Category Archives: Food

“It takes a community to make change”

 “..this playfully made exposé should be required viewing for anyone wondering what they could do to pitch in and save the planet”

This fast-paced, optimistic film TOMORROW  is showing as part of St Albans Film Festival. Click here to book tickets  for
  • Thurs 6th July 7.30pm  at Spencer Sports Hall, Sandridge – Bar available.
  • Sat 8th July at St Paul’s Church, Blandford Road, St Albans -refreshments available.

“In most cases, it’s a question of communities taking power back from governments and corporations — a form of horizontal activism which.. may be the best way to undo the top-down policies that have set us on the fast track to destruction.”tomorrowpic7


#TOMORROWfilm is a fast-paced doc packed with articulate expertise and stories from business and communities.

It shows ” how farmers, teachers, researchers and small-town participants have found their own methods for combating issues like global warming, food shortage and general economic meltdown”

The latter three chapters — Economy, Democracy, and Education — are really where “Tomorrow” takes flight. … Its curiosity ranges from the very minute and specific — to the extremely general and basic, as in, “Where does money come from?” (The Answer May Surprise You!) Continue reading

Good for you and good for the planet

It’s good to see new vegetarian ventures opening up in our district…we need the variety and choice of vegan and vegetarian food. This year, Sustainable St Albans Week 19-26 November, (winner of both Community Project of the Year and Environmental Champion in the Mayors Pride Awards 2016) is having a special focus on Sustainable Food, alongside the other themes of environmental sustainability, and its clear that locally we now have an amazing choice of sustainable, vegetarian food options in our district’s cafes and restaurants!

Perhaps you sap10935874_p_v8_aaw Cowspiracy’ at its screening at The Odyssey during Sustainable St Albans Week?  The film is less a gruesome account of meat practices, and more of a slow burn – a compelling and convincing account of why we should hang up the meat hooks, and eat more carbon friendly vegetables. If you missed it, you can catch it on Netflix – and watch it with all the family! Or, if you fancy a trip to Welwyn Garden City Cinema you can catch the ‘Just Eat It‘ film screening as part of the UK Green Film Festival  1-8th May and this film deals with the unpalatable message that we throw away nearly 50% of food that is grown.

camphill flowersThis week there’s an opportunity for Late Night Dining (vegetarian) for one night only on Thursday 7th April 5-8pm at the  Cafe on the Corner, which is run by the Camphill Village Trust. Sourcing vegetables grown locally by trust members in Aldenham, they have produced a special vegetarian menu for this one-off evening – and you can take in your own bottle of wine to enjoy with the meal. It looks like a great venture to support, with a good variety of dishes, including sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry, vegetable lasagne, and spinach, feta and pine nut salad. See more info on poster below. To book please contact Leigh at Café on the Corner: 01727 855514. Cafe on the Corner,  39 Catherine St, St Albans Al3 5BJ 

The Green Kitchen opened last year on Hatfield Road, run by a committed eco-cook, Heather, whose ethos is not only to offer great plant based food, but to live and work as ‘green’ as possible. Heather, who took part in Sustainable St Albans Week was also a runner-up in this year’s Mayors Pride Awards for Environmental Champion. The cafe is a great place to stop for coffee and cake, with  freshly ground coffee beans from a small independent company and  Rainforest Certified, and a range of plant milks available. Or perhaps a weekday lunch, with a choice of soup, salads, meditteranean platter, or all day breakfast. The Green Kitchen 419 Hatfield Rd, St Albans, AL4 0XP el: 01727 753 661

Courtyard CafeThe Courtyard Cafe, near St Albans High Street,  is also an excellent, and stylish place to enjoy vegetarian and other good food. You’ll find a range of dishes, including meat/fish, but with a strong focus on vegetable dishes, and some of the best cakes in town. And the cafe is also brimming with original art, gifts and homeware. They too, took part in Sustainable St Albans Week, and have been a good friend to Transition St Albans, hosting our display food garden in the courtyard. The Courtyard Cafe, 11 Hatfield  Road,AL1 3RR 01727 868877

Lussmanns,  in St Albans, Harpenden and Hertford, is a multi-award winning local eaterie with a prestigious record for its sustainable practice. This year they have just won the People’s Favourite category in the Food Made Good Awards, the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s annual celebration of the UK’s ethical eateries.  They have a good variety of vegetarian, and sustainably sourced fish and meat on the menu and Andrei Lussman says he wants to feature more vegetarian dishes on his menu but he needs people to order them!  Lussmanns St Albans: Waxhouse Gate, St Albans, Herts, AL3 4EW01727 851941 ; Lussmanns Harpenden: 20a Leyton Road, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2HU 01582 965393

Chef Raymond Blanc, who is the President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association owns Brasserie Blanc which is ‘proud of its relationships with  suppliers who share their belief that  food should be grown and raised in ways that don’t cost the earth‘. You can be confident that fish and meat are sourced sustainably, and that you will be eating the best in French cooking! Look out for their more afffordable weekday set menu. Brasserie Blanc 1-3, Verulam Road, St Albans, AL3 4DA 01727 890410

IMG_0706And, Redbournbury Mill flour – grown organically at Hammonds End Farm next door, then milled on site- Food Miles don’t get better than this – it makes the tastiest bread – just mix up the flours to your own taste; add water and salt; a dose of olive oil if you will – and bake! Or, if you are not up to this, go to one of their amazing bakery classes and make all these different breads in one day! Redbournbury Mill, Redbournbury Lane, Redbourn Road, St Albans AL3 6RS 01582 792874



And more…The Waffle House boast of using many organic and locally sourced produce including locally grown organic flour..’wholewheat, white and spelt flours used in our waffles are organically grown, produced and stoneground at the local Redbournbury MillKingsbury Watermill St Michael’s Street St Albans Hertfordshire AL3 4SJ. 01727 853502

Last, but not least, in this long list of delicous local sustainable food is  FoodSmiles St Albans. This incredible local food project began life in 2014 when volunteers took over the patch of organic land at Hammonds End Farm, and bAYfoodsmilesegan to turn it into their very own vegetable and fruit mini-farm! They currently have a few vacancies for people wanting to join in; email  their secretary at to find out more, or look on their website here. A fabulous opportunity to learn more about growing your own, on a beautiful site, on the edge of Harpenden, working with a community of food growers, and you get to take the produce home! FoodSmiles St Albans web page:

Growing Your Own …if the thought of all this delicousness is making you crave fresh, locally grown fruit and veg you should put some dates in your diary to visit our unique and inspiring OpenFood Gardens this year – we have seven different local gardens opening from early summer where you can get tips and advice on growing your own, and designing your garden space, while satisfying your curiosity on how others do it! See dates and info for Open Food Gardens 2016.

Cafe on the corner late night (3).jpg


Christmas Lights Switch On Sunday – come and say hi!

The Sustainable St Albans team are a little crazy with enthusiasm this week.  Not content with  interviews on Radio Verulam and BBC Three Counties radio they also started making a film, and have been collecting over 1,000 Postcards to Paris from local schools. They were also more than a little excited about the double page spread in the Herts Advertiser after all, with over one hundred separate events they need to make sure everyone in the district knows about the week.

Pick up your Programme 100+ Events!

marketstallYou’ll be familiar with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On in St Albans High Street? It’s happening again on Sunday 15th November – with a difference! This year our very own Sustainable St Albans Team – with volunteers from Transition St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth – are running a stall with free give-aways – they’re giving away free copies of the Programme of 100+ Events for Sustainable St Albans Week 21-28 November. There are only limited numbers of these printed programmes so please come along early to collect your copy.

While you’re visiting the stall you can also write your own Postcard to Paris to the Paris Global Climate Change conference #COP21- after all – the reason the week is happening because we care about climate change – see what 10 year old Riley has written here…

BHheypicYou may know about the week, but did you realise it is all run by local groups: each one of the businesses, community groups, faith groups and schools are organising their very own event related to environmental sustainabilty.

Whether you want: to have a trial ride in an electric car (Alban Arena Sat 21st, discover the historical past of Sopwell (Sat 28th 1.45pm), treat yourself to a free hand massage at the LUSH talk (Mon 23rd 8pm), be inspired by the Green Fashion Event (Wed 25th 8pm Civic Centre), to explore the very current topic of creating a sustainable economy (Wed 25th 7.30pm), to find out about Real Nappies at the Tots Playgroup with  free starter kit worth over £100  (Fri 27th 9.30am) , or to see the film ‘This Changes Everything’ or ‘The Journey of the Universe’ film or ‘Cowspiracy’ showing at the Odyssey, …

and so much more….

CllrChiversLitterPIck…all the events are organised by existing local groups with an interest in a sustainable future for the district.



It is an ecletic week, as Nick Coffer of BBC Three Counties radio, pointed out (hear the interview here at 2:38:10) so there really is something for everyone – from Natalie Bennett Leader of the Green Party talk, guided nature walks, Community Litter-picking, children’s story-telling…But with so many events taking place, and all in the space of one week – you need to plan now if you, family and friends want to take full advantage of this week of learning and fun.

SSAlban&Stephen infants“We love everything : your creativity, ambition, the links you have made with businesses, the efforts to engage and the fabulous brochure” Kate Newton St Albans CVS

Launch Day

clock-tower-jrIf you can’t make it on Sunday, then set aside Sat 21st November for the Launch Day when the week is officially opened by The Mayor of St Albans at 10.30am at The Clocktower, St Albans High St.

The Civic Society have opened the Clocktower as a special occasion so you can climb the ancient steps. Or, with the help of Computer Friendly work out your carbon footprint and surprise yourself. With music from the local ukelele supergroup Katie’s Jumping Fleas there are things to do and stalls on recycling, water-saving, GreenSpaces and more…

And, in the afternoon of Sat 28th from 12.30pm for a more leisurely trip take the family along to the Nude Tin Can Gallery to see the innovative and fun ‘Don’t Forget to Flush’ Art Exhibition with entries from both children and adults on the theme of the UN’s World Toilet Day – to raise awareness of our global neighbours who lack adequate sanitation.

Booking your Annual Leave

In all, there are so many interesting things to do during the week you might as well take the whole week off as Annual Leave – it’ll be your commitment to environmental sustainability! And, if the boss disagrees, invite her over to the Sustainable Business Breakfast Briefing on Tues 24th Nov at 8am organised by local business AECOM – that should get her interest!

And if Becky Alexander (Herts Ad @localfoodie) says “I am really impressed by the amount of events organised” then we reckon you should be too! Have a peep at the website to see if we’re right



OpenFoodGarden Summer Programme Sunday 10 May

David knows his parsnips!

Come and see what fruit, vegetables and herbs can be grown in St Albans gardens.

Get free advice from the garden owners and other visitors to help you grow your own, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Spend an enjoyable afternoon in the company of others interested in growing food.

Sunday 10 May

23 Gresford Close, St Albans, AL4 0UB – Sunday 10th May, drop in anytime between 3-5 pm.

This garden won the Bclose up yellow flowersest Sustainable Garden award in the 2012 District in Bloom competition. A vast amount of fruit and vegetables is grown in a relatively small space in both front and gardens.

At the front is a mixture of fruit, vegetables, herbs and growbags for tomatoes. The multi-purpose back garden incorporates shaded seating areas, planting to attract wildlife and a small pond along with three raised beds, pots and small borders. Here vegetables, salad crops, herbs and a wide variety of fruit (including minarette pear trees, apples, plums, cherries, greengage, fig, medlar, blackberry, loganberry) are grown.

showing visitors around

The garden has several water butts, composters and bins for leaf mould.

Gresford Close is a cul de sac off Colney Heath Lane, with limited street parking. Bikes can be locked in or near the garden. Several buses run along Hatfield Road (5 minutes’ walk away), stopping at Colney Heath Lane. Wheelchair access to the garden is restricted. No dogs please except guide dogs.

Garden visits are free: suggested donation £2 for over 16s; all proceeds go to TSA funds.

Volunteers Needed

We still need people to help welcome people to the gardens, give out TSA publicity, collect donations etc, particularly at the garden openings later in the summer, so if you think you could help, please contact Romayne Hutchison on Romayne DOT Hutchison AT gmail DOT com . You would never be on your own, but we do need a few people each time, so an hour or so of your time would be really appreciated.

Sunday 8 Sept 2pm – 4pm visit the last of this summer’s OpenFoodGardens

24 Oaklands Lane AL4 OHR

Lin talks to visitors

Showing visitors around the garden

While away an hour or so being inspired for your food gardening at home

This is the last of the OpenFoodGardens open visits of this summer.  You are invited to come and see how some-one else manages all their garden fruit and vegetable challenges!

With the opportunity to talk to the gardener in a relaxed environment these visits offer a unique perspective  to see close-up how a fellow gardener encourages the green beans, crops the courgettes, manages the mulching and rotates the compost! Whether you are new to gardening, or an experienced green hand, these open garden visits offer something for everyone to see.

taking a tour

taking a tour of the greenhouse

All welcome from 2pm- 4pm.

Suggested donation of £2 per visit. We are sorry but wheelchair access is restricted; guide dogs only.

Waking up to a summer of food treats

Becky Alexander, writing her column in the Herts Advertiser visited our OpenFoodGarden launch this April and did a lovely write-up on the project. You can find the link to the article here and a short excerpt below:

Waking up to a summer of food treats

Becky Alexander writing in the Herts Advertiser
Thursday, April 25, 2013

‘Open Food Gardens

Last week Transition St Albans launched the program for this year’s Open Food Gardens at The Courtyard Café, St Albans.

This lovely annual event is an opportunity to visit local gardens and meet like-minded gardeners and find out more about growing your own fruit and vegetables. Transition are an active local group, keen to share ideas on how we can all save money, and reduce our carbon footprints.’

Jan 13′ Open Meeting

Thanks to everyone who made it out on a cold dark night to come to our open meeting last night, especially the new members.  We watched two thought-provoking TED talks:

And then Jack took us through some key points about Peak Oil.

Each workgroup then outlined what it does and how people can get involved

  • the Home Grown Food Group
  • the Energy Group
  • Transition Streets
  • the Awareness-Raising Group

The open discussion at the end was wide-ranging and interesting (how TSA could  engage local businesses more, whether fracking changes anything, and ideas for starting a community garden).

To find out more about fracking, check out this illuminating and engaging website that illustrates the whole fracking process:

At our February meeting, all about planning what we want to achieve next year, these ideas and more will be fed in, including all the ideas that were raised at our November film screening.