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Greenwich tops London ‘good food’ table

IMG_9891Greenwich tops London’s ‘good food’ table

The work being done in Greenwich to enable local people to eat a healthier, more affordable and sustainable diet has brought an accolade for the Royal Borough in the 2015 Good Food in London report, By London Food Link; an independent network of individuals, businesses and organisations working for better food in the capital, part of the charity Sustain. The report is supported by the Mayor of London and a range of partner organisations. The report places Greenwich jointly at the top of a league table of London boroughs, with an 87% score for achievement in areas such as community food growing projects, good catering standards and promotion of breastfeeding. Greenwich’s commitment to the London Living Wage and its support for Fair Trade are also recognised in the accolade.

Cllr David Gardner, the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Public Health, said: “The Royal Borough is committed to making healthy and sustainable food available and affordable for everyone in the community and this award shows the great work we are achieving in Greenwich. Much of the work in Greenwich is coordinated through our amazing Good Food in Greenwich partnership, set up last year to promote ways to use healthy food and reduce waste and make Greenwich a more sustainable borough.

Local schemes making a difference include shops that pass on their excess food rather than throwing it away, groups that grow food on housing estates and in school gardens, and caterers who have committed to using food from sustainable sources. The work by school meal caterers GS Plus to source food locally and to commit to serve only fish that is from sustainable sources is also making an important contribution. The University of Greenwich has pledged to send zero waste to landfill, and the council has become the only London borough to win three awards from Compassion in World Farming. The council has also piloted a scheme separating food waste in a block of flats in Thamesmead.

Initiatives planned next year include a conference to explore ways of reducing the financial and environmental impact of the thousands of tonnes of food wasted every year, estimated to cost the average family £60 a month.

If you would like to get involved, email us at goodfig@gcda.org.uk

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Hints and Tips

Vegan Nut Roast Recipe

There are many vegan options to have at Christmas, however the nut roast is such an easy and classic recipe to make that it could really be eaten all year round. It doesn’t take long to prepare at all, which will allow less time stressing in the kitchen and more time to put your feet up whilst sipping on a glass of mulled wine! Follow this great recipe taken from The Vegan Society, which is high in protein and low in saturated fat. This dish will keep your taste  buds happy and your waistline won’t hate you for it either!

 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized onion or 1 small leek, chopped
  • 1 fl oz / 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp / 10 ml yeast extract in 1/4 pint hot water
  • 8 oz / 225g chopped mixed nuts
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
  • 4 oz / 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4
  2. Saute the onion or leek in the oil until soft, not browned.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients together; the mixture may be slightly slack. Turn into an oiled ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
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Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday – the global day of giving. Hot on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when we were all encouraged to buy more, Giving Tuesday encourages us to focus on giving instead.

Here are some ways you can give back to the community and the World.

1. Donate your data

We’re all getting used to donating money online and via our phones, but uMotif’s new research project allows you to donate your data. The project, 100 for Parkinson’s, aims to get at least 20,000 people to carry out some simple hand exercises once a day for 100 days, while holding their phone. A specially designed app records your data so that researchers can track the effects of different self-management techniques. Whether or not you have Parkinson’s disease, sign up and contribute directly to research into more effective treatments.

2. Sign up to a gleaning project

The gleaning network started in 2012 to coordinate volunteers, farmers and food redistribution charities in order to salvage thousands of tonnes of wasted fresh fruit and vegetables on farms every year across the UK and Europe. This then gets directed to people in need, to provide them with perfectly good and nutritious food. Since this project has started the gleaning network has managed to glean over 110 tonnes of produce, equal to over a million portions of fruit and vegetables. They have also had over 500 volunteers across 56 gleaning days, all helping to make this fantastic movement work.

Good Food in Greenwich has as one of it’s aims the mission to tackle this issue by asking people to collect any unwanted fruit and vegetables such as apples and plums, and we’ll process them into jams and chutneys. We are looking for anyone who may have a glut of these in their garden or allotment that can help us not only reduce food wastage but also provide great produce that is sourced locally. As a thank you, you will also receive a jar or 2 (or more!) of your produce.

Collection: You can bring your fruit and vegetables to Woolwich Common Community Centre or GCDA for us to collect, or we can come and collect it from you. If you would like to get involved, please get in touch at: goodfig@gcda.org.uk

3. Volunteer and learn how to food grow

clockhouseThe Dare to Dream Garden, located behind the Clockhouse was designed in consultation with local residents who then helped to build it in 2014.

There are 10 communal raised beds (6 large, 4 small) on the site, 2 pergolas and a trellis along the back wall which will allow a variety of plants to be grown. There are a number of newly planted fruit trees and bushes as well as mixed planting along the front of the plot alongside the Clockhouse.  An informal seating area and benches allow everyone to enjoy the experience of sitting and relaxing in the garden.

Volunteers on the site are introduced to food growing skills such as seed sowing, transplanting, propogation and soil management

For further details contact kevin@gcda.org.uk

4. Sign our pledge

The Good Food in Greenwich Charter is our vision for a:

  • Fairer,
  • Healthier,
  • More sustainable and
  • Vibrant food system in Greenwich.

Whether you’re an individual, family, small or large business, third or public sector body, we’d like to encourage you to sign the Charter and make a pledge to change one thing each year that contributes towards good food in Greenwich.

Join us and make a pledge towards a healthier, fairer, more sustainable and vibrant food system in Greenwich.

5. Share a drink in a home

Cocktails in Care Homes runs weekly evening cocktail parties for residents of care homes, their relatives and friends, and care staff. By hosting these parties, volunteers are able to socialise with residents over a drink – offering some light entertainment and much-valued company.

6. Sing and dance with people with Dementia

Organisations such as Lost Chord and Singing for the Brain which is run by the Alzheimer’s Society are unlocking the power of music to support people with dementia. If you are keen to use your vocal cords for good, find out more here and if you are local to any of the hospitals on this list, reach out to their volunteer team.

7. Take your first aid skills to the streets 

Are you qualified in first aid but have never put it to action? London Ambulance Service recently rolled out the GoodSAM app, which alerts registered, first aid trained volunteers when there is an emergency nearby – and tells them where the nearest defibrillator is too. All you need is a smartphone, and skills you may never have got to use could help save a life.

8. Buy certified foods

Another way to support Good Food is by buying certified ingredients such as Fairtrade, MSC – Marine Stewardship Council, Freedom Food.  These certifications assure you that the food has been produced in ways that look after the people and the planet:

  • The Fairtrade stamp shows that product has been bought for a fair price from a co-operative and money is put back into the local community to build wells or schools.
  • The MSC stamp means you know that fish has been caught in a sustainable way – a way that looks after future fish stocks and doesn’t damage the environment.
  • The Freedom Food stamp means you know the farms have been checked by the RSPCA and that welfare standards of the animals have been assured.

9. Try to waste less foods, and recycle and compost what you can

Did you know that on average each family throws away £60 in wasted food every month?!  That’s nearly £700 per year!

Wasting food is not only bad for your pocket, but disastrous for the environment as decomposing waste releases harmful greenhouse gases. Combine this with all the energy that went into making the food in the first place, and it’s the equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road if we were to just stop wasting food!

There’s loads of information about food waste, but we think the one of the best place for tips, hints and recipes is Love Food Hate Waste.  Or check out our Food Waste info sheet for some handy tips.

Greenwich Council now does curbside food waste collections, and turn food waste into compost.  They also pick up all of your other recycling too, so check to see before you throw anything away whether it can be recycled.

10. Using local producers and independents

Using local producers and shops is more than just good food and a great way to support the local economy; you’ll get stories, passion and real love from these guys too! Greenwich has a few markets like Blackheath Farmer’s Market, Eltham Farmer’s Market and Beresford Square Market where you can get affordable, locally grown or produced food. You’ll be helping the environment, and your local community too.

You can also check out Sustain’s Local Food Finder to access locally grown and produced food.

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Hints and Tips

First day of December usually calls for Christmas trees, decorations and lots of festivities! With all of the fun, Christmas is a costly time of the year. The Centre for Retail Research found that the average household spend at Christmas last year was £775 and £216 of that was spent on food and drink. At a time when we are spending more, we also seem to waste more. We have come up with some tips, with the help of Love Food Hate Waste to help you stay in budget and waste less during the holiday season.

Meal Planning

Without a meal and menu plan for the Christmas period, it is highly likely that we will just buy far too much ‘just in case’ and in the run up to Christmas the temptation to grab and stockpile goodies is strong.

1. The first step in reigning in the panic buying is to work out just how many people will be with you for meals. Take a look at the calendar – there may be a number of gaps that you had forgotten about when a meal will not be needed. Some kind person might even suggest a cooks’ night off or a takeaway.

2. Make a list of all of the mains you intend to have, alongside side nibbles and snacks. It is a good idea to plan meals so that you can use the leftovers from the day before. Portion planning is also key, and if you do find yourself making too much freezing is an option. Even leftover wine and beer can be frozen in plastic bags, tubs or ice cube trays and used to flavour casseroles, risottos and gravy.

3. Be realistic about what your family and guest really consumes. Do you have a traditional pudding, but everyone prefers something lighter? Do you buy brussel sprouts as they look the part on the table however no one actually touches them? Remember food is there to be eaten and not for decoration. Buying and making enough of what everyone like will minimise wastage the following day.

4. Check your store cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what you already have at home, such as sauces and condiments.

5. Each time you do your weekly shop grab some of the key store cupboard items or frozen selections and make sure you tick them off your list. This will ensure you don’t forget anything and take the stress out of the last minute trolley dashing.

Keep checking back as over the next few weeks we will be posting more of our top tips for the Christmas Season! If you have some handy tips that you would like to share on our site, tweet us, or send us a message on Facebook or via email.