Sunhats and baskets; rain hats and rucksacks; whatever the weather, our Big Lunch will take place.
We had a planning session last weekend to finalise some things. It is going to be a ‘bring and share’ lunch… but with a difference: everyone is to bring food/drink to share but no one else must know what is being brought. This is to be ‘The Big Secret Lunch.’
The garden and house can only accommodate a certain number, so we will have to make it ‘by invitation only’, and try to include as many in the neighbourhood as possible.
Next job – The Big Lunch leaflets and our invitation.
Earlier this year I had started to think about hosting some kind of party or ‘get together’ for neighbours old and new. People we see on the street or in the shops but don’t necessarily get together with that often. I didn’t want it to be for a birthday or anniversary as this usually means bringing presents and involves lots of people. I wanted to do something local for the people who live nearby.
Quite by chance I heard about The Big Lunch and immediately our party had a purpose and I realised there were lots of other people up and down the country going to be doing the same thing on the same day.
This is already quite a neighbourly area so our lunch would be a chance to invite those new to the area and the quieter more reserved ones as well as the usual crowd.
The date was set and the purpose clear so now to set about organising our Big Lunch. Now the planning begins.
Is this image big enough, do you think? I know, I know… but it is Friday. I couldn’t resist this distraction.
I’ve been talking to our friends at Divine Chocolate this week, and while we’ll hear from them over the coming weeks, I picked out their recipe for Really Rich Cupcakes, just to share with you before the weekend.
Not just any weekend though. I sense that those of you organising Big Lunches in your neighbourhoods will be holding planning meetings over the next few days. Myself included! Good luck!!
I sense that we’ll see preparations for thousands of Big Lunches step up a gear this weekend. How do I know? Well, that’s certainly the case with the Big Lunch in my street! More seriously, you just have to read what Big Lunchers are posting to Twitter! You’ve heard of Twitter, right?
Oh, and don’t forget to ‘follow’ The Big Lunch on Twitter!
We are looking forward to The Big Lunch in the London Borough of Lewisham. So much so, that we have a dedicated person to ease the process for all of you who may be interested.
We can help you out with road closures, signage, music rights, and notifying all the relevant people – leaving you more time to organise your entertainment and talk to your veg.
If we can help you, or if you want to tell us what your plans, please get in touch.
My turnips nearly died… but I gave them the kiss of life.
I forgot to mention that it was me that nearly killed them. (Note to self – always do your research before you start hacking away at live things.)
Turnips – need – thinning. Just because they have gone all bushy and wild does not mean they are “bolting” (where they flower too early). It just means there are three or four turnips at the bottom of a bush that look like one!
I took away many leaves… thinking I was thinning them down a bit, when I realised my turnips had baby turnips everywhere. By the time I finished my crude hacking… and realised my mistake… the poor things looked like I had taken all their clothes off… fashionable gardening. Not.
Anyway… they are growing their leaves back, and have been suitably ‘thinned’ – and maybe a little traumatised.
It’s a real life lesson growing your own food. It’s not just for Christmas… it’s for a whole summer… and longer. It needs a babysitter when you are away, it needs feeding when the soil gets hungry – and most of all, it needs your attention, your skills and your love – they say not many things grow without love.Photo licensed under Creative Commons by Darwin Bell
Through a Fair Trade Triangle with our friends in Garstang in the UK and Media in the US the Fairtrade cocoa farming of New Koforidua in Ghana is now involved in celebrating what we’ve dubbed “The Big Fairtrade Lunch”.
Usually in Ghana people would want to come together to share a meal, especially during a special occasion such as Christmas, Easter, or a wedding. Students come together at the end of the school term. The Big Fairtrade Lunch, which will take place in New Koforidua at 1.00pm on the 19th July, will bring together the old and the young, the rich and the poor and the Small and the Big.
All the three communities in our Fair Trade Triangle are poised to make it an historic event, with this in mind, the NKGaLA committee for our link have been to all the churches (Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Pentecost), the Islamic mosque and all the other faith groups, to ensure all the people have been informed. Gong gong have been sounded to buttress the awareness and to instil into everyone the passionate desire to enhance majority involvement.
People in the community from the elders of the royal family, the queen mother, the NKGaLA Steering group to students are getting involved.
The community have resolved to meet at the Catholic Church (the largest meeting area in New Koforidua) with a sound system as one of the sources of entertainment in the community.
A football match is arranged among the youth in the community to exhibit their skills at this historic event.
By sharing their local food together the people in the community would eventually generate hope and understanding with love that would displace all ill feelings committed against each other for the good of the community spirit.
Preparations are under way in Garstang in advance of our Big Fairtrade Lunch in just over four weeks time.
We are keeping things simple to save on time, but most importantly so as many people can take part on the day without having to worry about endless tasks. So we have simply invited the whole of Garstang (outsiders are of course welcome to join us) to the newly opened Millennium Green Family Picnic area to have a Fairtrade and local produce picnic.
Garstang is the world’s first Fairtrade Town and is set in beautiful rural Lancashire so although we cannot force everybody to fill their picnic hampers with Fairtrade and local produce we certainly hope that everyone will comply.
It seems to me that the Big Lunch is all about bringing communities together with their neighbours. Community spirit is something I fear we are losing in the UK and in these difficult times of global recession it is in urgent need of restoring.
Buying local produce to support local farmers can only help to sustain the community in a rural market town like Garstang, but in our present global village our ‘community’ should not stop at the town boundary. Fairtrade is about providing a sustainable livelihood to some of the world’s poorest people who provide us with relative luxuries such as chocolate, sugar, wine, tea and coffee as well as more basic items such as fresh fruit and nuts.
As the world’s first Fairtrade Town it is only appropriate that Garstang should lead the way in bringing an international dimension to the Big Lunch. That is why we will be joined by our Fair Trade Triangular friends in the cocoa farming community of New Koforidua, Ghana and Media the first Fair Trade Town in the USA.
Garstang has had a community to community link with New Koforidua since 2001. It is a link that provides mutual benefits to both communities and one of the greatest gifts the people in New Koforidua can give us, is to remind us how to share with our neighbours, be it locally or internationally.
So preparations are under way in Garstang; the publicity is out. Now all we need is for people within our community to respond to the call to come together for a Fairtrade and local produce picnic with their neighbours. Let us pray for sunshine because if the weather is anything like today I may be sitting alone under my umbrella eating my local cheese and drinking my Fairtrade wine.
The Guardian today added its not insignificant voice to The Big Lunch.
In particular, I want to pick out one snippet from its “In praise of…” editorial…
“…crucial to the challenges we face is local engagement, communities working together to shift the patterns of behaviour and consumption that are so damaging. Tackling the needs for energy, transport and food in this century will require a degree of co-operation at a very local level. The first step on this long road must be be knowing your neighbours.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Three cheers to “magnusr” for this comment, too!
This community website has been launched to tap into the huge numbers of you that are planning, organising and attending The Big Lunch on 19th July. We want to give you a space to share ideas, recipes, tips, photos, videos and memories. This is all about you, and your communities.
If you haven’t used a blog before, don’t worry, it’s easy to try and we’re on hand to help you if you need us. To get started, simply register on the site and follow the instructions. We’d love to see your pictures and videos too!