Newsletter May 2014


Joanna Blythman  explained the unpalatable truth about quinoa in The Guardian at the beginning of last year: ‘ethical consumers should be aware poor Bolivians can no longer afford their staple grain, due to western demand raising prices.’

Not long ago, quinoa was just an obscure Peruvian grain you could only buy in wholefood outlets like Fareshares, but now Whole Foods Market® is the brand name of an expensive US supermarket chain that has a London store in Kensington High Street.  And they bloody love quinoa!

‘Quinoa was, in marketing speak, the “miracle grain of the Andes”, a healthy, right-on, ethical addition to the meat avoider’s larder (no dead animals, just a crop that doesn’t feel pain). Consequently, the price shot up – it has tripled since 2006 – with more rarified black, red and “royal” types commanding particularly handsome premiums.’

Not only does the wholesale price of organic quinoa creep up every other month, as our suppliers update their catalogues, but often we can’t get any type of organic quinoa for love nor money. Every week, we are asked for quinoa, which sells swiftly, but when one volunteer ordered non-organic quinoa from the wholesaler, another returned it for not being organic. Because Fareshares is strictly organic.

Ms Blythman’s article concluded, ‘There are promising initiatives: one enterprising Norfolk company, for instance, has just started marketing UK-grown fava beans (the sort used to make falafel) as a protein-rich alternative to meat.’ This company is Hodmedod’s and, guess what, they now market British-grown quinoa!  But it’s not organic. Not yet. Although this article (page 3) might indicate that it’s in transition .

So, Fareshares friends, the question is, should Fareshares make an exception to its strict policy and stock Hodmedod’s British-grown quinoa even though it’s not yet organic? This topic shall be raised at our meeting on May 15 at the Pullens Centre, where Hodmedods British-grown quinoa will be served for your evaluation. Please join us and let us know your views via our Facebook page.


Summer’s in the offing and salads with it and, with them, mayo. Not the emulsion of egg yolk and oil invented by a chef in the Napoleonic navy for his Admiral, Mahon, while anchored in the world’s second largest natural harbour, in the Balearics, also called Mahon. No, Vegans don’t do eggs, remember, nor eggy sauces, so we are obviously not talking about traditional Mayonnaise, or aïoli. We are mostly talking Plamil Egg Free Mayonnaise.  We are also talking to a lesser extent about Infinity’s more expensive & less popular own brand vegan Mayo.

Plamil EFM comes in six varieties, of which Fareshares regularly stocks two; which two could may change in response to consumer demand! You may also note that its price on their web site is £2.26, but Fareshares shelf price is £1.76, a full fifty pence cheaper than the manufacturer’s recommended retail price! #HOWDOWEDOIT?


Better than shop bought is home made. The ease of making your own vegan mayo depends upon having the correct apparatus: it really needs a blender or a food processor that enables one to add the oil in a slow steady stream as the machine is running. That said, I’ve made it using a stick mixer in a pint glass.

You’ll need twice as much oil as soya milk, so make sure you’ve enough and don’t use good olive oil, for instance, except perhaps at the end, to give your ‘mayo’ some class. The recipe below was adapted from much larger quantities and incorporates mustard powder and apple juice concentrate as a sweetener. You might use Dijon, or any mustard, but it is worth getting conc. AJ, which adds a certain je ne sais quoi.

Soya milk                                60ml
Mustard Powder                    half teaspoon
Vinegar                                   10ml
Salt                                          big pinch
Apple juice concentrate        3/4g
Vegetable Oil                        125ml

*      Mix all the ingredients, except for the oil in a blender or food processor, or in a bowl if you intend to whisk.
*      Add the oil very slowly to the other ingredients, blending continuously, until it has a mayonnaise consistency.
*      Pour it over new potatoes, mix it with shredded cabbage & carrot to make coleslaw, or chopped celery, apple & hazelnuts to make Waldorf salad.


Perhaps you’ve been thinking about joining Fareshares’ pool of volunteers, but even if you can’t do shifts in the shop- that’s-not, perhaps you have a special skill that you could donate? Accountancy, for example, or graphic design.

Although it’s nobody’s business, Fareshares does occupy the same consensus reality as Marks&Spencer and is obliged to follow many of the same procedures. So, if you think you can tell us why we ‘re perpetually on the brink of insolvency, or how to make better signs, we’d be glad to hear from you.

Why not come along to Fareshares May meeting,  to be be held on Friday 16th at The Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street, SE17!

Hot food will be served at 6:30pm, upstairs, before the meeting takes place, downstairs, at 7:30pm. All prospective and past members of Fareshares are welcome to eat with us, but only present members of the collective may participate in its business meeting. Others may hang out upstairs until the meeting is done and we finish the evening with cake. Please bring cake!

Newsletter April 2014

An invitation to share your recipes

We volunteers learn so much from you, especially about inventive and healthy new ways of using the food you find at fareshares. We’d like to invite you to contribute any special recipes or preparation advice you’ve got for using FS products. Here’s the place to do it on our website:  Recipes. If you’d rather just write it down please put it in the feedback at the desk and we’ll upload it for you!

Coconut Oil Pulling

The ancient Ayurvedic technique – or is it – that involves swooshing oil around one’s mouth for 20 minutes became a contemorary fad thanks largely to this post by Erica Stolman on her Fashionlush blog .  That this news comes from an American fashionista indicates that it is likely to be (a) bullshit or (b) shinola: a sophisticated hype, perhaps intended to promote raw coconut oil?

The rather simplistic notion behind oil pulling is that the sticky oil attracts toxins, which are pulled out of one’s system and expelled when one spits it out. Deepak Chopra, who advocates the practice in his book, Perfect Health, says that some of the oil is absorbed through the tongue & makes its way through the body. There’s an internet meme that claims a doctor named F. Karach (or, sometimes, Karachi)used oil pulling to cure his own blood cancer, but found no evidence that he even existed.

Sceptics think detoxification is a myth and point out that the evidence for the efficacy of oil pulling is only anecdotal, but Dr. Bruce Fife of the Coconut Research Center
makes extravagant claims for it in his book, Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing. Dr Bruce believes coconut to be the king of saturated fats and his book The Coconut Oil Miracle is now in its fifth edition.

Huff Post, last year, declared 3 Reasons You Should Try Oil Pulling:
1    Whitens teeth, improves gum health, eliminates bad breath & makes a prettier smile.
2    Clears up acne & reduces the appearance of skin blemishes.
3    Leads to a healthy, glowing complexion.

Given that the perceived health benefits of pursuing this practice are entirely subjective, I experimented with a 200mg jar of Biona organic raw virgin coconut oil from FareShares, slooshing a teaspoon of it around my mouth for twenty minutes every morning for about three weeks. The oil, solid in the jar, slowly melts in the mouth as one swooshes & swirls it around. It is not unpleasant.

After 20mins, do not spit oil down the sink or toilet, because the fat will solidify in the pipes and clog the plumbing. Spit in bin! Having spat, rinse your mouth thoroughly, preferably with salty water. Failure to do so will result in toxins being re-absorded and leave your tongue and palate coated with an oily film. Which is a film no-one wants to watch.

So, I reckon there WAS a detectable difference in all three areas: my smile, complexion & general sense of well-being all improved as we passed the equinox and the days began to get longer. I WAS more conscious of my teeth and gums for spending 20mins swooshing  every morning. It tastes OK & swooshing time wasn’t wasted ‘cos I could do Facebook, or whatever, although spitting the oil out did seem a bit wasteful.

My conclusion is that oil pulling is harmless, if not massively beneficial, and I may carry on with it if I feel that way inclined, definitively.


Have you ‘liked’ our Facebook page? If you really like us, consider adding a review with a star rating of FareShares’ service. This will make us to feel appreciated, but more importantly it helps demonstrate to our landlord, Southwark Council, that FareShares is not a shop but an experiment in community.

Scroll down to the ‘reviews’ box on the right hand side, click the star rating and add a few words. Maisie Collins gave us 5 stars and wrote, ‘I love Fareshares! I do the lion-share of my food shopping here and everyone’s always super helpful and friendly. Lovely produce and lovely people.’ Thanks, Maisie!

#HOWDOWEDOIT: Zaytoun’s Palestinian olive oil

Zaytoun was founded ten years ago to assist Palestinian farmers market their products, starting with oil from some of the world’s oldest olive groves, and was initially funded by hundreds of people willing to put up their money well in advance of receiving their oil. In 2009, Zaytoun launched the world’s first ever Fairtrade olive oil, a tribute to the hard work of its Palestinian producers and processors.

Palestine is the home of the olive tree, whose fruit supports over half the population. Gnarly olive trees predominate in the agricultural landscape. The Mediterranean climate, rich fertile soil and use of organic traditional farming methods disionguishes Zaytoun’s Palestinian olive oil. You’ll find it in the far corner of Fareshares, atop the pasta cabinet, on the Solidarity Shelf. In solidarity with Zaytoun’s mission, Fareshares adds no mark up to the price we pay for its wonderful products.

Zaytoun organises annual trips to the olive harvest and this year’s tour runs, 2nd – 8th November. It’s a rare chance to visit the communities who supply Zaytoun products: not only the olive farmers in Jenin, but also those who make the maftoul (couscous) & za’atar (spice mix), dates & almonds, not forgetting the soap-makers of Nablus. Numbers are limited to a bakers’ dozen, so get in touch early if you think you can afford the frontline gastronomic holiday of a lifetime this winter!.

For further details and enquiries please contact or call 0207 832 1351.

Newsletter March 2014

FareShares meeting, Saturday March 15.

FareShares meets on the 15th of each month. This month, we shall meet in the Pullens Centre at 184 Crampton Street, where food will be served from 6:30pm. All prospective volunteers and former comrades are welcome to join us.

If you’d like to become involved with FareShares, or you used to be involved, this is an opportunity to meet the committed members of our co-operative and/or catch up with old friends over a bowl of hot food. Please bring salads & breads, puddings & cake to share.

On that afternoon, Saturday 15th, there will be a training session for recent volunteers, who will close the shop at 5pm. They will cash up and clean down – don’t forget to leave the Infinty boxes out for their driver to collect! – before coming to join us, upstairs at the Pullens Centre.

FareShares monthly business meeting –  which is open to current members of the collective only – will take place separately, in the downstairs room, from 7:30pm. Non-members and those members who do not wish to participate in the meeting, or sit through all of it, are welcome to hang out upstairs.

Spring Vegetables

As we approach the equinox, we enter the ‘hungry gap’ time, when we’re between winter and new spring crops. New season’s carrots should be in soon and we hope that purple sprouting broccoli will keep going for a couple more weeks.

No vegetable is more evocative of springtime in Britain than squeaky-leaved Spring cabbage, which is great when combined with mashed potato, aka ‘bubble’. Bubble ‘n’ squeak is typically a dish of refried leftovers whereas Colcannon is traditionally made from shredded kale, or cabbage, and mashed potatoes. This Spring, why not  add another dimension by making  your mash with celeriac?

Celeriac mash is best made by mixing the root half & half with potato. A good tip for making unlumpy mash is to use a ricer like this one. If you can suggest other variations, do let us know.

How do we do it?

Yeast & Gluten Free, Marigold Liquid Aminos is a versatile and all purpose seasoning. A natural enhancer of soups, dressings, stews, casseroles, it is ideal for stir fries and marinades. Liquid Aminos is a perfect substitute for soya sauce & a good source of vegetarian protein. Fareshares sells 250ml bottles for £2.70, a full 70p cheaper than its Recommended Retail Price!

FareShares Finances

FareShares finances continue to be precarious and our overheads are now around £350 each month. Sooner than increase our slender profit margins and put prices up, we ask supporters of FareShares’ project to provide healthful & unadulterated food at minimal cost to set up a regular standing order. If a hundred people gave £3.50 each month, we’d be sorted!

Not only will standing orders ensure regular income, which will reassure our banker, but they also demonstrate FareShares users’ committment to the project, which may impress our landlord, Southwark Council. If you receive a regular wage and have a bank account, please consider donating just a few quid each month, or quarterly, to:
FareShares Food Co-operative,
Unity Trust Bank a/c no: 20151434
Sort code: 08-60-01

Old Bags!

Fareshares encourages its users to use their own bags to cart home their groceries, but we also supply recycled bags that you bring in. Standard-sized carriers and clean smaller bags, such as those dispensed in the fresh produce sections of supermarkets, are useful and welcome.

However, some people bring us big bags of bags, stuffed inside one another, and even bits of old food packaging, which are of no use. We can’t take the time to sort them out, so tend to dump these unwanted bags in the re-cycling skips across Crampton Street.

It has been suggested that FareShares should stop accepting, or providing, polythene bags. Before we go that far, let us beseech you good people to work with us. Please sort your bags out and don’t bring us bags that are not either (a) regular carriers or (b) smaller food bags that may be used for beans and grains, etc. Thanks!

Newsletter February 2014


FareShares celebrates the 10th anniversary of Facebook by starting our own page! Like us at FB/FaresharesCoOp

We also plan to improve with more frequently updated content. In particular we’re keen to collect FareShares users’ vegan recipes. Send us your favourites!

New Types o’ Tofu

Changes to tofu prices mean that FareShares ‘fridge now offers new varieties of plain & smoked tofu from Oasis, Cauldron & Clear Spot and hazelnut tofu from Viana that you just have to try. Please let us know what you think!

The Mooncup

Designed by women and made in the UK by a multi-award winning ethical business, the Mooncup is the original silicone menstrual cup. Safer, greener and cheaper than the conventional alternatives, Mooncup offers an end to the waste, discomfort and expense of disposable sanitary protection.

These issues are explored rhythmically in the Tampon vs. Mooncup Rap Battle

One woman uses up to 22 items of sanitary protection every period, but regardless of your flow, you will only need one Mooncup and FareShares will be happy to sell you one for only £13 (in other shops they’ll cost up to £25!). With proper care, it will last up to 10 years, making Mooncup the most economical sanitary product you can buy!

Fartrade Fortnight 24 February – 9 March 2014

banana-suitThis year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is going bananas! Foncho a banana farmer from Cienaga in Colombia is coming to the UK on a mission to transform the banana industry so that all banana farmers and workers get a  fair deal.

We all must act now to make bananas fair! Your kids can get involved with free campaign stickers & whatnot, or you might want to demonstrate true commitment, while showing what a fun guy you truly are, by investing thirty quid in this sturdy Fairtrade banana suit. Please consider dressing as a Fairtrade banana for the whole fortnight.


In these times of Governmental austerity, the UK’s 500 worker co-operatives now enjoy a combined annual turnover of £10bn. Suma, established in 1977, is now the UK’s largest independent wholefoods distributor. As a business run on ethical lines that places as much emphasis on people and the planet as upon profit, Suma is an inspiration and, as such, was recently profiled in The Independent.

Suma purveys a range of over 6,000 of the best ethical, fairtrade, organic and natural products. FareShares can’t possibly stock them all, but we’ll happily order anything you want for delivery the following week, charging only the tiniest mark-up to cover our overheads. Peruse Suma’s online wholesale catalogue and make a careful note of the product code of any item you wish to order before coming into the shop (where we have a paper catalogue, if you prefer) to place your order.


Ask not what FareShares can do for you, but how can you contribute to running the project? FareShares depends on people like you who donate their time to work in the shop, or behind the scenes. You might get involved by pledging to a regular two-hour shift, f’rinstance, or helping to re-stock the shelves on Wednesdays. In return, you’ll get the warm ‘n’ fuzzy feeling of doing something altruistic that will also look good on your CV, plus the opportunity to buy fresh veg. ahead of Thursdays’ ravening hordes. To volunteer, please speak to a shift worker in the shop and leave your details in the day book.

Newsletter December 2013

The Newsletter
Welcome to the short, sweet no-nonsense fareshares newsletter.

Christmas opening times
The shop will be open on the 21st December, but will close until 9th January. There is plenty of stock of pretty much everything right now.

Mince Pies
We have the most amazing sugar-free mince pies from the Post Office Bakery 75p each.

Mince pies

Quinoa back in stock
We have Quinoa back in stock. Get it while it lasts!

Other product news
Dragonly rooibos tea has been discontinued, but we have a replacement.
The new Infinity and Suma catalogues out in January.

With love from Fareshares Collective!

Newsletter March 2012

Dear all visitors,

You can receive this newsletter on email by requesting it to

Next Saturday

Due to volunteer shortages, FareShares will be closed next Saturday 24th of March. We apologise for the inconvenience and we encourage welcome new additions to this all-volunteer-run co-operative.


On Fridays, for the next two months, fareshares will only open from 4 to 7pm, also as a result of volunteer shortages. Again, we apologise for the inconvenience and we encourage welcome new additions to this all-volunteer-run co-operative.

Herb study

The next herb study will be on Tuesday 3rd of April at the usual time, 7.30 pm.

We will be looking at spring herbs, cleavers, dandelion, nettles and chickweed, focusing on cleavers as the herb study itself.

If you can, please bring fresh of any of the above (or any other herb you know and see growing near you) for us to look at.

Open to anyone – whether you are new to herbs or want to deepen your connection to the plants. We look at one herb each time, drink it fresh (if we can) and dried, share our immediate responses and collective experiences, and cross reference herb books for medicinal and traditional uses.
Free or on donation.

Empty bottles please!

Don’t forget to bring back the 1L bottles you bought washing-up and laundry liquid in; we can refill these.

Finances and donations

Fareshares tries to keep shelf prices as low as possible so that more people can afford to shop here – we’re all volunteers, and we only add a small mark-up – but please do put a donation in the jar when you shop.

With an increased rent and rates bill (as well as utilities) the running costs of the building are higher than they were before. Please consider filling in one of the Standing Order forms, if you can afford to make a regular donation (between £2 and £20 a month – any amount would be brilliant!) to the Building.

We also welcome donations of pens, sellotape, black bin-bags, new envelopes, postage stamps, and A4 paper for printing on.

Newsletter 2 July 2011

You are receiving this email because you have requested to receive the regular newsletter, either by signing up for it in the shop, or via internet.

Herb study

Some of the volunteers in FareShares run a herb study group into the remedies that herbs can provide. If you are into making Big Pharma obsolete, this group may be for you. Try it out. No purchase required.
Continue reading Newsletter 2 July 2011

Not a shop. An experiment in Community! An all-volunteer project.