Foodival is Transition Town Tooting's annual food festival, celebrating everything that's good about locally grown food. Foodival aims to show how it's possible to grow local, eat local, be sustainable and have fun while doing it!

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Shazifim yerakim, gojeh sabz, jarareng, erik, janarek...." Tooting Community Garden's plums

Did you try the sour plums at the Foodival?


'These sour plums are known as shazifim yerakim in Israel, gojeh sabz in Iran, jarareng in Lebanon, erik in Turkey, and janarek in Jordan.'

These plums were saved after pruning the Greengage trees that grow in the tooting community garden as part of a pruning workshop. They were not ripe for eating but nothing goes to waste so Charles experimented with pickling the plums. They were certainly delightful at the Foodival. Something Unique.

The pruning workshop was delivered by Ryan O'Kane from The Orchard Project and we were joined by people from other gardens that could benefit from advice on pruning fruit trees.

Once we knew which trees were remaining then we needed to prune them  to provide space for air and better light to help them be healthy trees. Ideally this would be a vase shape but our particular trees are grown from 'suckers' - that is a  self propagating system connected to the main tree.


While we all wanted to get going with the variety of exciting tools they had brought along it was important that first we decided what the aims of the pruning were. The trees have been allowed to grow a bit wild which makes them great as a habitat but the pruning would help to promote tree health and improved crop. The aims are not complementary and that made it difficult in the beginning to decide on a strategy.


This is often something that we can struggle with any of our gardening aims. Balancing the needs of nature and the needs of humans are not always compatible and these decisions are hard. Particularly as a group who may have divergent views, or feel they do not know enough to choose a course of action. In the end we were able to agree a compromise with half reserved for habitat with some pruning for health and the other half would be cut back quite dramatically to get to a spacing that would promote fewer but stronger and more productive trees.


There was also time to look at the Victoria plum and identify branches that we could prune to promote healthy and strong growth for the tree.




While there were many people helping the plums are close together and it wasn't practical to prune more than two trees in the area at a time. So there is still more work to do but we now have a strategy that should be maintainable in the future.

It was a fantastic learning experience and if you have fruit trees in your own garden then check out https://www.theorchardproject.org.uk/about-us/ for more advice and opportunities for you to learn about caring for your fruit trees.

Maybe you're inspired to start a new orchard? This year our friend Martin Cobley has helped establish the first Community Orchard in Wandsworth Borough. Congratulations! If you want to visit, contact him at wendelsworthra@gmail.com

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Foodival 2017 Growers

Thank you so much to all the fantastic donors who make the Tooting Foodival happen.  Here they are in their "I Grew This" photos and this is what they grew and donated:

Jon - chives, beetroot & rhubarb
Kath - runner beans and potatoes
Debbie - raspberries, blackberries, courgettes, sweet corn, pears, cucumelons, onions, cavolo nero & pumpkin
Richard - carrots, chives, rosemary, potatoes & tomatoes
Indrajit - grapes
Heide - apples, pears and bay leaves
David - runner beans, tomatoes & kohl rabi
Mal - tomatoes
Jane - apples & leeks
Abundance Southfields - apples (thank you Richard)
Barbara - beans & lettuce
Tamworth Allotments - rocket & chard
Maggie - nasturtiums & mint
Judy - pears
Kelly - apples, chillis, tomatoes, carrots, sage, rosemary, cabbage, lemon balm, beans kale & chives
Chris - pumpkin & 2lbs of safari beans
Esther - tomatoes
Eleanor - blackberries & pears
Helen - rosemary & marrow
Tooting Community Garden - 25kg of potatoes, curly kale, cavolo ner, swiss chard, coriander, fennel, callaloo, young Jerusalem artichoke, pattypan squash, rosemary & sage, Paradise Co-op - beans, tomato, bay leaves & herbs
Doddington & Rollo Community Garden - coriander, rosemary & sage
SHARE Community Garden - cabbages & a fantastic plant display

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Foodival 2017: "Thank You" to Tooting's community of volunteers

The 10th Tooting Foodival was only possible because of 
many volunteers' help and donations.
Thank you all!
Click here to see the details. Well over forty people helped on the day, plus many in preparation and in the long tail of follow up.
Each of these people and organisations made the Foodival happen, and while there's no priority order we want to highlight Naseem Aboobaker who has demonstrated such community spirit by offering us the hall at Mushkil Aasaan for free at so many Foodivals past.
It's always a risk to make a list and get it 100% correct - please let us know if we've left you out.

Here she is at the 2010 Foodival

The Foodival is nothing without an audience! We lost count at around 500 people - first-timers and some very loyal regulars.
Here is one young girl we know and want to celebrate - same road, maybe the same chair.
2010 to 2017! 

And at the 2017 Foodival










Get in touch with us if you fancy being part of TTT's 2018 Tooting Foodival co-ordination group.
We promise you fun, space to try out creative ideas, experience of live project management and lots of community support!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Top Tooting Cook 2017: the winners!

Top Tooting Cook, the Foodival's fun competition was ably co-ordinated by 'firm but fair' Belinda. We had a record-breaking number of entries.
Here are the dishes - photographed during the judging, so some dishes have begun to be sampled. These are dishes crying out to be tasted (some people had to be held back...):


There's a wonderful variation of international cultures, colours, local ingredients, skills and why-not-have-a-go represented. How would you choose the different class winners and the overall Top Tooting Cook?

Our three judges worked up and down the long tables in Mushkil Aasaan with their clipboards. They recorded their own views with 25% of marks awarded to each of four criteria:
  • How well does the dish fit the category it was entered for?
  • Taste?
  • Look?
  • How local to Tooting are the dish ingredients?
The judges conferred, debated and added up their marks.

Tension mounted in the hall as we looked from dish to dish and back at the judges' impassive faces. Who would win? When could we eat all the dishes?

The overall award of Top Tooting Cook went to...Imira for her Squash Compote!

CONGRATULATIONS IMIRA!

Here's the full list of other winners per competition category:

Savoury dish: 
Muna Mohammed, Ethiopian Mixed Vegetarian Dish & Injera

Savoury dish Runner Up: 
Lila Benderdouch, Tortilla de Patatas

Preserves: 
Debbie Morey, Raspberry Jam

Under 16: 
Maryam Uddin, Flower Fruit Cake Crumble

Pudding / Apples and Pears: 
Debbie Morey, Apple Cake 

Organizers' Prize: 
Charles Whitehead, Salty Pickled Tooting Plums 

Click here to see the full TTC report.                                                                
Thank you, judges: Saira, Brian and Rick!
Thank you, local enterprises and organisations who donated prizes!
Thank you, entrants, local vegetable and fruit donors and other contributors!
We'll share the recipes as soon as we can, to add to our community low food-mile localicious cookbook. 

The results are announced...

More Tooting Foodival blog posts to come very soon: the famous 'I Grew This' poster, the list of produce donors, all the Thank Yous and a slide show of photos and videos of the day.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Great 10th Foodival

Well that was fun!  What a great event the 10th Foodival proved to be.  Using Hereward Rd beside Mushkil Aasaan gave the event a really good flow.  Outside Volker manfully orchestrated the Big Feast, feeding the masses with sustainable locally grown fruit and vegetables, serenaded by the different artists on the Sound Lounge stage.  Bees drew the crowds to Richard's camper van, while local resident Corinne painted people's faces, punters supped Kombucha from Thirsty House, sampled Debbie's jams or discovered Wandsworth Oasis, Sutton Community Farm & Wandsworth Food Partnership. 
The Soap Box was a popular new addtion, providing an instant stage for environmental thinking while inside on the Green Stage we heard about propagating, insects and compost!  Jeni's Crafts and the Yum Jam kept kids young and old busy in several different locations. 
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to making this a great event, especially our fabulous growers without whom there would be no Big Feast or Top Tooting Cook Competition.  More thank yous, reports and pictures to follow, but first I need a lie down!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Guide to Foodival 2017

So what's happening at this year's Foodival?  Hopefully you've been keeping up with our recent blog posts and will have an idea, but for a handy print out or download version here's our plan of the events.  It's not set in stone, some of the timings may move a little, don't worry just come along and see what takes your fancy.
To make Foodival happen we really need your fruit and vegetable donations tomorrow night!  It's this lovely produce that we use to cook up the communal Big Feast and that anyone can take to enter the Top Tooting Cook Competition.

We are delighted to have the Sound Lounge curating the music stage this year, have loads of activities for the kids, talks on the Green Stage and the Soap Box as well as some great stalls and Arts & Crafts.

We are hoping that the 10th Foodival will be great fun.  Come and particpate in any way you like!  It all starts Friday evening from 5pm.

Our two-days-to-go update on the 10th Tooting Foodival: Music! Families! Donating produce!

All welcome to celebrate local food, cooking and feasting right in the heart of Tooting on Saturday 16th from 11:00 to 5:00, at the combined venues of the hall at Mushkil Aasaan 220 - 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW and in Hereward Road next door.

Foodival music update:
The Sound Lounge has put together a fantastic programme for the Foodival Music Stage in Hereward Road. Thank you so much! Here it is:

12:00  Hannah White singer-songwriter
12:30  Jess Spink on keys, with a guitarist
1:00    Easy Skanking duo acoustic Ska favourites 
1:30    Grenville & Fleur mandolin & fiddle duo
2:00    Artists from The Balham Ukulele Society with a mix of 
           traditional and contemporary favourites
3:00    Maisie Johnson singer-songwriter 
Foodival families update: 
Looking across the activities, there are many attractive highlights for families, children and young people. In particular, blending creativity, food, nature and crafts:
πŸ‘ͺ YUM-JAM 11:30 - 1:15 The YUM-JAM is for families & children. The place for children to play with food! Yum-Jam is a workshop plus performance for children which mimics creating a magical dish from fascinating ingredients. With Andres & Emily. More info in this post.

πŸ’“ Tooting's Insects Need Your Love workshop exploring what's all around us in Tooting 1:00-1:45 with Chuck

🐞 Making Ladybird Houses workshop making houses which you can take away 1:45-2:30 with Nicola

😲 Observation hive of thousands of bees plus local honey. All day long, with Richard  


And more Crafts - adults can of course join these too (times tbc):
🎨 Painting the big planters with Jeni

🌡 Making a textile cactus to take home, with Nikki
And more workshops on Growing, for older children & families:
πŸ’šMore Plants for Free! Taking cuttings to increase your plants. 12:00-12:45 with Dermot
πŸ‘½The amazing power of worms Composting 2:00-2:45 with Martin
Update on donating your local produce:
We look forward to an amazing selection - some we have heard about, and some will be a surprise. Don't be shy, we'd love to celebrate what you have grown whether you are a beginner or an expert!
Donation times are 5:00pm to 9:00pm at Mushkil Aasaan on Friday 15th Sept, and on Saturday morning from 10:00 to 11:00.
Donations go to the Top Tooting Cook Competition (please enter! Details here) and to the Big Feast on Saturday.