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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.|
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.