Tag Archives: New Roots

What Would Captain Planet Do?

Peope and Planet present ‘An Ethical Tour’ – September 23rd 2011

In spite of the fact that I have no current plans to repay my student loan, a strong urge compels me to exploit University/Union services to the utmost extent of the law.  It’s important to get one’s money’s worth.

With this in mind, I adopted my ‘startled fawn’ face in the hopes of passing as a fresher and joined the People and Planet guides on the concourse for an ethical tour of Sheffield replete with free samples.

People and Planet are a student group who are apparently a bit like The Green Party.  They’ve recently won a campaign to stop the Union’s shop from stocking water bottles and the next big challenge is to get them to bank with upright Co-operative over Natwest, a subsidiary of ‘The R’Oil’yal Bank of Scotland’.

The plan today was to hit Beanies, the Union shop, New Roots, PJ Taste, Co-op Bank, Blue Moon Cafe and Access Space, which in terms of free stuff equated to some sausage roll, elderflower cordial, a tiny Cappucino, one truffley cupcake and a tote bag.  While this made for a pleasing lunch, I also learnt the following:

  1.  PJ Taste stocks Our Cow Molly milk.  The milk on the shelves today was in an udder at 5am this morning at Cliffe House Farm in Sheffield.
  2. New Roots shop has a very cool downstairs area open to the public, featuring a saggy old couch and a piano.
  3. Beanies in Crookesmoor stocks vegetarian fish fingers.

These aren’t the cheapest of places, but every penny spent helps rather than hinders the welfare of workers without negatively impacting the environment.  You don’t need to get a tattoo saying ‘what would Captain Planet do?’ to prove your green credentials – just splash out once in a while in the name of a good cause.

Keep updated here on  when the next ethical tour is coming up.  I’ll be there for the free lunch but I’ll trawl the pocket fluff for a few quid for coffee too.


Embarking New Roots Go Against the Grain

New Roots Café – September 7th 2011

“Excuse me”

“Yes mate?”

“Can you spare some change please?  I’m really hungry.”

“Er, I’ve only got a note… We can go get you some biscuits or something from that shop if you want.”

“Can we get a Subway?”

“A Subway?  Mate, I don’t have enough money to buy myself a Subway.”

“Can you just give me some change and I’ll get the rest off someone else then?”

“What?  No, I’ll get you something from the shop though.”

“I just want a chicken Subway!”

“No mate.”

“A Pepsi?”

“I have to go.”

Well, trying to explain to a homeless person that I’m so penniless I couldn’t possibly shout him a ‘Chicken Temptation’ was certainly one of the more obnoxious things I’ve done today.  But this modern day fast food fable illustrates the knots you can tie yourself into by trying to do the right thing when it comes to the not-so simple task of helping someone in need.

Perhaps he has a habit fuelled by harder chemicals than those contained within your average Sub of the Day and is in the process of executing an elaborate Dickensian ruse to extract hard cash from your unwilling pocket.  Possibly, the guy just wanted a meal more filling than biscuits and was pushing his luck.  Maybe, just maybe, it was his absolute heart’s desire on this rainy Wednesday afternoon to chow down on some processed chicken.  In which case I really should have just sucked it up and brought him the sandwich.

Co-incidentally, I was on my way to New Roots Café in Burngreave for the 5.00pm free meal provided for ‘individuals and families who are suffering from poverty or destitution’.  As I’m not suffering from either of those things, I would be paying at least the £2 suggested donation that goes toward funding next week’s meals.

Everybody’s on level ground here.  We sit around a table and eat ratatouille, chickpea curry and chips.  Fruit and drinks are laid out too.  Portion size is personal preference as the ladle is in your hands, but there seems an unspoken agreement that you take what you need and not more.

I’ve come with Adam, a law student, and we get into a conversation with Mark.  His age, nationality, job status, and living situation isn’t revealed or particularly relevant.  Instead I spend a good hour trying to get my head around the meat and potatoes of their in-depth discussion on international politics, and I learned a lot.

I’d happily come here every week for the good food, good company, and the co-incidental good deed.  The place itself is a big splash of yellow across Spittall Hill; just a ten minute walk from town.  You can’t miss it if you’re up that way, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t spend some time there.

And apologies to the fellow I didn’t buy the Subway for.