Far from spooky – Eden Communities embraces Halloween for Cook and Share Month
As Halloween fell in the middle of this year’s Cook and Share Month the team at Eden Project Communities in central England used the national festival to create a multi-sensory event for Cook and Share Month in Birmingham.
Eden Project Communities is a nationwide network across the UK, created by The Eden Project in Cornwall, they have a mission to bring people together and encourage them to actively engage with one another and the places where they live. They have a vision of a world full of happier and healthier communities where people know one another, and neighbourhoods thrive.
When we caught up with Darren, Community Network Developer in Central England, he was just back from Eden’s Community Camp, more on that later, we chatted about how he has used Cook and Share Month in his work across the Midlands this autumn.
“I never thought I would have to fit 50 pumpkins in my car!” that is just one of the reflections Darren shared when we caught up on a chilly November day. “I can’t believe 22 million pumpkins are thrown away at Halloween, so we made sure we shared lots of ideas on how to not waste anything but still carve a fun lantern!”
“The Cook and Share Month event was the perfect way of connecting people and the Earth, we worked collaboratively with Let’s Feed Brum, The Active Wellbeing Society and Living Well Consortium, as well as receiving support from Incredible Surplus, to put on a fun-packed day all about low-cost food, using things in season and showing how things like pumpkins can be versatile and tasty.”
Pumpkin carving was just one activity at the Eden Project Communities’ Cook and Share Month event, the afternoon at Martineau Gardens in Edgbaston was a packed one; over 50 people dropped in to carve pumpkins (and were asked to take the insides home with recipes). There were apple crumbles, made with surplus apples from Let’s Feed Brum in support of ForRefugees Charity, and BrumBats (Birmingham & Black Country Bat Group) gave sessions on bats, where everyone went home with a bat bookmark.
That’s not all, the group also got to plant bulbs, sow seedlings, and even do a spot of Tai chi. The bulbs were as part of a Bulb of Hope that the team at Eden Project Communities had created and perfect for gifting to someone or perhaps a nice colourful gift to yourself this winter as you look ahead to brighter days.
“We have learned from The Big Lunch that food is a great leveller and brings people together. It helps people to start conversations, stories emerge about a dish, or a tip is shared. People share things about their cultures and how it affects the food they eat. Cook and Share Month gave us the opportunity to have those conversations.”
“We are definitely making a concerted effort to help communities tackle the cost-of-living crisis, as well as helping individuals to access support. So, the event we put on was created to give feelings of comfort and contentment – like the Scandinavian hygge.
At the end of the Halloween event, participants were served surplus food to take home along with seasonal recipes.”
Eden Project Communities is preparing to support people across the country this winter, with Winter Warmer Workshops and for the first time ever The Big Lunch at Christmas, building on the success of The Big Jubilee Lunch. Concerned about people being lonely or struggling to find the money for a Christmas dinner, the aim is to connect people in their community this winter.
Eden Project Communities was created to support ordinary people to do extraordinary things as they build their skills and confidence to create positive change where they live.
Missed Cook and Share Month? Why not get involved in Plant and Share Month - our spring campaign to get the nation growing food.