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!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 4 weeks to go! All welcome & here's Part Two of the plans

Hello all and it's four weeks until the Tooting #Foodival2017 on Saturday 16th September!

In last week's blog post we shared Part One of the Foodival plans: all about food and cooking (surprise, surprise). We're inviting you to:
  • donate locally grown produce
  • enter the Top Tooting Cook Competition
  • come along to The Big Feast

Today we're sharing Part Two of the plans: all the other wonderful activities that are happening right in the heart of Tooting as part of the 2017 Foodival. These activities are all about:
  • growing
  • sustainability
  • creativity
  • community 
  • and fun 
All these activities are complementary to the Foodival's purpose of celebrating local growing, sustainable food, local cooking and the local community (the whole community including nature as well as people) - all done in diverse creative, refreshing and participative ways.

Timings to follow as the schedule comes together across the twin venues of Mushkil Aasaan at 222 Upper Tooting Road SW17 7EW and part of Hereward Road right next door.

What are we offering for all ages to come and enjoy and explore?
As well as Donating Local Produce (appear in our traditional 'I Grew This' poster!), the Top Tooting Cook Competition and The Big Feast, we're grateful to all our partners who are offering:

Sales of locally-made Jams and Chutneys; Upcycled Crafts; Local Honey (plus an observation hive of 16,000 bees - nearly the same as Tooting Ward's population).

Jeni's Crafty Arts
There will be a series of hands-on creative workshops led by local makers.
In one workshop you can come and make ladybird and lacewing hotels out of plastic bottles...learn about beneficial insects and create a safe place for them to roost and overwinter.

By artists from The Sound Lounge.
A sculpture to help check in with nature
The Story of Rewilding
A hands-on and imaginative storytelling event that introduces children to environmental thinking.
Join Andy to create amazing props with recycled materials and become part of the Story of Rewilding narrated by Emily our local storyteller.
Families are particularly welcome to participate together.

Spoken Word
With a food and growing theme - you can join in, surprise us!

The Green Stage
Three 45 minute workshops: Composting and Power of the Humble Earthworm; Autumn and Winter Gardening; Seed Saving and Propagation (with some more topics up our sleeves if we need them...).

Stands for meeting and discussion with local projects
Stands for Tooting Community Garden (explore how to make teas from your garden plants); for the Wandsworth Food Partnership, Carbon Conversations and more. Hear about 2017's Pollinator Paths Wandsworth project that has sown the seed for creating a growing network across the borough. Learn about the Gardens of Refuge project with our partners CARAS, and about Transition Town Tooting's plans (bring us your ideas!).

Our pop-up Big Bed
Made from a big recycled shipping container, the Big Bed will showcase vegetables and flowers grown in Tooting by the beneficiaries of Share Community garden. And you can help decorate the planter on the spot.

There's bound to be lots here to catch your interest - we'll share the schedule soon and you can plan your day.
Or just come along and see what you find, have a chat and enjoy the atmosphere.

Woven through all these activities and more will be judging for the Top Tooting Cook, cooking and eating together at The Big Feast and admiring the displays of locally-grown produce. See last week's post for the timings for those events.

If you have any questions, or would like to volunteer in preparation or on the day or in follow up, please email Malsara Thorne at
Please share the #Foodival2017 plans by following Transition Town Tooting on Facebook and Twitter - thank you!

'I Grew This!'

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Tenth Annual Tooting Foodival - 5 weeks to go! All welcome & here are the plans.

Saturday, 16 September 11am - 5pm at Mushkil Aasaan, 220 Upper Tooting Road (close to Nando's) 
We are thrilled that the award-winning and free Tooting Foodival organised by Transition Town Tooting will be celebrating its 10th year this September.

The Foodival highlights the diversity of healthy and sustainable produce that can be grown, cooked and enjoyed in Tooting & nearby.
We welcome all growers and cooks and everyone of all ages who comes to take part!
All the Foodival events will be inside Mushkil Aasaan and also outside on part of Hereward Road right in the heart of Tooting.

There are several exciting strands to the Foodival:
  • We invite you to donate some fresh local produce which you've grown - timings below
  • There's the Top Tooting Cook competition for local individuals and cooks, using the donated local produce (info below)
  • There's Volker's Saturday Menu which will be cooked live by our fab chef, also using the lovely local produce (info below)
  • There will be a great range of practical and fun growing, sustainability and creative activities (more info soon) 

Donating locally-grown produce:
There are wonderful crops being grown right here by many people!
Foodival is about sharing the love, not necessarily donating big volumes - so please don't be shy to share some of what you've grown.
All donations gratefully received from 5pm to 9pm Friday 15th Sept, or from 10am to 11am Saturday 16th Sept at Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7EW.
Or let us know when you would like us to collect.

See Volker's Saturday Menu below for some special donation requests.
There are still five weeks to go, so get out the watering can, the nettle tea or whatever it takes! Ready, steady, GROW!

The Top Tooting Cook competition: 
Open to anyone living, growing or cooking nearby & free to enter. 
Full details about collecting ingredients and how to enter - click here for the flyer

Why enter? It's a fun way to celebrate local food; you can try out your skills; you meet others who are interested and share recipes; it will be fun; there'll be media coverage..and there are prizes!

Prize categories:
1. A dish made with apples and pears
2. A savoury dish
3. A pudding, dessert or cake
4. Pickles, preserves, jam, jelly or chutney

Foodival produce donors will supply the seasonal ingredients (or grow your own!) for you to cook and serve to our panel of hungry judges. You can collect ingredients at Mushkil Aasaan from 7pm to 9pm on Friday 15th Sept, or from 10 to 11am on Saturday 16th Sept.

Dishes need to be delivered by 2:00 pm on Saturday 16th, and judging follows.
Winners announced at 3:30pm!
Then the audience can taste as well - and get the recipes soon after.

Volker's Saturday Menu:

Volker, our very own in-house gourmet chef at the Foodival has created a very special seasonal 3 course menu for this year’s Tooting Foodival. He's asking the green-fingered of the great South West London public to donate their locally grown produce.

  • Starter: Sizzling Pakoras Ingredients needed: Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 
  • Main course: Rainbow vegetable stir fry Ingredients needed: Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other vegetables including tomatoes, garlic, herbs
  • Dessert: Fruity Crumble Ingredients needed: Any fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries, grapes, bananas (yes we've had them donated, locally-grown!)
Volker will cook the dishes live and answer questions so you are able to make these at home

Details of the growing, sustainability and creative activities to follow.

For more info on Foodival, please contact Malsara Thorne via email
There's more info at the Foodival blog - click here
Please share on social media, and use the hashtag #Foodival2017

We hope to see you, and thank you very much - The #Foodival2017 Team.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ready, Steady, GROW for the 10th Tooting Foodival

The Tooting Foodival celebrates local growing, cooking and eating together. It's based on what people locally grow and donate - so we can all admire Tooting's skills and productivity. Plus we can offer super ingredients to the Top Tooting Cook contest and the chefs' delicious demonstrations. 

Sowing radishes
Radishes harvested just 4 weeks later
There's still time to grow from scratch so you can donate to the Foodival on Saturday Sept 16th. It's about sharing the love rather than growing big quantities. We're  delighted by the diversity of what's donated
every year!

Starting now, what can you sow, grow and harvest for the Foodival?

If you can get sowing by the end of July, you could harvest these by mid-September:
  • Rocket
  • Coriander
  • mixed cutting Lettuces
  • Mustard Greens
  • Cima di Rapa (that's turnip tops)
  •  And more - do share your suggestions.
White turnips

Alfalfa spouts, 5 days from starting

Much closer to the Foodival date:
> you could start Radishes as late as mid August
> you could start Sprouting Seeds just a week before (here's our handy guide)
> you could sow Cress just a few days before

Cress, 3 days from sowing

 Where can you grow?
  • In your own garden or allotment
  • In containers on a terrace, balcony or windowsill
  • At a nearby community garden

Even if you're a beginner, why not give it a go?

Expert or newbie, everyone is included in our annual amazing 'I Grew This' celebratory Foodival poster:

If you would like to ask questions or get advice, or come and grow from scratch with us at Tooting Comunity Garden - all welcome on Sundays and Wednesdays, 5 North Drive SW16 1RN. Check for updates on opening on our facebook page.

NB there's a highly-recommended session on container gardening by our friend Mark Ridsdill-Smith and more at the London Permaculture Festival on Sunday 30th July - see you there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Foodival Cooking Event

For the 10th Foodival we are planning to create a real hands-on event to show the visitors how to turn homegrown vegetables into simple and delicious meals. To do that, we will create work areas for 3 groups preparing each a part of a 3-course-menu. Each of the groups will be guided by a chef/helper.
Some home grown donations from 2015
The menu we will be broadly the following:

Starter: Pakoras – Ingredients needed: Onions, cauliflower, courgette, spinach 

Main course: Vegetable stew – Ingredients needed: Onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, peas and any other veg including tomatoes, garlic, herbs etc.

Dessert: Fruit Crumble – Ingredients needed: Any soft fruit – apples, pears, plums, berries 

This menu will be made from donated locally grown produce - yeahhhh!

But to do that we need the green fingers of the great south-west London public.  It would be great if you could help us to realise this menu by donating some of the above ingredients. There are still two months to go so get out the watering can, the tomorite or whatever it takes!

Donations will be gratefully received on Friday afternoon, 15 September to: Mushkil Aasaan, 222 Upper Tooting Road, London SW17 7EW or let us know when you would like us to collect. Thank you very much The Foodival Team.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Foodival Logo

Loving this year's Foodival logo, Dave Mauger's simple twist on the logo used over the last few years. Yes it's the 10th Foodival unbelievably and we hope you'll want to get involved.  If you do we are meeting tomorrow night (Weds 5th July) in the King's Head at Tooting Bec at 7pm to discuss latest plans.  All welcome to contribute in whatever way!  And thank you Dave!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Foodival 2017 Poster

Tooting Foodival is back this autumn.  What are you growing now that could be cooked up in 3 months time?  

On Saturday 16th September we'll be celebrating the range of low food mile food that can be grown in and around SW17.  Come along and join in, in whatever capacity you like.  We guarantee it will be FUN!

We Need Local Vegetable & Fruit Growers
And We Need Local Cooks!
Could It Be YOU? 

For more information or to get involved please email


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Foodival 2017

Amazingly for us, in 2017 we are celebrating the 10th running of TOOTING FOODIVAL, TTT's sustainable, local, low food mile food festival.
This year's event will take place on Saturday 16th September in and around Mushkil Aasaan in Tooting High St. and as usual aims to explore and celebrate the range of food that can be grown in the city and the diverse cultures found in Tooting, giving local people a chance to meet, learn from each other and have some fun.

A small team of us are developing this year's 10th anniversary event and we need your help! Want to get involved? Please get in touch by mailing

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Inspired by #Foodival2016? Everyone can have a Tooting home farm by sprouting seeds!

A new idea at this year's Tooting Foodival was to celebrate local food together by encouraging home seed sprouting.

 Measuring out seeds to give away as trial packs at the Foodival (and checking the spelling)

Why sprout seeds at home?
It's easy, fun, accessible to all (no allotment, balcony or windowsill needed) and you produce fresh  nutritious food with zero food miles and no waste.

How to do it?
Growing your own is easy with our Successful Seed Sprouting at Home handout.

Soak the seeds (there are so many kinds you can use) for a day, then rinse them every day until ready, then enjoy them while beautifully fresh within a week of starting them off.
These sprouted seeds are nearly ready to eat

After the Foodival one family sprouted a mix of lentils and teff

We had good conversations about sprouting on the Saturday at the Foodival. Most people have heard about it....but maybe only ever had those big supermarket bags of bean sprouts. Some people may have a sprouting kit tucked away, or maybe it's a completely new idea.

Enjoy in many ways - in salads, in pitta bread, mixed with a yogurt dressing or salsa, in a stir-fry, as a topping to add crunch and life to many dishes - and to school lunchboxes.

PS why teff?
In TTT we've become interested in teff cereal grain during our year and half working with refugees and asylum-seekers at CARAS in our Rooting in Tooting project. Teff is native to the Horn of Africa: in Ethiopian restaurants in London you'll be served injera, fermented bread made of teff grain.

Tooting teff
We've grown teff this year in the Tooting Community Garden, and we're going to get some hands-on advice about how to save the there can be plenty of future sprouting in Tooting.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Did you try Minestra's delicious pasta dish?

On Sunday afternoon, while the cooks were deliberating over who would become Top Tooting Cook for 2016, Minestra turned local produce donated from Tamworth Farm and around Tooting, into the most delicious vegetable pasta dish.

Elisabetta preparing vegetables (Pic by Riccardo, Minestra)

Elisabetta demonstrates to a packed Foodival crowd (Pic by Riccardo, Minestra)
We are really grateful to Minestra for their cooking demonstration. Maybe you saw it and tasted the delicious dish. Maybe you'd like to try it at home? Head over to Minestra's Facebook page for the recipe - Homemade Maltagliati with Vegetables.

Minestra also run Supper Clubs at their home - delicious low food mile dishes, shared with neighbours and new friends. The next Supper Club will take place on 15th October.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Soup Disco Characters

So the finale of Foodival 2016 yesterday was a Soup Disco held at Tooting Market. Many vegetables were peeled, washed and chopped before being cooked up into an uber soup by our team of dedicated volunteers. Thanks to everyone who helped out.
Just off the adjacent, hot, disco dancefloor (see Jeni's golden boots) various local characters indulged themselves in the semi-anonymity of Soup Disco Photobooth.  Can you spot any famous Tooting faces you know?
There'll be a full report on the whole event to follow ...