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Consumerism and Waste

  • Redwood Cafe Trafalgar St Brighton, BN1 4EQ United Kingdom (map)

Stories of Consumerism and Waste

We are so excited about the lineup for our first Share Your Story event. We'll be hearing the stories of Douglas McMaster, Ben Szobody and Cat Fletcher, three local people working hard to change the way we view buying, using and discarding - things that we all do every day that have a massive impact on ourselves, our community and the planet. You can read more about each of the storytellers below.

Redwood will be open from 7pm for you to grab a drink or something to eat, speakers will start around 7.30pm. We don't do advanced booking, and all our events are pay as you feel. See you there. 

Douglas McMaster - Founder and Owner of Silo Brighton, Douglas won ‘Yorkshire Young Chef of the Year 2008’ and, in 2009 won the ‘BBC Young Chef of the Year Award.’ In 2012, Douglas won the title of 'Britain’s most irreverent chef’ at the first Y.B.F awards, cooking a tasting menu comprised of food that would have otherwise been ‘Wasted’

Douglas met the legendary artist Joost Bakker whilst travelling in Australia in 2011 and quickly became executive chef and business partner of ‘SILO by Joost’; the world’s first waste free cafe in Melbourne. Here he won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ Award after just 6 months of trading, as well as ‘Best Dish of the Year’ and ‘Most Sustainable Restaurant’.

In October 2014, Silo Brighton was born – the UK’s first Zero Waste Restaurant. Silo demonstrates conscious cooking whilst making nutritious, creative and delicious food at true cost. Douglas is out to prove that a sustainable business model is financially viable and that small ecological farms are able to feed the world.

Ben Szobody - Ben is a longtime journalist who covered politics and urban policy in the US for more than a decade. Among his major subjects was the profound shift in attitudes among young people that led to the groundswell election of Barack Obama in 2008, the longstanding abuse of the mentally ill in state-funded homes, and the ways in which local food systems create routes around traditional political divides.

Ben has studied documentary filmmaking as a tool for social change in the UK, and now develops social projects for One Church Brighton. Most of these projects seek to leverage the dramatic effects of rethinking food and drink in order to understand an urban population's core needs and longings. Ben runs Florence Road Market near Fiveways as an ongoing experiment in food, community and mentoring people into employment. He helps manage the Roots to Growth therapeutic farm project that works with vulnerable groups to produce local vegetables in West Sussex. He manages Gloucester Place, the One Church building now used for social projects and special events in central Brighton. And he founded the UK's first Professional Barista Apprenticeship in Speciality Coffee, which marries unemployed young people with skilled jobs in the third wave coffee movement. 

Ben's shared house of 9 people has sworn off the supermarket, pledging to eat entirely from local markets and ethical shops without spending any more money than what they used to in Aldi. It can be done! Ben also publishes Longberry, an occasional journal about neglected issues in international coffee. 

Cat Fletcher - Cat Fletcher is a waste activist and all round resource goddess. She is a co-founder and Head of Media for Freegle : the UK’s online reuse network with over 2 million members. She has voluntarily run the 26,000+ member strong Brighton Freegle group for 7 years which has kept thousands of tonnes of goods in circulation locally, increased community resilience to material and economic challenges and inspired much creativity. 

In 2012 Cat developed the Brighton Waste House concept with Duncan Baker-Brown an architect at the University of Brighton and sourced the materials for the now completed multi-award winning public building – which is 90% constructed with so called ‘waste’– a triumph of innovative waste prevention. 

Cat is the only UK local authority “Reuse Manager” as part of Brighton and Hove city council’s modernisation programme. She has run community waste prevention services for years and recently crowdfunded to set up a permanent City Reuse Depot in shipping containers. She is running a city wide “Garage Sale Trail” on September 26th in Brighton and Hove. 

Cat who originally hails from Sydney, Australia has spent 2 decades in the UK inspiring and delivering solutions for everyday waste issues.  She is a huge believer that we will all flourish by using less but doing more through cross sector collaboration, technology and people power. 


Later Event: October 21
Loneliness and Social Isolation