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					                 Sharing a Passion for Food:
                    Culture Kitchen 2005

‘Excellent day, lots of good fun.’ Anurara Bibi

‘Inspiring to meet other people from other organisations.’ Nazma Begum

‘I was happy to watch the display of vegetables at the Culture Kitchen entrance
growing as more people arrived with their harvest.’ Khayrun Nessa

‘Inspired by the food – cooking it and eating it.’

‘Inspired by the colour of the displays, the diversity of the show, the gardens at
Capel Manor and the splendid weather’. Angela Hepworth

‘A great day of inspiration, promoting awareness of a healthy life, respect for
ourselves, each other and the planet.’ Lynette Patterson.

‘It wore my energetic seven year old out – he fell fast asleep on the journey
home… unheard of!’ Effie Jordan

‘We’ll be talking about this all the way home up the M1 in our minibus back
home to Sheffield.’ Clare Noble

Culture Kitchen is a celebration for WEN’s local food project. It offers a unique opportunity for
growers, their families and friends to come together. Food from growing sites is brought to the
event and prepared by participants for all to share in this global locally-grown feast. The event
is open to all with a passion for food – the growing, cooking, eating and celebrating.
See for photo gallery.

For more information about the local food project, our training and support
work contact Clare Joy 020 7481 9004,;

Introduction to WEN’s 2005 Culture Kitchen

The day in pictures

Programme of activities



Next steps

Final budget

 This year’s Culture Kitchen would not have been possible without specific financial
                                   support from:

      The Tedworth Trust and the Association of Local Government (ALG).

           Cultivating the Future, WEN’s local food project, is currently supported by:
   Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets,
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), The Olive Tree Trust and The Sheepdrove Trust
At the height of the 2005 harvest season, over 200 food growers came together
 to celebrate cultural diversity with taste. ‘Culture Kitchen’, is an annual event
 organised by the Women’s Environmental Network (WEN). It brings together
  cultures, communities and cooking in a celebration of local food grown by
                       women and families across the UK.

Home-grown vegetables, herbs and fruit were brought to Capel Manor Horticultural
College, North London by groups that participate in WEN’s local food project. This
project, set up in 2000, aims to support inner-city groups of women to develop their
organic food growing skills. The groups involved in WEN’s network are as diverse as
the inner-city populations they represent. The success of Culture Kitchen has its
roots in the power of food to unite groups who may not normally come together.

The day is centred around the shared preparation of lunch. This year, the Madras
Café coordinated the cooking, and worked with over 30 volunteers, chopping, spicing
and talking about food preparation and culinary tastes. Cultural rituals and attitudes
were shared by the chopping board. The feast preparation brought generations of
women and men together. Alongside this informal networking, groups were also
encouraged to spend time chatting to each other around tables as they waited for
food. Shahana Begum, of Bradford’s Community Environmental Project (BCEP), who
works with women’s allotment projects in the city, described how her highlight was
conversations with Lutfun Hussain, coordinator of Spitalfield Farm’s Coriander Club.
‘This happened because there was space to sit down and simply chat.’

Culture Kitchen seeks to strike a balance between informal get-together, which also
included a chance to walk around Capel Manor’s exhibition gardens, and organised
workshops. These sessions explore culture, art and rituals around food. Throughout
the day, participants contributed to a rangoli art display. Visual artist Madhumita Bose
used the colour of rice, spice and pulses to create a traditional Hindu harvest design.
Medical herbalist Mara Baughman presented cultural and traditional uses of herbs in
a basic kitchen pharmacy. Participants were also invited to ‘be a fruity beauty’,
organised by WEN and make chemical free products with everyday kitchen

Food growing empowers individuals to take control of a basic necessity. It brings
people out of their homes and in to contact with the diverse community around them.
WEN’s local food projects encourages groups to grow food together and offer
support and encouragement to each other. Events such as Culture Kitchen are
valuable tools for bringing communities together. Opportunities to cook together,
sharing recipes and stories about food can unite groups across cultures and
generations. WEN’s food project sees its roots in events such as this; where local
food, the growing, the cooking, eating and celebrating, enriches community.

This introduction to the event was published in the following journal:
Diversity: Black and minority ethnic participation in social and therapeutic
horticulture published in Growth Point, The Journal of Social and Therapeutic
Horticulture, issue 103, winter 2005 [Available from Thrive,]
Annual feast inspired by local food growing
Saturday 24 September 2005, 11am – 5pm
Capel Manor Horticultural College, Enfield

Enjoy performance story telling with one of the country’s leading female artists,
participate in recycling and food art, get to know WEN’s campaigns, be inspired by
local food projects and meet other growers. The highlight of the day is the Culture
Kitchen vegetarian lunch at 1pm, prepared with your help, by the Madras Café.

Throughout the day look around Capel Manor’s gardens, which include an organic
garden, and enjoy the atmosphere of London’s City Farms annual ‘City Harvest’
event which includes children’s activities and an inner-city farms animal show.

            WEN large marquee                     WEN teepee (2)           Ongoing activities
            (with Culture Kitchen)
11.00       Cook with the Madras Café (1)         Workshop : More from     Join in Rangoli art.
                                                  Less WEN’s waste         (3)
12.00       Demonstration: Plant Cultures         Workshop: Compost-       Rangoli art.
            with Bradford Community               tastic with WEN in       Waste art
            Environment Project. (4)              conjunction with         installation. (6)
                                                  Ecoactive. (5)

1.00        LUNCH                                 LUNCH                    LUNCH
            The feast: A long, informal lunch.
            Meet people and enjoy.
2.30        JAN BLAKE:
            DIGESTION (7)
3.00        Demonstration: Grow a basic           Workshop: Toxic Tour     Rangoli art.
            kitchen pharmacy with Mara            with WEN’s health        Waste art.
            Baughman. (8)                         campaign.                Ecoactive
4.00                                              Workshop: Fruity         Rangoli art.
                                                  Beauty part of WEN’s     Waste art.
                                                  health campaign.
5.00        GOOD BYES + fill in your
            evaluation form.. for free seeds!!!

What’s on?? More detail (1-8)

(1) The Madras Café cooking collective will be coordinating the feast preparation, a
sumptuous selection of dishes with South Asian and European flavour. As always
with the kitchen, they are going to need plenty of hands to help chop. The Madras
Café's legendary festival catering raises funds for community based organisations in
India, through Action Village India.
(2) In the WEN Teepee: Get to know WEN’s campaigns through practical sessions.

11.00 – 12.00     More from Less: WEN’s waste                Gather tips on reducing
                  campaign                                   the waste from you shop.
                                                             Check out your eco-
12.00 – 1.00      Compost-tastic: WEN’s compost              Improve your compost art,
                  exhibition, joined by Ecoactive’s show     bring festering queries and
                  on a four wheeled bike.                    influence others.
3.00 – 4.00       Toxic Tour: WEN’s health                   What exactly is lurking in
                  campaign                                   wrinkle shrinkers and
                                                             odour obliterators & how
                                                             to expose and change
4.00 – 5.00       Be a Fruity Beauty                         Learn how to make your
                                                             own chemical free
                                                             products with everyday
                                                             kitchen ingredients.

(3) Throughout the day, visual artist Madhumita Bose will work with participants to
demonstrate Hindu Rangoli Art. Using the colour of rice, spice and pulses she will
create a traditional harvest design representing the sun’s and nature’s energies.

(4) Bradford Community Environment Project will be demonstrating the project’s
Plant Cultures work. Stories collected from Bradford about plants with South Asian
association will be blended with practical input on growing the food.

(5) North London’s Ecoactive compost unit is an education display on a four-
wheeled bicycle. The Ecoactive unit will be around throughout the day.

(6) Weaving away waste in recycling art. Join waste-not sculptor Kitty Schuchhard
and contribute to her colourfully woven patterns of waste.

(7) Jan Blake has an international reputation for dynamic, witty, exciting storytelling.
Specialising in stories from Africa and the Caribbean Jan is currently one of Europe’s
leading female storytellers. Sit back, relax and digest with her after-lunch

(8) Qualified medical herbalist Mara Baughman will explore the cultural and
traditional uses of herbs. Mara has published a popular book in Bengali and English,
‘Back to your Roots’ about herbal remedies. She works with community groups
across London.

Come celebrate: Culture Kitchen
Culture Kitchen is the celebration for WEN’s local food project. It offers a unique
opportunity for growers, their families and friends to come together. Food from
growing sites is brought to the event and prepared by participants for all to share in
this global locally-grown feast. The event is open to all with a passion for food – the
growing, cooking, eating and celebrating.

Attendance at this year’s Culture Kitchen was beyond all expectations. Madras
Café’s estimate was that they served 230 meals. The venue was set up for 170 to sit
at tables and chairs. The marquee was at full capacity with many participants sitting
outside of the marquee on the grass enjoying the food and the sunshine.

This year’s Culture Kitchen was different. First it was held alongside the London City
Farms and Community Gardens annual ‘City Harvest’ event. This event brings
London’s city farms to Capel Manor for a weekend of activities and competitions. On
Saturday 24 September, it was open to the public and this included participants in the
WEN Culture Kitchen. Organisers of this event commented on how the WEN event
brought a whole new group of people to their activities.

Second, the event was held in Capel Manor’s grounds. The kitchen and workshop
areas were set up in a 60ft x 90ft marquee. A teepee and outdoor space also
accommodated workshops. This involved working with a very different space to
previous events and using a mobile kitchen. Logistically this meant a lot more
organisation and weather worries. However a very sunny day gave the event a real
inner city ‘festival’ feel.

Geographically, Capel Manor college is on London’s northern edge, in the Borough
of Enfield. This was useful for groups attending by road from outside of London as it
was not necessary to drive through the city. For London groups, this did pose travel
dilemmas, especially for some of the inner-city projects that WEN works more closely
with. To encourage wider participation, from both London and across the country,
WEN increased the travel budget in order to contribute to the cost for those travelling
to the event by community minibuses.

WEN organised community transport in collaboration with local organisers from four
locations. These were the London Borough of Waltham Forest (which brought 3
community growing groups), London Borough of Croydon, Bradford (Bradford
Community Environment Project’s Bengali women’s allotment group) and Sheffield
(Local Enterprises Around Food – LEAF). We had planned community transport from
the Borough of Tower Hamlets, but these groups made their own way. Two groups
from Tower Hamlets came, the Coriander Club from Spitalfields City Farm and New
Avenues Somali women’s group.

Other groups involved in the WEN network attended. These were mainly groups from
London. This included Regeneration Edmonton, Kenley Walk community plot (West
London), Organiclea community growers (Waltham Forest), Growing Communities
(Hackney). In total around 20 groups, or individuals from groups in the ‘Taste of a
Better Future Network’, participated in the event. Several growing groups who are
currently not part of the WEN network attended. This included Blooming Marvellous
gardening club (Leytonstone), Forest Farm Peace Garden (Redbridge), Southwark
Bengali women’s group and New Avenues Somali Women’s group (Tower Hamlets).

The event attracted organisers from national growing projects, such as the HDRA’s
‘Organic Food for All’ programme and Sustain’s ‘London Food Links’. Apologies were
received from officers of various national projects, such as Thrive and Black
Environmental Network. Individuals with an interest in food growing attended. Most
had heard about the event through WEN’s publicity and they brought friends and
family along .

In terms of organising format, the event was designed with five different working

1) Participative, ‘drop-in’ workshops

Cooking for the shared meal

11-1pm Madras Café coordinated the food preparation. Volunteers were encouraged
to participate in the chopping and cooking. 30 people participated over the two hours.
During this time, Vibha Osbourne from Madras Café led this session and contributed
to discussion about the flavourings and style of food in preparation.

This ‘joint preparation of food’ was described in several evaluations as the ‘most
inspiring part of the day’.

Southwark Bengali women’s groups brought a selection of snacks for the meal. They
shared information about the food they had prepared. Their interest in the event
came from their connection with Vauxhall City Farm.

All evaluations rated the food that was prepared as ‘wonderful’. This was particularly
important as there were many cultural tastes to cater for. Both the Madras Café and
the Southwark Bengali Women’s group created tastes which appealed to the hot
spicy pallet, the no-so-hot and those who appreciate the extra taste of home grown

One 85 year old participant from Stevenage, a father who had come along with his
food growing daughter, noted how he wasn’t, ‘much into spicy food, but this was a
curry he would never forget.’

‘Culture Kitchen’s food was amazing and definitely maintained everybody’s spirits’,
Zeenat Anjari, Sustain

‘Much enjoyed the Cultural Kitchen lunch – many thanks’, Kathleen Earley,
Gardening Which.

Rangoli art display

As the food was being prepared, food was also being used to create a traditional
hindu harvest art piece in the dining area. Taking a floor space of 2m x 2m, the
creation of this display involved around 45 participants, women and children of all
ages. It remained a centre piece as the queue for food wove around it, and children
helped themselves to its fruit afterwards.

Plant Cultures

The Bradford Community Environmental Project (BCEP) held a drop-in session were
plant stories contributed to a national ‘Plant Cultures’ project, were shared. This
involved talking about the diversity of food stories from the city and a practical;
planting ginger, turmeric and mango. LEAF from Sheffield found this session
extremely interesting as it related to work that they are doing in their city.

Waste-not sculpture
Weaving patterns out of waste material was a great activity for children and over 40
children participated throughout the day in this colourful outdoor session. It was a
fabulous attraction and the colours of the materials attracted extra visitors to the
WEN tent.

Alongside the Culture Kitchen, were activities organised by the London Federation of
City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) whose annual City Harvest event was
also taking place. Those attending the WEN event were able to participate in these

2) Formal workshops

Scheduled throughout the day were more formal workshop times.
32 attended the compost demonstration and talk.
26 attended the kitchen pharmacy
19 attended the fruity beauty workshop.

‘A great day of inspiration, promoting awareness of a healthy life, respect for
ourselves, each other and the planet’, Lynette Patterson, Croydon.

3) Informal networking

Throughout the day, participants were encouraged to meet each other and share
their project ideas. This took place as people were preparing food. There were tables
and chairs made available all day – where Culture Kitchen participants mixed with
each other. The setting of Capel Manor gardens also provided an opportunity for
participants to look at this working horticultural college gardens, while talking about
their work.

‘Inspiring to meet other people from other organisations.’ Nazma Begum, Bradford.

Shahana Begum, of Bradford’s Community Environmental Project (BCEP), who
works with women’s allotment projects in the city, described how her highlight was
conversations with Lutfun Hussain, coordinator of Spitalfield Farm’s Coriander Club.
‘This happened because there was space to sit down and simply chat.’

4) Displays

Food brought to the kitchen was on display in the early morning.

Six projects brought displays of their work. These were visited by all participants and
others form the FCFCG event. This meant that over 350 people passed through the
Culture Kitchen space. Ecoactive, a community environmental education team from
North London, brought their quad-cycle compost display. This was visited by around
150 participants. WEN’s compost display attracted around 300 participants
throughout the day.

Several feedback forms indicated that the ‘display of vegetables at the Culture
Kitchen entrance’, was the most inspiring aspect of the day for them.

‘I was inspired by the colour of displays, the super pictures of local projects and the
publicity material available about food growing.’ Angela Hepworth, Stevenage.
5) Presentations and performance

After the meal, the plan was to have half an hour’s performance poetry in the main
marquee for the 200 participants. This was designed to bring the whole group
together for a short time. The inspiration behind the day was also presented by
WEN’s local food coordinator. Unfortunately, the artist was sick and cancelled at the
last minute. However, if organising again, this is activity would be integrated into the

Next steps
Culture Kitchen is an inspiring event. Events such as Culture Kitchen are valuable
tools for bringing communities together. Opportunities to cook together, sharing
recipes and stories about food can unite groups across cultures and generations. The
event’s aim to integrate art into this celebration offers further possibilities for
inclusion and cultural celebration.

Following the success of 2005’s event, WEN is currently seeking funding for the
following in 2006:

1) Culture Kitchen’ event in Tower Hamlets, East London. This will take place on the 29
March 2006, co-organised with The Coriander Club. The Coriander Club is a local
Bangladeshi women’s food growing group with whom WEN has worked for the past five
years. Drawing on our experience of organising national culture kitchen’s we hope this event
will have local appeal where women from Tower Hamlets and beyond can:
      Share food cooking skills. This will be led by the Coriander Club women.
      Gather food stories and experiences from the women. Facilitated by a local
        Bangladeshi artist and storyteller.
      Offer practical advice and support to the women for the coming growing season.
      Meet other women from outside of London. To this end we will facilitate attendance
        by a Birmingham women’s growing group, ‘from Concrete to Coriander’, in order to
        encourage shared inspiration and national networking.

2) The production of a simple guide ‘The How to Guide to Culture Kitchens’, for groups
across the country. This will be distributed in June 2006 in order to encourage events in the
2006 harvest season (September/October 2006).

3) We will support four regional Culture Kitchens throughout the 2006 harvest season.
                   FINANCIAL INFORMATION – December 2005
Final budget from Women’s Environment Network (WEN) – annual Culture Kitchen

                                     EXPENDITURE                                   £

  i) Event co-ordinator 300 x 10 days                                                  3,000
  ii) Publicity co-orindation 300 x 1 day                                                300
  iii) Graphic designer [posters and cards for the day]                                  326
                                                                       SUB-TOTAL       3,626
  Telephone                                                                              78
  Post                                                                                   99
  Stationery (not publicity), photocopying, printing etc.                               106
                                                                       SUB-TOTAL        283
  Rent / Rates (if applicable)                                                          237
  Equipment maintenance (if applicable)                                                  37
  Heating / lighting (if applicable)                                                     13
                                                                       SUB-TOTAL        287
  Cost of workshops:
  Cooking participative workshop – Sensetrade, including materials                      300
  Rangoli art workshop                                                                  298
  Kitchen pharmacy workshop                                                             250
  Cuisiners - Southwark Bengali Women’s group                                           342
  Story telling performance                                                             194
  Posters, leaflets                                                                     603
  BME community outreach consultant                                                     344
  Post (for newsletters, leaflets, posters, invites for specific productions)            99
  Marquee + dining tables – Capel Manor College                                        1484
  Outdoor kitchen, set up and use of equipment – Madras cafe                            700
  Recycled crockery – cups                                                               43
  PA system                                                                              50
  Travelling – organising costs:
  Community transport hire from Tower Hamlets with minibus                               98
  Volunteer and staff travel expenses                                                    36
  Travel for cuisiners - Southwark Bengali women’s group                                 40
  Croydon community transport                                                            45
  Bradford community transport – contribution to costs                                  150
  Sheffield community transport – contribution to costs                                 150
  Waltham Forest transport                                                               42
  Translation of publicity materials, interpreters fees.                                 90
  Photographer and photo developing                                                     200
                                                                       SUB-TOTAL       5558
  5] ANY OTHER COSTS (please specify)
  Crèche workers                                                                         75
                                                                       SUB-TOTAL         75
  TOTAL EXPENDITURE                                                                    9829