Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, Greenbelt 2011 was fantastic. Read about our highlights from this year's festival.
Christian Aid’s presence at Greenbelt 2011 centered around the Rainforest Café. Thanks to our friends at The Eden Project the venue was bedecked with coffee sacks, bamboo, ginger and other plants that transformed it into a semi tropical, fairly traded organic paradise.
The runaway success was the cakes from The Vanilla Pod Bakery in Cheltenham, which sold out in 24 hours! Lemon Drizzle, Coffee and Walnut, Carrot and Chocolate cakes were consumed so quickly that next year we will have to quadruple the order!
However, the millionaire’s shortbread, and One World muffins, crumbles, cupcakes, brownies and flapjacks kept the fair trade tea and coffee company after the cakes were gone. These, and the brewing equipment, were supplied by fair trade specialist Peros .
Whilst enjoying a sit down, freshly brewed fair trade coffee and the above cakes there was an opportunity to watch videos and slide shows, listen to talks and debates, take part in quizzes and listen to music.
The music programme included the launch of the Once and For All Poverty Over roadshow with Martin John Nicholls and Paul Field. Gareth Davies Jones and Martyn Joseph delighted packed venues with their sets and Sunday evening saw upcoming singer songwriters Juliyaa, Abimaro and the Free and Jess Hall bring in a new audience from The Shed.
The Shed was where Christian Aid staff contributed to a series of workshops on a Beginners Guide to Activism, using crafts and songwriting to learn more about issues such as Climate Change. The swishing evening was enormously popular as young people recycled their unworn clothes amongst each other.
Across the festival site Christian Aid staff and partners inspired visitors with thought provoking talks. Loretta Minghella, Dionne Gravesande, Paul Brannen and Rebecca Dotty joined Dr Singha from DSK and the youth dance group Daja Ludica in sharing stories of our work in the poorest countries in the world, and our vision that poverty can be ended once and for all.
Brian McLaren also gave a fantastic talk entitled ‘You are selling your soul for a pair of flip flops!’ which reflected on Christian Aids tax campaign and how Christians should respond to the issue of tax dodging.
Back in the Rainforest Café more staff and partners were joined by GB speakers as a part of the Living Library, giving visitors an opportunity to enjoy coffee and a chat with someone who has a story to tell. The children were well provided for too, fishing for crabs, and taking part in other activities whilst hearing about the work of our partner in Bangladesh.
But they didn’t only sit and listen – some of our youngest visitors were the sisters and friends who sold jewellery they had made from recycled materials and raised over £100 for Christian Aid.
All of this activity, along with the Campaigns Academy, the sales of windmills across the site, the change to send your photo message to David Cameron and a postcard to the Secretary of State for climate change contributed to our campaign to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Thank you for your support
Enormous thanks to all the volunteers who helped make Christian Aid’s presence at Greenbelt bigger and better than ever. And huge thanks to everyone who visited the venue, signed a postcard, or had their photo taken. We are grateful to you all.
And lastly, yes, we did need our wellies, but the sun shone too so thank you all for your prayers!