Sunday, March 14, 2010

Food for thought

If you have 20minutes I urge you to head over to watch Jamie Oliver's TED prize acceptance speech. This is a fantastic achievement. For those of you who have never heard of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) it is an amazing concept bringing together some of the most innovative people from many different fields who are working to improve and change our society for the better.

While I know that Jamie Oliver can be a bit like marmite for some people (you love him or hate him...), I believe that the work he is doing to try and improve food awareness is incredibly important. All too often people are too lazy to learn to cook properly for themselves, citing time as one of the biggest factors. This doesn't have to be so, but you have to be motivated to learn short recipes and spend 20minutes cooking something from scratch for yourself. I sincerely believe that if Jamie's idea of improving food awareness via the education system is successful it will greatly help future generations.

I was never taught so formally to cook at school, but I got a love for food by being allowed to help in the kitchen from the age of 5 or 6, at childminders or my grandma's. When I went to uni I made sure that I could cook some things so that I could support myself without resorting to eating at the Uni restaurants. In Finland everyone has to take cookery lessons, boys and girls. They learn to make all sorts of foods and meals and are taught skills that allow them to be confident and creative in cooking meals for themselves, so they can be self-reliant when leaving home. I think Jamie has a mammoth task ahead, hopefully the TED prize will give him some public awareness and attract the backing of fellow forward-thinking and innovative people to support him in achieving his goal.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bloggers for Haiti

EDIT: As of today 07.2.10 £4,194.50 has been raised for Shelterboxes for Haiti - Well done! That's just under 10 boxes :)

I read over at that there is a campaign for bloggers  (started by English Mum) to raise money to send shelterboxes to Haiti. These boxes are incredible. Designed to be relatively self-sufficient providing people with tools and shelter (10 man tent) they are an incredible lifeline to those caught up in horrific natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti, the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the massive earthquake that hit the Kashmir region of Pakistan where the need for shelter was desperate. The boxes can be adapted depending on what is needed and are relatively inexpensive at £490 considering that they can provide support for 10 people for upto 6mths and the fee includes everything in the box and its deployment to the disaster zone. Currently the campaign has raised just over £1,150, they had initially hoped to get enough for one or two boxes but with a little extra support they could buy 3!

Having seen these boxes myself at a local event when I was visiting the UK, they are easy to handle, self-sufficient and what made me realise that these guys had really thought of everything is they have included a children's pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. If you have lost everything as a child then a small gift like this is something to be treasured.

I urge anyone who reads my small ramblings to head on over there to give, it doesn't have to be much - whatever you can afford. If you do decide to give and you are from the UK, remember to click yes to GiftAid, which is tax relief on the money you give to a UK charity. This is where the British Government will donate the equivalent of the basic tax rate on your donation e.g. if you donate £5 they will donate an additonal £1.41 with no extra cost to you.