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

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

What's happening with the knitted bees of Tooting? - Update #2 on our partnership project with CARAS

We've enjoyed and learned so much from our partnership project with CARAS which has been running since spring 2015.
Here's Update #2 on one more of the project strands - this one involving the CARAS Women's Group for refugees and asylum-seekers. We shared Update #1 a fortnight ago - read it here.

The knitted honeybees of Tooting
It's not often you can ask "what’s happening in the world of Tooting’s knitted & crocheted bees?" We’ve been busy since spring 2018 on a fascinating quest that started with our beekeeper friend Richard who is Chair of the London Beekepers Association asking "Do you know anyone who could make some model bees as teaching aids? Toy bees available online are all hopelessly inaccurate...we need about 50..."
I immediately said "yes!" and a new project was born...which has developed to include the CARAS Family Day and Women's Group, a wonderful local group of knitters, beekepers and TTT.

It's been so moving to us all that this novel partnership has come together: local craftspeople with experience and skill plus refugee women with skills and desire to create plus our own TTT colleagues. We've got together for the interest and challenge, in order to work with a London-wide group's own fascinating project in an imaginative way.

Attaching wings and legs at the CARAS Women's Group
Richard and the LBKA are developing participative classes for schools. The bee models would need to have the correct number of legs (6), eyes (5) and wings (4), with antennae (2) in just the right place on their heads ("not like antlers and not like whiskers"), triangular downward-facing heads, a waist: all giving the general look of a honeybee with correct details while also being imaginative prompts for LBKA workshops. The bees should definitely not have cartoon smiles.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Vegetanuary! meets... Wicked Vegan!

As part of Vegetanuary this year I've been going along to meet the Restauranteurs of the area who are focusing on either vegan or vegetarian food to ask them some simple questions about why open that kind of place and what the feedback has been... first up, Wicked Vegan on Hildreth Street in Balham. You must go, its delicious casual food for hanging out with your mates. I heartily recommend it.


What is Vegetanuary??

Vegetanuary! is our annual, month long sharing of vegetarian and vegan food. Anyone can join in, you'll find lots of new recipes, ideas and articles being shared about food. Come join us on the Facebook group HERE

Open 7 months ago, Wicked Vegan is run by businessman Gurkan Bozdere, but as he says, "I'm not a vegan, but I'm trying! My Sister in law and wife encouraged me to do something ethical", so he opened a vegan restaurant. I think that's awesome and the kind of change this exciting to see. Gurkan explained how he was excited about how the food business is changing, with lots more vegan restaurants opening. "I'm a businessman, motivated to be making money, but why not be ethical at the same time?" Yes! Yes! Yes! Earn a living and be ethical, let's do that!

Gurkan, his wife, Betty and sister in law, Necla, enlisted some expert help by the Stokey Veg & Vegan Chef Daniele Aloi to develop the menu, test out ideas and discover what Wicked Vegan has become - a restaurant full of super tasty, indulgence food in the shape of burgers, salads and wraps, washed down by smoothies, local beers and juices.

Gurkan on the left and Head Chef Robert Drajna. Check out that menu!
I continued by asking Gurkan, do you now eat more vegetarian and vegan foods as a result of opening the restaurant?

Friday, 11 January 2019

Eco-checking, a memorial bench, school planters, knitted bees and Jellybrella - 2019 Update #1 on our partnership project with CARAS

We've enjoyed and learned so much from our partnership project with CARAS which has been running since spring 2015.
Here's a short update on several of the strands - taking the first three in the list above, each of which has involved the Youth Club for asylum-seekers and refugees. We'll share Update #2 soon.

As ever, if you are inspired to contribute to the projects - offering good ideas or simply your time, sharing specialist skills, as a donor in kind, as a partner group - you are very welcome to contact Chuck at TTT by email here.
Over 40 individuals and a dozen local organisations locally have been involved with the TTT + CARAS partnership in many ways over the past 4 years.

Eco-Checking the CARAS offices
CARAS has achieved a gold standard London Youth Quality Mark for carrying out participatory and youth-led eco-check of activities across 3 sets of sustainability criteria: Energy & Water; Healthy Living and Litter & Waste. Helped by Egle from CARAS and Sara from TTT, a team of young people identified relevant issues and then analysed how well the organisation as a whole deals with the challenges.

The intention was not to blame, but to make an action plan for 'things to change and put right' as well as 'things we do well already...and so we should keep doing them!'

Examples from the action plan:
  • stop purchasing single use plastics for the many meals that are prepared as part of the CARAS programmes
  • renew the planting boxes outside the offices for 2019 so that we're growing what we might like to eat, and so that there are beautiful plants that are welcoming, that we like and that are good for pollinating insects

Here are the brand new colourful plates, bowls and cutlery which will be used again and again at CARAS and on Family Days at other local venues.
You're welcome to read the eco-check detail - click here.
It's admirable because it is short, practical and understandable, and transferable to many other community voluntary settings.

Congratulations to the multi-language group who came together in Tooting to put the eco-check together!