At the beginning of April we hosted our 5th Annual Conversation Cafe at The Barrel House in Totnes. I invited Dr Clare Pettinger from Plymouth University, South Devon to talk about her Food as a Lifestyle Motivator research project (FLM) and Gill Coombs to host and facilitate the evening, while I catered it and organised the logistics.
Sixty people came and heard a short talk from Clare about her work with marginalised community members using food to engage people about matters such as mental and physical health, social inclusion & lifestyle changes. To be honest, this blog is difficult to write and can’t be too detailed about the actual discussions, as I was too busy serving and over-seeing the event to engage, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how it went.
After Gill’s intro and Clares talk, we served a delicious meal of Goatherd or Gardeners pies. The vegetarian option was a selection of local, seasonal veg in a rich gravy, topped with White Lake goat cheesed and wild garlic mash (there was a mini vegan option available as well). The goat, from Painsford Manor Farm, was slow cooked in red wine & homemade stock with local, seasonal veg again topped with wild garlic mash. The meal was served with balsamic vinegar braised beetroot & red cabbage and carrots, orange & cumin. We then served New Lion Brewery ale & chocolate cake & rhubarb ginger cake (which was gluten free).
After everyone had eaten, Gill facilitated a lively debate, held at each table in small groups. A few questions were posed by Gill to everyone and discussions were shared. Tables were then given the opportunity to feed back to the room – this was really interesting as different guests had varied experiences on-which to draw, had different opinions and ideas for solutions.. The work Clare has been doing moved everyone greatly and the energy and good feeling in the room was palpable.
Next year, we hope to have another interesting speaker – if you know of anyone who would enjoy speaking about a food related subject, something that is perhaps controversial or contentious around which a lively debate can held, please do get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org