South Leicester food group. Diploma design write up 3

The food group has been going well. We have sorted out the ordering system into a lovely easy to manage design now. We have just received our fourth order and the food is amazing. It’s mainly organic wholefoods. So I know that I am cooking nourishing foods for myself and my family and gradually crowding out the bad habits by having my cupboards and fridge full of the good stuff.

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I am using the OBREDIMET design system to work through this design. Today’s post will clarify the D for Design and look at the M for Maintainance, E for Evaluation and T for Tweaks. I will also do a personal reflection on this design.

DESIGNIMG_6803The photo above is a reminder of the functions we wanted the food group to serve

1. For the ordering of food from Suma to be straightforward to manage and for responsibility to be shared out amongst group members.

2. For the delivery be easy to receive and manageable to divide up on delivery day.

3. For us to meet up regularly (once a month?) to place orders/ collect items/ discuss ideas and have social with shared meals. (I wonder about also introducing the idea of guilding with this group of wonderful women?)

4. To expand the potential of the group to include shared group cooking days, apple juicing, jam making etc

5. To share useful tools and resources around the group (such as meal planners, recipes, book recommendations etc

Reflections on all of these are below.

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IMPLEMENTATION, MAINTAINANCE, EVALUATION AND TWEAKSIMG_9728

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PERSONAL EVALUATION

Looking back over my thoughts at the beginning of the design process, I can see where this design has been successful. Looking at the ‘why do I want to be involved’ section of the brainstorm below sets out my aims quite clearly for this design.

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The following table looks at my personal aims and the wider aims of the group for this design taken from the brainstorm above. I have evaluated each of them and it shows me that this design has been successful.

WHAT WERE MY AIMS? DID I ACHIEVE MY AIMS? HOW?
To further my personal development around food that I started in ‘My health and wellbeing design’ Yes. I eat mainly vegan food now, much of which is organic and wholefoods. I feel far more knowledgable about what is healthy and what isn’t. Ordering from Suma

Ordering an Adel and Cole box each week

Growing lots of my own fruit and veg, especially perennial fruit crops.

Attending healthy eating festivals locally

Taking part in Eat smile live spring and autumn cleanses

Meeting useful and knowledgeable people

Talking with Andrea (naturopath) and Rochelle (Healthy living coach)

To gain control of my family food budget and improve planning in this area Yes. We now have a weekly budget which we are managing to stick to.

But I do aim to keep reducing the amount I spend each week and start adding essentials like loo roll and almond milk to my suma order.

£200 each 6 week Suma

£150 each 6 week abel and cole

£300 each 6 weeks local co-op, waitrose, aldi and farm shop.

Keeping a record of what I spend and limiting local shops/ supermarket spending to £50 per week.

To get great food at the best possible price Yes and No

It depends on where the quality/price spectrum you fall. I thing this food is great value for money as its mainly organic and real. It fills you up and keeps you healthy, but its not cheap.

Buying in bulk from suma and sharing with other in the group.

Buying seasonally

Looking for bargains and stocking up.

To spend time with people I like and who support my food choices Yes

We don’t all make the same food choices but are supportive of each other.

The group members

Eat smile live forums and FB

people who I’ve met.

To write-up a diploma design with a time limit of ten hours writing and ten hours meeting/ordering. Yes I have limited my write-up time. Not sure I’ve quite made it under the ten hours, but it’s definitely been a far quicker writing up process than any of the other designs I’ve worked on so far.
ADDITIONAL AIMS OF THE GROUP DID WE ACHIEVE OUR AIMS? HOW?
To develop a network of people who appreciate wholefood and can share heathy recipes.

To be part of a co-operative venture.

To have meet ups and shared meals with the group

Yes The group is fab
To get better at stock control and knowing what is in my pantry

To improve my meal planning

Yes, we all feel that we are getting there. Still work to do though. By planning ahead, meal planning, checking what we have before placing next suma order, not doing unnecessary shopping. No shopping week challenges where we eat up what we already have.
To use my purchasing power at ethical shops

To be buying good quality food in an affordable way

Yes We feel very happy with the ethics of Suma, abel and cole and the healthy food shops/ farm shops that we use.
To create less food waste Yes and no We are all more aware of throwing food away, especially if its expensive in the first place we are more likely to use up leftovers and limit portions to avoid waste/ However, having young children there is always waste. We all compost/ feed birds/ chickens with our scraps
To create a ‘new normal’ for my kids.

For my children to meet others who eat similar food to them.

Getting there My daughter especially finds it very hard to eat around school friends houses, so eating with the food group really helps. We also make an effort as a family to have lots of gatherings where people can eat our food, or ideally bring and share dishes do that everyone is exposed to new dishes.

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I will be continuing on this healthy eating path for ever. I am learning lots and loving the journey. Its made me feel so much better and stronger and more energetic. The food is bloody delicious too!

I have noticed that this design write up did not include any info about applying the principles of Permaculture. We spoke a lot about permaculture, which was new to the other group members. One of which has gone on to attend a PDC alongside her husband after I sparked their interest. So Permaculture was a big part of the design, but in order to make this more evident in the write up, I’ve reflected on how we used the principles in this table.

Principle Possible application in this design
Observe and interact ·      We started by looking at our current buying and eating habits. We each did a ‘stock check’ of our pantry and observed on what we were buying and using.

·      Part of this design plan was to learn from others and share ideas around the group

·      The design is all about interacting and creating community through the medium of food

Catch and store energy ·      We had planned to meet up and harvest fruit together and make jams and preserves, to expand the season that home-grown foods were are available to us.
Obtain a yield ·      Ensure that the group is useful to us all by feeding back to each other and making changes to our systems as required.

·      Make sure I am getting useful results

Apply self-regulation and accept feedback ·      Observe and note any positives and negatives to each design we trial

·      Make changes and tweaks to the design as needed

Use and value renewable resources and services ·      Consider where I am sourcing my purchases. Is Suma the it the best source?

·      Should we try the local food co-op, farm shops or health food shops instead?

·      What resources do we have that we can share around the group?

·      Shared meals

Produce no waste ·      Use what I buy

·      Use all of the foods I purchase and if they are not getting used up by the ‘use by’ dates, then consider why? Do I need better recipes or to change my purchasing habits?

·      Trying ‘buy nothing’ weeks to use up foods in our houses and reduce waste

·      Bring left overs to our shared meals and share out the remaining left overs!

Design from pattern to detail ·      Try different design patterns and work towards the best solution.

·      Establish a pattern of meeting/ ordering every 6 weeks

Integrate rather than segregate ·      This design is all about coming together and the power of buing in bulk to get the best deals then sharing around our little community
Use small and slow solutions ·      See what we already have in our pantry before rushing out and buying more food.

·      Establishing which design works best by tweaking small changes

Use and value diversity ·      Working together with other women on this design was a big goal of mine, gathering a diversity of ideas and experiences.
Use edges and value the marginal ·      Not sure how this one fits?
Creatively use and respond to change ·      Observe and note what designs we trial

·      Make changes and tweaks to the design as needed

·      Respond to the changes in the group make up and be prepared for the group members and how we meet up to change over the years as we all grow and change.

 

End of 2016 update– This design is still working for me in some ways but not in others. I still order from Suma with this group every 6 weeks or so. I now have a weekly fruit and veg box delivered from Riverford rather than Abel and Cole as I feel they are a more ethical company with better employee care and less gimmicks.

The Suma group has now grown to ten families. This growing process was not easy to negotiate. Some members wanted new people to join, others did not, some people wanted to keep it women only, others wanted men to join. Its been tricky and some feelings were hurt and toes stepped on. Now that there are 10 families involved, we never all order every time, that would be just too huge a delivery for any one household to receive. But it does seem to work out that whenever anyone wants to order, there are sufficient numbers to do so and take the total well beyond the minimum order.

The big negative for me of having a larger group, is that we rarely get together for our shared meals any more. Its become too hard to co-ordinate schedules and too many people to fit into our houses! As our children grow, people return to work, kids schedules fill up and its harder and harder to find the time to get together socially. That is a shame. But I have made some solid friendships within the group and tend to see four of the members on an individual basis now rather than on mass.

Doing this design has made a sustainable change in the way that I buy food and manage my pantry. I’m really happy with that outcome. This design has also taught me a lot about group dynamics and the importance of picking carefully who you want to form groups with! Its taught me a lot about how I myself am in groups, that I like to lead but then I can easily get burnt out when it becomes expected that I will lead. We’ve got better at taking turns and other people taking the initiative, so I feel the group will probably tick along quite smoothly now. Maybe some people will leave, maybe others will join as time rolls on but I think we can sustain these changes.

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Twelve Principles for twelve months – an update

Throughout 2015 I will be looking at Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Principles.           I have allocated one principle per month at random. I will aim to find a relevant image, some quotations around the subject, some possible applications and a challenge for myself that relates to the Principle and the Permaculture activity I am involved in at that time.

IMG_9734This photos shows a rainbow chard plant growing in my garden. It stays vibrant for months, the ruby-red colour shine out and draws my eye every time I walk past. I love the parallels in appearance with a tree. if you look carefully you can imagine the stem and branches. The stem is like permaculture principles, keeping us strong and nourished in all that we do.

Oh my goodness, I have been so rubbish at sticking to this aim. The last time I blogged on this subject was back in June. So here is an update about what I have done and what I should have done…

July and August. I allocated two months over the summer to look at the attitudinal principles; for example, ‘everything gardens’ ‘Yield is limited only by the imagination of the gardener’ and ‘the problem is the solution’ I confess that I skived off. I decided to take time off, concentrate only on vital tasks and enjoy time with my family. So I will return to these principles next year.

September. Each element performs many functions. 

October. Each function is supported by many elements. 

Quotations

“Each element in the system should be chosen and placed so that it performs as many functions as possible. Use relative location so elements with diverse functions have their qualities perpetuated” treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com

“In a permaculture design, each element has many functions, the minimum being three. Having three or more functions helps create a stable and diverse food growing system because each element is connected together, making energy cycle through the system rather than being lost as wastes, i.e. food production can be connected to animal husbandry, composting, useful structures etc… This diverse food growing ecosystem is the opposite to a monoculture which only has one yield and is of little or no benefit to the surrounding eco-system.” http://www.permaculture.co.uk

“In a sustainable design, important functions are supported by more than one element. The more elements there are to support an individual function, the more stable and safe the overall system will be in the event of any one element failing” http://www.permaculture.co.uk

 

Application 

I looked at these two principles together as they are like two sides of one coin. I thought about my career path and how linked or otherwise the elements of it were. I looked at the functions of my career, what it does, (makes an income and gives me fulfillment) Then I looked at the elements, all the separate activities that I do. (Studying, teaching, training etc) I draw lines to link up these areas and created this crazy scribble below! In Permaculture we call it a ‘web of connections’ I discovered that all separate elements of my career are all very interlinked. I think this gives me meaning, cohesion and resilience. Pretty good I thought!

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Challenge

October is almost over so I will not be setting myself a challenge this month. I will however aim to complete this project over the coming months. In November I am looking at ‘Use biological resources’ and December will be ‘Small scale intensive systems’

 

Samhain

One of my aims for this year is to learn more about the special days of the year following the Pagan calendar. I have always been interested in the changing of the seasons and the solstice, but I want to learn more. I plan to post on each special day this year with a reflection on what is happening in my garden and what I am up to.

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Tomorrow is Samhain, also known as Halloween or All Hallows Eve. Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest and the start of the colder, darker part of the year.

Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The old year has passed, the harvest has been gathered, cattle and sheep have been brought in from the fields, and the leaves have fallen from the trees.The earth slowly begins to die around us. This is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to wrap things up. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year.  http://paganwiccan.about.com

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So with the aim of completing unfinished tasks at the for-front of my mind, here I am today catching up on my blog! This year my blog and permaculture diploma have taken rather a backseat in my life. I have been busy building my business ‘Muddy Boots’ and studying for my Forest School leader qualification. I am writing permaculture diploma designs about both of these activities, so hopefully these colder months will see lots more blog activity beginning again.

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Noticing how bare the trees are after two days of wind and rain

Feeling drained and tired after being ill yesterday with a sickness bug

Wishing that I could reach the end of my to do list

Eating a whole heap of pumpkin and squash while they are in season

Wondering if I can justify taking a midday nap to recuperate

Wearing for Halloween the kids are dressing up as a Gruffolo, a witch and a mummy

Watching The walking dead – so very very scary!

Listening to the rain falling

Drinking fizzy water with added probiotic to help the fight going on in my tummy

Planning a winter of working hard indoor and out

IMG_9745Our Cat Sol went missing for a week but he is home how and living the life of Riley.

IMG_9739IMG_9746IMG_9730I am border-line obsessed with Autumn leaves. I am that freaky woman shoving leaves into her handbag on the school run. They are just so pretty!