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From Cultivation to Consumption

August 8, 2012

EVALUATION 19th July 2012

This project demonstrates that £200.00 goes along way with a lot of good will and support.  I met Simon last year as part of the Lozells, East Handsworth and Birchfield Community Trust and we had a brief discussion about each of our areas of work and he told me that he was involved in the Victoria Jubilee Allotments (VGA).  I said that I would love to come and cook with some of the food grown and we left it at that.  When the environmental grant was advertised, we submitted a joint application and were successful in obtaining £200.00 for two cooking events with growers and young people from the Bangladeshi Youth Forum (BYF).  The aim is to show young people, how food is grown and discussing the dangers of eating regular ‘fast food’.

Posters were done, to invite people from the allotment and the community.  There has been poor weather leading up to the event, so we approached with some caution.  We set up a gazebo and hoped that we would get 15 people or so.  As it happened on the day we had 32 people register.  The event got off to a slow start, with people arriving late and then we asked the plot holders to give us some fresh produce and every one we spoke to kindly donated.  The young people arrived from BYF and they showed a lot of interest in gathering the food.

One of the guests that Simon invited was Emma Vaughn from Sheffield University who is doing a Masters dissertation on local food being grown with an emphasis on allotments and the reasons for this.  She used the event to conduct research and followed up further interviews over the weekend.

Once the fresh produce was collected, it was cleaned and cut by young people who showed a great deal of enthusiasm.  The rain came and people gathered under the gazebo and the club house.  The learning of food preparation was very informal with people asking about what went it and the spices used.  We had met a man who was interested in having a plot a few days ago and he said that he would come and help in preparing the pakora’s.  He bought with him his own equipment and made the most amazing pakora’s that were eaten as soon as they were fried.  The main course was vegetable curry, pilau rice, chapattis and salad.  Making the chapattis was great fun, as people had attempts at rolling the chapattis out.  The food was amazing and every one really enjoyed it.  There was an amazing buzz about the place and great community spirit with different people working together.  The 32 people that were present reflected the community with young and old.

In regards to evaluation forms, 14 were completed and they were all positive.  In regards to suggestions, people said that there should have been more notice, another gazebo, sunshine and that the next event should be done on a Sunday afternoon.  There should have been a more structured programme with how food is grown and the cooking could have been explained better.  There was also a suggestion that there should have been some chicken on offer.  Some of the allotment holders said that they would be happy to put on a BBQ for the next event.

A press release was done and Central TV had showed interest, however, breaking news meant that they did not cover the event.  BBC WM Midlands Masala covered the event on the 29th July with a young person from BYF and Aftab.

In regards to the next event, we should hold it on a Sunday afternoon and it should be a more structured programme.  Perhaps VGA could hold a small competition with the produce from the plot holders.  A further planning meeting will be held with Legacy WM, VGA and BYF about how we can take the next event forward.

Prepared by Aftab Rahman – Director – Legacy WM

The image below sums it all up.ImageImageImageImage

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One Comment
  1. OK – so I am always told that I should blog more. On this occasion, I have simply cut and pasted the evaluation of a project that I did. It has to be one of my highlights for the year.

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