Powershift 2011

2nd September 2011 by

Oct 7-9 Salford Crescent, Manchester

Fancy taking part in Power Shift – the UK’s largest youth event on climate change.

From 7-9th October 2011, join hundreds of young people in the heart of the industrial revolution in Salford, Manchester, to take part in Power Shift 2011.

Through a series of workshops, talks, training, a bit of a boogie and a Day of Action, you will be equipped with the skills and knowledge you need to be effective, innovative and engaging young leaders.

This years theme is green jobs and Otesha shall be there, with Hanna Thomas who coordinates the East London Green Jobs Alliance speaking on the panel.

Power Shift is the most important moment this year for young people who care about their future to come together. We invite you to take your place in history: attend Power Shift, and join the movement towards a clean, just future.

To volunteer or get your tickets head to their website.

Moving Planet – Sept 24th

2nd September 2011 by

All over the world people are taking to the streets. March, cycle or skate and join the call for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

Hop on to www.moving-planet.org to find an event local to you or even register your own one. They’ve got a great website with loads of resources and support, from printable posters, stickers and t-shirt graphics, through to guides on how to organise an event and get a whole school involved.

During the day Moving Planet will be delivering a clear and strong set of demands:
– Science-based policies to get us back to 350ppm
– A rapid, just transition to zero carbon emissions
– A mobilization of funding for a fair transition to a 350ppm world
– Lifting the rights of people over the rights of polluters
More details on the demands here moving-planet.org/demands

Come to the theatre, or let the theatre cycle to you…

27th May 2011 by

Our first tour of the summer will be hitting the road on 10th June.  We’ll be visiting schools and youth clubs from the north-west corner of Wales, up through Manchester, the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, along Hadrian’s Wall, through Newcastle and up to Edinburgh! Young people across the UK will get a chance to enjoy our high-energy ‘Morning Choices’ play and participate in a series of hands-on workshops all about environmental and social sustainability.

You don’t have to be at school still to catch a show, we have a public performance lined up at Heron Corn Mill on Monday 4th July at 6:30pm.  There are plans in the works for Newcastle and Edinburgh – so watch this space!

The schedule is getting fuller by the minute – but there’s always a tiny bit of time left to squeeze in an extra school visit or a public performance!  (I’m sure the team won’t say no to delicious vegan meals, hot showers, or spare inner tubes either, just saying!) This year we’re headed to Felin Uchaf, Bangor, Saltney, Manchester, Skipton, Beetham, Burneside, Penrith, Cockermouth, Carlisle, Newcastle, Alnwick and Edinburgh.  Our next tour will be rolling around the south of Scotland, follow this link for more!  If you’re en route for either tour and want to organise a visit, email cycletours@otesha.org.uk for more information and to find out when we’ll be in town!

Gee Whiz, Hi Viz!

28th February 2011 by

After some great events last year, we’re back at Drink, Shop & Do on Wednesday 9th March from 7 to 9 pm. We’re going to be breathing life into some new, but very dull messenger bags, turning them into things of beauty.

There’s reflective material available to help make them perfect for cycling, as well as loads of other fabric and stencils to make fancy shapes and patterns. So please come along and create your very own masterpiece!

Please feel free to bring your own bag if you don’t fancy using one of ours.

When: Wednesday 9th March from 7:00-9:00pm
Where: Drink, Shop & Do, No 9 Caledonian Road N1 9DX (close to King’s Cross station)
Cost: £5.00 including all materials and a bag. For Otesha members, it’s free!

Create your own identity @ LMNH

2nd February 2011 by

Hold onto your hats! (or helmets) – the ‘Create your own Identity Evening’ is here

If you’re in or near London, here’s another doozy of an event coming up.

When: Thurs 17th Feb, from 7pm – late
Where: ‘Look Mum No Hands’, 49 Old Street EC1V 9HX
Details: £5 entry on the night, proceeds to Otesha and Afrikids

Come in your own, previously and magnificently created character, or raid our well-stocked props box (with handy ID cards to help you form your new identity). Your costume can be as subtle as a new hat, to as elaborate as an entire facial hair, wardrobe and mannerisms makeover…

Delve into the evening’s entertainment in character.

– Live acoustic sets from the Bara Bara Band
– Victorian Parlour Games
– Character photo booth
– Speed chatting (like speed dating, but for friendship too)

Look Mum No Hands has an excellent choice of lagers, ales, ciders and wines. Food will be available (tasty pies, salads…)

£5 entry on the night. What a bargain.


All proceeds to Otesha and another fab charity, Afrikids, a fundraiser as part of Brake the Cycle

Tremendous tetra-paks into wonderful wallets

1st October 2010 by

Last month our Fair Wares craft evening at DrinkShopDo was such a storming success that we’re doing it again on Thursday 7th October 7-9pm (and in November we’re going to make bike tyre belts).

Come along, bring your friends, make recycled tetra-pak wallets (it’s a good life skill), decorate them so no one knows they’re made out of rubbish, drink nice drinks, eat nice food and chat to nice people (us).

When: Thurs October 7 from 7:00-9:00pm
Where: Drink Shop & Do, No 9 Caledonian Road N1 9DX (right near King’s Cross station)
Cost: £5.00 including all materials
More info: http://www.drinkshopdo.com

Did we mention that it’s only a fiver? And that there are drinks? Also, the shop is lovely.

Wild food foraging + bicycles = lots of fun!

25th March 2010 by

Last Saturday I organised a wild food cycle around Tower Hamlets with the Otesha Project and Invisible Food. It was a lovely morning full of glowing smiles, cycling, foraging and tasting!

At about 10.30 in the morning, sixteen people turned up on bikes at a quiet street in east London to be met by the lovely Ceri (our wild food expert), Nick and Calu (fantastic Otesha ex-cycle tour volunteers) and me. At the start, Ceri gave us an introduction on the Where’s and How’s of picking wild foods (for instance, no picking them beside smelly roads or doggy areas!). Then we got clued up on cycle safety before setting off!

We cycled in three groups and made our way on back roads, along the canal, across Mile End Park to Tower Hamlets Cemetery. Arriving through a warren of flats and estates, the cemetery felt like a hidden treasure in heart of East London! It was a perfect spot for foraging, overgrown and full of wild greenery. We learned to identify five types of wild edible plants: nettle, dandelion bud (elusive and known as the holy grail because it can be made into capers), yarrow, goosegrass (aka Sticky Willy) and chickweed. We spent a bit of time in the cemetery picking; hunting down dandelion buds, uncovering yarrow, bracing ourselves on the nettles and filling our containers …

…with everything except chickweed – there was none to be found in the cemetery! It was only when we remembered we’d seen a grassy and wild looking bank by the canal, that we decided to take to the road again in pursuit of this tasty green.

When we got back to the canal we were amazed – this area was full of chickweed! We filled our containers and learned more about its properties (for instance, did you know that chickweed can be used as a tonic for acne when used to bathe your face?).

Now fully laden with wild greens, were back on our bikes and heading for Spitalfields City Farm. (Although not without a bit of drama – Calu got a puncture halfway there and was given a backie by another cyclist while someone else wheeled along her bike!).

Arriving at Spitalfields farm we set up camp in the picnic area. We had pots, a rocket stove, a camping stove and a funky chopping instrument called a Mezzaluna: we were ready to cook!


We all got stuck in, washing plants, chopping, making nettle tea, we were even lucky enough to pick some fresh salad leaves from the farms very own veggie plot! Refreshed with homemade ginger beer and nettle tea, we hungrily anticipated our meal – a mushroom and wild greens risotto!

A tasty risotto was just what we needed after all that cycling! Warmed up with our meal, we got chatting with the staff at the Young Farmers Club. They meet at the farm regularly and had prepared an incredible pumpkin curry for lunch made with produce from the farm. We shared our food and had the chance to try some of theirs– what a delicious bonus! I loved the community and connections that were made on this last leg of our morning, it seems to me there is something special that can be created when coming together to prepare, cook and eat food.

We could enjoy and share this food with a vigour, and a connection is made that is not easily matched by food from supermarkets! The food we eat is often grown in an unknown location, picked and packed by unknown hands before reaching our shopping baskets, wrapped and silenced in plastic.

The food we tasted last Saturday had come alive; it had stories and adventurous tales to tell. Tales of 20 people tumbling around Tower Hamlets Cemetery, picking greens and searching for that ‘holy grail’ dandelion bud, before zooming off on bikes to discover something new – precious chickweed! Stories of people meeting each other, learning new things and discovering something exciting about their area. Food that reminded us of that liberating experience of taking to the streets of East London on bicycles!

If you would like to hear about future wild food cycles please drop me a line (carla@otesha.org.uk).

Ceri runs regular wild food walks in Lambeth. Check out the Invisible Food website.

Regular wild food walks and other events also happen at Tower Hamlets Cemetery.

Meat free Mondays (and vegan Tuesdays)

3rd July 2009 by

We challenge you to go meat free on Mondays.

Turns out eating meat is one of the most carbon intensive things you can do (the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has worked out that meat is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions). So the logical thing to do is quit meat on Mondays.  The Belgian city of Ghent has given up meat on Thursdays, but that’s not aliterative, so we suggest Monday as an alternative. The entire city of Ghent is doing it’s bit to combat obesity, cruelty to animals in industrialised farming and climate change. We think you’ll agree, that they’re all three bad things. If ghent can do it so can you and there’s a whole website dedicated to helping you do it.

As with every monthly challenge, we’d like you to get in touch and tell us that your doing it and how you’re finding it. What we’d most like to know this month is your favourite veg(an)etarian recipe, send ‘em in to jo@otesha.org.uk.

For the veggies amoungst you, we challenge you to vegan Tuesdays. For the vegans, we challenge you to find a sustainable alternative to soya (and make it readily available). Remember, meat free Mondays aren’t just for the month, they’re for life.


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