Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Monday, 18 September 2017

Top Tooting Cook 2017: the winners!

Top Tooting Cook, the Foodival's fun competition was ably co-ordinated by 'firm but fair' Belinda. We had a record-breaking number of entries.
Here are the dishes - photographed during the judging, so some dishes have begun to be sampled. These are dishes crying out to be tasted (some people had to be held back...):

There's a wonderful variation of international cultures, colours, local ingredients, skills and why-not-have-a-go represented. How would you choose the different class winners and the overall Top Tooting Cook?

Our three judges worked up and down the long tables in Mushkil Aasaan with their clipboards. They recorded their own views with 25% of marks awarded to each of four criteria:
  • How well does the dish fit the category it was entered for?
  • Taste?
  • Look?
  • How local to Tooting are the dish ingredients?
The judges conferred, debated and added up their marks.

Tension mounted in the hall as we looked from dish to dish and back at the judges' impassive faces. Who would win? When could we eat all the dishes?

The overall award of Top Tooting Cook went to...Imira for her Squash Compote!


Here's the full list of other winners per competition category:

Savoury dish: 
Muna Mohammed, Ethiopian Mixed Vegetarian Dish & Injera

Savoury dish Runner Up: 
Lila Benderdouch, Tortilla de Patatas

Debbie Morey, Raspberry Jam

Under 16: 
Maryam Uddin, Flower Fruit Cake Crumble

Pudding / Apples and Pears: 
Debbie Morey, Apple Cake 

Organizers' Prize: 
Charles Whitehead, Salty Pickled Tooting Plums 

Click here to see the full TTC report.                                                                
Thank you, judges: Saira, Brian and Rick!
Thank you, local enterprises and organisations who donated prizes!
Thank you, entrants, local vegetable and fruit donors and other contributors!
We'll share the recipes as soon as we can, to add to our community low food-mile localicious cookbook.

The results are announced...

More Tooting Foodival blog posts to come very soon: the famous 'I Grew This' poster, the list of produce donors, all the Thank Yous and a slide show of photos and videos of the day.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A great Tenth Tooting Foodival!

Well that was fun! 
What a great event the 10th Foodival proved to be.  Using Hereward Road beside Mushkil Aasaan gave the event a really good flow.  Outside, Volker manfully orchestrated the Big Feast, feeding the masses with sustainable locally grown fruit and vegetables, serenaded by the different artists on the Sound Lounge stage.  Bees drew the crowds to Richard's camper van, while local resident Corinne painted faces, punters supped Kombucha from Thirsty House, sampled Debbie's jams or discovered Wandsworth Oasis, Sutton Community Farm & Wandsworth Food Partnership.
The Soap Box was a popular new addtion, providing an instant stage for environmental thinking while inside on the Green Stage we heard about propagating, insects and compost!  Jeni's Crafts and the YUM-JAM kept kids young and old busy in the Mushkil Aasaan hall and in Hereward Rd.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to making this a great event, especially our fabulous growers without whom there would be no Big Feast or Top Tooting Cook Competition.  More thank yous, reports and pictures to follow, but first I need a lie down!


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Guide to Foodival 2017

So what's happening at this year's Foodival?  Hopefully you've been keeping up with our recent blog posts and will have an idea, but for a handy print out or download version here's our plan of the events.  It's not set in stone, some of the timings may move a little, don't worry just come along and see what takes your fancy.
To make Foodival happen we really need your fruit and vegetable donations tomorrow night!  It's this lovely produce that we use to cook up the communal Big Feast and that anyone can take to enter the Top Tooting Cook Competition.

We are delighted to have the Sound Lounge curating the music stage this year, have loads of activities for the kids, talks on the Green Stage and the Soap Box as well as some great stalls and Arts & Crafts.

We are hoping that the 10th Foodival will be great fun.  Come and particpate in any way you like!  It all starts Friday evening from 5pm.

Our two-days-to-go update on the 10th Tooting Foodival: Music! Families! Donating produce!

All welcome to celebrate local food, cooking and feasting right in the heart of Tooting on Saturday 16th from 11:00 to 5:00, at the combined venues of the hall at Mushkil Aasaan 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW and in Hereward Road next door.

Foodival music update:
The Sound Lounge has put together a fantastic programme for the Foodival Music Stage in Hereward Road. Thank you so much! Here it is:

12:00  Hannah White singer-songwriter
12:30  Jess Spink on keys, with a guitarist
1:00    Easy Skanking duo acoustic Ska favourites 
1:30    Grenville & Fleur mandolin & fiddle duo
2:00    Artists from The Balham Ukulele Society with a mix of 
           traditional and contemporary favourites
3:00    Maisie Johnson singer-songwriter 
Foodival families update: 
Looking across the activities, there are many attractive highlights for families, children and young people. In particular, blending creativity, food, nature and crafts:
πŸ‘ͺ YUM-JAM 11:30 - 1:15 The YUM-JAM is for families & children. The place for children to play with food! Yum-Jam is a workshop plus performance for children which mimics creating a magical dish from fascinating ingredients. With Andres & Emily. More info in this post.

πŸ’“ Tooting's Insects Need Your Love workshop exploring what's all around us in Tooting 1:00-1:45 with Chuck

🐞 Making Ladybird Houses workshop making houses which you can take away 1:45-2:30 with Nicola

😲 Observation hive of thousands of bees plus local honey. All day long, with Richard  

And more Crafts - adults can of course join these too (times tbc):
🎨 Painting the big planters with Jeni

🌡 Making a textile cactus to take home, with Nikki
And more workshops on Growing, for older children & families:
πŸ’šMore Plants for Free! Taking cuttings to increase your plants. 12:00-12:45 with Dermot
πŸ‘½The amazing power of worms Composting 2:00-2:45 with Martin
Update on donating your local produce:
We look forward to an amazing selection - some we have heard about, and some will be a surprise. Don't be shy, we'd love to celebrate what you have grown whether you are a beginner or an expert!
Donation times are 5:00pm to 9:00pm at Mushkil Aasaan on Friday 15th Sept, and on Saturday morning from 10:00 to 11:00.
Donations go to the Top Tooting Cook Competition (please enter! Details here) and to the Big Feast on Saturday.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Tenth Tooting Foodival - one week to go! Here's the schedule of timed events.

All welcome to the free Tenth Tooting Foodival: one week from today on Saturday 16th September from 11:00 to 5:00.
We're celebrating locally-grown produce, local cooking skills and our annual communal feast - and Tooting!
We'll be enjoying all the stands, workshops and activities which you'll discover right in the heart of Tooting.
It's all about the local community getting together, so do come along: it's going to be a special day for the Foodival's tenth anniversary!

Mighty oaks grow from small acorns in fertile ground! Here's a view of our very first Tooting Foodival in 2008:

What do you need to do to really enjoy the Tooting Foodival?
There are four ways to join in:

1. Please donate some of your lovely locally-grown produce.
It's about contributing vegetables and fruit for fun, so don't be shy. You can donate on Friday Sept 15th between 5:00 and 9:00 at Mushkil Aasaan, or Saturday morning between 10:00 and 11:00. Your produce is what the chefs use for the Big Feast, and what Top Tooting Cook competitors can use.

Bramble & apple pie made by a child
2. Join in our Top Tooting Cook competetion.
All the details here. There are four classes, and your dishes need to be delivered to Mushkil Aasaan from 1:30 on Saturday. Judging is at 2:30. It's a lot of fun and we all look forward to tasting what you make!

3. Tell your friends, come along on Saturday, enjoy the Big Feast and all the activities.
You'll be amazed at how growing, donating, cooking, creativity and diverse people make a blend of ingredients that create a wonderful community day.

4. Volunteer and help the day go brilliantly.
The Tooting Foodival is a volunteer-run event. We welcome you to join us as an equal contributor, make new friends and maybe help design the Eleventh Foodival! Contact us by email here.

All the events are either in the hall at Mushkil Aasaan at 220-222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nando's) or outside in Hereward Road.

Some of the events on Saturday 16th are running at scheduled times, so please don't miss the ones you want to join.  
Some are available all day from 11:00 to 5:00.

There's a Schedule for the timed events. To read and download the running order please click here. Here's what's in the timed Schedule:
  • The Big Feast with local chefs Manisha (from Pooja), Volker & Quinn and Elizabetta (from Minestra Supper Club)
  • The Top Tooting Cook Competition - judged by Brian (Tooting Town Centre Manager) Rick (Tooting chef) and Saira (of KarimaandSaira).
  • The Green Stage workshops all about local growing (details in this post here)
  • Children's and Family activities including The Yum-Jam (details here), the Crafts Stage and Face Painting
  • The Soap Box - our speakers' corner
In our next blog post we'll share the list of the stalls, stands and more which are running all day.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 2 weeks to go! All welcome & here's the latest plans!

All welcome 11:00 to 5:00 on Saturday 16th Sept at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW and in Hereward Road, right next door in the heart of Tooting

Welcome to the latest plans for the Tooting Foodival!
There's lots happening and it all feeds into the Foodival's purpose of celebrating local growing, sustainable food, local cooking and bringing the whole community together.
All done in diverse creative, refreshing and participative ways.

Would you like to volunteer as a Foodivalista?  
Volunteering info here, and all welcome!

 Here's a recap of the main events (more info on these three here)
  • Donating Local produce. Share some of what you've grown locally! All donations gratefully received from 5pm to 9pm Friday 15th Sept, or from 10am to 11am Saturday 16th Sept at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW
  • Top Tooting Cook Competition. Deliver your entries at 2:00, winners announced 3:30 Full details about collecting ingredients and how to enter - click here for the flyer
  • The Big Feast. Local chefs cooking a mighty three-course meal of fresh local ingredients, for everyone to share
New information:
Growing, Sustainability and Creative activities:
Here are some details - please save the times to plan your visit

πŸ‘ͺ YUM-JAM 11:30 - 1:15 in Hereward Road
The place for children to play with food! Yum-Jam is a workshop plus performance for children and families which mimics creating a magical dish from fascinating ingredients. With Andres, Emily and friends.
  1. 11:30 - 12:30 'Making'. Children create food props and costumes using recycled materials, learn quick facts and stories about vegetables
  2. 12:30 - 1:00 'Cooking'. The performance: children particpate using the props and knowledge from the Making, creating a fun and healthy imaginary dish with the help of a storyteller who invites the children to join the journey
  3. 1:00 'Feasting'. Enjoying some of the Foodival Big Feast treats together. Children can take home the props and illustrations they have made
🌱GREEN STAGE 12:00 - 3:00 in the Hall at Mushkil Aasaan
Three hands-on growing sessions. 45 minutes each, no need to book, all materials provided.
  1. 12:00 start 'More Plants for Free'. Learn how to increase your plants by taking cuttings and division. Practice your skills with scissors, soil and sharp sand! Take away a new plant. With Dermot
  2. 13:00 start 'Tooting's insects need your love'. Sharing how to encourage pollinators and beneficial insects all year round in your balcony, beds or garden. With Chuck
  3. 14:00 start 'Composting and the amazing power of the humble earthworm'. Working with nature to reduce waste and build soil fertility. With Martin
🎨CRAFTS STAGE Timing tbc, in the Hall at Mushkil Aasaan
Join Jeni, Nikki and Nicola to: 
  1. Make and decorate ladybird houses out of waste plastic bottles. Use them outdoors as shelter for overwintering beneficial insects.
  2. Make your very own textile cactus!
  3. Create on a bigger scale by decorating the Big Bed planter outside in Hereward Road
More detail to come about many more activities!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 4 weeks to go! All welcome & here's Part Two of the plans.

Hello all and it's four weeks until the Tooting #Foodival2017 on Saturday 16th September!

In last week's blog post we shared Part One of the Foodival plans: all about food and cooking (surprise, surprise). We're inviting you to:
  • donate locally grown produce
  • enter the Top Tooting Cook Competition
  • come along to The Big Feast

Today we're sharing Part Two of the plans: all the other wonderful activities that are happening right in the heart of Tooting as part of the 2017 Foodival. These activities are all about:
  • growing
  • sustainability
  • creativity
  • community 
  • and fun 
All these activities are complementary to the Foodival's purpose of celebrating local growing, sustainable food, local cooking and the local community (the whole community including nature as well as people) - all done in diverse creative, refreshing and participative ways.

Timings to follow as the schedule comes together across the twin venues of Mushkil Aasaan at 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW and part of Hereward Road right next door.

What are we offering for all ages to come and enjoy and explore?
As well as Donating Local Produce (appear in our traditional 'I Grew This' poster!), the Top Tooting Cook Competition and The Big Feast, we're grateful to all our partners who are offering:

Sales of locally-made Jams and Chutneys; Upcycled Crafts; Local Honey (plus an observation hive of 16,000 bees - nearly the same as Tooting Ward's population).

Jeni's Crafty Arts
There will be a series of hands-on creative workshops led by local makers.
In one workshop you can come and make ladybird and lacewing hotels out of plastic bottles...learn about beneficial insects and create a safe place for them to roost and overwinter.

By artists from The Sound Lounge.
A sculpture to help check in with nature
The Story of Rewilding
A hands-on and imaginative storytelling event that introduces children to environmental thinking.
Join Andy to create amazing props with recycled materials and become part of the Story of Rewilding narrated by Emily our local storyteller.
Families are particularly welcome to participate together.

Spoken Word
With a food and growing theme - you can join in, surprise us!

The Green Stage
Three 45 minute workshops: Composting and Power of the Humble Earthworm; Autumn and Winter Gardening; Seed Saving and Propagation (with some more topics up our sleeves if we need them...).

Stands for meeting and discussion with local projects
Stands for Tooting Community Garden (explore how to make teas from your garden plants); for the Wandsworth Food Partnership, Carbon Conversations and more. Hear about 2017's Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project that has sown the seed for creating a growing network across the borough. Learn about the Gardens of Refuge project with our partners CARAS, and about Transition Town Tooting's plans (bring us your ideas!).

Our pop-up Big Bed
Made from a big recycled shipping container, the Big Bed will showcase vegetables and flowers grown in Tooting by the beneficiaries of Share Community garden. And you can help decorate the planter on the spot.

There's bound to be lots here to catch your interest - we'll share the schedule soon and you can plan your day.
Or just come along and see what you find, have a chat and enjoy the atmosphere.

Woven through all these activities and more will be judging for the Top Tooting Cook, cooking and eating together at The Big Feast and admiring the displays of locally-grown produce. See last week's post for the timings for those events.

If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer in preparation or on the day or in follow up, please email Malsara Thorne at
Please share the #Foodival2017 plans by following Transition Town Tooting on Facebook and Twitter - thank you!

'I Grew This!'

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 5 weeks to go! All welcome & here's Part One of the plans.

Saturday, 16 September 11am - 5pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 220 Upper Tooting Road (close to Nando's) 
We are thrilled that the award-winning and free Tooting Foodival organised by Transition Town Tooting will be celebrating its 10th year this September.

The Foodival highlights the diversity of healthy and sustainable produce that can be grown, cooked and enjoyed in Tooting & nearby.
We welcome all growers and cooks and everyone of all ages who comes to take part!
All the Foodival events will be inside Mushkil Aasaan and also outside on part of Hereward Road right in the heart of Tooting.

There are several exciting strands to the Foodival:
  • We invite you to donate some fresh local produce which you've grown - timings below
  • There's the Top Tooting Cook competition for local individuals and cooks, using the donated local produce (info below)
  • There's The Big Feast which will be cooked live by our fab chef Volker, also using the lovely local produce (info below)
  • There will be a great range of practical and fun growing, sustainability and creative activities (more info soon) 

Donating locally-grown produce:
There are wonderful crops being grown right here by many people!
Foodival is about sharing the love, not necessarily donating big volumes - so please don't be shy to share some of what you've grown.
All donations gratefully received from 5pm to 9pm Friday 15th Sept, or from 10am to 11am Saturday 16th Sept at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW.
Or let us know when you would like us to collect.

See The Big Feast below for some special donation requests.
There are still five weeks to go, so get out the watering can, the nettle tea or whatever it takes! Ready, steady, GROW!

The Top Tooting Cook competition: 
Open to anyone living, growing or cooking nearby & free to enter. 
Full details about collecting ingredients and how to enter - click here for the flyer

Why enter? It's a fun way to celebrate local food; you can try out your skills; you meet others who are interested and share recipes; it will be fun; there'll be media coverage..and there are prizes!

Prize categories:
1. A dish made with apples and pears
2. A savoury dish
3. A pudding, dessert or cake
4. Pickles, preserves, jam, jelly or chutney

Foodival produce donors will supply the seasonal ingredients (or grow your own!) for you to cook and serve to our panel of hungry judges. You can collect ingredients at Mushkil Aasaan from 7pm to 9pm on Friday 15th Sept, or from 10 to 11am on Saturday 16th Sept.

Dishes need to be delivered by 2:00 pm on Saturday 16th, and judging follows.
Winners announced at 3:30pm!
Then the audience can taste as well - and get the recipes soon after.

The Big Feast:

Volker, our very own in-house gourmet chef at the Foodival has created a very special seasonal 3 course menu for this year’s Tooting Foodival. He's asking the green-fingered of the great South West London public to donate their locally grown produce.

  • Starter: Sizzling Pakoras Ingredients needed: Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 
  • Main course: Rainbow vegetable stir fry Ingredients needed: Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other vegetables including tomatoes, garlic, herbs
  • Dessert: Fruity Crumble Ingredients needed: Any fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries, grapes, bananas (yes we've had them donated, locally-grown!)
Volker will cook the dishes live and answer questions so you are able to make these at home

Details of the growing, sustainability and creative activities to follow.

For more info on Foodival, please contact Malsara Thorne via email
There's more info at the Foodival blog - click here
Please share on social media, and use the hashtag #Foodival2017

We hope to see you, and thank you very much - The #Foodival2017 Team.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Ready Steady GROW! for the 10th Tooting Foodival

The Tooting Foodival celebrates local growing, cooking and eating together. It's based on what people locally grow and donate - so we can all admire Tooting's skills and productivity. Plus we can offer super ingredients to the Top Tooting Cook contest and the chefs' delicious demonstrations. More info here.

Sowing radishes
Radishes harvested just 4 weeks later
There's still time to grow from scratch so you can donate to the Foodival on Saturday Sept 16th. It's about sharing the love rather than growing big quantities. We're  delighted by the diversity of what's donated
every year!

Starting now, what can you sow, grow and harvest for the Foodival?

If you can get sowing by the end of July, you could harvest these by mid-September:
  • Rocket
  • Coriander
  • mixed cutting Lettuces
  • Mustard Greens
  • Cima di Rapa (that's turnip tops)
  •  And more - do share your suggestions.
White turnips

Sunday, 23 July 2017

One week ago today... The Tooting Twirl!

Transition Town Tooting asked the buses and cars to budge over for the day and created a pop-up village green on the Bus Turning Circle. With lots on offer and nothing for sale, we invited everybody to re-imagine this space in a spirit of peace and celebration, what if it was something different? What opportunity would that create?

Over the afternoon, we played music with The Sound Lounge (thank you!), made things, whittled wood with The Furzedown Oak (thank you!), talked on benches made by Caras (thank you!), ate tremendous food from Dawat Restaurant (thank you!), got our bikes fixed with Dr.Bike (thank you!), drank Ethiopian coffee with Mona (thank you!) and gently and deeply asked the question, what if this place was something other than a Bus Turning Circle?!?!?

Our friend Rob, co-founder of the Transition Town Movement, came along from Totnes, he's written great blog and podcast about the event with reflections on the meaning of doing things like this for communities, you can read Rob's blog here

Huge thanks to all who supported the crowdfunding campaign via Fundsurfer and to Wandsworth Council, London Buses, Tooting Town Centre Management, London Sport, Batca, Khalsa Centre, Mushkil Aasaan, Work and Play Scrapstore, SLSC, Furzedown Community Network, Tooting Daily PRSS, Tooting Town Centre Business Partnership, Centre for Catholic Formation, Crowdfund 360, Tooting Bec & Broadway Neighbourhood Plan and all who supported and enjoyed the day. Let's keep the conversation going!

Here's some photos...

Along the way, there was a lot of making...
And workshops imagining our Village Green...
Jeni presents... and the fruits of making at Franciscan Primary School 
Jeni presents... a mini-make at Ravenstock! Summer Fair
Once the van was packed... we headed off to The Bus Turning Circle and did a bit of this...

Let nobody say after today that its not possible... Lucy, Jeni and Richard

Thursday, 20 July 2017

'Stay With Love': Gardens of Refuge Project update

We're reporting back every six weeks on the Gardens of Refuge Project. That's our local project running throughout 2017 with refugees and asylum-seekers living in and nearby Tooting, alongside our project partners CARAS and The Grange.

Our previous summary at the end of May can be read here.
In June and July we've worked with the CARAS Saturday Youth Club. 

Elly Brown, MD at CARAS says:
"We've already witnessed the
transformations that take place
when people from far and wide
can use their skills and knowledge
to create something shared."

What have we been doing together?

'Stay with Love' Making instant pallet benches:

In one mighty 4-hour session, a loose and changing group from the CARAS Youth Club co-designed, shared ideas, problem solved and brought in new team members to make four of these pallet benches.

Hats off to that dedicated group whose pride meant they insisted on eating their communal lunch sitting on the new benches.
Part of the production line was to write messages of welcome and invitation on the seat backs. 

These are in many languages.
These young people have come to the UK in search of a welcome, safety and to put down new roots. It's poignant that they felt comfortable to contribute their own personal invitations so directly to all-comers.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Foodival Menu

For the 10th Foodival on September 16th we need lovely local growers to help us deliver this free menu to the streets of Tooting:

Starter: Pakoras : Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 

Main Course: Vegetable Stew : Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other veg including tomatoes, garlic, herbs etc.

Dessert: Fruit Crumble : Any soft fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries 

Are you growing any of these? Can you help?

Some home grown donations from 2015
For details on the Foodival and how to get involved growing, cooking, eating or celebrating please visit THE FOODIVAL BLOG

Monday, 17 July 2017

Restart and Sewstart are back in Tooting this Wednesday

Have you got electrical or electronic items that you don’t want to throw away?

Got a sewing machine that is broken or you’re not sure how to use?

Have a favourite piece of clothing that needs mending or altering and you’d like to learn how?

Simply good at fixing and mending stuff?

Fancy a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a chance to find out more about Transition Tooting and what we get up to?

Whatever the reason - come along on next Wednesday (we're back in October too!)

Wed 19th July -   6.30 - 9.00pm
Sat 21st October - 2.00 - 5.00pm

Mushkil Aasaan, 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW (next to Nando’s)

(Restart Parties are a community self-repair space where you take responsibility for your own gadgets and data, so please don’t forget to take any back-ups beforehand, if relevant – and if possible arrive during the first two hours to allow time for fixing!   More info about Restart including details of regular skillshares at www,