Alumni Spotlight: Harley

14th March 2014 by

Everyone who goes on a cycle tour, joins our green jobs training programme, or comes to us for support to set up their own project becomes part of our alumni network. We send them weekly updates, filled with  green, world-changing jobs, interesting volunteering opportunities and events, a bit of Otesha news, and something to make them smile! Basically, we like to keep in touch, find out what they’re up to and support them however we can. Here’s a little spotlight on one of our wonderful alumni!

1. Which Otesha tour did you go on?

Tastetastic 2012 – Scotlaaaand!

2. What were you100_5861r tour highs and lows?

Highs - Too many to mention but I really loved our time at Broomhill community garden in Burntisland with Elly and the founders of Fife Diet. Our first day working out in the sunshine and meeting some very dedicated and inspiring people.

Lows - Having to jump on a train on our first proper day cycling… my knee was not up for it and I was worried that was me done for the tour I’d been so excited about. (With a couple of days rest it was fine and I lived to tell the tale!)


3. Briefly, what have you been up to since the tour?

After the tour I moved back to Newcastle and have been living up there until very recently. Living with an incredible bunch, cooking and eating tonnes of big communal veggie delights. Enjoying the beaut that is Northumberland, cycling, learning lots about growing veg, taking kids on farm tours and making them taste new things! Getting dirty growing and selling tasty veggies, dancing, adventuring and planning exciting things for the future!

4. Tell us a bit more about Food Nation…

For the past year I’ve been working on a number of projects for an organisation called Food Nation. They are a social enterprise based in the East End of Newcastle that aim to inspire people about good food. This varies from cookery classes for all ages/abilities, outreach at a number of schools, community centres, universities and events. They also have an allotment where they run a few programmes for local schools to visit and engage with gardening, food growing, cooking and tasting! They are also linked to Food Newcastle which has been set up to improve some of the food systems in Newcastle by setting up a Food Charter – read more here. It’s been a pleasure to work on such a range of food related initiatives with them and I recommend checking them out!

SONY DSC5. What impact has the Otesha tour had on you?

I was lucky enough to get onto the tour just after graduating and I think Otesha has given me a fundamental backbone of inspiration, knowledge and positivity. Learning so much more about FOOD and confirming my desire to GET INVOLVED. Falling in love with cycling. Friends! (I met the most brilliant of humans!) Feeling part of a powerful network of individuals from all over the world. Despite not living in London I have still felt supported by Otesha and looking forward to getting more involved when in London. It’s confirmed my view that by creating an enthusiastic and inspiring example (by DOing), others will feel encouraged to join in and get involved themselves. Also, by educating people with a fun and playful approach, it can be a much more influential way of changing the habits of individuals.…… I am also a lot less scared of standing in front of a class of children which has come in handy!

6. Are you still involved with Otesha and how?100_5617

Only a fan from afar but hopefully this will change now I’m a little closer!

7. What advice would you give to new tour members?

Don’t bother with those ‘waterproof’ socks… They don’t really work.

Just get ready to have a wonderfully fun and productive time, meet glorious people and learn loads!

8. Describe your Otesha experience in 3 words, a picture, or an action?


The Fifth Epic Tartan Trail Journal Entry

23rd September 2011 by

Roll up, roll up, for the next edition of the adventures of the Tartan Trailers coming to you from Luciana and Lucy, the luscious liaisons. When we last left you we were just about to embark on the epic journey of mid-tour retreat. Upon arrival at Hugh Grierson’s farm near Perth we hung up our wet socks and dried out our soggy sleeping bags in a handy poly tunnel and settled into our new home. Mid-tour retreat was a time for us all to reflect upon our time on the road and come up with ways to make us even closer and more effective as a community. And of course we planned to have lots of fun! We kicked off with an intense play rehearsal where we all swapped around our roles. It was really funny to watch people build upon the characters that others had previously played and rehearsal halted many times whilst we all got over the attack of the giggles! The weekend was also spent doing more serious stuff like sorting out the inevitable conflicts that arose from twelve strangers living in each others pockets for 3 weeks (like the strange occurrence that Otesha time seems to run circa an hour behind the rest of the world!). Although this was difficult at times we managed to resolve many of the issues we had encountered and our little band of two-wheeled world changers was much stronger and closer as a result. The only downside to this weekend was the onset of an autumnal turn of weather. Evenings were spent huddled together for warmth in a big breezy barn, partaking in the big Otesha quiz (that included every single obscure fact that Luciana’s brain contains), listening to the guitar and ukelele or snuggling down to hear Zoe’s dulcet voice reading us all another chapter from the wholesome ‘Ecotopia’.

Although mid-tour retreat was very fulfilling and spirit lifting I think we were all very ready to get to Stirling where we would have an indoor place to warm our cold toes and noses, so we set off on our two-wheeled steeds with gusto (actually setting off EARLIER than scheduled). The cycle ride was AMAZING! We rode up onto the moors above Stirling, just us and the buzzards to enjoy the spectacular views all around. Andres bravely took a naked dip in a small stream whilst we all played poo sticks on a handy bridge. Congratulations to those who lugged the heavy trailers up the massive hill at the end. The icing on the cake was arriving at our accommodation and finding a lovely church room with an OVEN (!), LIGHTS (!) and a real toilet. Oh the luxury! In high spirits we settled into our big carpeted room and had a couple of relaxed play rehearsals before our performance at St. Ninians primary school the next morning. From our first real stage we acted our hearts out and had the kids giggling away, especially when Andres the cow mooed his way onto stage with Arthur attached to the back of him making up his back legs. That afternoon we got a free bike check from the extremely kind mechanics at recycke-a-bike (we made them an amazing recycled thank you card) and later we munched our way through vegan pizzas mmmmmm. Next day was our day off, used in a variety of ways. The speedy gonzalez crew (Andina and the boyz) went on a 60 mile bike hike while the rest of us went for leisurely swims and checked our emails. Civilised. Then I (Lucy) left to London for a job interview (sadly unsuccessful), not before handing lots of money over to Luciana to sustain the team in my absence and waving them off to Gartmore for fresh adventures.

Thanks for your enlightened scribbles Lucy! Luciana here again! So after a speedy and uneventful cycle ride (apart from one Everest style hill) we arrived in the beautiful village of Gartmore. Small but perfectly formed, Gartmore had it all – a community run shop, a handily placed pub with a variety of tasty ales and a teeny-weeny school with only 19 kids! It was in the playing field of said school that we pitched our tents much to the curiosity of the local kids. Myself and Catherine got stuck into fixing the rather overgrown willow dome whilst the boys settled down to well-earned game of footie. Next day we pootled over to the school to perform the play, complete with a brand new song. It was a hit with all 19 of the kids! After an old-fashioned school dinner we cracked on with three workshops, food, fashion and transport. That night we discovered we had run out of gas so the cooking team decided to patronise the local pub and came out with tupperwares full of chips which we scoffed in the nearby village hall to shelter from the rain. Morning came and thankfully the weather had dried up as we mounted our steeds once more and cycled over (some very big) hills and dales all the way to the big smoke of Glasgow…. Love from Luciana Banana, Leah-Pop, Jenny Tree, Jenny A, Lucy Colbiz, Zoe, Kimberley (Eco), King Arthur, Colin-der, Dina the Dinosaur, Andres, and Catherine xxxxxxx

Many thanks to the Postcode Trust for their generous support of this project.

Search Blog

Get Social