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Pakoras and pumpkins! Croydon has new Food Buddies

Pakoras and pumpkins! Croydon has new Food Buddies

What a great day’s Induction Training we had on Saturday (May 14th) when 8 more enthusiastic Food Buddies joined us!

We were only minutes in before the new volunteers started coming up with wonderful ideas and recipes – based around a simple mix of  veggies, herbs and food cupboard staples. Food buddy Erica had brought along a magnificent pumpkin she had grown herself which prompted lots more ideas about soup and risottos. We also had edible nasturitium leaves from Carol and delicious-sounding recipes from everyone.

The Food Buddies will be out and about in Croydon over the next few months, spreading the message that healthy, home-grown food is easy, fun and delicious. They will be joining our current Food Buddies and Master Gardeners first at the Family Festival in Park Hill Park on Saturday June 4th to run activities and chat about good eating.

On their induction day, at the Friends Meeting House, in Central Croydon, the Food Buddies got to know each other, and learned a bit more about the Master Gardener/Food Buddy programme in Croydon, the Food Flagship project, and our part in it. They chatted about how to “sell” the idea of home-growing and cooking to Croydon residents.

Community engagement is an important part of the Food Buddy role, and our enthusiastic volunteers prepared a fantastic event stall, complete with plants, leaflets, paper pots and seeds to sow, and of course, the magnificent pumpkin! Look out for the Food Buddies at events, festival, fetes and open days across the borough over the coming months – come and say hello.

















Before our delicious lunch of dhal and rice with cabbage and light, puffy samosas, chef Rizwana showed us how to make home-made pakoras out of chickpea flour and spices. This versatile snack can have vegetables, herbs and even chicken added to it. The volunteers were keen to have a go and were soon mixing and frying like professionals.

After lunch we looked at the barriers to growing food at home, and sowed pea shoots, black mustard seed and lettuce, all of which can grow happily on a windowsill with a minimum of time and effort, and give quick and tasty results.

Our Food Buddy volunteers will each spend around 30 hours over a year promoting healthy, home-grown food. They went h Add Mediaome with start-up packs with seeds, recipes, kitchen garden planners, and more. They also enjoy membership of national charity Garden Organic, bespoke training days, a branded fleece and polo-shirt, badge, insurance and out-of-pocket expenses. There’s also the support of a dedicated project officer and whole national network of Master Gardeners, Growing Buddies and Food Buddies.

Our next step is to plan a social get-together and training day for the volunteers, so watch this space! And keep an eye out for our newest volunteers in their smart fleeces around Croydon this summer!

Would you like to know more about becoming a Master Gardener or a Food Buddy? Please contact us here. Croydon residents can learn to grow food with one-to-one support from a volunteer Master Gardener. If you would like help, please get in touch with Liza here.




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