Food Waste Survey for Bucks!

There has never been a more appropriate time than now, to investigate how we compare in Bucks against national food waste statistics!

Buckinghamshire Council are currently amidst a couple of interesting campaigns to support residents to reduce their food waste. These are:

  1. Bucks Food Waste Survey residents online survey of household behaviors regarding food waste.
  2. ‘Kitche’ App– to help identify where we may make better use of our food purchases to insure items aren’t wasted and to try a recipe featured in their catalogue.
  3. Bin Audit– Are we using the food caddy service or are resident still throwing away food waste that could be prevented, composted or place in a food caddy? The Waste Management will be surveying bins across the county to identify where the need lies.

The survey closes on the 29th May and aims to collect:

  • Knowledge and behaviour around ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates
  • Lifestyle changes that challenge good food routines
  • Food waste reduction types
  • Food waste apps
  • Disposing of food waste

Entries will be put into a prize draw to win £250!

For more information click here

SLO’ PLATES Reaches out!

A new low fuel slow cooker initiative supports households experiencing the threat of nutrition poverty

It is no surprise that residents in Bucks are feeling the pressure of rising fuel costs, stretched budgets and food insecurity. Nutrition poverty combines the fuel and food poverty together and two organisations have joined in partnership to do something about it.

Khepera CIC and Feedback Global, were awarded funding from the governments Household Support grant central fund distributed by the councils Helping Hands team. To collate and distribute 70 slow cookers, pantry packs, recipe cards and online video tutorials through the support of local charities and organisations across Bucks.

SLO’ Plates has joined forces with:

  • Griffin Place
  • One Can Trust
  • Aylesbury Vineyard
  • Helping Hands Team
  • YMCA
  • St Andrew’s Church
  • All Together CIC

To work with those who would benefit from it the most.

For more information contact Charmaine at Khepera Org

Bucks Seed Amnesty ’22

This Spring, our Community Food Growing Action Group has decided to encourage residents to surrender their old seeds in a bid to support community growing spaces; but to also repurposed many unused seeds that fall down the back of kitchen draws or never get to be planted out.

Through the centuries, gardens have served not only as places to grow plants but as spaces for people to relax, to focus, and to connect with nature and each other. Today, gardening can provide many mental health benefits for your daily life. – Dan Brennan, MD 

Promoting Good to Grow Weekend 22-25th April 2022 local groups are welcoming any unused seeds from the local communities or businesses that could be used in their local and outreach work. Why not take them along and also have a look around at one of the Open Days!

Many people start to hoard seeds once they realise the small amounts they actually plant out, tending to buy need seeds each year rather than using older half used packets they have laying around. This Seed Amnesty means that seeds don’t get wasted and are put to good use!

Shanthi From Womens Cultural Arena, Wycombe Communtiy Kitchen and Allotment said :

“Asking people to be active and share their unwanted seeds and developing  growing attitudes : that  is the way forward!”

Many seeds can be used after their expiry dates:

1-2 year: onions, parsnips, parsley, salsify, and spinach

2-3 years: corn, peas, beans, chives, okra, dandelion

3 years: carrots, leeks, asparagus, turnips, rutabagas

4 years: peppers, chard, pumpkins, squash, watermelons, basil, artichokes and cardoons

5 years: most brassicas, beets, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, muskmelons, celery, celeriac, lettuce, endive, chicory

If you wish to donate any seeds please get in touch with any local growing projects, including:

Wycombe: Grow Together Bucks CIC, Wycombe Community Fridge.

Beaconsfield: Alfriston School,

Aylesbury: Community Youth Ventures CIC, Youth Concern & Community Grow,

Chesham: Waterside School,

Wendover: Grow to Give,

Chalfont: Restore Hope or email rebeccanutley@bucksfoodpartnership.org

International Women’s Day- Brilliant in Bucks!

The 8th March celebrates International Women’s Day and throughout the world we reach out to all those who make a difference, inspire others or champion achievements that otherwise go unnoticed!

We collected a few of the amazing women who work with food; who are spread across the county and asked them a few key questions.

They are just a handful of some amazing ladies and we celebrate all the hardwork and dedication across Bucks and beyond.

Green Futures Launch

On the 26th January 2022, many schools, youth organisations, charities and businesses from the progressive food and farming sector came together to hear about Feedback’s new youth orientated project in Buckinghamshire.

Green Futures will support the local green economy, address youth unemployment and reconnect young people to land and nature. Together, we will foster new relationships    between schools, youth organisations food businesses and social enterprises to bolster the county’s food and farming sector.

Green Futures is Feedback’s bespoke youth employability and green vocation scheme that:

· Creates new local career pathways through a network of youth, food sector and environmental
organisations across Buckinghamshire and funding for collaborative pilot projects.

· Offers training, careers advice and support, through safe and empowering experiences for young people aged 11-17 years from marginalised backgrounds.

· Create new 15 week Real Living Wage internship placements for local young adults aged 18-24 in food and environmental organisations. We will fund interns wages and provide training and
guidance for host organisations to offer high quality placements that improving access to the sector for underrepresented young people. 

Green Futures will resource the creation of new opportunities whilst improving access to them for
underrepresented young people. We are delighted to be able to offer this work in Bucks and are looking for organisations who want to collaborate in building a sector which delivers change for the planet and its people.

For more information visit their visit here

Time for a Wassail?

File:Old Christmas, Illustrated London News 24 Dec 1842.jpg - Wikimedia  Commons

January is time for the merriment of Wassailing and this year is no different in Bucks and surrounding counties. But what do you know about the ancient tradition that celebrates apple growing in the UK?

Wassailing/ Wassail is derived from the old English ‘waes hal’, meaning ‘good health,’ ‘be whole‘ or ‘be well

A long standing tradition of blessing trees to promote a good and successful harvest for the next season. Warding off bad spirits that walk the land- including the orchards! Keeping the trees in good health. Thought to be an Anglo Saxon custom dating back many centuries and is today still a fun, lively and celebrated tradition in orchards and farms alike

Gathering together local workers, families, residents and visitor, the celebrations can include the opportunity to sing, make noise, sing, play instruments and dance around the largest tree; with the crowds joining in a wassail chant. Some events also include after dark antics including torch lit processions and a wassail pot full of warm cider/ perry or ale; making a toast to the wassail queen to bless the forthcoming year ahead. Although this tradition usually is enjoyed of the Twelfth Night of the year (January 5th/ 6th or historically the 17th due to old ‘twelvey night’) you can find events taking place across the month of January each year. Cider will also be poured over the wassail trees roots to wish good health and toast slices soaked in cider are hung in the branches will attract the good spirits ‘the robins’.

Interested to try to make your own Wassail punch?

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 large baking apples- peeled and cored
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of beer or ale
  • 2 cinnamon sticks- broken in half or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1-1/2 cups sherry or sweet red wine
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Cut the apples into thick slices and arrange in layers in a baking dish (with lid)
  • Sprinkle over a few teaspoons of sugar over each layer
  • Cover and bake for 30 minutes. (The apples will get puffy and soft.)
  • While the apples bake, mix the beer, spices, lemon zest, and remaining sugar in a large saucepan
  • Heat slowly, bringing just to a simmer (Don’t let the mixture boil)
  • When it is hot add the sherry and keep heating until the mixture reaches a simmer again- still not boiling.
  • Place the hot baked apples in a punch bowl, and pour the hot wassail over them
  • Serve hot

For a non alcoholic version switch beer and wine for apple and cranberry juice!

Wassail! From us at Bucks Food Partnership

Why not join a local event?

EVENT: Winter Wassail 30.01.2022 @New Inn Farm Buckingham (Stowe) 1.30pm – 3pm

Fridge Hosts Wanted!

Hubbub oversees a national network of Community Fridges, Buckinghamshire has four in High Wycombe, Chesham, Chalfont St Giles and Aylesbury. However, due to funding from the CO OP there are currently 100 grants available for communities to apply for to expand this network!

Community Fridges are social spaces where anyone can share surplus food. They reduce food waste and empower communities to help each other through activities such as cookery sessions and workshops on how to grow your own fruit and veg. The Community Fridge Network was set up by environmental charity Hubbub in 2017 and there are now 250 fridges across the UK, welcoming 460,000 visitors per year. Each Community Fridge redistributed an average of 2.4 tonnes of food per month in 2020, and with Co-op’s commitment to double the network, the fridges could collectively save a total of 34 million meals from going to waste annually.

Applications for grants are open to community groups and not for profit organisations which are in a position to set up their community fridge in the next six months. Food alliances can play an important part by making sure the community groups they work with are aware of this fantastic opportunity to get involved. Successful groups will receive £4,000 funding, support to set up the fridge and membership to Hubbub’s Community Fridge Network, which offers free guidance to community fridge organisers including design assets, peer support, health and safety templates as well as discounted fridges and freezers. 

For more information on the Community Fridge Network, including a map of fridge locations, advice for those interested in setting up a community fridge, and more information on applying for grant funding visit: www.hubbub.org.uk/the-community-fridge

Grow it, Cook it, Eat it!

A community based food growing and cooking project – bringing communities together.

Many residents of Bucks are apprehensive when it comes to growing and cooking their own food. Public Health initiated Grow it, Cook it, Eat it across the county in a bid to develop skills and confidence. The aim is to provide local communities with a space that they can use as their own and enjoy throughout the year. Meeting people from a range of backgrounds and cultures who are also interested in building their capacity for a healthier and more sustainable diet.

Growing sites are located across Buckinghamshire and led by expert gardeners. They welcome volunteers of all ages and experience, bringing communities together to grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs. As well as giving you access to plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, gardening activities offer great low impact exercise – so growing your own is a good way of improving your physical health too.

Additionally, as the growing season progresses, there are also exciting opportunities to develop community cooking schemes, sessions or projects. Helping to ensure you are able to use all the amazing fruit and vegetables that have been grown to create tasty, healthy, low-cost meals for the whole household.

Growing Sites are situated at:

There are two courses running to ‘Train the Trainer’ for community groups to deliver cooking skills sessions. These comprise of two day training sessions with ongoing support. Make Every Contact Count Training, Food Hygiene Certificate and a tutor support pack. These are taking place on the:

  • 5th & 6th April 2022 @ The Bagnall Centre, Chesham. Closing date 16th March 2022

Apply for a space here https://forms.office.com/r/jiyyfSgTEF or email rebecca.kineen@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Spreading the festive food waste message

‘Tis the season of Freezer Clearance and Freezer Filling with would otherwise be wasted!

In the UK we waste 5 million Christmas puddings, 2 million turkeys, and 74 million mince pies each year. Not to mention huge amounts of vegetables, fruit and snacks! So now is the time to make some space sop you can add food to the freezer to use later on. Freezing and using later rather than throwing it away is greatly important in the fight against food waste.

The Bucks Food Partnership’s Food and Climate Connection action group, have put together a series of social media cards aimed to make more people aware of food management over the Christmas period. From doing an audit of whats lingering in the freezer and and having a using it up, allows people to manage their food stores before the madness of the winter period sets in. Marketing teams want us to believe a full fridge is a happy fridge…. but is it? Keeping on top of your fridge contents can also mean you waste less money and food in the long run. Little things ccan make all the diference; like making sure items that have a shorter use by date are nearer the door so hungry mouths will see what needs eating first.

It is important that in November we make space for items that you would otherwise throw away over Christmas. Charmaine from Khepera CIC also says

You can also prepare food and freeze it so that its quicker to use and doesn’t get wasted!

For example, to prepare potatoes, chop them into small pieces and cook until completely soft before cooling and freezing. Do not mash them before you freeze. When you’re ready to take them out of the freezer, place them in a large pot of boiling water on the stove for 5-10 minutes, or until soft. Mash and season according to your favorite recipe or even use for your roast dinners! Or freeze left over cream, wine or sauces to be used again in the future.

There are lots of other handy hints out there just a google away! Why not try making a leftovers soup, or attempt a frittata of any unwanted veg!

For more Christmas Creative Solutions why not visit Love Food Hate Waste‘s innovative website

‘Grow Together Bucks’ Celebratory Open Day 2021

On the 5th December, Grow Together Bucks CIC will open its community allotment gates to welcome you all to their celebratory open day. Having started up during the Covid pandemic in 2020, Grow Together have established not only a therapeutic community allotment but also coordinated Urban Harvest and Grow To Give schemes.

 ‘It is intended as a thank you for all our helpers, and we would also like to invite others who might be interested in volunteering in the future.’

Richard Andrews, Director and Compost enthusiast shared.

The 250m2 community allotment plot at Back Lane Allotments (accessed from Sierra Rd) was acquired in April 2020. The Community gardeners all bring different skills to the project, helping with horticultural and DIY tasks as diverse as: sourcing materials, planting, weeding, repairs and improvements, hard landscaping. There is something from everyone to come and embrace some social and therapeutic horticulture , no matter their experience or ability.

To be ready for next season, they have just built a new shed and we plan to construct a patio near the river edge, they have built more efficient compost heaps and will construct a potting area under cover. They grow flowers and vegetables as well as always learning new things together. Any spare produce they deliver to One Can Trust for others to appreciate.

For more information contact info@growtogetherbucks.co.uk or on Facebook

The event will run 11am- 3pm at Back Lane/ Sierra Road Allotments, High Wycombe, HP11 1GY.

Feel free to pop along during this time, come speak to the team of volunteers and find out about the sessions run during the week.