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First Single-Use Plastic-Free Store Opens in Bournemouth



Almond & Co. has opened in Eldon Road, Westbourne
Photos by Dominic Hughes.

You may remember our preview of Almond & Co a couple of weeks ago. Now for a closer look inside…

Almond & Co — a store free from single-use plastic packaging — has officially opened in Westbourne. The founders, Sam Almond and Eleanor Whyton, have enjoyed a busy first three weeks of trading, and take pride in establishing “Bournemouth’s first shop dedicated to reducing shoppers’ waste and plastic footprint.”

The impressive refill stations form a central part of the store. These allow customers to refill on a vast array of essentials, such as cereals, rice and pasta. A bestseller is the 100% peanut butter dispensed in-store (without the need for palm oil).

An expansive selection of whole foods are available from refill dispensers.

In 2016, National Geographic reported that 40% of the 448 million tons of plastic produced annually is used only once. The zero-waste refill stations represent a means for modern households to cut down on plastic consumption. This in turn encourages customers to bring in their own jars, bottles and containers from home. Dispensing stations expand to include shampoo, body wash and washing up liquid.

The store sells an array of fresh herbs and spices.

Almond & Co associate with and sell goods from select brands sharing their vision for sustainable living. This includes locally-sourced, organic vegetables from Grounded Enterprises in Boscombe.



Eleanor explained that she was inspired by Bea Johnson’s ‘Zero Waste Home’. This is a guidebook detailing the author’s journey in reducing her household waste to one litre per year.

As a member of 1% for the Planet, Almond & Co showcase their values and commitment for a more sustainable future. This entails a mandatory pledge of 1% of gross sales to partnered non-profit organisations.

An initial 12-month target sees Almond & Co “attempt to save in excess of 250,000 items of single-use plastics from being made, used and being sent to landfill.”

You can find out more about Almond & Co on their Instagram and Facebook pages. Otherwise, visit their store in person at 75 Poole Road, Westbourne, Dorset, BH4 9BB.

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Boscombe’s Secret Garden



Images by Dominic Hughes

Boscombe’s ‘Secret Garden’ offers promise for sustainable food production in the local area…

A secret garden, tucked in behind St. Clement’s Church in Boscombe, is home to a community food-growing initiative — Grounded Enterprises. In recent years, the project has successfully transformed a site of unwanted land in a socially-deprived area into a registered company offering fresh hope for a self-sustaining future. The grassroots project has an ambitious vision – “to promote and build capacity in sustainable food production within the local area and beyond”.

Michael French tending to chemical-free purple sprouting broccoli.

Chief organiser Michael French emphasised the commitment to “high-quality, chemical-free food.” Importantly, he says, “sustainable methods are required amidst a crisis of food production”. Michael attempts to utilise natural methods as much as possible, keeping in sync with natural cycles and seasons. In line with the sustainability ethos, the secret garden is accompanied by an ‘off-grid’ shack with a compost toilet, lounge and kitchen area. All this operates on solar power.

A central part of the mission is supporting Boscombe’s local community. As such, Grounded Enterprises produce subsidised vegetable boxes for low-income families. Organic vegetable boxes are also prepared for local marketplaces and stores. One such place is Almond & Co — Bournemouth’s first store free from single-use plastic packaging. Vegetable boxes for the general public are also starting very soon.

‘Swap-and-share system’

Beyond supporting the community, the organisation strives to “share skills, resources and knowledge, creating opportunities for local food production and enterprise”. Michael reveals the workings of a “swap-and-share system”. This involves “simple home production of a few focused crops, which can be grown in quantity and exchanged”.

The goal is to encourage community members to grow their own plants in their free space, with the volunteer team on-hand for direct support and preparation. For example, Grounded Enterprises supplies plants to Rosie’s Mediterranean Café, in return for 25% of the produce for community food distribution. Remaining plants are free to be used, swapped, or shared with other growers.

Preparation of an order for Almond & Co. in Westbourne.

The most recent initiative is the Boscombe Bees Project, which will be held at the Sovereign Centre roof space. Beehives are already in place, with the bees arriving in early June. A first training day has been scheduled for 1st June at the Sovereign Centre Management Office and beehive site, from 11am-3pm. Grounded Enterprises rely on a network of volunteers and welcome any support.


For enquiries, contact Michael French by email on or call 07530 987349.

Follow on social media: Facebook and Instagram.

Alternatively, visit the Secret Garden at St. Clement’s Church, Boscombe, BH1 4DZ.

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Christchurch Food & Wine Festival 2019



Christchurch Food Festival 2019 took place on 11th and 12th May
Photos by Dominic Hughes.

We let you know the basics of Christchurch Food & Wine Festival a few weeks ago. With that in mind, we couldn’t resist going down on Sunday to see the celebration in full swing…

The 20th anniversary of the Christchurch Food & Wine Festival has been lauded as a major success by organisers. Especially after having brought in over 70,000 visitors this weekend, up from last year’s 60,000. The market on the high street was laced with over 100 stalls featuring many local producers, allowing people to pluck at tasters and experience a miscellany of flavours.

A new addition this year was the vegan and vegetarian market at Saxon Square, which was a hit with consumers. The Festival Village at Christchurch Quay (the Quomps) was a bustling scene amid demonstrations from both celebrity and local chefs. Meanwhile, many visitors opted to stretch out on the grass and lap up the May sunshine.

Impressive salesmanship was present across the festival, but we reserve an honourable mention for James Curtis Dean. He was selling an assortment of garlic products provided by The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight, which captivated the attention of passers-by with a warm approach and lively demonstrations.

James Curtis Dean grabbed people’s attention to his garlic stall with a warm approach and lively demonstrations.

A welcome boost to the economy and community of Christchurch, the annual food festival continues to grow in size and popularity year after year. See you next May!

Thanks for reading! Want to keep up with the goings-on in the area? Just follow our Events section

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Illustrious Age of Steam Back at Poole Quay



Mini Steam on the Quay took place on 11th May 2019
Photos by Dominic Hughes.

Last weekend, Mini Steam on the Quay returned to Poole. We went along to see the celebration of that bygone technology in action…

Visitors in their hundreds took to Poole Quay to enjoy a festival of mini steam engines. Steam owners from Dorset and the surrounding counties came together last Saturday to present their miniature steam and traction engines, offering rides to members of the public.

Up-and-down the Quay: many visitors took the opportunity for a ride.

Richard Harvey, one of the chief organisers, reflected upon the event’s beginnings as a “New Year’s Day ‘steam-off’ between a group of enthusiasts”. Ten years on, the ‘steam-off’ has transpired into a popular annual event consisting of 20-25 engines.

A reminder of the illustrious age of steam.

What’s more — they now help to raise funds for numerous charities. This year, the festival was in aid of Salisbury District Hospital’s Star Appeal: Little Lives.

Present at the event were Stacey and Andy, with their nine-month-old daughter Hollie. They are not only part of the organising team, but also beneficiaries of the fantastic work of the Star Appeal. Stacey explained that Hollie, who was born ten weeks premature, may not have been with us “had it not been for the specialised equipment, care and support at Salisbury District Hospital funded by the charity.”

Proud parents: Andy and Stacey with their daughter, Hollie.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Salisbury provides additional care to around 300 babies every year. The Star Appeal funds a family accommodation unit attached to NICU, in addition to advanced equipment such as incubators. They also fund ‘kangaroo care’ wards, which allow skin-to-skin contact between parent and newborn.

Now in its tenth year, Mini Steam on the Quay has once again provided a highly successful fundraiser, generating a fairground atmosphere for young and old to enjoy. We extend a special thanks to Poole Tourism and the event organisers.

To find out more about Salisbury District Hospital Star Appeal, visit here, and for specific information on Little Lives, visit here. And you keep up with the local goings-on by visiting our Events section.

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