A busy month

June has flown by and I’ve somehow not managed to blog at all, until faced by the prospect of not even having a single post this month, I decided I’d better pull my finger out and get typing! My absence has partly been due to technical difficulties (ie. a rubbish computer!), but partly I’ve just been busy with more outdoor, sunshiney activities than blogging.

Anyway, here’s a quick roundabout of some of my activities…

  • Curb cooked a thank you lunch for the volunteers at our local repair cafe. I’ve always been curious about the cafe, so it was good to see it in action. The idea behind the cafe is to encourage people to fix broken household items, rather than throwing them away and buying more. We cooked a Mexican themed meal, which was accompanied by smoothies and a fruit crumble to finish.
  • Last week, Curb also had a stall serving snacks at Southampton’s first upcycled fashion show. It was awesome to see the creations that local volunteers had worked so hard on, as well as to experience a fashion show – albeit without any supermodels! Among my favourite outfits were two dresses, one made from a re-purposed table cloth and the other from net curtains. It was inspiring to see what can be done with a bit of imagination and a sewing machine.
  • Almost a year after I started volunteering at the food bank, I finally got round to having my induction!! It was nice to meet people from the other food banks, and I did actually learn the odd new thing or two, but let’s face it, when is health and safety aspects of lifting trays of tinned food ever going to be exciting?!
  • In July, Curb is taking over the Community Corner at our local wholefoods co-op, Rice Up. We’ll be displaying posters and information about what we do to raise awareness of food waste and ways of preventing it.

I’ll have to try harder to balance being in the garden with being in front my laptop next month, although I could simply combine the two…!

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Environmental Rock Festival 2015

Curb had a busy bank holiday weekend popping up at two events, including Southampton’s annual Environmental Rock festival – which was quite frankly great, as we got to listen to cool music throughout the afternoon! My personal favourite was Ukelele Jam, who are well known locally, and looked like they were really enjoying their set.

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On Curb’s menu was dhal with pilau rice and chutneys, bite sized kati rolls (filled with mushroom, or coconut and coriander) and peach cake and banana muffins. All our food had been wolfed down by the end of the day, with some people even coming back for seconds – always a good sign!

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We also had a food boutique, including a basket of our ubiquitous spaghetti – famous because we have so much of it we’ve been taking it everywhere we go to distribute it!

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Environmental Rock was well organised, had a nice atmosphere and it was fabulous being able to chat to lots of friendly volunteers and curious members of the public about Curb, the Real Junk Food Project and all things food waste. The level of interest people shown in Curb over the past few months has been very encouraging, with ‘So where exactly does your food come from?’ being the question we’re asked most frequently! I had an enjoyable day meeting new people and getting the food waste word out there.

Details of upcoming Curb pop ups in the city can be found here and more photos from the festival are here.

Southampton’s Sustainability Festival: Part 2

Saturday saw Curb’s very first pop-up event at a Sustainability Festival, organised by Southampton Hub and I’m pleased to say it was a success! As I mentioned previously, Curb is part of The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP), which aims to reduce food waste by preventing it from going to landfill. In a nutshell, TRJFP volunteers collect surplus food, use it to make yummy meals and then serve them to people on a pay as you feel basis.

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Our first job of the day was to set up a makeshift kitchen and serving area. Given we had limited space and equipment (ie. we didn’t have an actual kitchen to work from!), we managed surprisingly well, heating food on a camping stove and going back and forth with kettles to fill our washing up bowls. Our ‘kitchen’ didn’t stay very tidy, but the addition of the flowers – rescued from a supermarket bin – were a lovely way to brighten up our counter.

So, what was on our first ever menu? Cooking from ‘waste’ means planning your menu around the food you have, rather than deciding what to cook and then buying the ingredients. Other members of the Curb team had put together a delicious Moroccan tagine the previous night, leaving us with various odds and ends for sandwiches. After much discussion of potential flavour combinations, these included brie & grape, hummus & roasted peppers and Quorn chicken & salad. Although we ‘sold out’ of all our food, we couldn’t believe how popular the toasties were and could barely get enough made in time before people were asking for more!

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Around 100 people attended the festival, and as well as making lunch, we provided snacks (and banana smoothies!) during coffee breaks as well. The washing up and drying kept us pretty busy too, so I wasn’t able to go to any of the workshops that were running. Everyone I spoke to said they were enjoying themselves and learning lots though, which was great to hear. And Curb also got some positive feedback…

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The festival itself, as well as our first pop up, went really well and I don’t think I’m the only one who’s excited about our next event and being able to turn more surplus food into healthy meals soon.

Southampton’s Sustainability Festival: part 1

Tomorrow Southampton Hub are running their annual Sustainability Festival at the University of Southampton. Many local and national organisations are involved in the day-long festival, including the Environment Centre, Labour Behind the Label and the super cool Repair Café (I keep meaning to pay them a visit!). The aim of the festival is to give students, in particular, a better idea of how they can make a difference to a host of issues related to sustainable living. It should be a fascinating day of interactive talks/workshops, and it will be nice to have a chance to speak to likeminded people in the local community.

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Most excitingly, though, is that I’ll be helping out with Curb Kitchen’s first pop up, which is catering the event. New to Southampton, Curb is part of The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) and is a street stall that turns surplus food into meals offered to people on a pay as you feel basis. As part of TRJFP, Curb will be helping to rescue some of the city’s food waste from being sent to landfill.

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A group of volunteers will be serving lunch and snacks to around 100 people at tomorrow’s event – entirely from surplus, of course! I’ll be blogging about how the festival went (and how our food was received!) over the weekend and am looking forward to helping to spread the ‘feed bellies not bins’ message!