This year we have been squirreling away in collaboration with FareShare South West, to create Food Route Local, an online resource that will take surplus food from those who have it and ensure it gets to people who can use it. We must admit it has been a challenge, and it has seen various guises along the way, but we now have it up and running and so we are excited to tell you about it. It is a project that has been made possible with a Bristol Green Capital Strategic Grant, which we were extremely happy to receive.
The idea came from many meetings during 2014, where a group of people who are passionate about starting to solve the massive food waste crisis we have in the UK, discussed how to solve it on a local level. Having discovered that many people are trying to help stop such enormous waste at distribution level, and with a feeling in the room that the local needed eto be addressed, a decision was made that concentrating on surplus coming from local shops, restaurants and cafes would make both make a difference and create a community of people who were helping each other, whilst ensuring that food was going to feed people and not to landfill.
The mecanism for using Food Route Local is a simple text message. A message goes out from the giver of the food stating what they have and when and probably where it needs to be collected from, to the organisations that have signed up to receive food. Those organisations then call the number on the text to contact the supplier and arrange collection if they can use that food. It really is that simple.
Want to know how you can get involved? Well spreading the news is important and we would ask you all to do that. But also making organisations that you know of, or work with, aware of Food Route Local and its aims. There are tons of food wasted every day whilst we see 16 food banks active in the city and to us this makes no sense. So no matter how small the organisation, we want to help them to feed people with food that is just surplus to requirements. It is still in date and perfectly edible!
There is lots more information at foodroutelocal.org about how to get involved.
Food Route Local also has a Facebook page and is @foodroutelocal on Twitter. So please get involved and help us start to get food away from landfill and to those who can use it!
For Apple Day apple flapjacks were made and several folk have asked for the recipe so here it is. It is a slightly altered version of one from the Apple Source Cookbook which, if you have lots of apples each year, is worth buying. It’s very simple but delicious.
140grams self-raising flour
200g demerara sugar
170grams rolled oats
Buttered brownie tray or square cake tin
Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.
The put the butter and sugar into a pan and gently heat until both are melted. Add this melted mix to the dry ingredients and mix together well.
Put half the mixture into the bottom of your cooking tray. The peel and slice your apples and add those to the top of the mix, finally adding the last half of the mix on top of the apples. Cook at 160 (fan), 180 for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before cutting into pieces.
And then enjoy!!
Perhaps we had become used to the glorious autumn weather we have been having, but until 48 hours before the Apple Day events at the Edible Park, it hadn’t crossed our minds to check the weather forecast. So when we did and it announced unforgiving and relentless rain, there was almost a feeling that it might not be true. The forecasters didn’t change their predictions though so it was with heavy hearts that on the morning of the event we had no choice but to pare it down to a simple, and very soggy, planting session.
Our wonderful volunteers getting soaked planting bee friendly bulbs
As those of you who have visted the park will be aware, we have been really busy taking out a huge amount of overgrown shrubs and finsing out what sort of space there really is in the raised areas of the park, as well as what is best suited to where. We are almost there with the destruction phase and so part of the point of Apple Day was to begin to replant where we had removed things. With this in mind we set about buying some beautifully British grown eating and crab apples and preparing to plant them and then train them as espaliers. Espaliers are a great way of growing fruit in limited space, and by creating horizontal arms the trees become immensely productive due to the ways in which the plants hormones work. There will be more on that in a later post.
So we set about planting these trees in what began as drizzle but ended up as pretty torrential rain. We were also planting bulbs and lavenders for our new bee hive, installed and looked after by Bee the Change. The bulbs are all pollinator friendly, and in the late winter and early spring when the bees won’t want to travel far, will be like them having a diner right outside their door. crocus, daft, tulips, alliums and more have all been planted and should be a riot of colour from early spring through to April and May when other plantings will start to provide food for our bees.
Banging in stakes for the eating apples to be trained into espaliers
Due to the appalling weather we didn’t get around to doing the espalier work and so that will happen over the next week or so, but in the meantime please start to enjoy the space as it is regenerated into an area that is both people and wildlife friendly.
And we must also mention the amazing volunteers who supported uby coming out and helping us. You are all amazing and we are overwhelmed by the support that you are giving us to create an edible and pollinator rich city.