Last night I had a very unusual event to attend. After work I trekked up to Islington to Paradise Park, which seems to be in a middle of a slightly unattractive housing estate near Caledonia Road, to find the Innocent Smoothies yurt. Yes, a yurt. Any why was I doing this? Well, I was attending one of the series of Innocent Inspires events, designed to inspire you to get out there and make a difference to the world and to your life. Something quite a bit deeper than the lipstick and shiny hair type of events I’m used to. The event featured a panel of experts and innovators talking about what they do to help with sustainability and ethics in their walks of life.
Chef and sustainable food enthusiast Arthur Potts Dawson, passionately talking about how the production of food in the UK has been on the decline and how he hopes that we can start to source more and more food in the UK to make for a more sustainable future. Arthur demonstrated the amazing produce that can be produced (even in North London) by sharing a crate full of beautiful things that he has harvested from a city farm very close by, this included carrots, turnips, artichokes and even elderflowers (my favourite flavour). Arthur has also pioneered the idea of the People’s Supermarket. If you want to find out more about his work, visit his website.
The amazing Richard from Guerilla Gardening gave a very entertaining talk about his movement, aiming to brighten up dull, dreary urban spaces via gardening. His principle being “asking permission never counted for anything” and encouraging people to put things into action instead of just complaining about something. He shared the famous story of how he was threatened arrest for planting tulips on a roundabout in Elephant and Castle, which begged the question, surely the police have better things to do? Richard also had us making our own seed bombs out of soil, clay and seeds, the idea being that you later lob these into a green space in the city to encourage growth of pretty things like mint and sunflowers. I love this idea and that’s what the mess below is all about. To find out more about Guerilla Gardening, check out their site.
Next up, the adorable and slightly shy ethical fashion designer Henrietta Ludgate, wearing her own creation. Henrietta’s own label makes sleek, chic, stylish garments out of sustainable materials found, created and woven in the UK. Her dress on the night featured a peplum made from recycled baseball cap peaks. I’ve never seen anything like it. I loved how Henrietta spoke about her ethics stemming from an emotional reaction to things she has seen when working in the fashion industry and that fashion as always been her passion. Find out more here. I’m totally a fan of her designs and will certainly be investigating more. I didn’t take a picture of Henrietta, so here’s a picture of my new dress and shoes instead.
Of course, there were smoothies. We drank the kiwi smoothie mixed with ginger beer, which sounds wrong but is actually amazing and sampled the new Peaches and Mangoes summer blend. We snacked on dips and carrot sticks whilst sat on gingham blankets during the interval.
Next up, the headlining guest of the evening, model and entrepreneur Laura Bailey of which I know very little about. She was interviewed by one of the Vogue editors and looked stunning. Unfortunately, not as interesting as the other speakers and shared obvious gems like the fact that buying vintage and riding a bike is sustainable. Sounds like Laura Bailey has been very lucky in the opportunities that life has brought her, meaning that she can use her influential voice to do good, that’s a positive. She had very pretty hair and dressed great.
Next up, a super interesting talk from Dan Burgess, one of the co-founders of Good for Nothing. The best way to understand what they do is to read their website. Dan had lots of good advice to share, including short snippets like “start small, but do start” and “doing not talking”, Dan spoke about the way that large corporations can drain creativity and spend more time talking than actually putting plans into action, so via Good for Nothing, they get volunteers together to work on a vareity of charity and social enterprise projects to collaborate to make. I loved Dan’s survey of the crowd too, asking people to think about their happy place, almost everyone said somewhere outside (one lady said in bed, which is understandable) which raises the idea that we should all get out more to improve our lives. What do you think?
Brilliant, insightful and enjoyable event. And at the end we got to dig up a lettuce and take it home. Honestly.
Comments, questions and shares appreciated.