The London Games touched many hearts this summer, inspiring young and old across the globe
Raw Christmas Recipes
Kate Magic dishes up tasty raw delights, giving a healthy twist to our festive meal
Social Policy & Social Action
From welfare reforms to budget cuts; just how is the â€˜Big Societyâ€™ affecting our communities?
A New Path
Dig deep to discover a world of compassion and love at the root of true sustainability
Issue No. 14 Autumn 2012
Pg 19 A day with a crunch... don’t miss Apple Day on 21st October!
Unit 19, The Coach House 2 Upper York Street Bristol BS2 8QN 0117 924 0901 www.inspiredtimesmagazine.com
Magazine Coordinator/Editor: Sharon Henshall Sub-Editor: Rebecca Day Production Editor: Sharon Henshall Cover Image: Becky Cooke Artworker: Heather Murphy
4 Global Gold
The London Games touched many hearts this summer. Rebecca Day shines the light on inspiration that swept across the globe.
8 Exploring Mandalas
Seeped in rich spiritual history, Kate Collier shares her connection with mandalas.
10 Raw Christmas Recipes
3 Have Your Say
Readers send in their stories... from an unexpected meeting to a summer of Shambala sparkle.
No part of this magazine can be reproduced without consent. All rights reserved. No responsibility will be accepted for errors or omissions, or comments made by writers or interviewees. © Inspired Times
With welfare cuts and budget cuts, just how is the ‘Big Society’ affecting our communities? Cat Ford investigates.
19 Apple Day
The diversity of our humble British apple is under threat. Steph Codsi reports.
Amelia Lake looks within to discover a world of compassion and love at the root of true sustainability.
18 Exciting Events 2012
Editor, Sharon Henshall welcomes you to our autumn edition of Inspired Times.
Celebrating creative expression; from poetry and song to making useless objects into something useful.
The summer may be over but there are still plenty of fabulous events during the coming months. Don’t miss the Big Green Home Show and put your wallet to one side on Buy Nothing Day!
Rosewood Forest brings greenery to built- up areas in Manchester and Pedal4Health gets communities on two wheels.
16 Inspiring Getaways
Some bite-sized snippets of eco-news from Andy Wills. Catch up on the latest and learn all about Whalefest, Brighton’s top event this autumn.
24 Green Christmas Gift Guide
22 A New Path
Kate Magic dishes up tasty raw delights, getting us in the festive mood and teasing our taste buds.
Advertising: Sharon Henshall
14 Social Policy & Social Action
Contributors: Rebecca Day/Kate Magic Cat Ford/Steph Codsi Amelia Lake/Kate Collier Ingrid Prosser/Rebecca Cooke Kara Lewis/Abby Pickles Andy Wills/Katrina Slisane Jessica Jackson
Looking to soak in the autumn colours? Visit the wonders of Suffolk or get back to nature and learn new skills on a eco- volunteering break in the New Forest.
Wondering what to buy for your loved ones this Christmas? Take your pick from our selection of eco & holistic goodies. Green is the new white this Christmas!
26 Eco Shopping & Classifieds 28 Inspiring Individuals
As we head into the colder months, issues of homelessness are often brought to the forefront of our attention. Katrina Slisane shares the story of Rudi Richardson, one man who works year round offering support to those living on the streets.
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
spreading the spirit of inspired times As the freshness of autumn bites into my morning walk to work, I’m reminded of how much I love this time of year. The anticipation of golden leaves tumbling from the skies, crisping up underfoot once the frosts descend. It’s time to let old habits and out-dated patterns fall from our lives, leaving space for freshness and spontaneity.
purchases to the minimum this Christmas and what you do buy, keep eco. Remember green is the new white! We’ve put together a few gift ideas to give you some inspiration (pg 24-25).
We’re loving our front cover which really captures the spirit of autumn. The ever so talented Becky Cooke has done us proud once more. Yet another great team of helpers have graced the Inspired office for our 2nd online issue and we hope to have a handful of print versions as reference copies out and about in retreats and eco-centres too.
Plenty more will catch your interest and please do share the online link around. We’d love for you to also encourage friends and family to like us on Facebook so we can keep growing our Inspired community far and wide. We plan to bring a comprehensive course calendar to our website guiding you to the smorgasbord of eco and holistic workshops championed around the country. Learning new skills and meeting like-minded people can really uplift the spirits during the colder months. Our next issue will be online in January and so we’ll next be with you in 2013. We wish you an abundance of joy over festive season and beyond.
The summer’s sporting action captured a nation, and inspired Rebecca Day’s piece ‘Global Gold’ which chronicles the London 2012 Games positive worldwide impact (pg 4-6). In the run up to Christmas, Kate Magic has dished up some tantalising raw recipes (pg 10-11) for the festive season. For those wondering how the Big Society is impacting on our communities, Cat Ford has been digging around and reports her findings (pg 14-15). Amelia Lake shares her beautiful and poignant story of self-discovery on her journey to self-sufficiency. With this in mind, keep
(Magazine Coordinator/Editor) firstname.lastname@example.org
It was almost two years ago that Rebecca Day first began working with Inspired Times! Bubbling with creative energy and full of life, she has become a strong member of the team, taking on the role as sub-editor this summer.
With over two decades of eating raw food under her ecofriendly belt, Kate Magic is one of the most experienced raw food promoters in the world.
Her love of writing has shone brightly throughout the many feature articles she has written for Inspired Times, and sister magazine Backpax – a funky, free, pocket guide to budget travel in Britain. A final-year student at the University of the West of England studying English Literature and Journalism, Rebecca has dreams of one day becoming a foreign correspondent. Constantly immersing herself within the journalistic field, last year she was hired as Editor
at the Western Eye, UWE’s student newspaper. With her strong interest in social policy, Rebecca has been at the forefront of reporting on changes erupting in society, in particular the effects of the government’s education reform – keeping fellow students informed. In her spare time, Rebecca thoroughly enjoys spontaneous adventures around the UK and abroad, as well as making the most of university life in Bristol.
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
She is not only an accomplished author of four raw lifestyle books, but she also tours internationally, giving inspirational talks and providing workshops about raw produce. As the Creative Director of Raw Living, she has created over 20 unique products including
chocolate bars, trail mixes, cakes, teas and skin creams. She is such a firm believer in the benefits of eating raw, her three sons are being brought up on a raw food diet too. As well as formulating recipes, Kate also teaches methods for transforming the self, raising awareness about how ‘personal growth can contribute to the bigger picture of life’. With a passionate desire for change in the world, her ever-expanding fan base not only warms to her wondrous food ideas, but also her practicality and spiritual wisdom. Upholding a vision for humanity to live in peace and unity, Kate believes that eating raw foods is a vital tool to ‘unlocking our inner potential’, empowering us to create a much-needed revolution! http://rawliving.eu
If there is anything you’d like to tell us about; thoughts on life, fun events, hobbies etc., please email us: email@example.com
an extraordinary meeting
The winter before last, my husband was in hospital and I spent as much time as I could by his side. He was having a horrible experience, and I was in a very emotional state. The staff kindly didn’t object to my staying beyond visiting hours, but on day six my husband was transferred to another ward, where a strict nurse seemed to consider my presence unnecessary – even undesirable! Shortly after visiting hours ended, she tackled me on the subject of my not having, actually left. I got very upset, very quickly, and though my husband persuaded me to leave, I did so in tears. My bus wasn’t due to leave for twenty minutes so I waited in the hospital foyer. As I sat there, failing to concentrate on my newspaper, I became aware of a disturbance in the entrance. A woman in a wheelchair came into view with a man pushing it fast, agitatedly calling for help. I was the only person in sight. They rushed by and the woman screamed. They stopped in the middle of the foyer. Walking towards them, in some trepidation, I was soon close enough to see – the woman in the wheelchair had just given birth! The new father crouched on the floor, both parents supporting their new born baby, who had emerged into the world moments before. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, and a wave of emotion swept over me. Again, I was in tears. Staff were fetched from the maternity ward. I did the only thing I could. I put my hands on the mother’s shoulders, focusing on giving her Reiki, and sending it out also to her little daughter and the baby’s father. When the wheeled bed from the maternity department arrived, I lifted my hands from the mother’s shoulders. She turned and looked at me, tears in her eyes. Neither of us could speak. We simply looked at each other – a precious moment shared. The next day, in a kind of ecstasy, I bounced into my husband’s ward to tell him my extraordinary tale. I was still a little cross with the nurse for evicting me, but if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the great privilege of being present at the arrival of this new soul in the world, and therefore she will always have my gratitude. The following day, my husband was discharged, and came home.. Ingrid Prosser, Cheltenham
shambala’s summertime sparkle
This summer, Shambala made my life so much more glittery… almost as glittery as the festival itself. I arrived at Kelmarsh Hall early on Saturday morning. As the rain poured, I strolled through the site with my rucksack and all my possessions covered in waterproof materials. Families were grabbing breakfasts for their little ones, and cheery festivals-goers provided a warm-hearted welcome upon arrival. It immediately became apparent why so many people have such a deep appreciation for this festival. Whilst drifting around the site, with the sun breaking through the clouds fairly frequently, there was a host of fabulously fun activities for children and adults alike. No one could possibly be in a bad mood at Shambala… even in the rain! With various venues and stages of different sizes, a wide range of brilliant talents performed over the weekend. My personal favourite was the UFO tent. This was a circular, small, indoor nightclub with space goddesses to greet you at the spaceport entrance. The array of animated people that graced the fields of Shambala was truly spectacular. I spotted one fabulous person who was outwardly as happy as I felt. He danced for the entire weekend – like his life depended on it – in a multicoloured lycra all-inone… absolutely incredible! Whilst there were many weird and wonderful sights at Shambala, one of the most bizarre was a completely naked man being proposed to by Cinderella – instead of slipping his toes into a glass slipper, he was given a flip-flop instead! Come the final evening, the ‘Big Burn’ bonfire and fireworks felt cleansing. Although I wanted the fun to never end, the astounding display was a perfect finale to the weekend. I have always loved the festival vibe… that feeling of disconnection from the ‘real’ world. Shambala satisfied this completely. It is another planet – one, which I cannot wait to visit again next year! Becky Cooke, Bristol
“Find that place which is effortlessly at rest within itself. Be there — be one with that.” Mooji inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
Global The London Games touched many hearts this summer. Rebecca Day shines the light on inspiration that swept across the globe to leave a legacy of hope. There is no denying that the build-up to London 2012 provoked many criticisms. During a time of austerity, seeing the overall benefits of the Olympics and Paralympics was bound to be challenging. The organiser’s financial expenditure created a dark cloud over what the Games actually represent; the astounding sporting talents and the positive influence they have on people worldwide. Some felt the Games distracted us from deeper social issues and the welfare reforms that our government are inflicting upon the nation. I believe London 2012 provided a respite from these harsh realities – they weren’t forgotten, but we did receive a much needed summer of celebration and a boost of national pride. Many positives have come out of the Games; the world had a chance to unite and a sense of peace was created between countries involved in conflict – it’s been refreshing to witness athletes form bonds and build international friendships. Both the Olympics and Paralympics have not only had a massive influence on Britain’s ideas and beliefs, but it has also impacted on many children and young people’s lives around the globe. London 2012 has modernised people’s mind-sets about gender equality, race and those with disabilities.
The Games has undoubtedly seen a wealth of significant breakthroughs. This year’s Olympics was the first time that women have competed in all 26 sports on offer; a huge comparison to those hosted in Stockholm over a hundred years ago. In those days women were only allowed to participate in five of the 110 sports on offer. Although there are still more medals available for men than there are for women, London 2012 has delivered a major stepping stone in furthering gender equality. Not only did we see British athlete, Nicola Adams, proudly ascend to the podium to receive her gold medal in boxing - a sport previously only open to men - but we also saw a wealth of other breakthroughs as well. The introduction and development of new sportswear for Muslim women, alongside the relaxation of clothing rules, allowed them to compete whilst still being able to maintain their faith by wearing a hijab. “To have women competing in all the sports on offer at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics was a fantastic achievement,” says Rimla Ahktar, the Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, “particularly for those women who traditionally have not been represented.” Rimla explains that this is partially due to work happening at grassroots level by organisations - including MWSF - across the world.
4 inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
“Having appropriate sportswear for women clearly contributes to their participation,” comments Rimla. With pressure from the International Olympic Committee, women from Saudi Arabia were eventually able to participate in this year’s Games the final country to permit their women to compete. Whilst Saudi athletes, Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkhani, were subjected to harsh criticisms and controversy, their courage and determination was beyond inspirational. The Foundation has certainly seen a heightened interest in sports amongst Muslim women since the Games and is now leading the way when it comes to providing opportunities for all women. “There are clearly barriers that still exist and the reason for our existence is largely to help overcome those barriers,” explains Rimla. “We understand the huge importance of role models and our work looks to provide these directly - from the mother who takes women in her community on cycle rides to the international fencer representing her country. These women are all the mothers of the future and we hope that by developing their love for sport we will make a long-term difference to lives of women across the world now and for generations to come.”
Modern day Britain was beautifully represented in the Games by the diverse group of British athletes, from all different ethnic backgrounds. Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford’s astounding victories highlighted multicultural Britain at its best.
Gold paralympics: changing perceptions
The Paralympics received a record number of viewers, with its competitors sharing a wealth of stories that have captivated a nation – not only those with disabilities, but able bodied people as well. For two weeks, we were absorbed in the Paralympics (and the comical after show, The Last Leg), invigorated by their achievements. Ben Rushgrove, a Paralympian with Cerebral Palsy, competed in the T36 200m at London 2012. During the build-up to the Games he was quoted that he ‘hoped that the Paralympics would change myths and misapprehensions about people with disabilities’ – and indeed, I think it has. Fears were expressed amongst the organisers of the Paralympics that people would just ‘shrug their shoulders’ at the coverage of the Games. However, Channel 4’s broadcasting of the Paralympics opened people’s eyes up significantly.
Resounding cheers from within the Olympic stadium displayed the profound change in Britain’s attitudes from decades past. The Olympics boasts an international history of numerous triumphant athletes, from Jesse Owens, an African-American who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, to Alice Coachman, the first black woman to have won a gold medal in 1948. Thanks to these ground-breaking successes, athletes from both the present day and the future can build on their predecessors’ triumphs.
During the bidding process, the London Organising Committee took a symbolic step forward by regarding the Paralympics on an equal scale to the Olympic Games. They had a transport policy for both the Olympics and Paralympics and a catering policy for both as well. Tickets were also priced lower than those sold for the Olympics, with admission prices starting from just £5. More families could therefore attend, consequently raising children’s awareness about Paralympic sport. The Paralympics stood as a momentous occasion for its competitors to be applauded and recognised for their outstanding talents and achievements, beyond their disability. For many, the Paralympics’ front-page exposure created an opportunity to normalise the lives of people with disabilities, those who have felt isolated by the government’s welfare reforms and society as a whole. Tracey Davies – a travel journalist and regular feature writer for Inspired Times – has a 7-year-old daughter with Cerebral Palsy. The Bejing Paralympics in 2008 were for her, unwatchable. Her daughter had just been diagnosed and she was finding it difficult to come to terms with. However, London 2012 provoked an all together contrasting reaction. Referring to the old cliché, Tracey explains how time was a great healer for her, and she soon overcame the shock of her daughter’s diagnosis. “Nancy wasn’t ill, or ‘suffering from’ cerebral palsy,” says Tracey, “she just had a weaker side to her body which was harder to control and made her, well, to use the technical term, a bit wobbly.” Tracey was determined for her
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012 5
daughter, and the whole family, to watch the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She wanted to show Nancy that her disability would never hold her back. After an emotional, yet phenomenal day for the Davies at the Olympic Park, Nancy announced that she wanted to become a Paralympian and that she was in fact ‘proud to be wobbly’. “I can’t express how much that means to me, her mother,” says Tracey. “While Nancy has never hidden behind her disability, she now seems to walk that little bit taller.””
inspiring a generation
At the Singapore bid in 2005, Lord Sebastian Coe promised that London 2012 will ‘reach young people all around the world and will connect them to the inspirational power of sport’. International Inspiration is a programme that has been set up as a direct response to this promise; it strives to improve the lives of children and young people by increasing their access to sport. “The programme has already enriched the lives of 12 million young people and children from 20 different countries across the world,” confirms Paul Docherty, 2012 Director at the British Council. “The programme works in partnership with governments and ministries to develop the provision of high quality physical education, sport and play for young people.” The collaboration of the British Council, UK Sport and UNICEF has evoked an international legacy – this is the first time in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that a legacy on this scale has been conceived and implemented. So, how does International Inspiration look to continue their success? “In each country the focus is on activities which will deliver long-term systematic change – such as policy changes or teacher training – rather than one-off, short-term impacts,” says Paul. “We are seeing evidence in countries like Brazil, India and Palau that initiatives will be sustained beyond the formal life of the programme.” Paul speaks about how one child from Bangladesh, who learnt to swim through International Inspiration. Upon arrival in London last year to celebrate the ‘one year to go’ build up for the Olympics, he was one of the first people to swim in the pool at the Aquatics Centre.
people to take up sports they’ve never tried, embarking on a healthier lifestyle. The day after Murray won his gold medal, I picked up a tennis racket and challenged my partner to a match at our local tennis courts! Without doubt, the Games lifted a lot of people’s spirits – both spectators and competitors. It was uplifting to hear every-day conversations being filled with positivity and optimism for a change. Many people embraced the spirit of London 2012, whilst celebrating human endevours and cheering on those who have strived hard to achieve their dreams. The Games have inspired people both near and far, bringing nations together in peace and solidarity. Whatever medals have been taken home, a sense of us all accomplishing that shimmering piece of global gold prevails.
London 2012 has shone a light on many outstanding role models – from those who have competed with a disability, to those who have competed from a disadvantaged background; it’s given people hope and has made people feel more positive whatever their circumstances. The Games have also encouraged
“To have women competing in all the sports on offer at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics was a fantastic achievement.” Rimla Ahktar, the Chair of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation 6 inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
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exploring Steeped in rich spiritual history and encountered within nature, Kate Collier shares her personal connection with mandalas and shows how they can help heal, affirm and offer us clarity. ‘Mandala’ in modern Sanskrit can mean a circle, a wheel, a geometric shape, the special domain of a deity, a community, a constellation, a society, the cosmos itself. Mandala-making has been used in every culture as a way to wholeness and healing through meditation and art. Carl G Jung believed it represented the unconscious self and that each time we make one we see ourselves in a new, more integrated, balanced and whole way. The process of making a mandala is revealing, reflecting and in a simple, profound way a shift in how we see ourselves. My work with mandalas started consciously about two years ago when I was leading a campaign to protect the flora and fauna of a field in our community from the hands of a developer. For many years I had offered mandalas in the Buddhist tradition prior to that time and felt the energy of the mandala in my therapeutic work, but it took the small print of a district council notice on a lamp post to wake me up. I suddenly saw it clearly in the circular sacredness of that field with a tree at the centre – an oasis of peace and quiet where owls, badgers, foxes and sloe worms co-habited in its seasonal beauty – and I worked tirelessly to protect it.
researching its roots
A creative period followed as I went deeper into my own personal journey mandala, making collage circles out of magazines, working with guided imagery, colouring geometric healing mandalas and visualising them to bring healing. My research took me to its roots in every cultural tradition from the Native American medicine wheels to the sacred geometry of Islamic architecture; my intuitive research led me to find its energy in the whirlpools of a river, the ancient rock of our iron age forts,
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
our stone circles, a labyrinth in a convent in Kent, the zikhr of a Sufi meeting lodge in Istanbul and in the ancient sacredness of Mount Nebo in Jordan. More than this, in the cycles of my own life and those close to me with so many endings and new beginnings, in the cycle of our breathing, our metabolism, our physiology, the flow of our emotions and our soulfulness. Beyond this, the mandala is in the creative force, the first cell of everything that grows and lives on this earth, in the cycle of each day, week, month and season. It’s in the pull of the sun, moon and planets constellating as we cast our naked eyes upwards on a clear night beyond the neon-lit city streets.
I have facilitated mandala workshops creating collage mandalas, both in the UK and in the USA in small, intimate groups and found the heartfelt response of the participants very moving. I have been told that they find it “simple but profound” and that it brings about a deeper connection with who they are. They feel the collage mandala shows what is needed, affirms and accepts them in a gentle way. At New Year workshops, where mandalas are made for the forthcoming year, the mandala creates what often seems to start happening for real – which only goes to show the part our thoughts and intentions play in the creation of our future. Personal mandalas can bring clarity and vision to any personal, relationship, work or health issue and offers a way of supporting and healing challenging personal circumstances.
Kate Collier is based in Bristol and offers two-hour mandala sessions for individuals and couples on personal, relationship, work and health issues. She also facilitates monthly evening sessions. www.healingtheheart.co.uk
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Raw Christmas Recipes With the festive season creeping closer, we decided to get you in the mood. Kate Magic dishes up some tantalising raw alternatives, ensuring a fresh and healthy twist to our Christmas. Goji and Macadamia Mincemeat Mess This was Jamie Oliver’s idea. Eton Mess is traditionally made with strawberries, cream and meringues. He did a Christmas version with mincemeat – this is my raw version with mincemeat, cream, and clementines. It’s important at Christmas to have your own decadent treats so you’re not looking enviously at everyone else’s – hopefully this will fit the bill. Serves 8/Food processor & blender required/ Takes 1 hour (you should also pre-soak your macadamias for 4-8 hours)
1 orange 1 lemon 350 g (12 oz) grated apple 125 g ( 5 oz) Lexia raisins 125 g ( 5 oz) mixed vine fruit 125 g (5 oz) goji berries 60 g (2 oz) dates, chopped 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger Pinch ground nutmeg Pinch ground cloves 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp agave syrup 1 tbsp yacon syrup or molasses 1 tsp miso Juice the lemon and the orange. Grate the rind. Using a wooden spoon, combine every ingredient together in a large bowl, so it’s evenly mixed.
Macadamia Cream 300 g (11 oz) macadamia nuts, pre-soaked 125 g (5 oz) dates 1 vanilla pod 2 tbsp olive oil 500 ml (16 fl oz) water Pre-soak your macadamias for at least four hours. When they are ready, drain them and put them in the blender with the other ingredients. Whizz to a thick cream.
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
Topping 4 clementines (peel and separate the segments, remove the pith) 1 tbsp goji berries To assemble: In a large glass dish (or eight individual small glasses), make a bottom layer with half the mincemeat. Cover with a layer of cream, and dot with clementines. Use the remaining mincemeat for another layer, top with cream again (you don’t need to use it all, it is very rich – you may find yourself with a few spoonfuls leftover. Refrigerate it for another day). Finish with the clementines, arranging them artfully over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining goji berries for decoration. From Raw Living, published by Grub Street, 2007
Cranberry & Goji Relish Perfect at Christmas or Thanksgiving with your nut loaf. Serves 4/Blender required/Takes 10 minutes
3 tomatoes 100 g or 1 cup fresh cranberries 50 g or ½ cup goji berries 50 g or ½ cup dried cranberries (try and find the ones sweetened with apple juice, not cane sugar) ¼ red onion ½ chilli pepper 1 tsp apple cider vinegar Prepare your tomatoes for the blender. Put everything in the blender together and blend for a few minutes. Will thicken when left in the fridge. From Raw Magic, published by Process Media, Nov 2012
Kate Magic Christmas Sweets Like miniature Christmas puddings!
Christmas Cacaoslaw Adding a sprinkle of cacao nibs to any salad lifts it to a whole new level. Coleslaw is such a basic it can become boring, but start adding superfoods to all your meals, and the word ‘boring’ starts to disappear from your vocabulary. Serves 4/Food processor & blender required/Takes 15 minutes
2 carrots 1 apple ½ red onion 200 g or 2 cups brussel sprouts 2 avocados 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar pinch salt 1 clove garlic 1 tsp purple corn extract (optional) 125 ml or ½ cup water 75 g or ½ cup cacao nibs
Makes 25 sweets/Food grinder and food processor required/Takes 30 minutes
125 g (4 oz) almonds 125 g (4 oz) dried figs 125 g (4 oz) raisins 1 tsp cinnamon juice ½ orange pinch ground cloves pinch grated nutmeg
Grind your almonds in a food grinder or high power blender. Remove them and grind the figs and raisins together. Then either transfer all the ingredients to a food processor, or a large mixing bowl. In a food processor, keep processing for a minute until they form one large sticky ball. In a bowl, you’re best mixing them by hand or with a wooden spoon. Shape into individual balls about 15g each. Roll them in raw chocolate powder or carob if you like for even more fun. Store in the fridge in an airtight container, will keep for up to 2 months. From Eat Smart Eat Raw, published by Grub Street 2002
Top and tail the carrots. Quarter the apples and remove the core. Finely grate the carrots, apple, onion and brussel sprouts. To make the mayonnaise, blend the avocados, vinegar, salt, garlic, purple corn extract and water. Toss the vegetables in the mayonnaise, along with the nibs. This salad will keep for a day or two, as the vegetables soften and the flavours deepen.
Kate Magic is a raw food expert, mother to three boys, founder of Raw Living, and author of several best-selling books on the raw lifestyle. rawliving.eu • katesmagicbubble.com
From Raw Magic, published by Process Media, Nov 2012
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
collector of beautiful throw-outs... by Jessica Jackson Next time you find something in a hedgerow, behind an old factory building or in that old box of stuff you have finally got round to sorting through – look at it a bit harder, forget its obvious purpose, is it an interesting shape? What is it made of? William Morris said: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” I attempt to make the useless useful and beautify the overlooked. I’ve finally admitted to myself that I am a collector – and always have been. I don’t keep old chip papers in a filing system but I did, for example, find it impossible to throw away the beautifully coloured ribbons that I’d cut out of clothes. I had visions of a workshop with shelves of jars filled with different colourful things I might one day need. I now have shelves of car parts, broken instruments, dials, pipes, wheels, wingnuts, soldering and welding equipment etc. To me, these are all beautiful in their own way. The process of upcycling is deemed better for the environment than recycling where large amounts of energy are used to break something down into its component parts – instead by adding something, you can add value. Finding a new use for something that has served its purpose is the main theme behind my work, seeing aesthetic quality in something most might consider worthless or useless – allowing the objects to dictate their journey into the designs and seeing what phoenix might rise up out of the scrap. Upcycling is the new black. The designs reflect my many ties to nature which I think happens by accident when you are inspired by something. Yours may be travel or family. I enjoy the parallels between industrial parts, geometry and the natural world. This is probably why the work has been described as ‘somewhere between Heath Robinson’s fantastical inventions and the lines of Art Deco’. I am a sculptor to some degree but interest in my surroundings in terms of interiors has collided with my magpie tendencies and bore a new beast, and a creative endeavour for me. I still work part time in a vintage clothes shop and a film bar for financial security but most days, and often the best days I’m out hunting and gathering or in my workshop designing and making. Being a social enterprise fits with my ethos and I run workshops for people from disadvantaged groups as well as donating a percentage of profits to charitable organisations. www.jessicafoundit.com
12 inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
discovering my voice by Steph Codsi If I was to give you a map of my journey through poetry and song, I think you’d be lost. Poetry has, throughout time immemorial, been associated more with inspiration than intention. And this is what happened to me one day 15 years ago. This is no anniversary, but rather a marker of time to tell you why writing poetry has been important to me. Like the rain, the first drop of a poem came suddenly and continued pouring down its words. The experience is somewhat like being – as far as I can imagine - in a state of frenzy. There is no desire to write about this or that, but rather an itch or a pain to get something out. More often than not, there is no narrative – but there is an internal structure of sound and image. And I guess this is where it evolved into song and music. I’ve discovered my voice (this, on the other hand, has no specific time-frame) and the writing of some poems became their composition into songs. Often, there are two versions: the poem, and its sister, the song. This change lifts the words off the page and back into my body. It is a constant creative movement through mind, page, voice and ear. But it comes when it wants to, like an uninvited guest – and one I cannot (nor want to) turn away.
the school of life...
In the bustle of our daily life, our creative inner voice is barely heard. But one place that really makes that voice sing is the School of Life: www.theschooloflife.com. Some may shy away from the word ‘school’, but this educational establishment puts the ‘cool’ back in school; its purpose is to foster and promote a better lifestyle through dealing with fundamentally human issues. Right in the heart of London, the School’s varied menu of workshops and talks will add some gold to the winter blues. ‘Making Sounds with the City’ (in November) is one of the more unusual classes available. You’ll make acoustic compositions with city sounds by exploring the instrument of voice and body to harmonise with your surroundings. On another note, engage in storytelling with ‘Tales and Cocktails’ alongside a world-renowned storyteller in the atmospheric Hoxton Music Hall. After he weaves his delightful wordsmithery, explore your own tales with fellow participants. Unearth your creative self and let it bloom at the School of Life.
communities by Kara Lewis
planting seeds in urban zones Gazing out across the sprawling green landscape of Colliers Wood, it is hard to imagine this woodland area, on the outskirts of Manchester, once was home to Moorgreen colliery. Today, Mancunians flock here to wander through the tree-encrusted forest and enjoy recreational activities in a natural environment; thanks to the work of Red Rose Forest – www.redroseforest.co.uk. Up and running since 1991, Red Rose Forest is an environmental regeneration initiative that works to create and maintain green infrastructure across central and western Greater Manchester area. This includes all green assets from gardens and parks to woodland areas and street trees, making sure no leaf is left unturned. “Community engagement is at the heart of what we do,” says Tony Hothersall, Red Rose Forest Director, “involving local people, groups and businesses in improving their local environment.” To facilitate these aims, Green Streets and Little Green Roofs are two projects it has set up which reach out and encourage communities to become active in their environment. The Green Streets team works to improve the quality of life for
urban neighbourhoods through planting street trees in built up areas. The impact of such a simple addition can be huge; improving social, health, and economic issues. In Trafford, one recent scheme alone has seen more than 120 trees planted in Broadheath and Old Trafford! “They make the neighbourhood look much nicer and give everyone a real boost,” says Christian Tiede, a local resident. Planting trees reduces dust, filters vehicle-borne carbon emissions and reduces energy consumption for residents. With the help of community members, ornamental tree varieties were planted across 10 different streets.
is fantastic,” says Gerry Constant, Stanley Grove’s Head Teacher. “Children get involved with looking after the garden. They learn important practical lessons about wildlife, biodiversity and the impacts of climate change.” Bringing plants to free spaces and energising communities to work together in maintaining the nurseries, Little Green Roofs is instigating big changes to small places.
The Little Green Roofs project has been creating green roof top gardens on small, uninhabited communal buildings like bike sheds and allotment huts in order to increase bio-diversity and reduce the impact of climate change. Schools involvement in the program has helped encourage younger generations to become more in tune with their surroundings. On top of the toy shed at Stanley Grove Community Primary School sits a mini garden, compliments of the Little Green Roofs Project. “This project
Red Rose Forest is one of 12 Community Forests across England. “We believe passionately that greener towns and cities are better places for everyone,” says Tony. “It’s about meeting the challenges of climate change, engaging communities and improving where we live.” With over 3 million trees planted over the last two decades, Red Rose Forest has breathed life into a city once covered with concrete. From the tree-lined streets of Trafford to the wild thickets of Colliers Woods, Greater Manchester has now become a greener and more pleasant place to reside.
pedal your way to happiness “Cycling ticks so many boxes. It is environmentally friendly, has excellent health benefits and it’s cheap,” says Fred Ellis. With this motto in mind Fred founded Pedal4Health – www.pedal4health.co.uk – to promote cycling in South London, Surrey and West Sussex. Funding granted from local councils and major charities such as Sport Relief has helped sustain Pedal4Health’s mission to provide free courses on bicycle training and road safety, as well as organised cycling expeditions. After leaving the NHS, Fred embarked on a journey to spread his passion for cycling and to encourage people to get out on the road. Since 2007 Pedal4Health has run courses for people of all ages. “We really target people who don’t think they can learn to cycle or who are nervous about cycling,” says Fred. When Caroline, a mother in South London, who had never
learnt to ride a bike, watched her six-yearold cycle without stablisers she realised it was time she took action. “I was really nervous and a bit embarrassed that at 35 years of age, I still couldn’t ride a bike,” explains Caroline. “Fred got me pedaling away on the very first session, and now I’m riding my bike every weekend alongside my little girl.” Fred’s ability to put people at ease has led to the success of many special programmes he has held for previously neglected minority groups. Pedal4Health events for child refugees have acted as a gateway to help recent arrivals adjust to a positive new life. Refugee Action Kingston works closely with Fred by referring new arrivals to his programme. “Some of the young people have only been in the country a few weeks,” they reported. “For some it was the first time they have been on a bike, so for these children it was a really special day.”
Apart from teaching people to cycle, Fred hopes his project will give people the confidence to learn new skills, at any point in life. Attendance age has ranged from 5 to 75-years-old! Fred emphasises that Pedal4Health hopes to pass on his love for cycling and drum-up a lifetime affection for the sport without the competitive edge. In 2009 Pedal4Health won the Green Project at the Wandsworth Green and Heartbeat Awards. Since its foundation, Pedal4Health has paved the way to a greener and healthier lifestyle for many... two wheels at a time.
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social policy social action
With welfare cuts, funding slashes and rather woolly Big Society policies, just how are our communities being affected? Cat Ford investigates. Whether we like it or not, the social policies and state provisions made by past governments in previous decades, those which Danny Boyle chose to commend and commemorate at this summer’s Olympic opening ceremony, are not likely to be adopted by our current government any time soon. It is hard to reconcile the erosion of welfare provision and the closure (thanks to sudden shifts in the allocation of government funding) of numerous projects that help the most disadvantaged members of our communities with a vision in which compassion, collective endeavour and mutual cooperation are guiding ideals. We have entered a period in which the government’s social policy is failing us as a society, and must therefore lionize and applaud successful, social activism. But we also have a responsibility to highlight the areas in which social activism will not suffice by itself, and to lobby government in order to foster meaningful change. This is not, of course, to say all hope is lost – far from it. It is merely to acknowledge that, thanks to Danny Boyle’s rather clever choreography, Cameron’s vision for a Big Society is looking less convincing than ever. On the one hand, we have Boyle’s championing of the NHS as a bastion of what it means to be British, and on the other, the strategic reshaping of welfare provision by the current Conservative government.
keeping it vague
The Big Society policy, launched by the Conservative Party in 2010, includes (according to the Cabinet Office website) proposals aimed at creating ‘a climate that empowers local people and communities’ by minimising governmental involvement at a neighbourhood level. Roundly criticised for being too vague, in his book Faith in the Public Square, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, describes the Big Society as
‘aspirational waffle designed to conceal a deeply damaging withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities to the most vulnerable’. In other words, Cameron’s vision might be viewed merely as a way of justifying the recent lacerations inflicted on the welfare budget – a spoonful of sugar deftly administered in order to help the medicine go down. Genuine social activism and the banding together of community members to set up endeavours for their collective betterment, however, are historically rooted in far sounder soil.
emerge out of practical responses to financial constraints.
keeping it real
soaking up the deficit
Luckily, many individuals working with clients on a daily basis, on behalf of charitable organisations and community groups, are adept at making a jug full of lemonade out of a handful of lemons. Their passion, resourcefulness and insight into the often complex needs of the people they work with are valuable assets in terms of beginning to think about building a better, fairer and more sustainable future. The regional children’s charity Children North East, for example, has established a scheme it is calling ‘Bus Buddies’, through which youth volunteers work alongside young people with special educational needs in order to help them use public transport as a way of getting to and from school or college. Not only does this foster a greater degree of mutual understanding, friendship, and independence, it simultaneously curtails the demand on local authorities to provide taxi fares. “Councils are very interested in this as most spend huge amounts on taxi fares,” says Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive of Children North East. “A great many voluntary organisations for children, young people and families are currently re-thinking their role and how they will adapt to the changing world around them.” Such considerations represent something of a turning point for many charitable organisations – questions regarding integrity and identity quickly
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Adjacent to this, Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the disability charity Scope, recently posted a blog calling into question the subject of ‘super-absorbency’ – the assumption that wherever a budget cut is made, it is charity’s responsibility to step in and provide the missing services. Acknowledging that thousands of disabled people are reliant on the state for financial support, and that the government is slashing exactly these kinds of budgets, Richard addresses the question of whether or not Scope should attempt to make up the shortfall. “We want to bring about positive changes that can make this country a better place for disabled people and their families,” he argues. “This does not mean that we have to run services. In fact we don’t actually have to exist at all. But we chose to run services because we believe this is one of the most powerful ways of driving positive change.” Richard goes on to suggest that if Scope were
“Our lobbying and campaigning can make the Government’s commitment to disabled people stronger” to subsidise support that the state has a duty to provide, disabled people’s hard-won rights to a proper standard of living would be denigrated in so much as support and care would depend solely on the charitable benevolence of others. This, in his opinion, would be a huge step backwards. What is an option, however, is more direct and solution-focussed lobbying: “Our lobbying and campaigning can make the Government’s commitment to disabled people stronger,” he concludes. However, as the state retreats, yawning gaps in public services are increasingly apparent. I recently spoke with Emma Murray, Manager of NW Bristol Foodbank, about the ways in which government policy has impacted upon the project. “From our point of view, we can see government services gradually closing down or cutting back in our geographical area of work as well as seeing many more clients struggling with cuts to benefits,” she observed. “This has increased the use of our service.” Regarding the Foodbank as an ‘emergency only service’, Emma, like Richard, takes issue with the idea that food banks may come to replace essential public services. “We can provide a stop gap whilst the emergency services resolve clients’ crisis,” she states emphatically. “We in no way can see ourselves replacing any of these services.” NW Bristol Foodbank, like many charities, relies almost solely on donations and
Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of Scope volunteers to survive. “By working together, it means that even the person who can only donate one tin of food per month, is part of making a difference,” Emma points out. As well as emergency provisions, the Foodbank also strives to provide a warm welcome, listening ear and cup of tea to anyone who uses the service – the kind of practical assistance which improves afternoons as well as equipping people for the days to come. But such charities do not exist in a vacuum and we must ask ourselves why, in one of the most affluent nations in the world, are individuals – even those in employment – living in food poverty at all?
cost of living
The Living Wage Campaign, a national campaign launched in 2001 by London Citizens, calls for every worker in the country to earn enough to provide their family with the essentials of life. An hourly rate set independently every year; the figure currently stands at £8.30 in London and £7.20 elsewhere. So far, the campaign has secured over seventy million pounds worth of living wages through work with some of the country’s major employers, lifting more than 10,000 families out of poverty. On a basic level, living wages have enabled people to take the Tube instead of the bus to work, shaving several hours off their daily commute, meaning they have more time to spend with their families. Political and business leaders don’t often embrace
change unless pressured by the people they serve, and drawing on the power of person-to-person organising, the Living Wage Campaign is able to build upon the local power necessary to generate national change.
The issues facing society are, of course, complex and multifaceted, and no single approach is going to suffice in terms of finding a workable solution. Instead we must look to methods that involve genuine integration, cooperation and mutuality; methods that capitalise upon the expertise of people working within their communities (who understand the fault lines and funding issues) whilst acknowledging that the state will always have an important role to play when it comes to the provision of essential services such as education and health care. Whilst the idea of building a Big Society is freighted with political and ideological baggage, creating a fairer society, a more sustainable society, and a more civically active society remains both plausible and possible. If we continue to work together, maintain high expectations and ask the right questions of our representatives in government, we can and will make a difference. In the words of Eric J Hobsbawm, “I think we need to defend what most people think basically needs defending and that is the provision of some form of welfare from the cradle to the grave.”
inspiring getaways by Abby Pickles
eco-volunteering ‘Chop and chill’ on a holiday that vows to teach you new conservation skills. Meet like-minded friends on a break like no other, and help The Conservation Volunteers on their next challenge! The Conservation Volunteers – www.tcv.org.uk – are a dedicated charity with a vision to look after the UK’s precious greenery. Opportunities arise for people of all ages, inspiring them to learn new skills through volunteering and national holidays, developing programmes that will not only impact the environment, but can enhance your life. With over 200 different holidays arranged every year, TCV love to see fresh faces at their national conservation vacations. Embark on a break to the South Coast, surrounded by the New Forest’s natural greenery and ponds filled with unseen
wildlife. Stimulate your senses - listen to the birds sing as the sun streams through the woodland’s natural canopy with the backdrop of autumn’s familiar warmth. Learn to construct paths and clear ponds, along with other outdoor tasks for you to get stuck into. Wind down with rejuvenating yoga lessons and drumming workshops whilst gathering together around welcoming campfires. This is but one of their holiday spots. Join the team as they complete their year of work in the ancient city of Spoleto, Italy’s ‘green heart’, another destination promising an intriguing adventure. Harvest olives on this sun-kissed hilltop, the ultimate choice for lovers of authentic Italian food. Each break with The Conservation Volunteers is unique; inspiring you to embrace new conservation skills, form life-long friendships and embark on an adventure that could change our planet.
As the rich red autumn leaves fall, it’s time to bid farewell to the British Summer by embracing the inviting log fires and wildlife walks of Suffolk, a hidden county. For a snug weekend of camping, applaud the wonders of Suffolk’s often overlooked landscape. Nestled amongst the county’s untouched greenery, Alde Garden’s unusual campsite www.aldegarden.co.uk - boasts a unique array of quirky yurts,
16 inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
tipis and even gypsy caravans! The accommodation and its surroundings provide the perfect bed for both you and the primitive wildlife. Not only can you borrow bikes and feed the ducks but you can ‘help yourself’ to the campsite’s fresh herbs, giving you a real taste for the British countryside. For those who prefer the comforts of a hotel and spa, Ufford Park – www.uffordpark.co.uk – a developing member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, is set in 120 acres of tranquil, beautiful parkland. Supporting community projects along with achieving a silver award for its green efforts, it’s ideal cure for any winter blues! Once awoken from a peaceful night’s sleep, venture through Suffolk’s alluring market towns. An inviting community offers locally produced clothing and crafts, along with tasty cheeses and homemade novelties. Settle down for an afternoon at Dunwich’s much applauded pub, The
Ship Inn. Located in close proximity to the North Sea coast, its crackling log fires make it an idyllic spot for warming your cockles after an autumn’s day on the beach. Suffolk presents some events which are perfect for inner discovery as well as exploring its stunning natural scenery. Health Walks (23rd October) - www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk – pride themselves on being a ‘walk with a difference’. Delve into the historic county’s wildlife whilst meeting new friends, and discover a completely new world. Local seaside town, Aldeburgh, hosts an annual poetry festival that is just as enchanting (2nd – 4th November). The weekend unites each of its visitors offering great insight into some of the world’s literary treasures, stretching from America to South Korea. Celebrate Yuletide with Charles Dickens at Suffolk’s ‘A Dickensian Christmas’ (15th – 22nd December) - www.kentwell.co.uk. Listen to a reading of Dicken’s famous novel, A Christmas Carol, and watch Scrooge’s historic transformation as he turns the festive season from hellish to heavenly. Suffolk is waiting to be unearthed. It’s a perfect place to watch the seasons change from autumn’s warm reds to wintry whites.
Christmas Retreat 16 - 21 December
Do you feel that Christmas has become a time of consumersim and spiritual hollowness? Come to Schumacher College on the days leading up to Christmas to centre yourself in community and gain a sense of connection with nature, the land and each other at this important time in the yearly cycle. We will go for wintery walks, sit by the ďŹ re, bake Christmas cake, create heart-felt gifts with our hands, meditate, and talk together in circle about our experiences and hopes. Basic fee of ÂŁ300 plus donation (includes accommodation and food)
Tel: +44 (0)1803 865934 www.schumachercollege.org.uk www.schumachercollege.org.uk
festivals & events October
Holistic Harmony Festival, 7th. Northumberland. An afternoon of holistic therapies, home-made crafts, crystals, herbalism and tarot-reading. Take part in free workshops including working with native American medicine wheels. www.pureholisticharmony.co.uk Big Green Home Show, 26th – 28th. Swindon. The UK’s largest eco-friendly home show dedicated to self-builders and renovators. With a host of demos and talks to inspire any green-minded homeimprover. www.buildstore.co.uk The Yoga Show, 26th – 28th. London Olympia. For all things yoga, this is the place to be. From classes to lectures – stretch your body and mind plus nourish the soul. www.omyogashow.com West Midlands Vegan Festival, 27th. Wolverhampton. Learn more about the vegan lifestyle at this one-day fest. Over a hundred stalls selling clothes, cosmetics and oodles of tasty food. www.veganmidlands.org.uk
The Big Green Market, 1st – 4th. York. An ethical goods festival, with Fairtrade and handmade crafts, recycled products, locally sourced food and live music. www.biggreenmarket.co.uk Buy Nothing Day, 24th. Turn your back on consumerism, put away your wallets and challenge corporations to be greener. www.buynothingday.co.uk Bath Christmas Market, 22nd Nov – 9th Dec. Bath. For handmade and unique gifts, this market offers all things Christmassy. The wooden chalet stalls are lit up at night, giving it an appropriately festive air. www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk
Carols by Candlelight, 23rd. Royal Albert Hall, London. An orchestra dressed in eighteenth-century costumes play Handel, Vivaldi and Bach. If you’re in the Big Smoke for Christmas, come and be mesmerised by music and candlelight. www.royalalberthall.com
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autumn 2012: stay connected 26th-28th October: The Big Green Home Show This year the government will launch its flagship policy for ‘energy refurbishment’ known as the Green Deal, a policy to improve the energy efficiency of businesses and households. This will be initially funded by the government, but repaid through the savings made from lower energy bills over time. With that in mind, what better time to think about making your own home or business more eco-friendly, saving some cash at the same time? The Big Green Home Show is now in its fifth year, with scores of exhibitions and seminars to help you create a more eco-friendly environment. From retrofitting solar panels to building a zero-carbon home from scratch, you’ll find everything you need. It is the largest ecobuild exhibition in the UK and is known to house the finest experts in the country. So wherever you are in your own eco-project, you’ll find helpful ideas and impartial advice. Held in Swindon’s National Self Build and Renovation Centre, you get free tickets by booking in advance. And for those of you who are strapped for cash, the new government incentive may mean that even the thriftiest homeowner can still benefit from a greener household. www.buildstore.co.uk
24th November: Buy Nothing Day A 24 hour consumer detox is due to take place on Saturday 24th November. A day when we put the credit card down and remind ourselves that the best things in life really can be free. Started by Adbusters in the 90s, Buy Nothing Day was created to raise awareness of global consumerism and its affect on the rest of the world through pollution, extortion of labour, and a skewed distribution of wealth. Participating is as simple as sitting on your sofa, as long as you can refrain from the ‘buy now’ button on ebay. If you want to be more involved there are a variety of events running all over the country, such as clothes swaps, free food tasting, seminars on low-cost living, and ‘zombie shoppers’. If there’s nothing in your area, why not organise something? The website - www.buynothingday.co.uk - has a toolkit with everything you need to get started. Pioneering penniless patrons, such as ‘Moneyless Man’ Mark Boyle who has lived without sterling for over 2 years, can also offer inspiration. Mark is the creator of the Freeconomy Community – www.justfortheloveofit.org – now in its fifth year, spanning over 160 countries with 42,000 members. The site is dedicated to skills, tools, and space sharing, while never exchanging money. Designed to bring a community together championing the simple concept that people naturally want to help and share. Check out his new book ‘Moneyless Manifesto’ for a blueprint to this lifestyle choice. Critics argue that Buy Nothing Day puts consuming off for just one day; but its purpose is to challenge the way we think about consumerism and Corporate Responsibility. As consumers, we need to be aware of what we are buying and how it effects the world we live in. Buy Nothing Day is a great reminder that we are not as reliant on global corporations and a monetary system as we may previously think.
The diversity of our humble British apple is under threat and October’s annual Apple Day aims to give us a taste of what we’re missing! Leaving a much sweeter taste in the mouth than our current credit crunch, Steph Codsi reports.
Apple Day? The first time I heard of it, I thought it was a computer company venture. Who’d have thought it was actually about fruit? So what exactly is Apple Day, and why does it warrant a day in the calendar? From its roots in a Covent Garden market back in 1990, it has grown exponentially into something of a local custom in many villages and city markets around the country. Celebrated on the 21st October, it turns out that Apple Day represents something of an ethical lifestyle. A festivity of variety is what the founders had in mind, not only in the fruit, but in culture and ecology too. They rightly understood that people were ‘in danger of losing’ an awareness of diversity, as well as locality.
take your pick
Many farmers’ markets have suffered as a result of the quick and convenient supermarket chains that sell the generic apple (Gala, Granny Smith etc.). But who has heard of the Ashmead’s Kernel or the Cornish Gilliflower? We know the variety of cheeses we consume, so why not the subtler taste of apples? Perhaps our busy and frenetic lives mean that we don’t have time to step out of what we already know – an apple is an apple, right? Yes, but it’s more than that. Just like you, it has its own unique characteristics. Supermarkets often discard weird shapes and sizes, in favour of the standard symmetrical apple. What’s wrong with nonconformity? We’re all familiar with the crunch that goes with the first bite of an apple, but if you go to an Apple Day event, you’ll be surprised at the range of texture and taste. From velvety sweetness, to a sharp acidity or smooth aromatic flavour, there is something to suit every taste bud. Some of the more unusual ones are the Rosette with its rosy flesh and pink juice, and the Spartan – a late-ripening apple with a maroon hue. It’s sure to be one of the varieties on offer at your local Apple Day festival, since the apple ripens in October.
a bit of fizz
And what exactly happens on the day? A rich display of every apple under the sun – tasting of the fruit in its pure form or as chutneys, pies, ciders and juices. There’s music, poetry readings, photography, and an enthusiastic buzz of the crowd (and of bees!). Perfect for a family day-out, or for a browse around with some pals. Get back to grassroots and rediscover the apple at
this traditional festivity. The apple’s had a modern makeover since Newton’s eureka moment and the story of Eve! So where do these events take place and who organises them? It’s not only orchards and farms that are involved, so too are National Trust properties, horticultural societies, and the day is a focus for health campaigns. You’ll find that some schools and shops have also jumped on the bandwagon, so you’re never short of resources. For those of you who’d like to create your very own Apple Day event, head to the Common Ground website for colourful and bountiful ideas. Apples have been part of our culture since biblical times and with our sense of community spirit, variety will continue to flourish.
Ode to the Apple... My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree Toward heaven still. And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples; I am drowsing off. I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed this morning from the water-trough, And held against the world of hoary grass. It melted, and I let it fall and break. But I was well Upon my way to sleep before it fell, And I could tell What form my dreaming was about to take. Magnified apples appear and reappear, Stem end and blossom end, And every fleck of russet showing clear. My instep arch not only keeps the ache, It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin That rumbling sound Of load on load of apples coming in.
An excerpt from ‘After Apple Picking’ by Robert Frost
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save the whales
by Andy Wills
green skills Cherry Wood – www.cherrywoodproject.co.uk – an off-grid, sustainable woodland project just outside of Bath, teaches green woodwork, bushcraft and coppice skills. Make wooden chairs, mud ovens, and weave elm bark whilst surrounded by 40 acres of sustainably managed forest. Stay in a rustic log cabin complete with a wood burner – lessons on making your own charcoal will provide the fuel to keep you warm during the wintry nights. Loosen your limbs with a session of yoga in the morning and dine al fresco come evening whilst listening to sacred drumming. Just make sure you’ve finished carving your spoon before dinner!
donate a ‘miracle’ tree With Christmas in sight, international development organisation Tree Aid – www.treeaid.org.uk – is asking people to shave a foot off their festive firs and donate a ‘miracle’ tree to Africa. Purchasing a Christmas tree just a foot shorter saves you around £10 – enough to purchase one of a variety of trees to help feed African communities. One option is the moringa (or ‘miracle’) tree – the fruit contains more protein than peas, more beta-carotene than carrots, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas and more iron than spinach. Simply donating the savings from a shorter tree will provide a whole family with vital nutrition for a lifetime. In rural areas of Africa where vegetables grow for only a few months of the year, these drought-resistant trees will provide fruit all year round. Start a Christmas miracle; shave a foot off your fir and give a family a tree that will provide for years to come.
Back in 1982, 39 world governments voted to suspend whale hunting whilst attending the International Whaling Commission conference held in Brighton’s Hilton Metropole. 30 years later, Whalefest – www.whale-fest.com – is back at the iconic venue that gave birth to this movement, celebrating ‘Whale Week’. Dedicated to inspiring the next generation, this festival is creating a global community to protect and sustain marine life – www.whalewatch.org. The World Whale Conference commences on 25th October with a campaign to centralise marine protection areas. Introducing new technology SeaSketch, an opensource, online mapping tool, similar to social media sites. SeaSketch allows anyone to upload designs for potential protected areas and receive feedback on marine planning and the impacts of proposed sketches. The event will be headed by influential keynote speakers such as Erich Hoyt, researcher at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, and Dylan Walker, head of Planet Whale. Cetaceans will be taking over Brighton leading up to the festival with Whalefest Fringe – a week of music, art and performance, organised by BBC presenter Phillip Hoare. Follow the ‘Whale Trail’ by local artist John Ives – www.jivesart.com, wander from the train station toward the beach exploring local marine life, or make for the museum and test your knowledge in the children’s video quiz. To whet your appetite, there are 50-minute taster sessions over the weekend, and afterwards, sit back and relax to Ocean Storytelling and the ‘Cinema of the Sea’ for some nautical entertainment.
schools in the market Recently, the Soil Association has been involved in lesson planning, bringing the traditional farmers’ market to the school playground. Pupil-led market stalls are appearing in schools nationwide, providing children with the opportunity to learn not only about produce and where food comes from, but about the business of managing a market stall. Skills developed while running the stall have been incorporated into the classroom so that maths, literacy, science and business skills all have a practical application. As well as making teen-entrepreneurs, it has brought local farmers closer to the public and provides the school extra revenue for more sustainable projects.
The weekend concludes with talks from celebrities and wildlife experts, as well as virtual whale watching, lifesized inflatable whales, and a guided tour through the belly of ‘Lola’, the sperm whale. If you’re not beached after the weekend, the Duke of York’s Picturehouse is showing three inspirational movies, including ‘Keiko’, the awardwinning true story about the Free Willy star’s release from captivity. This milestone event furthers the groundwork laid 30 years ago and strives to consolidate whale protection for generations to come.
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”
Mohandas K. Gandhi
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
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A New Pat Amelia Lake digs deep to discover a world of compassion and love at the root of true sustainability.
light bulb moment What were you doing in August 2009? I was 22 and had just made the biggest commitment of my life. No not marriage or a mortgage, bigger than that. I had become a landowner. It was now my responsibility to care for a small patch of land and all the living things in it. Standing on this patch for the first time was the pinnacle of a lifetime striving towards sustainability. Writing environmental magazines at primary school, out campaigning with Greenpeace at secondary school and as an adult cycling to work, sourcing a renewable energy supplier, buying organic and fair-trade products and supporting international charities. Like many readers my whole life had long revolved around negating the negative environmental and social impact my being on Earth had. I was frustrated with the slow pace of change in society and felt like something more was required. By taking this patch of poor agricultural land and creating a highly productive and biodiverse space, which acted as a flagship for sustainable land management, I would leave something positive which might help us steer this ship on course. Many of you will be familiar with the sorts of things I have put in place to make my vision a reality. From natural bee-keeping, green manure, tree planting, habitat conservation, water collection, coppicing etc. And oh it can be hard work, planting trees in the cold December wind and rain. Giving up those summer days sunbathing to water and weed is also far from idyllic. But I was convinced that if we all made these changes to our lives we would be on the right path. I doggedly continued to fight through extreme weather, naysayers, pests and disease to create this example of sustainable living I felt was needed.
Somewhere along the line, slowly perhaps, I realised that I had my focus wrong. I had a light bulb moment after giving a presentation whilst studying to be a teacher. I was to give a talk to my fellow trainee teachers on Steiner education, an alternative system which, as do many, I strongly feel is preferable to mainstream education. Having spent many hours with these people, plugging the possibility of taking an alternative view on education unsuccessfully, I knew my talk would fall on deaf ears. I was tired and frustrated at what seemed to be closed mindedness and I went into the talk with a negative attitude. I gave the talk with minimal effort and enthusiasm, without investing any of my emotions in it for fear of, yet again, being knocked down. My presentation raised as much enthusiasm for the subject as I had shown for it. I had closed my heart before I even began speaking and lost the opportunity to open minds. Not long after it dawned on me that I could cycle to work every day, buy organic and fair-trade, plant my little patch of paradise, but if I live my life with a closed heart all those positive actions are in the shadow. I had been treating sustainability as an entirely technical and practical issue. Indeed many physical systems will need to change if we are to limit the environmental and social damage we cause, including the monetary system and the energy system. However, it is clear that if we are to solve these most challenging issues we need to go beyond technology and policy and begin to place these issues firmly within the realm of our hearts.
Now this realisation wasn’t well received by me to begin with. It is much more palatable to believe that with a few more allotments and wind turbines, a better government, perhaps we will be
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
neatly on the path to sustainability. However in reality, although those are vital, it is our intent which is most important. I had spent the best part of my life so far campaigning, growing, saving energy; I hadn’t once thought to nurture my emotional, personal or spiritual credentials. I hadn’t acknowledged the emotional and spiritual core of sustainability, or myself. I feel that I had been searching for a quick fix when in reality if we are going to turn the tide on our social and environmental crises, we need to look deep within ourselves and not just to the ‘eco-living’ aisle in the supermarket. Changes need to come from the heart not the head. We need to challenge who we are as a society and explore alternative pathways if necessary. Eminent scientists in the Club of Rome who famously wrote The Limits to Growth in 1972, updated 30 years on with the conclusion that more than anything else, love is required to steer this ship from disaster. When I started digging I found a whole host of voices calling for us to take a more value driven, spiritual, slow approach to sustainability including the WWF and Buddhist groups.
changing our minds
Exploring the spiritual and emotional aspects of sustainability has thrown up some unexpected and much welcomed side effects. The most significant of these is happiness. I met Paul Murray, expert in Education for Sustainable Development, who stated that adjusting our values and living a sustainable life might take a lifetime to achieve. Similarly through meditation classes I found that Buddhism teaches that because happiness can only be found in our minds it may take a lifetime to achieve. This can seem overwhelming at first but it soon fades and becomes empowering, the pressure is off. Working towards sustainability in a slow but grounded and focused way is far more likely to be successful than
th... haphazardly implementing techno-fixes. Focusing on Buddhist teachings of compassion and loving-kindness has been a greater challenge even than trying to grow trees in salty winds. Retraining the mind away from seeking happiness in external things and towards one which seeks to show compassion to all people (yes including bankers and professional footballers!) is a long and hard task. However I have found that through trying to approach each day with an open heart instead of frustration has had a huge impact on my ability to effect change. It seems obvious to me now that we cannot expect to live in a world of social and environmental justice if we cannot show small and simple acts of compassion.
the inner search for sustaina b i l it y aid us on our journey and not the journey itself.. We discover true sustainability when stopping, listening, looking and searching deep into our hearts for that feeling that we are walking the right path. Amelia is a sustainability focused educator and would welcome comments/queries: email@example.com
on the path
Today my work towards sustainability is as much focused towards compassion and love as it is on making physical changes to my land. I am still taking on big practical challenges like managing the land without any fossil fuel input, but meditation has taken me so much further along the path to sustainability than any physical action. I thought that becoming the guardian of four acres was the largest commitment and challenge I’d face. Having taken the first few steps on the path of inner sustainability I realise that in fact living a life of love and compassion is far more challenging, but fortunately even more rewarding than any prize crop of vegetables! By focusing on my inner actions as well as my outer ones I have more clarity on decision making and all my practical efforts are so much more meaningful now that they are initiated by my heart. We don’t know what a sustainable society will look like, but as Einstein said: “We cannot solve a problem with the same thinking which caused it.” Whereas once I found myself searching for sustainability in a green shopping catalogue or the bottom of my compost bin, I now understand these are simply the tools to
inspired times issue
s r e l l fi g n i stock Fat Bird – £3.99
Flown all the way from Dragons Den, Max McMurdo has a genius way to save your sinks, and keep the visiting birds buxom this winter. Save that leftover fat and make a ‘Merry Christmas’ cupcake for your feathered friends - they’ll thank you for it! www.reestore.com
Under the Sea Cookie Cutters – £3.00 Make a splash in the kitchen with these under the sea cookie cutters! Proceeds from online shop orders support the Natural History Museum’s research into understanding tropical diseases and conserving the biodiversity of our planet – which means guilt free scoffs. A cute stocking filler, or a great way to treat yourself during the festive season. www.nhmshop.co.uk
Organic Catnip Mouse – £3.99
Seed Bomb – £5.00
Bring out the guerrilla gardener in you with these wildflower seed bombs. Simply prepare and throw into any piece of drab wasteland, protected until conditions are right when they will then explode into colour! www.edenproject.com/shop
Mooji Guided Meditation CD – £10.00
Discerning moggies will go wild for one of these delightful, handmade mice this Christmas. Stuffed with organic catnip; its shape is just right for flipping and chasing. Made from an array of reclaimed vintage fabrics, we think a catnip mouse would make the purrfect present for your favourite feline friend. www.ecoutlet.co.uk
At a time of peace and good will, give a guided meditation CD as a gift. Help someone special in your life discover inner peace and space. This deep and beautiful guided inquiry with Mooji explains the purpose of inquiry and guides the listener into effortless stillness. www.mooji.org/shop
6 in 1 Solar Toy – £12.95
Let the little ones in your life harness the energy of the sun’s rays with this amazing, adaptable solar toy. Six great solar toys can be assembled, all with moving parts powered by the solar panel. A great way to learn about and understand solar power. Note: for indoor fun a 50+ Watt halogen light bulb will power the models. www.ecofreak.co.uk
charity gifts Christmas is a time to open our hearts to others, but this year we are being encouraged to open our lungs. Christian Aid – www.christianaid.org.uk – is appealing for people to host a Big Christmas Sing in their local community, to raise funds for places in the world struck by poverty. Enjoying a Christmas meal may be of the more simple pleasures; just £10 will help Centrepoint – www.centrepoint.org.uk – give young people in the UK the utensils and appliances they need to cook their own festive dinner. While you’re spreading your Christmas cheer, why not save a Love Bug, or an Ugly Fish? Around £10 will help Greenpeace Giving – www. greenpeacegiving.org.uk – protect the world’s rainforests and aquatic life.
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
mas goodies Men’s Turbine T-Shirt – £18.37
Perfect for the boys! This beautiful organic t-shirt gives an eco message by Red Robot. The stylish cloth is made without pesticides and uses 50% less energy so the wearer can feel as good as they look. Made completely with organic ink and cotton. www.nigelsecostore.com
Alphabet Sun & Moon Jigsaw – £25
Help your child learn the ABC with this vibrant eco-friendly wooden jigsaw. From elephants to aeroplanes, the assortment of fun shaped pieces will have your little one reciting the alphabet in no time! www.myecostore.co.uk
Vintage Brandy Glass Vases – £25.00
Eclectic, distinctive and just a little bit different; these up-cycled antique brandy glasses have been transformed into vases by Re – a colourful little store who put an emphasis on creativity. Select your favourites from their range of emblematic, tattoo inspired designs including love hearts, horse shoes and all seeing eyes. www.re-foundobjects.com
Organic Booze Bundle – £30.13
Since Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a tipple or two, we’ve put together a boozy organic bundle from the Vintage Roots collection, with the festive season in mind. This great gift would suit a connoisseur seeking to sample an array of dry whites, full bodied reds and tasty ales, safe in the knowledge that only Santa Claus has to be up early the following morning. Pick your loved one’s favourites for a ‘tailored’ tipple gift. www.vintageroots.co.uk
Secret Garden Bracelet - £33
Hand-fashioned from thoughtfully selected, ethically sourced beads, this delicate braclet is destined to make someone’s Christmas. Easily transformed into a strking necklace with the simple addition of a detachable chain, this versatile little number is pretty as it is practical. www.hollybudge.com
Queen Cox Apple Tree – £39.99
More than an apple a day this Queen Cox apple tree is the perfect gift to celebrate Christmas. Standing approximately 5ft in height this tree produces lovely desert apples and flourishes in dry soils, particularly in the southern areas of the UK. This tree is deciduous, so it will not have leaves during the winter. www.tree2mydoor.com
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
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inspiring individuals Homelessness has many faces and most of us have seen at least a few. These sightings tend to move us even deeper during the colder months of the year. Katrina Slisane tells us of one man, Rudi Richardson, who tirelessly supports those on the streets. Whether it’s a bulging sleeping bag on the park bench or a long queue outside a soup kitchen early in the morning, it usually sparks compassion, curiosity or, possibly, a certain unease within us. And as the sharp cold air bites into our toes we appreciate the warmth of our home and the heartiness of our meals even more. For Rudi Richardson, the founder of the homeless charity Streetlytes – www.streetlytes.org – offering support is more than just a seasonal benevolence. His own homelessness lasted 20 years, so he understands the importance of both persistence and a hands-on approach within this type of charity, year round. For him, no job is too small and all roles are of equal importance. He’ll think nothing of standing in the winter’s cold, handing out portions of home-cooked meals to queues of people that never seem to cease. You’re equally likely to find him sipping a cuppa with a new arrival in one of the Streetlytes drop-in centres, to hear out those tangled life stories which often include personal tragedies and addictions. Having lived through a 32-year-long nightmare of his own, Rudi believes that along with daily bread or a clean set of clothes, it’s dignity and companionship these people really need. Born in prison during the times of post-war Germany, Rudi’s chances of a healthy family life were shattered after physical and sexual abuse in a foster home - the flashbacks of which still haunt him today. His life did seem to take a turn for the better after an American couple adopted him in Frankfurt, but the good times never lasted. Rudi and his sister were dragged into a roller-coaster ride of their adoptive mother’s drug addiction and unmanageability; a path that he would follow soon after. At the age of 16, drugs came to Rudi as a way of escaping the pain. Although he now refers to it as a ‘descent into the gates of hell’, he also admits that in a strange way, drugs actually kept him alive. Alternatively, he would have sought some other self-destructive way. “Addiction is a thin and transparent bandage which temporarily hides pain that will inevitably seep from its pores,” says Rudi. His own pain was evident to all those around him. In an attempt to turn things around, his foster parents made him join the U.S. Army. However, this ultimately worsened his drug addiction, whilst also triggering painful memories of his childhood. Life looked ready to take on a new face when Rudi married an American woman who gave him two beautiful daughters. However, their fifteen year-long marriage was bound to fail, due to what Rudi sees as his unmanageability and need for help. Their divorce marked the beginning of Rudi’s life on the streets, smoking crack and prostituting. He wound up in prisons and mental institutions until he was deported back to Europe. Coincidentally, it was the UK where, almost 50 years old at the time, Rudi found his salvation. Hungry and homeless, Rudi was caught stealing CDs in one of London’s HMV stores. As he was sat down at the police station
inspired times issue 14 autumn 2012
waiting to be processed, the arresting officer suddenly turned around with an unexpected question: “Would you like a cup of tea?” One of Britain’s smallest gestures of kindness, it meant a world to Rudi who felt like he’d just been given his dignity back. Nowadays dignity is one of the cornerstones of Streetlytes, which currently provides food and support to around 650 people every month. Founded in 2007, this organisation is Rudi’s way of giving something back and seeking social justice for the poor and marginalised. Currently running four drop-in centres across London, Streetlytes are inviting people for ‘hot meals and friendship’, whilst also providing free workshops within schools, prisons and churches to raise public awareness of the homelessness issues. What Rudi finds truly unique about his organisation is that its volunteers all have their own experiences in drug abuse, being homeless and surviving traumatic upbringings. Focusing on personcentred mentoring, Streetlytes aims to offer choices to the individual rather than making demands and Rudi finds many of its previous clients return with the aim to help others. Promotion of self-esteem is also embodied in Streetlytes five-year vision of opening a 300-bed facility for the homeless. “This will be somewhere an individual will be able to shower, to have a proper meal, a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning to a breakfast,” confirms Rudi, “whilst also having competent support staff at hand.” With his confidence and firm ability in helping others, it’s almost surprising to learn that Rudi himself is still in recovery. “I am not totally out of the woods yet,” he admits, “but I do have a compass, a boxful of hope as well as loving and supporting friends.” A lot of his own strength, Rudi recognises, has been gained from his faith in God. He believes that religion should be demonstrated by putting the principles of Christianity into action instead of merely verbalising them. It is through serving others that Rudi believes to have truly found himself and, as he puts it, has found ‘the Kingdom of Heaven right here on Earth’. An old gospel song called ‘How I got over’, is a personal favourite of Rudi. ‘My heart looks back and wonders, how I got over’, is a line that echoes again and again throughout the dynamic and uplifting melody. It’s hard to believe that someone can truly sing about their past sorrows with such a pulsating joy. However, it is not the sorrow that the song lingers on, nor the scars they have left behind. It embodies the celebration of a complicated yet beautiful life; the one that Rudi Richardson, a man who gives so much, now has a much deeper understanding of.
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Autumn issue: eco & holistic lifestyles