A summary of the month.
Books and filmsEventsFoodPeoplePlaces
March is about to end and I hope that April will bring us more sunny weather and spring vibes. I cannot complain about March, though, because for me it was full of interesting discoveries when it comes to ecology and social responsibility. Today’s post is a short summary of the month, in which I present my recent findings in areas such as cuisine, literature, food and zero waste.
- At the beginning of March, I had a chance to visit Kuchnia Konfliktu. It is a tiny restaurant located at Wilcza 60 in Warsaw. The place was founded by a group of young Poles, but the dishes served there are prepared by migrants and refugees coming from the countries facing war (hence the name of the restaurant, literally meaning Conflict Cuisine). The menu of Kuchnia changes on a cyclical basis – on the day when I visited it, they served a delicious vegetarian dish from Afghan cuisine. Kuchnia Konfliktu is not only a restaurant, but also a place of cultural exchange and a socially responsible business. Its mission is not only to serve food, but also to connect and establish friendly relations between people from very different countries, cultures and ethnical backgrounds. Oh, and there is one more thing important, from the ecological perspective. When visiting Kuchnia, on each table you will find a carafe with free tap water – you don’t have to buy bottled water which is a big advantage from my point of view. It’s good not only for your wallet, but also for the planet.
- Speaking about food – if you live in Poland or visit the country for Easter, you will probably discover (or know already) that at this time of the year, many Polish households generate a significant food surplus which, in many cases, unfortunately ends up in a bin. If you notice that there is too much food for your family or friends to eat, it is worth sharing it with other people. In Poland, there are many public foodsharing points (I wrote about them in one of my past articles) – so you might want to check if there are any in your neighbourhood. Also, there is an event in Poland, organised at every Christmas and Easter. It is called “Podziel się posiłkiem z bezdomnym”, meaning “Share your meal with a homeless”. You can contact the organizers of the event and they will come to collect your food and deliver it to the homeless. You can also deliver the food on your own or even become a volunteer driver. Some details of the event can be found under the link below but you might need some assistance from a Polish-speaking friend, as the website is in Polish only. If you live in another country, it is worth checking the foodsharing options in your area!
Speaking of foodsharing – March was also the month where I had a chance to meet Mateusz Baniak, on of the Warsaw’s Foodsavers. The interview can be found in my previous post. The meeting with Mateusz was very interesting and extremely inspiring. He shows that everyone can do something important for the planet and local community. The opportunities are uncountable – the only thing you need to do is find an area that is interesting and important for you.
One of the books that I finished reading in March and can definitely recommend is “The Snoring Bird: My Family’s Journey Through a Century of Biology”. The original book was written in German, I read the Polish translation and its English version can be found for example here.
It is an autobiographical novel by an American biology professor – Bernd Heinrich, who also has Polish and German origins. In his book, he focuses on his father – a naturalist who devoted his life to searching for and describing parasitoid wasps from the family of Ichneumonoidea (yeah, I haven’t heard about them before, either). But don’t think it’s some kind of a heavy and boring scientific piece of reading. It is also a gripping family saga, full of exciting adventures, exotic travels and colourful characters. I highly recommend it both to nature lovers and fans of traditional multi-generational novels with some history in the background.
On the 10th of March I participated, for the second time already, in Wymiennik Grochowski, held on a monthly basis by the Community Centre Paca 40, located in the area of Grochów, Warsaw. The event is a perfect example on how the ideas of a zero waste life and responsible consumption can be put into practice. Obviously, the most eco-friendly shopping is… no shopping at all, but going for alternative ways of obtaining things – such as exchange and reusing the already existing items.
The rules of the event are simple – you can bring up to 20 unwanted things such as books, clothes, CDs, home equipment and swap them for those brought by other participants. For each item brought (regardless of its size or value), you will receive one voucher which you can then use to “pay” for any object that you find interesting.
The first time that I took part in Wymiennik was in January. Then, it was an opportunity for me to get rid of a great number of unused household items, but I didn’t find anything that I would find useful or interesting. The March edition was completely different! Together with my sister, we used up almost all January vouchers and were very successful in finding some interesting clothes – many of them of much higher quality than the ones that you can find in shops.
The conclusion is: sometimes you will be able to acquire some interesting and useful items, sometimes you will just get rid of yours but leave empty-handed. It is worth doing anyway, if not for the things, then only for the atmosphere of the event. It is also an opportunity to meet new people, have a coffee or tea, browse through the books and magazines on the shelves. The next edition of the event will take place on the 14th of April – maybe some of you will take part in it?
Wymiennik Grochowski is just one of many great initiatives born at PACA 40. It is a unique community centre where a few interesting NGOs have their offices. It is also where one of Warsaw food co-ops (Kooperatywa Grochowska) is based and, on top of that, they host one of Warsaw’s foodsharing points (Jadłodzielnia).
I’m very curious to know if you have heard of any similar events, interesting NGOs or socially responsible businesses. Or maybe you could recommend some books that are vital from the perspective of ecology or supporting local communities? If yes, please let me know, I would be more than happy to become familiar with such initiatives.
- Here you can read more about the restaurant Kuchnia Konfliktu: https://www.facebook.com/kuchniakonfliktu/
- Under this link, there is more about how you can share your Easter surplus food with the homeless. The website is in Polish only, though, so you might need some help from a Polish-speaking friend: http://podzielmysie.pl/my/
- My recent interview with Mateusz Baniak, a volunteer Foodsaver from Warsaw: https://makeitabetterplace.eu/en/2018/03/an-interview-with-a-volunteer-foodsaver/
- If you would like to participate in the next edition of Wymiennik Grochowski, follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/events/206185019934764/