bring me brown bananas, I’ll make them banana cake. This stops food waste and reduces our consumption of resource intensive chocolate and dairy filled cakes (not that those don’t taste great too!)…
Craving some of that sweet, warm, cinnamon-spiced goodness? Here’s the recipe:
225g self-raising flour
100g soft brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
75g vegetable oil
50g of nuts and /or raisins (optional)
Just whack it all in a bowl, stir it up and spoon it into a greased loaf tin. Cook at 170°C for 20 minutes, cover, and cook for another 40 minutes.
This is quite a long time in the oven, so you may as well fill it up with a pie or, y’know, some more banana bread.
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!
“Our aim is to fuse together the community of Bath through an original event showcasing youth talent and food culture, in support of Julian House.”
The festival was a roaring success, the residents of bath and beyond were able to enjoy the fruit of the Fusic team’s labor. They were a brilliant group of professional young adults who were involved in a project to improve their local community as part of the National Citizen Service scheme. An excess of 1k was raised in support of Julian House. http://www.julianhouse.org.uk/
It was an ideal setting for Foodcycle to share their hard work too. Both of our Educational Food Games were well investigated by all ages. Kids love the simplicity of Twisted, a game which was inspired by the well know twister, it is a great way to demonstrate the extreme distances food travels when it is not sourced locally. Wasted hopes to enchant a slightly older audience, based on the game of life, each participant traverses the board through four stages of the food system hoping to hold on to their precious carrots for the plate finish line.
Children and families were enchanted over by the idea of some wonderful foodie face-paints, we were able to distribute some of our leaflets that give a great grounding in the 4 areas the Community Outreach Project hopes to investigate. Fair Food for Farmers, The Environmental Story of food, Healthy food for everyone, Communities Against Food Waste.
This month we joined our friends at Feeding the 5000 and FareShare SW at Bristol’s most delightfully delicious and wonderfully waste saving event to kick off the summer. The sunshine graced us with its presence and 4,324 people enjoyed a yummy curry made from surplus food that otherwise would have gone to waste.
College Green was jam packed full of people who were entertained by music, cooking demos, talks, and of course FoodCycle’s very own education tent. We had games, face painting, arts and crafts, the pledge tree, and a bicycle powered smoothie maker.
Tristram Stuart who started the Feeding the 5,000 initiative joined in the inaugural game of ‘The Game of Food’ which proved a hit for the rest of the day, and reminded players of the shocking levels of waste that occur in our food production systems between farm and fork.
Kids, and grown-ups too, spent hours joining in the fun and getting involved with all the games and activities.
All in all it was a really great day, and a very successful first outing for FoodCycle’s brand new education tent. We hope to bring the tent to more events and schools throughout Bristol, to help raise awareness of the issues of food poverty and food waste. Watch this space…
Thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who helped with the preparations and on the day, and thanks to FareShare, Feeding the 5000 and everyone else involved for the fantastic event. Not forgetting the people of Bristol and beyond for joining in the fun, saving all that surplus food, and hopefully learning a bit more about food waste and food poverty.