It’s been only two months since I started the official London Ground to Ground campaign!
Getting the design and message just right was important and involved a lot of goodwill and toing and froing between London and G2G’s HQ in Melbourne.
Promoting pucks of damp used coffee isn’t instantly a sexy proposition, but if we could gift our audience with collectible info-cards then promoting the wonders of Ground to Ground wouldn’t be as hard. We’ve been helped along by the BBC as broadcaster and writer, Bunny Guinness used Gardeners Questioners Time to raise the issue of coffee waste and talked mulching to a inquiring audience member.
Phase two – the fun part – has been visiting as many of London’s independent cafes as my time can allow. Once I find the manager, this sometimes takes a couple of visits, I have about 30 seconds to engage them in the campaign. The conversations I’ve had with each interesting barista ranges from the logistics of storing grounds to the wonders of worms feeding on the residual coffee oil and aerating the soil.
Putting the cafes on the map is easy, stocking the cards isn’t hard either. The effort is the educational part of the process. Sharing with them that they could save money over time if they had less bags of waste for the council to pick up whilst any green fingered customers could benefit from free garden fertilizer.
My job, as I see it is to inspire the baristas so that they can share the buzz of used grounds to their customers, whilst directing as many as possible to the site for more information. Some have put bins of used grounds out on the street such as Vagabonds N4 (see photo) whilst others have actively reached out to their local growing communities. Park View Café, N4, The Fields Beneath NW1 and To The Jungle E8 are actively taking their used coffee direct to Capital Growth sites, allotments and community gardens respectively.
Obviously I couldn’t ask a barista to talk about something I hadn’t done myself, and seeing as Autumn is a wonderful time of year to make coffee compost – I have been seen sweeping London’s beautiful autumn leaves into bin bags, have rediscovered the joys of jumping up and down on the piles organic seasonal litter and then tossed them into the compost bin to mix with the coffee sacks I’d collected from Vagabonds my local cafe.
For quick reference Autumn Coffee Compost is 40% used grounds, 40% crushed leaves and 20% grass clippings or food waste. You can find the instructions for making coffee compost here.
Obviously one person can’t cover all coffee shops but a roastery has come to my rescue. Finding me on a Sunday morning after a tweet broadcasting Shane’s radio show, Volcanoes Works are now actively distributing our literature – that means Ground to Ground’s message should cover 20-30 cafes across London – phew that’s some of my work done… thanks dudes!!
The journey into re-using coffee grounds has definitely been an adventure so far – I never know who is going to contact me, or what I can discover about the components of coffee next. I am meeting some of the most incredible, passionate and inspiring people from vegetable growers to coffee compost processing plants. From ex dancers to lighting designers, from chemists to industrial designers – there’s always more to your coffee then just the caffeine – so if any of you are at home reading this, wondering what to do next – why not go to your local coffee shop and ask for the grounds – you never know who you may meet.
Please follow me on twitter@Londongrounds to stay upto date - and if you haven’t collected you bag of used coffee from your café – then what are you waiting for?
07929 030 488
Wednesday 28th November – Coffee, Face Scrub, Fertilizer and Sailing – Vagabonds N4 – 7pm
- Message from Deborah – London Ground to Ground (groundtoground.org)
- A London Ground to Ground Event – Coffee, Face Scrub, Fertilizer and Sailing (groundtoground.org)
- Coffee Posters – London Ground to Ground (groundtoground.org)