The Happy Monday Cookbook

book cover

Happy Mondays at the Community Kitchen have given into the demands of their diners and produced a seasonal cookbook with great emphasis on buying locally, cooking from scratch and celebrating the abundance of available vegetables.

We were lucky to receive some funding from Lloyds Bank Community Fund which enabled us to produce The Happy Mondays Cookbook. It has taken a while to put together but we are delighted with the results.

Two of the cooks Christine Smith and Gemma Parker have taken a step back from the kitchen for the past year to write the book. The cookbook captures the essence of the meals from past years as well as revealing some of the many delicious recipes for you to cook at home. The book is different from other cookbooks and has a relaxed feel with easy to follow and make recipes along with lots of pictures

We are really pleased its out in time for Christmas and a number of people have already said they will be giving it as a Christmas present.

The Community Kitchen will be celebrating its fifth anniversary next year. It is run by volunteers from Sustainable Bungay. The Happy Monday Meal is on the third Monday of each month at Bungay Community Centre.

The cookbook is priced at £7.50 and is available to purchase from Bungay Library and Earsham Street Café in Bungay as well as online from the Hodemedod Website.

Book Now for Happy Monday January 18

eastern medHappy Mondays with the Community Kitchen is always a celebration of the best local and seasonal ingredients: the room will be decorated and the welcome warm. But it will also offer opportunities for volunteers to build their kitchen confidence, learn about local suppliers and discover new recipes and ideas.

Our aim is to highlight what’s growing in and around Bungay in gardens and on farms, show how local, seasonal eating is not only healthy, enjoyable, good for the local economy and environmentally sound but also exciting and surprising. If you’d like to get involved, perhaps supplying ingredients from your garden to the kitchen, cooking, suggesting recipes or helping meet and greet please do contact us.

Happy New Year! We start 2016 with a trip to the Eastern Mediterranean. Those who watched Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” (or have the cookery book) will know what a fabulous range of dishes are to be found there. We will be serving dishes from Greece and Croatia with as much local produce as we can find at this time of year.

Here’s The Deal Tonight’s meal will be the last at £5 as from February we will, by necessity, have to increase the price to £6. This is the first increase in the cost of a Happy Monday meal but it is still a bargain. So, for one night only, we will be offering the meal for £5, OR the meal and a Community Kitchen Cookbook for just £10. Additional copies of the book may be had for £6

Please come along and support us.

The cooks, room setup and clearing up and cleaning folks are all volunteers who pay for their meals. If you could spend a few minutes helping to clear and/or wash up at the end, that would be much appreciated.

When: January 18, 7pm
Where: Bungay Community Centre, Upper Olland Street
Cost: £5 for 2 course

Climate March November 2015

On Saturday November 28th, Sustainable Bungay, aided by two bees and some children, paraded through Bungay in order to raise awareness of climate change and the Paris climate talks.

Bungay Town Reeve and marchers

We started outside the Library and were sent off by Terry Reeve, the Town Reeve, pictured above in full regalia. From here we walked up St Mary’s Street.

by the car park

marching up St Marys St

The Butter Cross was next where we re-grouped and chatted with passing general public and handing out Sustainable Bungay newsletters.

Butter Cross

assembled at the Butter Cross

Welcome back Nick

marchers at Butter Cross

From here we then went down Earsham Street, round into Broad Street and back to the Library. Refreshments were then obtained from the Buttercross Tearooms.

A Manifesto for Change

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Do you share the values of caring for people and planet, not just chasing money? We can build a ‘global family’ that does this, with local groups linked regionally and globally for mutual support. Explore what this might mean for you. Is this the next step for the Transition Movement? Read the attached
‘Manifesto for Change’ and give your views.

Gary will be talking at Green Drinks on Thursday September 3rd, 7:30 in the Green Dragon.

Dr Gary Alexander is the author of “eGaia, Growing a peaceful, sustainable Earth through communications”, was a Trustee of the Transition Network, and is helping to set up an English National Hub for the Transition Network.

Would you like to BEE involved with school visits?

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School Education sessions are coming up!!!
If you’re interested in getting involved it’s a chance to inspire kids, see bees and get out on a farm on the edge of the broads. Visits involve a talk and games based around pollination, the importance of habitat, pesticides, a nature spotting ramble and some more honeybee specific fun facts before unveiling our glass hive. It’s a chance for you to learn more or to share what you know depending on your preference. Visits are on Tuesday mornings in June and July at College Farm in Aldeby (near Beccles). Lift sharing or expenses are covered. Get in touch!! bees@sustainablebungay.com 07791495012

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Radical Roots: On Community Food Growing

0 PFT coverThis month a groundbreaking handbook about arts and social change burst onto the bookshelves. Playing for Time – Making Art as if the World Mattered by Lucy Neal was, like Sustainable Bungay, inspired by the world-wide Transition movement. As well as discussing the social and environmental drivers for change and giving detailed ‘Recipes for Action’,  the book charts the practices and projects of 64 contributing artists in 10 chapters, ranging from Land to Rites of Passage. Here to introduce the Food Growing chaper, SB co-founder and local food entrepreneur Josiah Meldrum, discusses the impact community growing (and eating) can have on our collective imaginations, looking at the origins of two SB projects, the  Library Courtyard Garden and Happy Mondays:

Back in the 1990s, when I first began work in community outreach for a small retail co-operative in Nottingham, I quickly learnt the power of food to connect people. I saw how, despite apparently very different backgrounds, people could share a passion and a purpose – whether it was about growing food organically, the social justice issues around fair trade or simply local access to good quality affordable food.

Most people feel powerless to effect the kind of big changes we desperately need to see. But I think that scale of change is within our grasp – it’s just a question of realising it and understanding the many (often very small) steps required to get there. In my experience food is often at the heart of those first steps, not only because it’s fundamental to all our lives but because shared meals, produce and growing spaces bring people together, reintroduce them to each other and, potentially, reconnect them with the way their food is produced and how it gets to their plate – even if it’s just a few radishes in a window box.

MAIN_BEN-TOVIM_PATCH OF GROUND_LONDON_Ruth BTThat feeling of doing something radical the first time you grow, harvest, cook and share something with your friends or family never really goes away. It’s the feeling that you have somehow evaded the corporate supply food chain; that you’re on the path to somewhere else. And from the point of taking control of the radishes in your salad, from securing a supply of food from local producers, you begin to take control of your dinner plate and the social, economic and environmental impact it has. Because taking our food into our own hands is a deeply political and potentially powerful act; it empowers us and makes a positive statement about how we want things to be. From this sense of agency we can exercise a lot more influence within our communities.

In the context of many Transition groups, it gives people a set of very immediate practices and a rationale to underpin what they are doing. In my own initiative of Sustainable Bungay we realised if that if we wanted to see local growers and producers flourish then we needed to demonstrate that by providing a market for their goods: by eating what they were growing. As a first step we set up a monthly community meal, ‘Happy Mondays’, which would highlight seasonal produce that was being grown in and around the town. Happy Mondays serves up 50 meals once a month, we celebrate local producers – from gardeners and allotmenteers to smallholders and farmers. But we also cook together, decorate the room, give talks about food growing and keeping hens, develop ideas, build friendships and strengthen our group.

What we have seen with Happy Mondays is that when people have gained some confidence about working together it also gives them the confidence to ask, ‘What other projects could we tackle?’. One occasional supplier to Happy Mondays is our own community garden. In 2010 the group ran a weekend introduction to permaculture and used as our case-study Bungay Library’s empty brick courtyard. 16 or 17 people came up with a design for a garden and then went about creating it. Now there are fruit trees and beds with flowers, vegetables and herbs, but it’s tiny – it’s not going to feed the town by any measure.

SeedLibrary2311Six months after we’d begun the process of creating the garden Suffolk County Council threatened to close our library if a volunteer group didn’t step up to run it for them. Suddenly there was a passionate group of people who’d organised and achieved something in that space. And they said: No, we’re not going to a) let the council close our library or b) let them assume that just because we’re interested in the library we want to run it. And we began a campaign that linked up with library groups all over the county and ultimately led to Suffolk County Council changing its policy.

Today our library is still open, still staffed by professional librarians and our community garden continues to flourish. All from the desire to grow some radishes. The community garden is a very visible manifestation of what Sustainable Bungay is all about. It’s a statement of intent. It’s saying, ‘We care about this space, we care about what happens in it and around it. And anyone can come in and join in.’

A garden is a physical presence in a community that’s visible to local politicians, community leaders, schoolchildren, everyone from faith groups to non-governmental organisations, many of whom may have no particular interest in food, but are interested in showing people different ways of doing things. It’s a public space where events and workshops can happen, where a child can have a life-changing experience. And there are intangible benefits that come to a place and people with that garden that can’t be measured or monetised, that play out with each growing season, not just over years, but over decades.

Images from Playing for Time: Fruit and veg collectors at Little Patch of Ground, London 2012; photo by Encounters Arts;  Seed Library poster by Transition San Franscisco; Fruit Routes map by Anne-Marie Culhane and Jo Salter, Loughborough University:  The Edible Garden, Tower Hamlets, London, produced by Phakama and Fabio Santos, photo by Caroline Gervay.

Extract published from Playing for Time – Making Art as if the World Mattered (Oberon Books), £16.99. Copyright Lucy Neal.

The making of Playing for Time will be discussed by the book’s editor Charlotte Du Cann at a talk on Monday 27th April, 2pm at Southwold Library.

Flow Hive Thoughts…

Flow Hive. source: images.indigogo.com

Flow Hive. source: images.indigogo.com

At first glance it seems exciting, new, revolutionary. It appears to have arisen out of caring for bees. The no-hive-opening honey collection system. But as one considers the Flow Hive in a little more depth various issues arise. I’m not saying the inventors of the Flow Hive don’t care about bees, but rather they are coming from a beekeeper-centred way of thinking. And I’m not saying that humans should never collect honey, but collecting small amounts from hives in more extensive or backyard systems,  a bee-centred approach, is more likely to create a future where honeybees and humans can co-exist successfully.

Industrialisation of beekeeping and agriculture has placed many stressors on bees and they are becoming less resilient as a result. Management techniques associated with intensive beekeeping including regular manipulation and chemical use, alongside habitat loss, disease and pesticide use are contributing factors in recent losses of honeybees. Honeybees are among many pollinating insects (such as bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths) important to a wide range of plants, including many of the fruit and vegetables we eat. That same pollination service is also important within a wider ecological framework. We need to find ways to bolster their resilience, not break it down. I don’t think the Flow Hive is naturally compatible with this.

Honey is not only delicious and healthier for us than cane or beet sugar, it is primarily a food source for honeybees. They collect nectar and alter it to make honey, the ideal storage substance containing accessible energy with antimicrobial properties. It’s not something we can make. It cannot be replaced adequately by sugar syrup. Some colonies make enough for themselves, some colonies make surplus and some colonies would starve if we didn’t supplement them with sugar syrup or honey occasionally. I firmly believe that for a ‘sustainable’ future we should only take excess honey. Judging this is not an exact science, it means assessing the bees, the weather, season, available forage etc, etc. It means observing the bees, listening to the bees, interacting with the bees and making an informed, deliberate decision to open the hive and remove some honeycomb. It becomes about the bees.

natural comb

natural comb on a Top Bar (from a managed hive)

Conversely the Flow Hive is all about honey collection. Even the strapline ‘It’s the beekeepers dream…’ assumes a non-engaged way of harvesting honey is preferable. The hive uses frames with plastic comb, finished by the bees with wax, that can be cranked apart to release the honey stored in cells within. This honey then flows through tubes to external jars. The beekeeper doesn’t even have to open the hive – ‘that’s great!’ one might say, ‘the bees are undisturbed and I won’t get stung’, but how easy would it be to accidentally take too much, or to forget to consider all those other factors regarding the bees honey requirements which contribute to the survival of the colony? With extensive systems or natural comb hives one or two combs are harvested when surplus is evident. It is much harder to take too much.

It is also worth considering the honeybee colony as a super-organism  – think akin to a mammal in the way it functions with many bees making up a whole body that is more than the sum of it’s parts. In brief this comparison comes down to reproductive rate, self-produced nourishment for young, an internally regulated uterus, internal temperature regulation and capacity for learning/cognitive ability (ref: Tautz. The Buzz about Bees). How the super-organism is managed is an issue that goes beyond the Flow Hive. But I say again, bees are more resilient in an extensive system than they are in an intensive system.

If the colony is viewed as a super-organism the hive is as skin and comb as skeleton, energy store, memory bank (wax sterols and esters are part of their communication system) and womb. There is a respiration system of airflow governed by space and comb formation, and an immune system of anti-microbial substances and guard bees.

horizontal Top Bar Hive

horizontal Top Bar Hive

The Flow Hive uses plastic comb. This intereferes with natural bee behaviours – bees make wax in response to nectar flow, even when they are provided with plastic or pre-made wax sheets (a misguided attempt to direct bee energy away from wax production and towards honey production). Left to themselves honeybees create combs consisting of cells of varying sizes according to purpose (food, worker bee brood or drone brood) and season that curve and join and have entrance ways, dead ends and inaccessible-to-the-beekeeper areas. This complexity is important for maintenance of temperature, humidity and possibly of an anti-microbial atmosphere. The wax is also maintained at the optimum temperature for communication via vibration across the comb, it has been shown that plastic comb intereferes with this. Plastic comb may not appear detrimental, after all many bees live with it, but that doesn’t make it optimal either. And why use a man-made product when the bees can do it for themselves? I wonder if the makers of the Flow Hive plan on using recycled plastic?

It seems to me we should interact with the colony when we harvest some honey, be aware of prevailing conditions and risk getting stung. Acknowledge the needs of the colony as a super-organism and it’s place within the larger organism of our planet.

(Elinor)

 

Spring Clean! – Give and Take Day – Saturday 21st March, 11am-1pm

Give and take2015 (smaller)This year’s Give and Take Day, our 9th, is taking place on 21st March on the Spring Equinox weekend, perfect timing for a good spring clean! So why not bring along your unwanted items of clothing, furniture, garden and household equipment, books, CDs and DVDs to the Community Centre and pick up something you might need. Just make sure that anything you bring is in decent, usable (or at least repairable) condition. This can even include electrical goods as our qualified PAT tester will be there. (Please note: No TVs, VHS players or videotapes accepted).

And remember, no money exchanges hands – it’s Give, it’s Take, and everything is free (although we do welcome donations towards room hire costs).

Give and Take Days have become an integral part of the ‘remit’ of Sustainable Bungay since we began holding them once or twice a year in March 2009. When the group first formed after the Climate Change conference in Emmanuel Church in 2007, we wanted to know how we could engage locally in response to changing climate conditions. What could we do here?

Give and Take Crew

SB’s first Give and Take Crew 21st March 2009

Since joining the Transition network in 2008, the group’s activities are now also informed by factors such as the decreasing availability of cheap fossil fuel energy and widespread economic downturn.

Profligate waste is one of the biggest problems in our present throwaway culture, whether it’s food, clothing or technology. Fossil fuels are embedded in the production of almost everything in our lives, and carbon emissions from waste exert a significant impact on the climate.

So Give and Take Days are not just about getting rid of stuff and picking up more stuff. They also aim to bring attention to our use of resources and make sure less of that stuff ends up in landfill sites, where it will sit for a very long time, emitting! These modest events have so far meant that about 35 tonnes of potential landfill has found a new home.

Give and Take Days are also a great opportunity to meet up with friends and neighbours – and to enjoy refreshments prepared by the Happy Monday Community Kitchen crew. Everyone welcome. Hope to see you there!

Give and Take Day: Saturday 21st March at the Community Centre, Upper Olland Street, 11am-1pm (please note items accepted 9am-12pm)
The Community Centre will also be open to receive items on Friday 20th March, between 5.30 & 7pm
For large pickups on Friday 20th March in the afternoon and further info please contact Eloise: eloisewilkinson@gmail.com or call 07842 897172

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