Local businesses join forces for the environment
Two local businesses are setting an example to others by launching an initiative to reduce litter and make their corner of Haringey a more pleasant environment for residents and visitors.
The Triangle Restaurant and Londis Supermarket on Ferme Park Road N4 are giving away free environment-
Aziz Begdouri, owner of the award-winning Triangle Restaurant, says: “We want to show how small initiatives such as this can make a difference, and to encourage other businesses to form partnerships and think of creative ways to address the needs of their communities.”
The handmade baskets are produced by a collective enterprise in Morocco that aims to provide a means for disabled people to earn a living, and to halt the decline of the rural population by enabling village people to earn a living and remain in their own communities. This kind of industry is a lifeline for people in a country where there is no real social security system.
“The idea came to me last Christmas, when I decided to hand out gifts to my friends in these baskets”, says Aziz. “They were so well received, and prompted a long evening of discussion on the subjects of recycling, waste, reusing materials and reducing the amount of packaging on products. This got me thinking: I’ve had enough of talking and debating about these issues without actually doing anything; I’m going to do something about those baskets. I will give life to them. I then invited Mr Patel, the owner of the Londis Supermarket next door, for a drink and a chat, and sold him the idea of distributing these baskets to our customers free of charge.”
These attractive and versatile baskets are made of woven palm leaves and come in two sizes. They are ideal for carrying shopping, but can also be used for other purposes, such as laundry or beach bags.
For more information, call 020 8292 0516 or 0771 258 2871.
Notes to editors
1. The Triangle Restaurant has picked up the Best Chef and Best Waitress awards in the Hornsey and Crouch End Journal annual Archant Food and Drink Awards in 2007. In 2006 it was named best family restaurant in Haringey in the Journal awards and took the London-wide prize for Best Moroccan restaurant after making the awards shortlist. For more information visit www.thetrianglerestaurant.co.uk.
2. The Triangle offers fusion food – an eclectic mixture of oriental, North African, Mediterranean and modern British cuisine - in sumptuous and magical surroundings, and can accommodate large parties. Call 020 8292 0516.
WHERE THE WILD PALMS GROW
It was around Christmas time, when wrapping all those presents late at night that I first thought of these palm-tree baskets as gifts. They are cute, and environmentally friendly, and their earthiness appeals to most people.
I remember Christmas Day when, surrounded by my friends at the table, I handed out the presents in these baskets. And the real WOW expressions on my friends’ faces when they found their presents inside. They were so well received, and what’s more, we spent the whole evening discussing the subjects of recycling, waste, reusing materials and reducing the amount of packaging on products. Those discussions got me thinking, and I said to myself: I’ve had enough of talking and debating about issues and problems without actually doing anything: I’m going to do something about those baskets. I will give life to them and not let this evening’s thoughts slip away with the next day’s hangover.
I then invited the owner of Londis Supermarket, Mr Patel, for a drink and a chat, and over a long drinking session, sold the idea to him. This was easy, as he agreed with me on the principle, and the baskets are made in Tangier in Morocco, so the cost of making them is really reasonable.
The money spent on these baskets helps both disabled people in Morocco and also remote village people. The first really need help in Morocco, as there is very little for them, no proper social security benefits system: they really are on their own. The second, well, they tend to grow everything they can in order to be self-sufficient, but they still need to buy products like sugar, soap, and oil, so they make the baskets to trade them in the city for either money or goods. So if we buy the baskets, it will help these poor people by creating a little market for them. Twenty percent of Moroccans live below the poverty line, so the country needs all the help it can get.
It will be so nice for Londis and the Triangle to reduce the use of plastic and help the environment.
We’ll hopefully get some media coverage which should work in two ways:
1. We’ll get some publicity
2. We’ll raise awareness and set an example to other people and communities by saying: Enough talk, let’s do something
No matter how small, what you do really does count. We all do something or another that is bad for the universe, but if we do something good, it will at least strike some sort of balance.
Once I’d come up with this idea, I thought all I had to do was go out there and buy these baskets, or at least put in a large order for them. As far as I could see, that was the end of the story. But I was wrong. When I went out to Morocco to arrange a large order, I encountered so many problems, and it was a lot more difficult to put into action than I first thought it would be. As you probably know, Tangier is generating a lot of international interest at the moment – in fact, a lot more international interest than it used to in the 1950s when it was truly international. The prices of property have increased dramatically, as has the price of the land. Foreign investors are grabbing anything they can lay their hands on; very good for the Tangier economy, but very bad news for my baskets. Village people, approached by these foreign investors with offers on their land, start to sell up the land where the wild palm trees grow and head towards the city. So neither the village people are making any baskets, nor do the disabled people have any raw materials to weave any baskets.
Had I missed the train again? Or is this an example of the extremely rapid distortion our universe is facing now…