FoodCycle Advisory Meeting – celebrating success, forming new ideas and chatting about other FoodCycle-y matters!

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/foodcycle-advisory-meeting-celebrating-success-new-ideas-and-other-foodcycle-y-matters/

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 [email protected]

Kicking off a new year of pop-up restaurants!

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/kicking-off-a-new-year-of-pop-up-restaurants/

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!)

Spicy, fruity cucumber salad - mm mm mm.

Spicy, fruity cucumber salad – mm mm mm

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.

1656218_10100499426798422_107509540_n

Jon!

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:

  • Pop-up Restaurant
  • Transport
  • Cooking
  • Community
  • 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 protected]

1779162_10100499426838342_1202151960_n

Managers – old and new

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!

Danielle Jackson

Kicking off a new year of pop-up restaurants!

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/kicking-off-a-new-year-of-pop-up-restaurants/

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!)

Spicy, fruity cucumber salad - mm mm mm.

Spicy, fruity cucumber salad – mm mm mm

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.

1656218_10100499426798422_107509540_n

Jon!

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:

  • Pop-up Restaurant
  • Transport
  • Cooking
  • Community
  • 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 protected]

1779162_10100499426838342_1202151960_n

Managers – old and new

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!

Danielle Jackson

Lizzie’s Breadline Blog – Day 7 – Sunday 9th Feb

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/lizzies-breadline-blog-day-7-sunday-9th-feb/

I’m not going to lie and say I found a week living under the breadline difficult, or that I was hungry at any point or suffered any cravings that I couldn’t afford to fulfil – not that I think going a week without anything would justify craving due to malnourishment anyway. That being said, I did find that I was swapping, for example, a lot of the protein in my regular diet for cheap carbohydrates such as white bread which resulted in me becoming irritable and lethargic. In the evenings, I cooked the meals I would generally cook any other week; however this took careful planning and meant that I had to be a lot less liberal with the spice rack and the variety of ingredients in each meal, particularly rationing the selection of fresh vegetables. I would say that the majority of my weekly spend on food goes on a wide selection of fresh vegetables so this was what I was most worried about missing, although a delivery of a vegetable selection box from a local farm (approx. £5 pppw) was adequate. Additionally, I have to say that the money that I spent on food for the week came from a budget that three of us doing the challenge had put together. This allowed for much more variety than I would have been able to achieve had I been doing this alone, I can imagine for people living alone and on this kind of weekly budget it is probably not economical to cook a wide selection of meals from fresh ingredients however cheap it appears when meticulously costed. There are definitely ways to eat well cheaply, local businesses tend to be considerably cheaper than supermarkets for a start, although it is a case of seeking these out which people may often not have the time for. The main difficulty with this budget is that, though manageable, it requires a large amount of organisation and means going without the small luxuries to which one can become accustomed without even realising they are luxuries. Going a week without endless cups of tea, sitting out of a meal for a friend’s birthday and not being able to pay entry to clubs or drink in the pub at the weekend was not the most difficult thing to do. Had you asked me what I thought after a month, or even two weeks, on this budget I would probably have a very different view.

Aside from the things the £18 a week budget caused us to “go without”, my concern is not that people are going hungry, but that poor nourishment is a much greater problem as it is detrimental to both physical and mental well-being. I’m not saying that a well-balanced diet is not achievable with this budget and that everyone living on it eats badly (or that people with more money eat much better) but I can imagine it gets increasingly more difficult and requires a lot more thought, creativity and time. Particularly with obesity being a national problem this is something that should be considered.

My week ended at the FoodCycle community kitchen. I really came to look forward to it and received the three course meal with a whole new sense of appreciation. We were served a pear salad with garlic bread for the starter, a really tasty and very nutritious beany vegetable stew followed by a chocolaty banana pudding; I would like to take the opportunity here to say well done and thank you to everyone who was volunteering and managing today, I’ve definitely been filled up for the rest of the evening and it was delicious! While it is appalling to think that all this food is supposedly “waste” (and this is from just a few tiny shops in one city) its amazing that it can be put to good use. It makes you think though…. If just some of this food could be dished out to those who need it direct from the shops every week or even every day rather than going straight into the skip, just think about how that £18 a week could be spent differently. Despite all the controversy surrounding this challenge, and it must be noted that none of us believe we have truly experienced what it is like to live below the breadline after just one week, but I am really proud that as a team we have managed to raise so much to support all that FoodCycle is doing so a massive thank you to everyone who has donated.

Matty’s Breadline Blog – Day 6 – Saturday 8th Feb

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/mattys-breadline-blog-day-6-saturday-8th-feb/

Despite where the figure is sourced ‘here’, living on £18 for a week was never meant to be and could never be any insight into the lives of those that have to live on this figure or less every week for the foreseeable future. With 13,500,000 people living below the poverty line in the UK and Trusell Trust Foodbanks providing emergency food to 170% more people in 2013 than in 2012, the distribution of food within the UK is an issue of increasing importance.

This issue is exasperated by the fact that every year in Britain an estimated 15 million tonnes of food is wasted from the farm to the plate. There is a multitude of reasons why this figure is so high ranging from the cosmetic standards both consumers and supermarkets place on their food, to sell by dates, to the aggressive ‘only supply to me’ tactic that supermarkets employ on their suppliers. All this is contributing to high and rising food prices and the rising numbers of people that are coming to rely on Foodbanks.

All this waste does have one benefit. Anyone that wants to help themselves to some perfectly edible food should have a rummage in their local supermarket bin. Here you will find anything from, gluten free bread, to day old pastry items, to ready meals, to dairy free yoghurts and anything else for that matter that you would find in your local supermarket…half of it ends up in the bin. Of course it is worth using your judgement as to which food is good for the eating, some (but in general not the majority) will be inedible. But of course this is not a viable option for everyone. Not everyone has time to go snoopin’ around their local bins.

So what did I experience from reducing my food budget for a week? Well I got some tasty poppy seed bread from the local bins…that lasted a week! I realised that it was a pain to not be able to eat when I was hungry and that snacking was out of the question (except for the 12packs of crisps I found in the ‘bin’). I realised how lucky I was to live on a road with independent food shops such as Scoop Away that sell quality healthy items in bulk – great for spices too as you don’t have to buy too much. I realised that supermarkets were convenient but taunting with all their just out of reach tasty treats of which many would one day end up in that bin outside. And I realised that it’s much easier to get more variety for your money when you can come together with others and cook meals.

As I saw it I had 3 options. 1. Meticulously plan a budget for simple but different meals every day 2. Do a budget supermarket shop or 3. Cook in bulk for multiple days. I went for option 3 and had nutritious but eventually monotonous meals for the week. From Monday through Friday I have had: Yogurt, granola and a homemade apple compote for breakfast, Dhal with spinach and sweet potato for lunch and 7 bean chilli with either rice or jacket potato for dinner. As I’m writing this I have just run out of food with £6 left and have not a clue what I am going to do for lunch and dinner today (it’s 00:24 Fri morning as I’m writing). The foods done the trick but I have genuinely felt hungry every day.

We are doing this for such a short time and it is in no way a reality for any of us. For those for which this is a reality I can only imagine that the situation must be indescribable. FoodCycle can provide a life line to anyone that is in need. Every Sunday we serve up a 3 course dinner made up of entirely food that would of otherwise been wasted. This is sourced from the local community and emphasis is placed on building community spirit and coming together around food to prevent food waste.

Matty’s Breadline Blog – Day 6 – Saturday 8th Feb

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/mattys-breadline-blog-day-6-saturday-8th-feb/

Despite where the figure is sourced ‘here’, living on £18 for a week was never meant to be and could never be any insight into the lives of those that have to live on this figure or less every week for the foreseeable future. With 13,500,000 people living below the poverty line in the UK and Trusell Trust Foodbanks providing emergency food to 170% more people in 2013 than in 2012, the distribution of food within the UK is an issue of increasing importance.

This issue is exasperated by the fact that every year in Britain an estimated 15 million tonnes of food is wasted from the farm to the plate. There is a multitude of reasons why this figure is so high ranging from the cosmetic standards both consumers and supermarkets place on their food, to sell by dates, to the aggressive ‘only supply to me’ tactic that supermarkets employ on their suppliers. All this is contributing to high and rising food prices and the rising numbers of people that are coming to rely on Foodbanks.

All this waste does have one benefit. Anyone that wants to help themselves to some perfectly edible food should have a rummage in their local supermarket bin. Here you will find anything from, gluten free bread, to day old pastry items, to ready meals, to dairy free yoghurts and anything else for that matter that you would find in your local supermarket…half of it ends up in the bin. Of course it is worth using your judgement as to which food is good for the eating, some (but in general not the majority) will be inedible. But of course this is not a viable option for everyone. Not everyone has time to go snoopin’ around their local bins.

So what did I experience from reducing my food budget for a week? Well I got some tasty poppy seed bread from the local bins…that lasted a week! I realised that it was a pain to not be able to eat when I was hungry and that snacking was out of the question (except for the 12packs of crisps I found in the ‘bin’). I realised how lucky I was to live on a road with independent food shops such as Scoop Away that sell quality healthy items in bulk – great for spices too as you don’t have to buy too much. I realised that supermarkets were convenient but taunting with all their just out of reach tasty treats of which many would one day end up in that bin outside. And I realised that it’s much easier to get more variety for your money when you can come together with others and cook meals.

As I saw it I had 3 options. 1. Meticulously plan a budget for simple but different meals every day 2. Do a budget supermarket shop or 3. Cook in bulk for multiple days. I went for option 3 and had nutritious but eventually monotonous meals for the week. From Monday through Friday I have had: Yogurt, granola and a homemade apple compote for breakfast, Dhal with spinach and sweet potato for lunch and 7 bean chilli with either rice or jacket potato for dinner. As I’m writing this I have just run out of food with £6 left and have not a clue what I am going to do for lunch and dinner today (it’s 00:24 Fri morning as I’m writing). The foods done the trick but I have genuinely felt hungry every day.

We are doing this for such a short time and it is in no way a reality for any of us. For those for which this is a reality I can only imagine that the situation must be indescribable. FoodCycle can provide a life line to anyone that is in need. Every Sunday we serve up a 3 course dinner made up of entirely food that would of otherwise been wasted. This is sourced from the local community and emphasis is placed on building community spirit and coming together around food to prevent food waste.

Hattie’s Breadline Blog – Day 4 – Thursday 6th Feb

Read the latest blog post from the FoodCycle Bristol Hub: http://foodcyclebristol.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/hatties-breadline-blog-day-4-thursday-6th-feb/

As you’re hopefully aware by now, a group of us are doing the ‘breadline challenge’.

So here’s the thing. I started off the week by moaning about a headache through lack of coffee, and complaining of a grumbling stomach, not being able to have a snack before the next meal.

But then I read this – Jack Monroe’s letter to Edwina Currie about in which describes just some of her experiences of living in food poverty.

You really must read it. It puts it all in perspective. We’re doing this as a ‘challenge’ – and it’s just that: ‘a challenge’. It comes with a sense of camaraderie, sharing experiences, hints and tips, recipes. ‘We’re all in it together’. For a week. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And the tunnel is really really short. For others this is a relentless reality. Our breadline challenge gives us a mere glimpse into living in food poverty – the idea of the choices and decisions that we have to make, constantly thinking about food and money, hearing the grumble of our stomachs, feelings of social isolation, having to constantly ask yourself whether you can buy something, whether buying this one thing will mean you won’t have any food left in the cupboards at the end of the week.

There’s many things I can’t begin to imagine – having a family to look after for one. Whilst I can go a week skipping breakfast, what would I do if I had a child/children to support too? How would I feel if I feel constantly being on the precipice of tipping over the edge into literally having no more food in the cupboards? I genuinely couldn’t answer this question.

After reading Jack’s piece I thought I should really shut up with my moaning. I’ve got it damn easy. But what I shouldn’t shut up about is encouraging people to support FoodCycle. Do it. Now. Here. This after all is the main point of our ‘challenge’. We need to raise funds so that we can continue to provide meals to help those that are struggling right now in the UK, providing them with a great meal, great community and something to look forward to each week.

People say ‘it’s just one meal’ can that really help? Well yes. It can be incredibly helpful. Can you imagine a continual struggle to feed yourself and your family? Anyone can find themselves in food poverty and in that situation everyone would like the opportunity to have a decent, hot, three course meal, in a safe, warm, friendly environment. There’s a meal right there, that you don’t have to worry about, that you know will be there.  Please sponsor us so we can continue to provide these meals. You can donate here.