Culture Night Belfast is proud to unveil its latest partnership, one that we hope will literally bear fruit (and veg) in a very good cause….
Root Soup is a social enterprise which grows and prepares vegetables to make soups and breads, directly involving people who have learning disabilities and people who are homeless working together to learn and grow. A “field to fork” initiative, Root Soup offers training and employment opportunities across the food chain in areas such as growing, preparation and catering. Their greater aim is to enhance the relationship between people with disabilities, people who are homeless and the rest of our society, using the simple act of growing fresh healthy produce together as a catalyst.
This chimed SO much with CNB2014’s theme of organic growth, not to mention our slogan “Feed Me”, that Culture Night has joined forces with Root Soup to present the shiny, new and 100 per cent sustainable “Culture Night Allotment” initiative.
The plan is simple: Culture Night has co-opted a number of vegetable and fruit beds and polytunnels at Root Soup’s rather stunning Vista Allotment in Dundonald (which we visited last week – see fab pics below!).
These will offer up a delicious and dizzying variety of potential produce such as runner beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, courgettes, leeks, peas, carrots, onions, beetroots, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and apples.
We’re now asking local organisations, venues, businesses and individuals – be they regular participants in Culture Night, or newcomers - to sponsor a bed of produce. A sponsored bed-in if you like. Each sponsor will get naming rights on whichever vegetable or fruit bed takes their fancy – from Apples to Zucchinis (that’s Americanese for courgettes!). Root Soup and Culture Night will then track the progress of your sponsored produce through a photo diary, and then finally, the produce will be harvested, prepared and used to train, feed and nurture those most in need.
Like a certain royal, the only decision participants have to make now is, which fruit or veg speaks to them most?
For further information and a full list of fruit and veg sponsorship options please contact firstname.lastname@example.org quoting “Culture Night Allotment”.
We all love that magical night in September, when for a handful of amazing hours, Culture Night Belfast gloriously transforms the spaces and places of our favourite city .
BUT why stop at one intense evening? As well as Culture Night, what about enjoying an leisurely programme of events throughout the week showcasing more of the best of Belfast?
Yes, we thought so too! And so Culture Night Belfast is about to go “XTRA” with CNX – offering curious visitors and up-for-it locals an attractive array of opportunities over six days. CNX will offer up a programme of activities and adventures, performances and even a few surprises which neatly wrap around the big night itself, and offer a little something extra for everybody.
Staring on Monday 15 September, CNX will whet the appetite for Culture Night Belfast, and then offers the perfect non-chemical antidote to the dreaded Culture Night cold turkey comedown by giving everybody an excuse to make an extended weekend of it in Belfast, right up until Sunday 21 September. And we can absolutely guarantee that it hasn't been tested on animals - you will be our willing human guinea pigs!
In official blurb, CNX is a brand new element to the Culture Night Programme - there will even be a special pull out section in the brochure.
But really, we all know what CNX really means - six days to sample events and to window shop along the rich creative underbelly of the Belfast Streets, and all in a way that won’t spoil your appetite for the main event!
Where do I start?
What a curious few weeks these have been. Casting my mind back to the start of June, things felt so different. My job options were nonexistent and I was working a part time job that I’ve been in for over ten years, with no get out clause. So, jaded with the situation, I was close to packing it all in and leaving Northern Ireland for good. But sure, the World Cup was on the telly. That was at least something.
Maybe upon hearing this plea of self-pity, the universe heeded my call for change. Maybe I was just in the right place at the right time. Or perhaps I was just a jammy git. I saw the advertisement for this internship and sent my CV in on a whim. I have so many rejection letters and e-mails from prospective jobs and my haphazard literary career already, what’s one more to the pile? Yet here I am, writing a post on my first three weeks as a Culture Night intern. And through a combination of fear, hope, excitement and wonder along with the kindness of my new colleagues, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.
Since I found out about it back in 2011, I’ve always loved the idea of Culture Night. Swimming through an ocean of beautifully crafted events – music, art, theatre, film, dance and literary – around every corner of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and beyond. Each more magical than the last and seeing venues lit up and breathing life into a city I love dearly – despite all its imperfections. In a perfect world Belfast would be like this every weekend, but until that day CN remains one of the most enjoyable and equally most important nights on Northern Ireland’s calendar.
However, did I ever stop for a moment to think of the scale of this operation? The security? Closing off streets? Catering? Volunteers? Team leaders? Permits? Sponsorship? Licensing? Insurance? Logistical coordination of the actual events?! No, no I did not.
When Jillian [Thompson, Production Manager] handed me and my fellow intern Stephanie this huge tome of information containing every single minute detail of each site from CN13, on the first day, I went a little pale and wondered if I was in over my head.
As the days passed by I went from sourcing catering and street food vans to writing down all the incredible events already confirmed, waiting with immense anticipation to see what else is to come, getting to know my fellow intern Stephanie and rediscovering a coffee addiction I thought I beat years ago. The first two weeks have been deliberately slow but exciting. Though I guess it didn’t sink in what we were actually trying to achieve, until one sunny afternoon over a week ago. Adam [Turkington, Programme Manager], Jillian, Stephanie and I were standing in Buoy Park, Belfast, beside St Anne’s Cathedral, visualising how it will look on the night. With that burst of imagination it suddenly began to feel so real.
Typically of Northern Ireland, the first two weeks in July brought a slight lull with the Twelfth festivities. Yet there was still opportunity to food vendors, scout exciting new venues and approaching other potential acts and artists for the event.
I’ve been repeatedly told, and with good reason, when this blog post goes live and the #CNB14 website is officially online it’s all guns blazing. And I may cry for air at times, but I couldn’t be more proud and thankful to be part of it.
250+ events, 100+ venues and over 30,000 people in Cathedral Quarter and beyond - Culture Night is taking over Belfast on 19th September between 4-10pm.
"Best night ever! A surprise round every corner. Simply brilliant!"