Category Archives: Health

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 foodsmiles.info@gmail.com 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: http://foodsmilesstalbans.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-us.html

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 menu.pub.final (3).jpg

 

Consumerism and the importance of values

October’s Open Meeting was about “Consumerism”: Why do we consume so much? And is it really all that bad?

We started with a Think-and-Listen exercise to reflect on how we each see the consumerist society we live in. At the end, everybody was asked to write down on a post-it something negative and something positive we associate with consumerism. The word cloud below shows what was written (positives have a plus sign in front).

The answers seem to reveal our dilemma: we know well what’s not good about consumerism but the problem is big and we are worried about our economy (mentioned equally as positive an negative) and, most of all, about employment. Continue reading

The Story of Stuff

The theme for our Open Meeting on Weds 19th Oct is “Consumerism“.

We will be showing the film “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard.

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled, humorous look at the underside of production and consumption. It explores the connections between a vast array of environmental and social issues, and points the way toward a more sustainable and just world.

Afterwards we’ll have a friendly discussion, thinking about how we can transform our culture of consumption and waste into a culture that prioritizes social and ecological well-being.

You’ll learn something, you’ll laugh, and you just may never look at stuff the same way again. [UPDATE: you can read how it went here]

As usual, there will also be updates on projects ongoing and planned.

Everybody welcome! Suggested voluntary donation of £2 to cover costs.

Time and place: Weds 19 Oct, 7.30pm at Fleetville Community Centre on Royal Road, off Hatfield Road, near Morrisons [map].

Courtyard Café demonstration garden revisited

Transition St Albans continue to transform the space outside the Courtyard Café on Hatfield Road into  a demonstration “Grow your own Food Garden”.

We made an arrangement with the owner of the café, Michael O’Shea, whereby we set up the garden, and he waters it and uses the produce in the café.

The garden is about the same size as a small urban garden and its size and location make it the perfect choice for a demonstration garden: we can show people hands-on how to grow veg, whilst, because of the customers of the café passing by, we get an opportunity to attract new people to TSA.

Having prepared the soil last month, clearing, weeding, digging and mulching/covering, this morning, members of the Home Grown Food group, assisted by several willing volunteers, visited again, this time to do some planting.

In all, there were seven of us:  June, Heather, Liz, Nadine, Andrew, Peter B and Peter S.

We worked to the planting plan carefully designed by June to make the best use of the space and provide an ongoing crop supply. Do check it out to find out what we’ve planted.

Heather and June brought seeds and seedlings to plant out and, thanks to Nadine, we were able to obtain excellent compost from the good people of the St Albans Museum next door.

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We needed quite a bit of compost, actually, to fill up two old car tyres, which we used as an expedient planter positioned on top of some roots that were too difficult to dig out and remove completely. Because some of the roots still stuck out a bit above ground level, we decided to simply cover them.

Click here to see a little photo album of today’s working party in action

Open Food Gardens are here again!

Would you like to grow your own food at home or do you do so already?

Are you interested in growing more, or different kinds of fruits or vegetables?

Would you like to learn more about how to grow your own food?

If you are interested in growing fruit or vegetables at home, are just beginning or want to learn more, then Transition St Albans Open Food Gardens are for you.

Continue reading

To Burn or Not To Burn

You may have heard that there is a proposal to build an Energy From Waste (EfW) incinerator plant for Herts County Council on the Harper Lane site belonging to quarrying business Lafarge, near the Rail Freight Exchange site.

If you haven’t – after all, the news broke during the summer holidays – you can read the news article in the Review here.

If you wish to hear an international experts’ view on sustainable waste management and incineration, Dr Paul Connett will be speaking at the Labour Party Offices, 28 Alma Road, St Albans, Herts, Al1 3BW, on Tuesday 26th October at 5pm.
 
Continue reading