Tired of insects and pests damaging your plants?

18th June 2014 by

Tired of insects infestation on your hard grown plants. Well, here are some of the simplest ways it can be tackled. 

  • Always use clean pots properly before repotting or starting a new one.
  • Check on the plants frequently to find signs of insects i.e. slimy fluid on plants means a snail.
  • Isolate insect affected plants from the healthy plants so that it does not spread.
  • Every now and then use a magnifying glass to look for mites.

Another way to protect your plants is with garlic garden spray.

Garlic spray is one of the easiest way of looking after your plants against snails, aphids, cabbage moth, caterpillars and mosquitoes, when it is used with 2 weekly interval success arises promptly and rapidly. Follow this instructions to make the garlic spray.garlic spray

Ingredients:

85 (3oz) (about 3 big knobs) garlic not peeled

6 tablespoons medicinal paraffin oil

1 tablespoon oil-based soup, grated

0.5 L (1 pint ) Hot water

The first step is to roughly chop the garlic, put into the blender with paraffin oil and pulverise. Scrape resulting pulp into a bowl, cover and leave for 48 hours. Stir the grated soup into hot water until melted. Stir soup and water into garlic mixture. When the garlic mixture has cool down, strain into screw-top jars and store in refrigerator. For spraying in the garden or plants, use 2 tablespoon of garlic solution to 2L (4 pints ) water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread!

15th May 2014 by

Did you know that this week is Real Bread week? A time to celebrate slowly fermented bread, made with nutritious flour, that’s good for you, and good for the planet! We hope you’re doing something to celebrate – whether you’re baking bread, eating it, or sharing it here are a few ideas of things you could do:

Okay, so it sounds like a good idea, but how do I make it? And doesn’t it take a really long time? Well, yes and no. As sandwichyou might have seen on the other links, sourdough needs time – it’s a fundamental ingredient, and time will hugely improve yeasted bread too. But the good thing is, you don’t have to be there all the time. I make sourdough bread every week, lots of it and I definitely end up spending a lot longer washing up, and clearing up a fine coating of flour across half the kitchen than tending to the loaves… (every time I promise myself I’ll be a bit tidier next time).

  • If you want a good place to start why not try Do Sourdough – a little book helping you fit real bread making into busy lives! Last night I went to the book launch and was also treated to a fascinating talk about bread and its making from Andrew Whitley of Bread Matters, as well as some delicious bread and beer. Thank you!
  • Spread sourdough - join the Bread Matters Fungal Network! (I’ve got some sourdough if anyone wants some!)
  • Make your loaves more sustainable. Choose flour that’s organic, and as locally sourced as possible. Why not bake lots of bread at once to minimise oven usage, or bake with friends? In Germany there are some really cool, old baking houses, traditionally fired up on certain days where all the village can take their bread to bake.
  • If you don’t want to bake, it doesn’t mean you can’t have real bread: you can still eat good quality, healthy, and more sustainable loaves. The Real Bread Campaign have a Real Bread finder! Yum!

Enjoy!

How to Change Things – Free Training

15th May 2014 by

We’re running a free training on ….How to Change Things. Read on for how to get involved!

This training does pretty much what it says on the tin, exploring all the necessary steps needed to set up and run an effective community project – making real, positive change to environmental and social issues. We look at how to get a group together, do some people research, work out the aims and objectives of  your project, dabble with a tiny bit of behaviour change theory, and much more!

1In the past we’ve only offered this training to our programme alumni, but this year we’re running a free, open training on Saturday 14th June for young people in and around Hackney who have a project idea! After the training we will arrange regular mentoring sessions to support with the latter stages of project development. We have space for up to 15 participants so if you’re interested please get in touch with Iona or Edd on 020 3609 6763 or info@otesha.org.uk.

Your idea doesn’t need to be well developed – it might just be ‘I really want to do something to do with bikes’, or you might have a much more specific plan already! We will be giving out places on a first come first served basis, but we do want participants to demonstrate a commitment to making their project a reality, so we’d love to have a quick chat through your ideas if you’re interested in coming along.

Crafty Magazine blog tour: Sarah Corbett’s A Little Book of Craftivism

5th December 2013 by

Crafty-template-for-main-imagesWe were pleased as punch to be approached by Crafty Magazine to review A Little Book of Craftivism as part of their blog tour.  We’re the last stop this week and thrilled!

For those of you new to Sarah and craftivism, be sure to check out our Q&A and the fun had with our Patron Josie Long.

The Review: A Little Book of Craftivism

For someone who appreciates physical books, small things, clear and concise info, how-to create craft project instructions and social activism, A Little Book of Craftivism is a small piece of brilliance in your hand.

What’s even better is that for those who have no idea what the Craftivist Collective is all about, it’s an essential read.  It lays the concepts out very simply:

‘…craftivism is ‘slow activism’.  It gave me an opportunity to reflect in a way that I hadn’t really made time for before.’

‘…projects are small, attractive and unthreatening.  Our mini protest banners or cross-stiched masks catch the attention of passers-by in a respectful and thought-provoking way without forcing our views on them.’

‘With craftivism, we encourage people to meet up in small numbers to create craftivist projects in public places or on their own on public transport.’

Some of you may also be thinking - I have never picked up a sewing needle… help!    You’re in luck as the book lays out small projects you can follow carefully.  Also, an integral element at the heart of the Craftivist Collective is to join other crafters, find a group near you or better yet – create one.

A few final wise words from the author herself:

‘Craftivism isn’t the answer to everything: there is no quick fix.  But we can all be part of the solution and craftivism allows us to express ourselves, and to create safe spaces for honest, open conversations… Justice isn’t soemething we wait for, it’s something we MAKE.’ – Sarah Corbett

Pros: Clear, concise, exciting how-to’s, an easy read, informative and interesting! An excellent stocking stuffer so why wait?! Click here to purchase the lovely book.

Cons: none that our eye can see.

And don’t forget to check out all the reviews by various bloggers this past week:

Crafty Magazine
Mancunian Vintage
Tom of Holland

Housing… need I say more?

21st November 2013 by

Housing.  These days, it feels like a word steeped in controversy.  And yet according to Article 25 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of one’s self  including housing.

There’s been a sharp increase in rents along with associated utility bills.  At the moment reports show that together theyphotoswallow a third of incomes‘.  And ‘for everything that’s wrong with London’s housing and built environment, look to the Heygate Estate, and to what will replace it‘.  And what is with the obsession with home ownership?  Across other European countries (most notably Switzerland, Germany and Denmark) it’s rather the norm to rent as opposed to ‘wasting your money’.  I know it’s probably a very complicated matter especially when it involves the economic market and policies on tenant/landlord rights.  But I’m still not convinced house ownership is the answer.  In truth, I believe it’s damaging.

 

And ultimately if housing is a basic right, then can we afford to house the poor in the future?

Are there alternatives out there?  Yes, but one must be creative and it’s a complicated matter.  Here are some examples of what we’ve found so far:

  • An innovative Scottish approach provides affordable housing that is resistant to soaring rural house prices
  • The essential importance to town planning
  • Housing Co-operatives – there are many out there and many more being created every week.  Hundreds of thousands of resources can be found online. 2012 was the International Year of Co-operatives and their site is extremely useful in summarising the principles of co-operatives. We’ve also come across a fantastic summary at CECODHAS Housing Europe which is the European Federation of Public, Cooperative & Social Housing.  There are further examples of student co-ops, and co-ops started by a collective group of individuals. For further inspiration of housing alternatives around world, look no further than the winners of the 2013 World Habitat Awards.  But the truth of the matter is that there are far too few housing co-operatives in the UK.

Have you found any interesting and inspiring projects out there?  Let us know your thoughts below.

Inspiring Projects to make your own

7th November 2013 by

http://mariashriver.com/blog/2013/08/powered-by-inspiration-maria-shriver/Here at Otesha we’re always on the lookout for inspiration.  No doubt, there are hundreds of thousands of people, organisations, projects, and places that do the trick.  Recently we came across Revolutionary Arts and their list of 50 inspiring projects.  We like what they have to say: Revolutionary Arts is dedicated to new ideas, fresh challenges and radical thinking. It makes things for places and people.

Looking over the list below, I’d say it’s all about finding those precious moments/ideas/thoughts/people and celebrating the way they ‘inspire you to bring playfulness, pride, pop up fun, placeshaking and productivity to the place where you live‘.

Stay tuned as sources say there’s another list of 50 coming.  We can’t wait!

  1. Open a pop up bookshop
  2. Make some robots
  3. Plant more sunflowers
  4. Start a shop local campaign
  5. Walk to work
  6. Create an indoor charity market
  7. Open a cycle-powered cinema
  8. Ask people what they want in the neighbourhood
  9. Make your own roadsigns to encourage people to walk
  10. Start a weekend festival in a forgotten corner of the town
  11. Manage the empty shops to make it easier for people to use them
  12. Make the public spaces places for people to sit
  13. Turn the place you live into a Play Street
  14. Create a Cash Mob and support independent shops
  15. Print your own money
  16. Grow more food
  17. Fill the shops with swings
  18. Plant a sensory garden
  19. Think of the bicycle as transport, not just a leisure activity
  20. Install benches with bookshelves at bus stops
  21. Open a pop up playspace
  22. Design theatre posters and paste them up
  23. Find new uses for empty shops
  24. Only buy secondhand stuff
  25. Start a bicycle recycling project
  26. Tell people what’s made locally
  27. Collect photographs of things you’d usually ignore
  28. Make your street a 10 smiles an hour zone
  29. Give teenagers their own market
  30. Open a café that gives homeless people jobs
  31. Ride your bike naked
  32. Open a box shop
  33. Find the garden under the paving slabs
  34. Build your own mobile phone network
  35. Imagine what an art festival could do
  36. Meet up to celebrate local architecture
  37. Create interactive art in windows with digital technology
  38. Open a book exchange in a fridge
  39. Ensure that people can walk (not drive) to the town centre
  40. Clean up the place where you live
  41. Make buildings from shipping containers
  42. Open a pop up crazy golf course in a shopping centre
  43. Make the whole town an arts venue
  44. Turn the local park into a city farm
  45. Paint your own pedestrian crossings on streets
  46. Start a moveable museum
  47. Bring bees to the city
  48. Find out what makes a place special
  49. Make sure your high street balances
  50. Create a pop up thinktank and write your own list of ideas for making where you live better
via Revolutionary Arts

‘Eco’ Status Quo? Why We’re Growing Our Own Food

31st October 2013 by

Our friends over at Ashoka have been supporting social entrepreneurs’ solutions to the toughest social and environmental challenges for the past 30 years.  Here, they share a series of some of their relevant learnings and top stories for our Otesha readership – the first installment is by guest blogger Julia Koskella. Enjoy!

 

The past few years have seen a massive increase in demand for locally-sourced food in countries around the world. Fed by well-rooted concerns that processed food transported globally and treated chemically is not best for the planet or people, consumers are driving a new localism in supply chains.

Most consumption decisions are made by individuals at the supermarket shelves. But behind this change in consumer habits is a global league of leading social entrepreneurs, innovating, creating new markets, and understanding the key drivers of human behaviour.

Michael Kelly says “Grow It Yourself”

GIY 3 - Otesha photoThe latest trend to hit the local food movement is to go straight to the source and grow your own.  Increasingly consumers are asking themselves where their food comes from and how they can be sure it is safe and healthy.  Five years ago, this prompted a real “aha” moment for Michael Kelly, Founder of Grow It Yourself (GIY) and now an Ashoka Fellow. Picking up a clove of garlic in Ireland, Kelly was bowled over to see a “fresh from China” sticker on as small and cheap an item as garlic – a product which grows naturally and abundantly in Ireland.

Digging deeper, Kelly found Ireland imports no less than €4 billion per year of produce, which could be grown locally, despite being a net exporter of food and drink. His solution was to plant garlic himself and convince thousands of others to grow some of their own food too.  Through GIY, Michael aims to make it easy and sociable for anybody to start growing food for the first time. He has created a GIY network with dozens of locally-run chapters and events and an online platform to share tips and resources.  

Five years on, the GIY network connects more than 50,000 people and 800 food-growing groups. In Ireland, GIY is not just a network but a new cultural movement cutting across age and class divides. Michael is now ready to take on other global markets. Last July saw GIY formally launch internationally, with Michael leading a day-long UK event mobilising food enthusiasts, community groups, and growing experts from across the country.

Key drivers behind the ‘Grow It Yourself’ movement

Four key insights have allowed social entrepreneurs like Michael to have real impact on human behaviour and food consumption patterns.

1. Sustainability just got personal:

Localism is having great impact on the environment, cutting down food miles and chemicals from agribusiness. But social entrepreneurs like Michael know you must tap into a range of personal motivations and interests to create a successful mass movement. In the case of GIY, foodies know that locally-grown food is more tasty and cost effective. Cutting out the commute means your food will be on your plate fresher and faster, without losing vitamins B, C, and E.  If that’s not enough motivation to get you growing, then experiencing the simple pleasures of being active outdoors might: gardening is regular exercise and a dose of sunshine. And any food grower will tell you about the glowing pride they feel at watching their crops sprout, fruit, and harvest. So whatever market you’re in, make sure to appeal to people with a range of interests.

2. Cultivate food empathy:

The first-hand experience of growing food, even if it’s just a few basil pots on your windowsill, leads to a wider mind-shift change that Michael calls “food empathy.” Growing your own cultivates a deeper understanding of the value of food, the time and effort invested, and even awareness of the seasonality of food crops. GIY impact studies have found people who grow their own food start making more sustainable and healthy food consumption decisions throughout the week, not just when they’re picking a home-grown carrot.

3. Collaborate to innovate:

When you’re in the business of changing behaviour, social entrepreneurs understand they must collaborate, not compete, to affect change. For GIY’s launch in the UK, Michael received the collaboration and support of Ashoka Fellow Rob Hopkins, co-founder of Transition Towns.  Many local Transition Town groups are also linked to the Slow Foods movement originally created by Carlo Petrini in Italy.  Petrini, originally elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2008, works through 1,300 local chapters worldwide to promote the greater enjoyment of food through a better understanding of its taste, quality, and production – again linking to the concept of food empathy.

4. Social networks on the ground, not the cloud:

Behind all of the leading local food initiatives is the act of bringing people together regularly on the ground.  Changing your behaviour away from the status quo – whether by putting up solar panels, biking to work, or growing lettuce on your windowsill – takes time, energy, and often money. To counterbalance these costs and shift behaviours on a large scale, social entrepreneurs know the power of bringing people together in a supportive community.

 

Social entrepreneurs are creating online communities that are just as smart, and often more vibrant, than their GIY 2 - Otesha photocorporate counterparts. But crucially, the Grow It Yourself movement is also bringing social ties back to basics at the local level, meeting a deep human need that can’t be satisfied on Twitter – especially when the sun comes out.  People are coming together in community gardens, local garden allotments, or starting their own “GIY Groups” – a structure Michael created so that any member of the public can facilitate new and deep conversations focused on lifestyle, food, and the joys and frustrations of food growing.

If you or a local group are already involved in food-growing, make sure to sign up to the GIY network and strengthen the movement world-wide. If you’d like to try growing even a small amount of food for the first time, or even set up a local GIY group, then check out the website for full, free tips and support. Happy GIY-ing!

 

This is part of a series of articles on Ashoka’s network of social entrepreneurs transforming environmental systems, originally posted on Forbes.com.  Ashoka is building a movement of leading social entrepreneurs innovating for sustainability. If you know of anyone whose work will truly change the system, please consider nominating them. Find them online, or follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

We challenge you to address your windows

18th October 2013 by

Windows waste plenty of energy and money.  And we know that not everyone can simply swap out their old windows with new double glazed ones.  Instead, we challenge you to address your windows and make a few simple changes in your home.

  • Install draught-proofing products on drafty doors and windows. Block cracks, seal your skirting board with sealant and fit a chimney draught excluder
  • Use stretch-seal, heat-shrink plastic sheeting kits for windows (found an example of this double glazing film here) as an inexpensive and easy way to seal warped or single-glazed windows.
  • Use window quilts or heavy curtains over your windows to keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer. An uninsulated drape can cut window heat loss by one-third. An insulated drape can reduce it by hal

And if you are in the market to re-do your windows, check out Energy Savings Trust’s Windows Guide.

How apropos to know that Energy Saving Week is also taking place on 21-25 October, 2013.  Find more energy tips here and get addressing your windows!

 

We challenge you to make something out of that plastic bottle

29th August 2013 by

greenhouseWe generate about 228 million tonnes of waste every year in England alone.  It is in our opinion that every little bit counts.  So instead of tossing that plastic bottle into the recycling bin, ask yourself: can you create something else?

There are brilliant and crafty sites which have this idea in mind. Check them out below.

And take inspiration from Columbia, who have the incredibly large amount of 15,000,000 plastic bottles dumped every day! The Centre for Science and Environmental Awareness tries to tackle the problem here.

 

Don’t forget to contact us and tell us what you’ve been creating with your bottles.

Eco Furniture for the Future

6th August 2013 by

picLast year we met a very inspiring Tristan Titeux and spoke to him about his Where’s Milo project.  Nowadays he’s busy  working on what he calls, the most important thing he’s ever done.  He’s finished his book titled “Furniture for the Future”. The book is about using sustainable eco-friendly materials to build great furniture, but it is also a book about much more than just furniture. It gives a real insight into our current way of living and just how you can make a difference to your health, to your home and to the planet, the health of the planet and our own health is totally linked.  It addresses many of the crucial questions and topics about our wonderful environment and our role in it.

It’s a comprehensive 175 page full colour hardback book that explains how one could use sustainable materials to make furniture. The book will hopefully inspire you to make more ethical choices, think about what you buy, how it affects you, your health and the world. It also explains how we could learn from older civilisations and what the real costs are of not caring for our environment.

Tristan has now launched his crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for printing and in particular, to print 500 copies with a hemp hard cover.  Check it out here and see for yourself.


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