Hello! Well, Zigz and Bik are at home doing green event planning and funding applications (not at the same time) and Nina has just headed off, resplendent in her pink hi-viz jacket - we've just been trying to work out her new wind-up bike lights, very complicated (but pretty cool - I may have to get some too!).
Now it's nice and quiet with just me and Tony, who is up a ladder filling in holes in the ceiling. Tony is (I say this at least five times every day) AWESOME.
This morning Bik drove Zigz and I up to the Sustainability Centre in East Meon to scout out for their Hampshire Green Fair http://www.sustainability-centre.org/html/hampshire_green_fair.html
We'll be filling the gap between full veggie meals from their cafe and the hogroast with a vegan light lunches stall. Ideas include portabello mushroom burgers (nom) and a local version of hummus using field beans, rapeseed oil & Isle of Wight garlic... we're challenged ourselves to bring some local seasonal ideas to the stall, so any inspirations will be most appreciated!
One of my concerns with veggie & vegan foods is that so much of what we eat is from the other side of the world..... so this will be a good challenge for me to see if we can make nommy, easy-to-cook-in-the-open, local, organic (if we can!) and affordable nosh at this fair.
We tried also to visit the Flora Twort gallery in Petersfield, but it was closed.... we did the classic thing of walking into a closed place, something we complain bitterly about when people do it to us! Always good to have the shoe on the other foot :) The Gallery has just been taken over by the Petersfield Museum Trust http://www.petersfieldmuseum.co.uk/ and is opening in a few months, definately looks worth a return visit.
We also did a sneaky visit to The Bran Tub wholefood store in Petersfield http://www.thebrantub.com/ WOW!! How I wish we had something like this in Southampton, though it would be bad for my bank balance! I was restrained and only bought some veggie chocolate beans and loose elderflower tea (oh yeah and some bad wrong sage & onion slices!).
The sustainability centre is growing nicely, it's a really lovely project tucked away in the Meon Valley. The last time I was there was to stay in the yurt, just over two years ago and there were new things on the way including a strawbale shower block for the campsite. It must be hard to get volunteers all the way out there and we weren't quite sure how they managed! They do have some lovely people, some of whom we met, and a few of them live onsite. There's lots of evidence of hard work and good ideas there. We saw the woodchip burner which runs all the central heating for the hostel and main building, they also have PV solar panels which supply up to a third of the energy used on site (pretty impressive!). It is a beautiful site and well suited to what they're doing there, if a little hard to reach without a car - as most rural projects are.
We met Ali & Kev from the onsite cafe. The cafe is quite new, but already has a great looking menu (cheesy lentil wedges were spotted) a shame we didn't have time to stop for lunch! In addition they have lots of courses, a small shop, natural burial ground and camping. We saw the Centre Manager's yurt and it made me just a *little* jealous .... urban projects like ours don't come with the opportunity to camp on site, let alone in such style (anyone got a big back garden??).
Well, Tony is getting on with it at awesome speed and I'm expecting Megan and Kelly in any moment to do some work on the crafts (they are ALSO awesome, by the way!).
Once last thing..... we have quite a lot of new volunteers which makes me very happy. Yay for volunteers, new and old :)