It started in the winter when some Fitness Professional friends of mine mentioned about becoming a Jamie Oliver Food Ambassador. I’d not actually heard of Food Revolution Day at that point so researched more via the website and the idea appealed as I love food – cooking and eating plus any way to meet more members of the community is great as it’s hard when a lot of my work is done from home sat infront of a computer. So I applied to become a local ambassador for Bath and Somerset and this is when I was first introduced to the lovely Sarah Curl who was my main point of contact throughout the whole process.
A brief summary of my background before I continue is that I was born in the UK to an English mother (who is a great cook) and a Portuguese father who loves to eat. Evening meals were always a focus and we sat down together at the table and despite holding down a full time job and bringing me up my mum always cooked from scratch. I also learnt from her mainly by watching and to this day I still don’t really like to follow recipes (often foolish) as I like to “freestyle” and throw a bit in see what happens and cary on etc! Going to Portugal for our holidays also meant sitting around big table with the family and friends and eating grilled sardines, Bacalhau (salted cod) and bean stew amongst other things. This communal love of cooking, eating and sharing is the essence to me of what Food Revolution (FR) is all about, in addition to the education element for children, so I wanted to be part of bringing this into UK homes and families as I see it is sadly so lacking in comparison to Portugal and other foreign countries.
My working background included 5 years working in highly stressful marketing agencies before I switched careers to become a Personal Trainer 15 years ago. Before this change I was fat, unfit, ill, tired and not the real Zita that I am today due to poor lifestyle choices. I now love to work with other people and share my knowledge and skills of how to use diet, hydration, exercise, sleep and other lifestyle changes to maximise their potential and be disease free and happy. I run group exercise programmes through Zest Bootcamp, do 1-1 Personal Training, have cookbooks and I also created a fitness product called the Ztrainer in 2010.
Life for me is busy too and has it’s ups and downs including bereavements, house moves and other challenges but the foundation is still built on trying to be the healthiest I can be and when I see people and children who look sick and tired I want to help them so going back to Food Revolution Day (sorry as I got a bit sidetracked) this is why I signed up as a voluntary ambassador.
Months went by and May 17th seemed like ages away and I just couldn’t decide what I should do for FR day but once it got to April I really HAD to sort something out so off I went in organising my community event in Bath. I secured a great outdoor (covered) space near Sainsburys in Bath called Green Park Station and huge thanks to Dan from Ethical Properties who was very helpful through the whole process.
Next I needed to get some great people along and luckily I knew a few already and several people gave me names of other people I should ask. After sending emails to many, many people and not getting replies I realised that I needed to see people in person to share my passion face to face and get them excited about taking part so off I went knocking on doors. Sadly so many people had to say no as Friday was their busiest day and they just didn’t have the manpower to send someone along but after a few “pleeeaaaassseeee” will you come I got the following local people to come along.
Bini Ludlow from Sweet Cumin Indian Cookery School shared her simple omelette recipe with spices that tasted great. She also shared some of her homemade chutneys and other delights.
Noya from Noya’s Kitchen showed us how to make some super-simple spring rolls and children and adults alike had a go.
Sarah Jane from Minky Kitten cakes brought her tasty cupcakes ready to be decorated by children (and adults)
Debbie from Bath Harvest Oils had her various Rapeseed Oils to taste and try.
Celia and Kirsty from Newton Farm Foods made and shared burgers made with their beef.
Rina showed and shared her raw foods including chocolate, a green smoothie and other bits & pieces.
Simi from Simi’s Kitchen brought along plants and flowers she had picked that morning including wild garlic and shared some foods that were great to eat with these flowers and plants.
Anna from Faulkand Veg who run a local fruit & vegetable box scheme ran a great quiz for children to find certain foods around the event and then come back to collect a free piece of fruit as a prize
Cat from AtCatherines made some simple stirfries that the whole family love
Riverford Home Delivery were showing their vegetable boxes and other ingredients/fresh foods they can deliver in Bath
Jamie at Home had kitchen equipment to share that can make cooking at home easier
We also had Chilli Hut Bath, Maria from Nourish and Littleton Mill all taking part and I had a simple smoothie recipe to handout for people to try at home as a way of getting spinach into a drink that no-one would taste!
I set up a community Facebook Page which was the hub of sharing with people what was going on on May 17th and I see as a place for the rest of year for us to share recipes, ideas, education with each other https://www.facebook.com/BathFoodRev
How was I going to tell everyone about it (apart from telling all my friends, clients, bootcampers etc)? Flyers – Kate one of our very kind bootcampers offered to design the flyer and Dave Dixon from Minuteman Press kindly printed them free of charge. I spent a long day going all across town putting flyers on noticeboards, leaving them in cafes, public places and handing them to clients, friends etc to share at school or anywhere they could. The ladies in the WIBN networking group I go to were great in sharing the event on Facebook and Twitter too.
Twitter was a great way to spread the word in the local community and we used #FRD2013 as much as possible. I sent press releases out which the local papers didn’t pick up and print but Lisa from Bath mums did which was great as we want to share the event with parents who might not have heard about it
A few days before the event I contacted Bath On TV who came down to film part of the event and this has been a great way of us sharing what we did so that next year we can get even more interest. Talking on camera is a bit scary so well done to Bini and Anna who did a great job.
Finally Friday May 17th arrived and I knew that people all around the world were doing things too. We started at 11am and had balloons all around the area to jazz it up plus kids love balloons so we could give them away. Everyone had free recipes to give away and there were tastings, demos and general information to help educate people. We ran until about 5.30pm by which time most people just wanted to head home after work.
Here is a link to the video of the day VIDEO
Yes it was a lot of work to organise, it was hard to get people involved and excited and I was exhausted but there was a great buzz and energy during the day and I met some lovely people who all want to help educate and help people so worth the effort. Knowing that you were doing something in your local area along with thousands of people around the world made it special and having the Food Revolution Facebook group for all of us ambassadors to share our events/ideas etc meant that we never felft alone.
HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN ANY WAY including my husband who came and along on the day.What we learnt – more awareness was needed prior to the event to get more members of the public along and maybe my idea of having someone in a banana suit handing out flyers would have got people to come and stop by. As it was a school day it was only pre-school children that came and at 4pm after school we didn’t get the children and parents that we expected so maybe next time we get schools to bring children along for 45 mins and take part. I’d love to get more volunteers to help with making next year an even bigger better event so if you are local please do get in touch on 07970 988128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some photos of the day and there will be more coming soon…