Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change (FOR TWELVE YEARS!)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

'Stay With Love' Exhibition opening 3rd October in Tooting, plus a snapshot of the summer with families in the 'Gardens of Refuge' project.

Two updates about our partnership project with the local charity CARAS and the refugees and asylum-seekers they support.

1 'Stay With Love' Exhibition during October '17 at The Sound Lounge in Tooting.  
The Sound Lounge, 210-212 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting SW17 7EW

We're all thrilled that The Sound Lounge is hosting 'Stay With Love' - an exhibition of diverse work of all kinds that's been produced together over the past year at CARAS and in our 'Gardens of Refuge' project workshops. So much creativity and enjoyment supported by a multi-skilled and diverse group of volunteers!

The exhibition is opening on Tuesday 3rd October and will run throughout the month. Visit whenever the Sound Lounge is open.

All welcome to the opening at The Sound Lounge, Tuesday 3rd Oct. We'll be offering:
  • 4:00-5:30 pm A free after-school drop-in crafts workshop for all the family and all ages, with all materials supplied. And maybe we can add to the exhibition with what we make...
  • 7:00-8:00 pm: View the exhibits, join tours by their creators
  • 8:00 pm: Performances and celebration
  • 10:00 pm: Close
We look forward to chatting about any of the work and the project, and thanks again to The Sound Lounge!

2 Sharing our summer with families in the 'Gardens of Refuge' project.

To whet your appetite, here's an account of two summertime days in the 'Gardens of Refuge' Project. Resina is one of the volunteers with the project and she's written this account. Thank you, Resina!

"We've had a great summer. On 15 and 22 August two family activity days were held in the Tooting Community Garden. This gave families the opportunity to be introduced to the garden, which we'd been talking about in other activity sessions since Spring.

On 15th August the families examined different vegetables and grains that had been grown in the garden and guessed what they were. One challenge was identifying what turned out to be our weird-looking patty pan squash!
We used maps of the garden to actively explore it - and created a game of colouring in all the parts they visited - a fun way to become familiar with the different spaces of the garden. It was even better once we explained the game more clearly - one boy promptly collected in all the coloured felt pens we'd carefully placed at each point! 


We arranged the previously-painted materials for the big garden mural.
Some of the women enjoyed identifying the vegetables they recognised:  it was great to have our teff from the Horn of Africa appreciated by experts!

One woman acknowleged that her own children didn't play outside the way that she used to in her own country, a phenomenon that is occurring everywhere as children are becoming more sedentary in their lifestyle. 
However in the community garden everyone had the opportunity to explore the 'hidden' areas, pick blackberries, plums, kale and coriander and run around in the sun. 
Turnip-top seeds were planted to crop later in the year. Marshmallows were toasted and tea was brewed. It was a fun and relaxing day! 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Foodival 2017: "Thank You" to Tooting's community of volunteers

The 10th Tooting Foodival was only possible because of 
many volunteers' help and donations.
Thank you all!
Click here to see the details. Well over forty people helped on the day, plus many in preparation and in the long tail of follow up.
Each of these people and organisations made the Foodival happen, and while there's no priority order we want to highlight Naseem Aboobaker who has demonstrated such community spirit by offering us the hall at Mushkil Aasaan for free at so many Foodivals past.
It's always a risk to make a list and get it 100% correct - please let us know if we've left you out.

Here she is at the 2010 Foodival

The Foodival is nothing without an audience! We lost count at around 500 people - first-timers and some very loyal regulars.
Here is one young girl we know and want to celebrate - same road, maybe the same chair.
2010 to 2017! 

And at the 2017 Foodival

Get in touch with us if you fancy being part of TTT's 2018 Tooting Foodival co-ordination group.
We promise you fun, space to try out creative ideas, experience of live project management and lots of community support!

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!