Last weekend, 70 brilliant individuals from across the country came together for the highlight of the FoodCycle calendar: the annual Hub Leader conference! It was so great to see you all – thank you for joining us, for your energy, your enthusiasm and your dedication. As Mary said at the beginning of the conference, and Sarah said at the end, you are all amazing! We couldn’t do what we do without you.
The FoodCycle office looks like a warehouse full of boxes and the team are having some well-earned rest so we’re using Monday morning to reflect on the highlights of the weekend…
It was great to see you all arrive, so happy and cheerful (despite some very early mornings and long journeys!) and get kitted out in your much sought-after 2015 t-shirts. After tea, coffee and tasty flapjacks baked by FoodCycle’s Sarah, our Chief Executive Mary McGrath welcomed everyone who had come from far and wide.
A busy day of workshops and training in first aid, managing your Hub, leadership, volunteer management and the future of FoodCycle followed. Lunch kindly donated by Pret kept us going and we made it onto the rooftop to take the customary ‘hands in the air and look silly!’ group shot.
After sharing experiences of your projects with each other, we were delighted to welcome Marcus Rand from Campaign to End Loneliness, Ellie Watmough from Magic Me arts charity and George McNamara from Alzheimer’s Society to our panel discussion on isolation and loneliness. Their insights were extremely interesting and reinforced the important role of food and FoodCycle projects in bringing together vulnerable members of our community.
Next up was the FoodCycle Olympics where you passed peas, blew balloons and erected flags like champions – well done to the onions for their winning efforts in all rounds! A delicious feast from The Indian Veg, a local curry house in Chapel Market, was served for dinner and kind donations from Barefoot Wine and the East London Brewing Company kept us in high spirits – we even heard that some Hub Leaders carried on the party in the bright lights of London, good work guys!
Generous donations of juice from Moju and fruit from Rodanto made sure we were all ready and raring to go for another day of workshops on fundraising, maintaining appropriate boundaries, representing your Hub and nutrition, and we all enjoyed the tasty burritos from Chipotle for lunch.
Campaigner and activist, Josh Stride shared his perspective and experience on abuses in global food supply chains, particularly human trafficking in Thailand’s fishing industry. He left us with ways to make a change: tell our friends, petitions and tie our buying habits with our ethics.
One of our favourite parts of the weekend is our awards ceremony, where we get to thank our Hubs and our star volunteers individually for all their hard work. We also bid farewell to longstanding FoodCycler, And Boor, who will be leaving FoodCycle after four years to adventure around the world – we’ll all miss you so much Andy!
We hope that all Hub Leaders got home safely and that you feel as inspired and motivated as we do. We can’t wait to see all your fantastic ideas develop – thank you, all of you, for being so mint!
A huge thank you to all our generous supporters:
The Grocery Shop
East London Brewing Company
- Keep up the momentum: share everything from the weekend with your team and volunteers, keep in touch with your Hubs Manager, put what your learnt into practice
- Take a look at our Storify, follow the conversations on Twitter and Facebook, tag yourselves and share photos
- If you’re not a Hub Leader and are interested in becoming one, find out more about how you can get involved