Tag Archives: community

Door-knocking with the Green Party

Today I spontaneously decided to spend the evening volunteer  door-knocking with the Green Party, on their mission to re-elect Caroline Lucas, the UK’s one and only Green MP.

I’ve been wanting to do it for ages, but they always do it on Saturday mornings, when I’m busy carrying dishes of spaghetti around in a tiny Italian restaurant. However now it’s getting closer to election time (well, still 7 months) they’ve started doing it like, everyday. I wasn’t working tonight and my boyfriend was out, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

I was expecting canvassing to be more than a little soul-destroying, to be honest. I wanted to do it because I admire Caroline so much and desperately want her to be re-elected, but I thought it would be highly unpleasant.
I’m happy to report it was actually painless, verging on fun.

The other volunteers were really lovely people. The team leader had this amazing charisma and energy about her that was just completely contagious. Don’t you just love people like that? And there was another student too, who was the same age as me. It was really nice to meet someone my age who’s as passionate about green politics as me.

Excitingly, and surprisingly for me, Caroline Lucas herself came with us as well. I think it’s so great that she spends her own evenings door-knocking. She’s such a down-to-earth and real person, not like other politicians. And I was really excited to meet her properly because I’ve admired her for ages and really look up to her. I can’t believe she now follows Earth Baby on Twitter!

Here’s a photo of me, Caroline and the other volunteers after our canvassing session.

 

Me on the far left. Caroline Lucas is the lady in the middle with the white tshirt.

Me on the far left. Caroline Lucas is the lady in the middle with the white t-shirt.

Continue reading

Future Focus: Food

Hi everyone, and Happy Easter!

I’m too busy to write a proper post about this today but I just want you all to know the second episode of my radio talk show Future Focus is out and ready for you to listen to! Here’s the link:

http://www.mixcloud.com/RadioFreeBrighton/radio-free-brighton-future-focus-17-04-14/?utm_campaign=notification_new_upload&play=new_upload&utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_content=html

The show is a positive monthly talk show about sustainability which covers a different theme each episode. This time I turned my attention to food: where the problems lie, and what kind of solutions are already happening. I also interview Meiwah, a fellow volunteer for local sustainable living group HASL, who talks about her experience setting up community projects dealing with food waste and growing food locally.

Hope you enjoy it and as ever feel free to give me your feedback! The sound quality at times is not perfect and that annoys me but I’m working on it. But if you have any tips for better content or delivery then fire away.

Next month I’ll be talking about sustainability and travel so watch this space.

Video: The big picture behind the credit crunch, and what to do about it

Hey there.

Just want to share this 12-minute video I came across on Sustainable Man. It really succinctly explains how the economic crash of 2008 is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, and how due to the depletion of key resources we’re in for a very tough time indeed. Don’t worry, around half way in it saves you from alarm and possible depression by turning to the more proactive question of “what can we do about it?” The solutions explored in the rest of the video are just a teeny tiny teaser of the awesome stuff people are working on all around the world, so be sure to do some more research. For ideas on what to punch into google you could check out my post The Big Bumper Book of Solutions

Share with your friends, especially people who don’t already know about this stuff, and start a conversation!

Also don’t you think the illustrations are brilliant?

 

 

Not my image

Geographical Community

There’s a lot of intelligent comment in sustainability circles about how globalization (among other forces) has degraded geographical community. People don’t tend to know their neighbours as much, or at all. People move around the country in search of quality employment (labour mobility, in economic speak). And people move around the world in search of a better life, or just out of curiosity. Continue reading

The vegetables we harvested.

Grinning Amongst the Artichokes

Guess what I did on Thursday?

It was the first day of my volunteering placement with HASL, a local sustainability action group in my city. One of the many awesome things they do is the community vegetable garden. I rocked up to the garden at 2:30 in the afternoon, and was greeted by one of the more committed members, who I’d met once before. I started by moving lots of potted plants around, before getting roped in to mending a large wooden tool box. Let me just say now that I’ve never learnt even the simplest DIY, so sawing and hammering away like that was a small miracle.

Next we got stuck into some ”proper” gardening: we harvested sweetcorn, potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, and dug the soil ready for some hardy winter veg. This was really fun. The potatoes had apparently grown there uninvited, so it was a magical surprise every time I dug one from the ground. By this point I had forsaken all attempts at cool interest and was squealing with excitement every time I struck edible gold with my oversized spade – grinning, sleeves rolled up and Converse covered in mud!

Me showing off the artichokes

After all this excitement it was high time for lunch, and quite a few other people had turned up at this point so we ate together at a picnic table. I’d brought a packed lunch, but it seems the custom with these guys is too bring food to share with everyone, which is pretty cute. The other volunteers were all really friendly. Everyone else seemed to know each other so I did get a few ”um, who are you?”s from various people. They were all very impressed when I said I was doing a volunteering placement for a module of my degree. Everyone was at least ten years older than me, which is cool, but I do think it’d be awesome if more students and young people got involved with this kind of stuff.

The vegetables we harvested.

The vegetables we harvested

After a quick seed-collecting mission, I left the garden at sunset, feeling satisfied and proactive.
I’m so keen for next week. Someone promised they’d bring pumpkin soup to share…

What a result!

 

Photo credit: capitalgrowth.org ... Not of the project discussed below.

Awesome local food growing group!

I’ve just made a fantastic discovery!

Photo credit: capitalgrowth.org ... Not of the project discussed below.

Photo credit: capitalgrowth.org … Not of the project discussed below.

I basically watched this film about urban food growing and distributing systems and became so inspired that I really wanted to be involved in one of the awesome local food projects exemplified in the film. I sent the link to my friend who’s also into this kind of stuff, and suggested we could try and start something.

I went and made a hummus, tofu and salad sandwich and devoured it happily, thinking about how I really wanted to do something but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. I then realised that my city – being a pretty forward thinking place – probably already had at least one such local food project, that I just didn’t know about.
A very quick Google search confirmed this. The first site I clicked on was this page about a project called VEG – standing for ‘vegetable education garden’ which turns out to be in the exact part of the city that my friend I just emailed is living next year. The garden is run by a group called ‘Hanover Action for Sustainable Living‘. Hanover is the name of that neighbourhood, by the way.

How cool is that?

They run work days every Thursday, 2-7 pm! They also put on educational events.

Next term I have a compulsory volunteering module with my university, where I have to do at least 30 hours of volunteering with something related to sustainable community development. I don’t think you can get more relevant than this group!

It gets even better. As you’d expect, this community garden has compost heaps, and the local residents bring round their food waste to compost. I don’t live in Hanover, but other city residents can do this too and they even provide little compost bins similar to what the council gives out in some constituencies.

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you might of heard my moaning about how my council doesn’t collect food waste, how I’ve contacted my MP twice and she hasn’t done anything about it, and how much I hate throwing away organic waste.
I finally have a solution!

It may involve carrying smelly boxes of vegetable peelings across the city on the bus and getting a few funny looks from fellow passengers, but it’s still a solution!

It’s a shame I only found this out an hour after this week’s workday finished otherwise I would have been straight down there today, as I’m going away back to my hometown for a few weeks this Saturday. But when I come back I’ll be all over this garden like humous over riveta.