Monday Makers – Two Hands Bakery…

Last week we started our brand new blog series – Monday Makers, where we start each week with a bit of a Q+A feature with someone whose work we love. We are going to be use the term ‘maker’ in the widest possible sense, and this week we are venturing into the delicious realm with Elle Johnston, of Two Hands Bakery…


Hello there! please tell us a little bit about yourselves…

Two Hands is a bakery based in East London, it was founded by me in the early months of 2016 (early days yet!) I’ve always been a voracious home baker and have spent majority of my career working in the hospitality industry – shaking cocktails, being a (pretty terrible) waitress and most recently transitioning into professional baking. I was lucky enough to work at E5 Bakehouse and Violet Bakery, amongst others, they taught me a lot about baking on a large scale. Eventually my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and I decided to build something of my own.

Two hands bakery - Vanilla sliceNice, and what do you make?

We make a wide range of sweet baked goods, from spiced morning buns to rich chocolate tartlets to towering wedding cakes. The whole spectrum of sweets! All made with seasonal and local ingredients, predominantly organic too – the negative effect of the food industry on the environment is hugely important to the business and we do whatever we can to reduce our impact.

What is your favourite thing you create, and why?

My favourite thing that we make changes on an almost daily basis! I’m particularly partial to a slice of buttery almond cake at the moment and I’m also excited about perfecting my vanilla slice recipe. Outside of my greedy personal preferences, my favourite projects to work on are always the ones where I get to collaborate with people, whether it’s working with Celeste from The Girl in the Cafe pairing cakes with different coffees or co-ordinating with a couple to make a wedding cake that makes their day super special.

Two Hands Bakery - wedding cakes

What inspires you?

It’s a fairly standard foodie answer but – flavours and ingredients. Adapting to the ebb and flow of different produce available throughout the year is exciting and challenging. Figuring out how to bring out the best from an ingredient or using non-traditional techniques (vegan baking for example) is very inspiring.

What is your favourite place?

Anywhere that I can see the ocean! I’m Australian and grew up a complete water baby so find me somewhere to stare at the waves, breathe in the salty air and I’m happy.

Ok – you are rulers of the world for the day. What one law do you bring in?

Ohhh…something well thought out regarding food education. I might delegate my legislative powers to Alice Waters! (an awesome chef, writer and pioneering advocate of the local/seasonal/fresh cookery movement)

Two Hands Bakery - Choc tart

What is your personal motto?

“I believe in the radical possibilities of pleasure, babe” – it’s a line from my favourite Bikini Kill song…

Where can we see you next?

We’re searching for a market stall at the moment so hopefully Two Hands Bakery will be appearing on the streets of London sometime soon. Until then, however, we’re open for private orders and commissions – get in touch, we’d love to work with you.

Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat – @twohandsbakery


Amazing – thank you Elle! (and do seek Elle out – we can vouch for the awesomeness of her beautiful cakes and biscuits. Truly delicious treats!)

(all images courtesy of Two Hands Bakery)

Eco Easter Eggs…

This is it. The weekend were we can (legitimately) wake up and consume chocolate before 9am if we so desire. Easter, or Ostara to give the festival it’s pagan name, is all about fertility and new beginnings. This is why we have eggs delivered by the rabbit which is well famed for it’s ability to reproduce faster than you can shout ‘fairtrade chocolate please’. But, with so much crap chocolate out there, we have picked our top 5 eggs that we would be happy to find in a hunt.

Montezumas Eco easter egg
£7.99 from Montezuma’s Chocolate

1 – First up is the Eco Egg from Montezuma’s Chocolate. Organic chocolate with bits of butterscotch all enclosed in a completely plastic free packaging option. Eat the egg, compost or recycle the packaging. Perfect.

Montezumas Eco easter egg 2
also £7.99 from Montezuma’s Chocolate

2 – Okay – this is technically the dark chocolate version of the one above, but hey. It’s a different egg, still encased in the eco packaging and this time complete with cocoa nibs. Tasty.

Divine Easter Egg
£3.99 from Ethical Superstore

3 – Next up is the fairtrade milk chocolate egg from Divine, with Toffee and Sea Salt. As well as being a good ethical choice for your chocolate fix, this egg also has a great absence of plastic in it’s packaging too. Get yours from the Ethical Superstore.

Half a Dozen Praline-filled Hen's Eggs
£25 for half a dozen – Rococo Chocolate

4 – Fancy something a bit fancier? How about the half a dozen praline filled hens eggs from specialist chocolatiers Rococo? Presented in their trademark patterned packaging nestled in a coloured egg box, these are something special.

Picture of MINT EASTER EGG
£6.59 – Green & Black’s

5 – and lastly we are going dark and minty with the Green And Blacks Organic Mint Chocolate Egg. One for the grown ups, and a mint chocolate egg that tastes stunning and not like toothpaste. And look. No plastic either.

So. Our top five Easter Eggs. Let’s hope we will find a couple hidden in the garden this weekend…

(images via links)

*** EVENT – Earth Hour at Silo Brighton ***

Many of you will know about the fantastic restaurant, Silo in Brighton – the brain child of chef Douglas McMaster, which operates as a pre-industrial food system and is best known as being a zero-waste operation. It is one of our favourite places to eat in Brighton and we are always delighted to visit Silo, whether as a speaker at a Silo hosted event, or showing design students just how passion for a sustainable system can work in real life as a business.

As the Silo ‘Story’ states:

SILO WAS CONCEIVED FROM A DESIRE TO INNOVATE THE FOOD INDUSTRY WHILST DEMONSTRATING RESPECT: RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, RESPECT FOR THE WAY OUR FOOD IS GENERATED AND RESPECT FOR THE NOURISHMENT GIVEN TO OUR BODIES. THIS MEANS THAT WE CREATE EVERYTHING FROM ITS WHOLE FORM CUTTING OUT FOOD MILES AND OVER-PROCESSING WHILST PRESERVING NUTRIENTS AND THE INTEGRITY OF THE INGREDIENTS IN THE PROCESS.

Well said we say. 

SILO earth day 1Plus, as well as being an outstanding place to visit at any time (and in our top 10 places to visit in Brighton) the events at Silo are fantastic – and we are seriously gutted to be missing this one (as we will be travelling back from France)

For Earth Hour on Saturday 19th March, join Silo for a special raw menu meal in the dark. And you have to admit, that menu looks pretty awesome…SILO earth day 2Book your tickets, which are priced at £38 per head here. It’ll be a night to remember for sure. Just don’t tell us and rub it in. *sigh*

(images via Silo)

waste is a design fault – Denmark opens first food waste supermarket…

Waste is a dirty word. Literally. Often thought of as a by-product of a production system, waste is actually something that is designed in – whether explicitly or through lack of considerations. This can be anything from the waste from the creation of products and houses all the way through to our food system, which has seen increased reporting of just how much food is thrown away before it even reaches our supermarkets. Given the fact that there are so many in need of this food, this senseless waste is criminal. And this is without considering the embodied energy that goes into creating the food, transporting it, packaging it… So, what can we do to tackle food waste?

Asda recently launched its £3.50 ‘Ugly Veg’ boxes, which are crammed with produce that in supermarket standards do not meet the mark, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have been on the case on our televisions and now, in Denmark, a charity has opened the countries first food waste supermarket.

Located in Copenhagen, ‘WeFood’ will sell its products at between 30-50% less than other supermarkets, brokering special partnerships directly with suppliers, whose ‘waste’ food will be picked up by volunteers and transported to the store. Given the fact that Denmark alone creates a food waste mountain of around 700,000 tonnes annually, there is certainly enough to go around.

WeFood

 

And despite it’s ‘waste’ connotations, the store shuns the usual discount store appearance for a slick, dark and simple interior, with a clear graphical coherence. Very Danish. And unsurprisingly, it is going down a storm with customers who are shopping there not only for budgetary reasons, but political ones too.

But whilst schemes such as the WeFood supermarket begin to tackle some of the issues, this kind of use of ‘waste food’ has its critics also. Some people think that by almost artificially lowering the price of ‘second rate’ food, then people will be less likely to buy the ‘first rate’ – and full price food instead. Will this mean that farmers may only be able to get a lower overall price for their produce? And how low before this makes it unprofitable for them and they suffer the same fate as many UK dairy farmers whose profits are continually squeezed by our desire – and the supermarkets delivering – an ever cheaper product on our shelves?

In the case of produce, many think that instead of labelling some items as ‘ugly’ or ‘wobbly’, the supermarket guidelines that dictate sizes, appearance and allowed blemishes should be relaxed. If this was the case, then more of the ‘waste’ food could perhaps be directed out of the farmer’s waste piles into stores. But this is again, a small part of the problem – and there is no hard and fast solution.

Until then, we applaud WeFood for at least trying to make a dent in the issues – very much like the independent supermarket, hiSbe in Brighton, who we created the store design for in 2013 – and who continue to go to strength to strength. These examples and pioneers will surely be the future of our supply systems. 

(images via WeFood)

hiSbe on tv!

Back in 2013, we were delighted to be involved in the launch of hiSbe, the independent ethical supermarket based in Brighton, where we designed and project managed the build of the store from a desolate space into the bright and friendly supermarket it is now. As clients, Amy and Ruth Anslow, the founders of hiSbe were a dream to work with – great ethics and a real understanding of the importance of brand and communication.

hiSbe exteriorFrom the outset, hiSbe was making waves in the retail sphere, showing people just how food should be done. From self serve dry dispensers, to locally produced meat, fish and produce, hiSbe became the go-to shop in Brighton for good, fair food that does not cost a fortune.

hiSbe dry dispenser

hiSbe has now turned 2, and is still making a huge impact for what they do – like being featured in the first episode of Food Rebels, shown on the Community Channel on Monday alongside the fantastic Brighton based Silo too.

hiSbe store

We are really pleased to see the store continuing to look awesome and providing a great atmosphere for everyone working and shopping there.

Want to see hiSbe in action? watch Food Rebels below…

2015 recap – September – Zero Waste Week and Silo Brighton…

We are in the last week of our 2015 recap now, and for today we are casting our minds back to September, where we were mostly talking about zero waste…

(first published 10 Sept 2015)

Continuing our look at zero waste for zero waste week, today we are featuring one of our favourite places in Brighton. Silo, which opened in the North Laine area of the city earlier this year is heralded as a ‘pre-industrial food system’ which, as well as producing beautiful and delicious food, also produces zero waste.

root_veg

Now, for a restaurant to declare that its is ‘zero waste’ is a huge achievement, but as founder of Silo, Doug McMaster points out – if you design and create ‘backwards’ – ie with the bin in mind, you can begin to eliminate waste before it has been produced, rather than dealing with it at the end. This is effective and clever.

Silo demonstrate that by working with producers directly, you can choose items that have been produced locally, in reusable / returnable vessels that continue to be in the loop once the contents have been used at the restaurant.

silo brighton 2

But reducing the packaging that you use is one thing. The largest, and most pressing waste produced from a restaurant is the food waste itself. Scraps, peelings, left overs – where does all this go? At Silo, they have Big Bertha – a composting machine that sits just inside the entrance to the side of the restaurant and converts everything into compost and liquid feed in an astonishingly short amount of time.

The 50-60kg of compost it produces overnight is distributed back to the growers that they get their raw goods from – literally closing the loop. As you enter the restaurant, one shelf is filled with boxes from the Espresso Mushroom Company, happily sprouting their brown and pink oyster mushrooms from the mix of recycled compost and locally sourced coffee grounds in the cool shade.

silo brighton 3

But it is not just the food that is zero waste at Silo – the pastries that greet you are served on multicoloured discs of plastic – melted plastic bags that have found a new use and the interior itself is a delight of the industrial aesthetic with reclaimed wood seating and reclaimed flooring used as tables.

There is a distinct honesty to everything at Silo. The kitchen is open at one end, the flour is milled in another corner of the open plan space (although not when service is on as it is pretty noisy) and the jugs of water are filled with the visible offcuts of herbs from the kitchen. You drink the water from jam jars and lovely ceramic mugs, obviously.

silo brighton 1

Many people have baulked at the idea of a zero waste restaurant, confining it to the very ‘green orientated creatives’ that live in Brighton, but whilst Silo wears a lot of it’s ethics on it’s sleeve (and rightly so), it also does it rather quietly. There is no massive signage declaring how it is holier than thou. Ask one of the staff and they will enthusiastically explain the systems – even Big Bertha – but there is no ramming of information down your throats, even though this is the system that many more restaurants could be (and should be) employing.

silo_raspberries

Go to Silo for the delicious food – and realise how zero waste in the food industry is possible.

(images by claire potter design and via silo)

Green Gift Guide – day five – subscription gifts…

Day five on our green gift guide and we are into the panic week where we all realise we have missed the last delivery dates for the lovely independent makers. Sooo… instead of panicking and heading to your nearest generic high street, why not think about a subscription to a great magazine, charity or supporting a good cause instead? And if a note doesn’t arrive in time to explain it to your giftee, well, write something in a card to let them know what is on it’s way. Plus, this is the gift that can keep giving throughout the year…

Welcome to day five – subscription gifts…

1 – a Protect Our Waves membership for Surfers Against Sewage – we are really proud to have a few SAS members amongst us – supporting this great charity who do fantastic work at not only highlighting and tackling the issues of water pollution around our shores, but do a sterling job in bringing marine litter to our attention, organising beach clean-ups and generally caring for our seas. Memberships can be bought for individuals, families and you can even sign up to help as a business too. Claire is a Protect Our Waves Guardian – see below for the great stuff you get in a membership pack, along with the lovely regular Pipeline magazine delivered to your door too… from £36 as shown 

2 – Adopt – a – Beehive – one twelfth share – buying a share in a beehive is a way to support bees and earn some honey too… because, of course, Bees matter. Most fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as food crops for farmed animals, depend on bees. But bees are in crisis with their numbers dwindling at an alarming rate.The problem is not so apparent in urban gardens, but in the countryside, where bees are under attack from viruses, pesticides and mites, but most of us don’t have the inclination or the opportunity to keep bees, so here’s an easier way for you to help: Adopt a beehive and help start a new bee colony. For each yearly share you get 1lb of honey made by your adopted bees in September each year along with regular updates from your beekeeper and each shareholder has the option to visit the hive too… £29.99 per yearly share from Nigel’s Eco Store

3 – Montezuma’s Real Chocolate Club – ok – so what could possibly be better than getting a selection of good, organic real chocolate through your letterbox each month? Not a lot. And using very nifty boxes that easily fit through the letterbox (so you will never miss it), you, or your giftee are guaranteed a lovely, delicious surprise. £19.99 per month (you can choose the length of your subscription too)

4 – Another Escape Magazine – just like we reported in our Green Gift Guide day two, print is certainly not dead, and another of our favourites is the quite stunning Another Escape. Outdoor lifestyle, creative culture and sustainable living? Three ticks from us. With engaging stories and eye-wateringly beautiful imagery, this is a real treat for the eyes and mind. Get a range of subscriptions on their shop page here, from current editions, past editions and future ones too…

Another Escape vol6 cover border

5 – Coffee subscription to Small Batch Coffee Company – as well as good chocolate, life is certainly too short to have anything other than great coffee. And here in Brighton we are really lucky to have Small Batch Coffee Company, who source great coffee cherries from reputable suppliers and wash and roast them with love. We are rather partial to their flat whites. But what if your giftee doesn’t live in Brighton? No fear, you can gift a subscription to their postal ground coffee service to someone for anything from 3 months, anywhere in the UK, where they will receive a fresh 250g bag of coffee every two weeks for 12 weeks. And you can choose how you would like it ground – from cafitieres, to stovetop makers… delish. From £42.50 for three months.

3 Month Subscription

So, missing the last postal date does not mean you have to panic. You can still gift something great…

(images via associated brands)

Christmas Artist’s Open Houses @ Studio Loo – Rarebit Design…

As many of you are probably aware, we have opened up our home, Studio Loo once more for the Artist’s Open Houses in the run up to Christmas with a raft of wonderful designers and artists showing their wares in our converted wc studio. So, we thought it would be nice to find out a little bit more about everyone with a little interview series. First up today is the fantastic Rarebit Design:

rarebit design 6

Hello! can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? rarebit design was set up in 2012 by Rachel Thomas, a designer/maker living in Hove. Rachel makes lovely handmade things from ceramics, vintage paper and linen. With rarebit design Rachel brings together all her interests – from handmade ceramics to typography and vintage print, paper and linen – and produces collections of beautiful handmade things.

rarebit design 3

What’s your favourite thing in your range at the moment and why? My favourite thing in my range at the moment is probably my tiny speckle bowls – hand made stoneware bowls, each one unique and beautifully organic in form with a delicate speckled finish. They look amazing in groups or alone, and are perfect pinch pots for salt and pepper, or ring bowls, or dip bowls at the table… the possibilities are endless. Plus I love making them!

rarebit design 1

Ok – I’ve got £20 to spend. What should I buy from your range? £20 to spend? Well it’s Christmas, so I’d go for a few of my ceramic hanging decorations with suitably festive quips such as ‘Ho Ho Ho’ or ‘Humbug’ printed into the clay with vintage letterpress letters. A rarebit design speciality! Plus a handmade vintage paper Christmas card of course!

rarebit design 2

What is on your own Christmas List this year? On my Christmas list this year is something special from Christmas Artist’s Open Houses to hang on the wall. There’s such a wealth of amazing artists living in Brighton and Hove. I’ve already bought a fabulous print from Hello Dodo but there’s still more wall space…

rarebit design 4

Christmas pudding or Christmas cake? Bah Humbug…neither I’m afraid. Mince pies all the way…

rarebit design 5

Thank you Rarebit Design! 

*** you can see all of Rarebit Design’s lovely stuff and more at Studio Loo – we are OPEN for Christmas Artist’s Open Houses 21/22 + 28 Nov, 5 + 12/13 December – 10.30 – 5.00 at 201 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5JA ***

click here for more details!

Our Christmas Artists’ Open House starts tomorrow!

It does not seem that long ago that we were setting up the studio ready for our first ever Artists’ Open House in May, and yet, here we are at the end of the year with Christmas Artists Open Houses starting at Studio Loo tomorrow!

amalia

We have a wonderful selection of artists and designers joining us this year, with an awesome selection of prints, jewellery, homewares, ceramics, lightboxes and much more. For a full run down of those joining us this November and December, take a look at our special preview page here – and keep your eyes open for our featured interviews with each of our guest artists and designers coming up over the next two weeks. apple prints

Plus, we will have some fantastic cakes, cupcakes and seasonal iced cookies on offer too from the fantastic and delicious Simple Pleasures Cupcakery.

simple pleasures cupcakery

We can’t wait. We probably won’t crack open the Bing and Nat CD just yet, but it certainly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And by shopping at an Artists’ Open House, you can be assured of a handmade, locally crafted one too.

(images by claire potter)

Pecha Kucha Brighton – Volume 22 – Good Grub…

The Pecha Kucha format is something that has to be experienced. It is a quick fire set of presentations, usually formed around a theme, where the speakers are limited to 20 slides, with 20 seconds per slide. Each one flicks on automatically, so if you are behind in your talk, you are in trouble. This is a brilliantly entertaining way to learn something exciting in a concise way, and we are delighted to announce that we will be taking part in the next Pecha Kucha in Brighton.

Volume 22 of Pecha Kucha Brighton on 22nd November will be around the theme of ‘Good Grub’, with a great line up of speakers talking about food in a variety of ways, from typography to crochet. Claire will be speaking about Urban Foraging and the rewilding of the city and it’s inhabitants, based on our Edible City escapades.

Tickets are £15 (+ booking fee) and include a light dinner at Silo, the venue for the evening, and Silo founder Dougie McMaster will also be talking about the philosophy behind the project – which is incredible both in concept and practice.

But even though the event is just over a month away, tickets are selling like zero waste organic hot cakes, so if you fancy it, head to the Pecha Kucha Brighton site sooner rather than later!

(image via Pecha Kucha Brighton)

Zero Waste Week – zero waste grocery shopping…

Today for zero waste week, we are looking at food and grocery shopping. Whilst we can all move towards ethical consumerism by buying less stuff new, supporting our charity shops and clothes swaps, food shopping is something that we all have to do. We can, of course, shop locally and seasonally, fairtrade and organic, but when it comes to zero waste, the options slim down considerably. But, there are few people tackling this issue head on with an effort towards zero waste – the packaging free food shops.

zero waste week - hiSbe produce area
the hiSbe produce area – all brown paper bags

Now, I may be showing my age a little, but I remember a time when the ‘scoop and save’ shops could be found with relative ease. Huge bins of flours, cake mixes, dried fruit and cereals could be bought, by weight, using the heavy duty brown paper bags at the shop. The empty brown bags went on the compost and everyone was happy. You could even buy a bag of bargain basement broken biscuits (try saying that after a few teatime tiffins). We used to try and fish out as many of the jammie dodgers and pink wafers as we could (delicious and light, respectively).

But like many things that once graced our town centres, one day the dry scoop shops left the high street, and whilst we are sure there must be a few still left, we are more used to buying our goods from the supermarket shelf – prepackaged and in predetermined weights. Choice, and zero waste – gone.

So when we are berating supermarkets and producers for coddling their goods in ever enclosing forms of packaging, what is the alternative? Of course, we can try and recycle the packaging (it is is even suited to recycling), but wouldn’t it be better to not have it there in the first place?

Unpackaged in London – the original store

Step in the scoop and save mark 2 – a new wave of grocery stores are starting to spring up both in the UK and Europe that have rethought the ‘no packaging’ concept and updated it to the needs of the modern consumer.

the new Unverpackt store in Berlin

Founded in 2006, Unpackaged in London encouraged customers to bring their own containers and vessels to fill – weighing them at the start to ensure that only the contents get charged and recently, Unverpackt has opened in Berlin – stocking over 400 different lines. Control of how much food you take is down to you, so if you only need 250g of flour for a cake recipe and you don’t often bake, you don’t need to buy 1.5kg of flour that will end up being studded with weevils. Zero waste for packaging and food alike.

Independent supermarket, hiSbe in Brighton also has a dry dispenser area, and when we were designing the interior of the hiSbe store, this was the one area that we were a little concerned that people would perhaps not ‘get’. Getting the signage, location and process correct for the dry dispensers was key, and whilst new visitors took a little bit of hand holding, people really embraced the zero waste concept and the area became a true hub of the hiSbe store.

zero waste week - hiSbe dry dispensers
the first hiSbe dry dispenser area

In fact, the dry dispensing area at hiSbe has proved so successful, we recently designed an extension to the first area, housing another 20 hoppers, plus containers for herbs and supplements and areas for large stainless steel oil drums, containing extra virgin olive oil. We are also talking about the next steps to extend the area too.

So, is this the way forward for food shopping? Will we become accustomed to dispensing our own goods into easily compostable bags, or into our own containers again? It will certainly allow us to reduce our packaging burden, and give us back more control…

And what would the true zero waste supermarket of tomorrow look like?

(images via Unverpackt and hiSbe by claire potter design)

Zero Waste Week – Silo Brighton…

Continuing our look at zero waste for zero waste week, today we are featuring one of our favourite places in Brighton. Silo, which opened in the North Laine area of the city earlier this year is heralded as a ‘pre-industrial food system’ which, as well as producing beautiful and delicious food, also produces zero waste.

Now, for a restaurant to declare that its is ‘zero waste’ is a huge achievement, but as founder of Silo, Doug McMaster points out – if you design and create ‘backwards’ – ie with the bin in mind, you can begin to eliminate waste before it has been produced, rather than dealing with it at the end. This is effective and clever.

Silo demonstrate that by working with producers directly, you can choose items that have been produced locally, in reusable / returnable vessels that continue to be in the loop once the contents have been used at the restaurant.

silo brighton 2

But reducing the packaging that you use is one thing. The largest, and most pressing waste produced from a restaurant is the food waste itself. Scraps, peelings, left overs – where does all this go? At Silo, they have Big Bertha – a composting machine that sits just inside the entrance to the side of the restaurant and converts everything into compost and liquid feed in an astonishingly short amount of time.

The 50-60kg of compost it produces overnight is distributed back to the growers that they get their raw goods from – literally closing the loop. As you enter the restaurant, one shelf is filled with boxes from the Espresso Mushroom Company, happily sprouting their brown and pink oyster mushrooms from the mix of recycled compost and locally sourced coffee grounds in the cool shade.

silo brighton 3

But it is not just the food that is zero waste at Silo – the pastries that greet you are served on multicoloured discs of plastic – melted plastic bags that have found a new use and the interior itself is a delight of the industrial aesthetic with reclaimed wood seating and reclaimed flooring used as tables.

There is a distinct honesty to everything at Silo. The kitchen is open at one end, the flour is milled in another corner of the open plan space (although not when service is on as it is pretty noisy) and the jugs of water are filled with the visible offcuts of herbs from the kitchen. You drink the water from jam jars and lovely ceramic mugs, obviously.

silo brighton 1

Many people have baulked at the idea of a zero waste restaurant, confining it to the very ‘green orientated creatives’ that live in Brighton, but whilst Silo wears a lot of it’s ethics on it’s sleeve (and rightly so), it also does it rather quietly. There is no massive signage declaring how it is holier than thou. Ask one of the staff and they will enthusiastically explain the systems – even Big Bertha – but there is no ramming of information down your throats, even though this is the system that many more restaurants could be (and should be) employing.

Go to Silo for the delicious food – and realise how zero waste in the food industry is possible.

(images by claire potter design and silo)

*** EVENT *** our next Urban Foraging Walk in Brighton is up…

cherry plum foragingFancy a bit of guided foraging in Brighton? join us on our next Urban Foraging walk in Brighton on Sunday 6th September – check out our Eventbrite page for more details here…

Monday Musings – glyphosate and radical transparency…

It is becoming ever clearer that we really do not know what is actually in the things we use, wear or eat. Not a day appears to go by without a product, formula or chemical being revealed as being ‘possibly detrimental to human health’ (note the possible, and the limitations on ‘human’). We live in a world of complicated concoctions with often untraceable foundations. But, for many, ignorance is bliss. What you don’t know won’t harm you. Well, quite possibly it will.

dandelions

Glyphosate has long been outlawed by organic gardeners for the fierceness and obliterating chemical qualities it has on everything it comes into contact with, but a report issued this week from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has categorised the chemical as a ‘probable carcinogen’.

For some, this is no great surprise, but for many this has come as quite a shock, especially as retailers were quick to announce the removal of the products from their shelves. Given that glyphosate is the active ingredient in the majority of weedkillers, including Monsanto’s Roundup, it is far more common an ingredient than you may think, meaning that many gardeners and farmworkers are exposing themselves to the probable carcinogen each year.

So – will glyphosate be banned? Possibly not. There is (of course) a bit of an uproar from Monsanto (what a surprise), plus other European research groups have declared it safe for use, but this poses an interesting question. If there is some risk, is it worth it?

This same question is raised in ‘Ecological Intelligence – the coming age of radical transparency‘ by Daniel Goleman. An empowered consumer is one with the facts, so if there is risk, or a possibility of harm, that consumer may decide the risk is just not worth taking – even if the findings are disputed by others.

This is probably why the big box retailers acted so quickly and publicly when the report was issued on glypsophate. Even if there was the tiniest chance of risk, they certainly do not want to be seen to putting their customers in the firing line.

And what can we do, as the everyday consumer? Well, we can respond in the way that hits the brands the most. We switch brands and make it clear that we are not willing to take on the risk, however small. If we have a choice (and there are natural alternatives to weedkillers, like digging the blighters up), then we are in a position to affect a change. The safe and ethical brands will rise to the top and the Monsanto’s of the world will begin to sink.

Legislation is one thing, but for some, profits shout the loudest. Hit them where it hurts.

Weekend words – when life gives you cherry plums…

when life gives you cherry plums

(image and photography by claire potter)