Open Food Network

ofn_logoFor two years now the Stroudco management group has been working with the Open Food Network to explore ways we can replace the existing Stroudco software (which could be so much better!) with the system they are piloting in Australia.  These conversations have also included online food hub pioneers in North America, Asia and all across Europe

The OFN team in Australia has similar values and aims to Stroudco  – taking back control of our food system and building a fairer, sustainable alternative to supermarket domination. They’re also a brilliant team of programmers and developers, which is just what we needed!

Have a look at this video to see what they’ve achieved so far.

We particularly love the open-source, not-for-profit ethos of the Open Food Network, which encourages participation and promotes transparency at all levels.

We are now a step closer to having the OFN software in Stroudco as the Fife Diet Co-op have just launched using the software – the first UK pilot of OFN.  There are several other UK hubs (many currently using the Stroudco software) planning to adopt OFN.  This allows us to pool our resources and share our experiences to help us all along our journey to a better food system. We can’t think of a better example of the ‘Think Global, Eat Local’ mantra, a system which allows organisations around the world to create their own solutions locally, whilst making the best of their individual strengths and minimising duplication of work as much as possible.

The Open Food Network are now crowdfunding to support the further development work needed to make this system as good as it can be. Whilst much of their work is in Australia, all the organisations around the world using the platform will benefit from updates that can be made, and any money over AUS$5,000 (£2,737) raised in the UK will be channeled into work requested by the UK organisations.

Click here to read more about the Open Food Network and donate to their campaign.

 

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Deck the Halls!

Stroud Tea TowelThis stunning Stroud T-towel has arrived just in time for that last minute Christmas present idea (or you could just get one as a special pre-Christmas treat for yourself!)

Our friends at Weston O’Neill’s Kitchen have produced this perfect addition to any Stroudie kitchen as a limited edition, so get yours this week to avoid disappointment!

Look out for our Christmas special bumper edition of our monthly newsletter coming soon to an inbox near you! Saturday 21st December will be our last food drop before Christmas, so make sure you read it for some great food and gift ideas.

 

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Make a statement…

 

stroudcoGOOD NEWS: You can now view your statement online! Simply log in to the Foodhub and click on “My Statement” from the menu in the top right hand corner of the page.

And if you’re looking for something new to put on your statement, then Weston O’Neill’s Kitchen have added Savoury Energy Bars to their already extensive range of products. Claudia says:

“[Our] savoury bars are a very healthy snack packed with energy; made with whole oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconut butter, goat’s butter, goat’s cheese, carrots, onions, Herbes de Provence, a whole egg and lots of love! All of these ingredients are organic apart from the goat’s butter, goat’s cheese and eggs which are local and free range.”

Of course, we still have loads of Christmas goodies on sale too…only 4 Stroudco shopping days to go!

 

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We all want some figgy pudding…

Christmas puddingMissed “stir up” Sunday? Never fear- Christmas puddings are here! A new small producer, Joanne Neal, is now supplying us with Luxury Handmade Christmas Puddings.

She says: “These puddings are all handmade and simmered for 14 hours in an aga until moist and cooked. All you need do is re-heat in steam, oven or microwave on Christmas Day to enjoy them. 

Ingredients: Raisins, Sultanas, Currants, Dark cane sugar, mixed Italian peel, breadcrumbs, vegetable suet, flour, spice, cooking apples, flaked almonds, grated carrot, lemons, eggs, brandy.

Where possible I have used local free range produce. For example, the apples came from my father’s trees, the eggs from a local free range egg farmer.

They are wrapped in muslin and need to be kept in an air tight tin and in a cool dark place until Christmas.”

NB: They will be made to order so any orders placed before the deadline of 7th December will be delivered with the last Saturday 21st December order. This gives Joanne time to make them and leaves enough time for them to mature.

Of course, we have loads of other Christmas goodies on sale too…only 5 Stroudco shopping days to go!

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We need more staff and volunteers

Food dropWe are looking for:

-         Delivery drivers
–         Food sort helpers
–         Volunteer members on the Stroudco management group
–         Cover for Lynsey’s role as Stroudco manager

We are pleased that more people are starting to shop with Stroudco.  However, this does mean that, on some Saturdays, Lynsey is very busy and we don’t have enough volunteers to provide the support that she needs So we have decided to offer £5 per hour as credit in your Stroudco account for anyone who is willing to offer an hour or two on a Saturday morning to help out.

This involves working with Lynsey to take the produce that is delivered to Stroud Valleys School and using the picking lists to sort it into boxes ready for collection.  There is some lifting involved.  We need people who can be available on  Saturday morning – sometimes at quite short notice because we don’t know until Thursday morning how large the Saturday food drop will be.  Some Stroudco shoppers might want to offer this work to their teenagers and then pay them the £5 per hour. If you are interested in doing this, then please click here to sign up.
We would also like to have a bigger pool of drivers who are willing to pick up boxes from Stroud Valleys School at midday on Saturdays and deliver them around Stroud.  We pay £10 per hour for this work – again as credit in your Stroudco account. If you are able to help with this, then please click here to sign up.

There is a group of eight Stroudco shoppers and producers who provide management support to Lynsey and get involved in considering new applications from producers, keeping an eye on the finances and generally helping to steer the future of Stroudco.  We do most of this work by email with very occasional meetings. There is always space for others to join this group.

Recently Lynsey has been training Kyle (a member of the management group) to cover for her in case of holidays or illness.  We would also like to have at least one other backup person who knows all the ins and outs of Lynsey’s work so that they can cover if Kyle is not available.  This work is also paid at £10 per hour on a self-employed basis.

Stroudco needs this help in order to function smoothly, so please do let us know if you are interested in any of these opportunities. Simply click here to contact us.

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Eat, drink and be merry!

brussel sprouts on white background

As promised, this week we are highlighting Christmas food and drink.

Preparing and cooking that Christmas Day meal can be exhausting, so start off the proceedings with some of Weston O’Neill’s new raw energy cakes. They come in three different flavours – plaintopped with carob, and cocoa.

For the traditional roast, there will be turkeys on sale nearer Christmas, but if you fancy some goose or duck instead, then Madgetts Farm are selling goose breast and leg joints and whole ducks, perfect for freezing before the big day.

For vegetarians (and anyone else who wants some vegetables with their meat), Over Farm are already selling brussels sprouts on the stalk, which can also be frozen beforehand. There are also plenty of vegetables for roasting or blanching – potatoes, carrots, beetroots and much more.

Some excellent wines from Quoins Vineyard and delicious fruit juices from Day’s Cottage should set off your festive meal nicely and when you’re done and can’t eat another piece of turkey or stomach another sprout, Weston O’Neills are on hand again with some warming (and stomach-calming) soups to get you through. Or why not give yourself one last Christmas treat with a turkey egg from Phoenix Free Range?

As far as Christmas gifts are concerned, Kitchen Garden and Just Chutney have some excellent jams and chutneys to give to friends and family, and we have plenty of hamper packaging for you to make up a selection of Stroudco foods and other gifts for the food-lovers on your present list.

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Only 7 shopping days to go!

Christmas cardsYes, it’s that time of year again! It might seem ridiculous for us to be talking about Christmas at the beginning of November, but it’s worth remembering that this means there are only 7 Stroudco shopping days left!

Luckily, we have plenty of Christmas ideas to tempt you:

Looking for Christmas cards? Look no further than Stroud Valleys Project, who are selling cards in aid of Amnesty International. You can buy them individually or as a pack of ten, for as little as 44p per card. They also sell gift wrap from Traidcraft.

If you want a really special gift, then you can’t go far wrong with Wendy Goes Green‘s beautiful coconut wood soap dishes. Or how about a Himalayan Rock Salt candle holder – a talking point at any Christmas celebration! Wendy also sells a variety of natural fibre bags and gift sets of her products.

For the gardener in your life, Stroud Valleys Project sell a wide range of garden accessories, including bird’s nests and nesting boxesplantersgarden utensils and even a hedgehog box!

Or for something small to pop in a stocking, Weston O’Neill’s Kitchen have delicious Marigold and Lavender Lip Balm to soothe those chapped winter lips.

Look out for more next week on Christmas food and drink, including plenty more gift ideas.

To paraphrase a well-known supermarket: Stroudco has your Christmas all wrapped up this year!

Events in Stroud this week:

  • STOP (Stroud Town Opposes Plastic) campaign meeting – Stroud Town Council Offices – Wednesday 6th November – 7:30pm: Second meeting of this campaign group to discuss STC’s aim to make Stroud a plastic bag free town.
  • River Map Seminar - Museum in the Park – Saturday 9th November - 2pm to 5pm: Seminar around the current exhibition, a collaboration between Stroud residents and three local conservation groups to express our desire for the conservation of the landscape around us. Can we collectively imagine the future river valley landscape that we’d like to move towards, can we help deliver these changes?

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