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  1. #1 2012 Oxfam tour Blog (oxfamontour.org/coldplay) 
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    Coldplayers, thank you
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 13 January 2012



    So Chris Martin wasn’t wrong when he said that Coldplay fans are the best in the world (and highly intelligent, good looking and all-round brilliant…).

    We learnt a lot from you guys on this tour. We learnt that power is in the people. It’s all our voices that makes the loudest noise and it’s the support of people along the way that helps things run smoothly. Get ready, US and Canada, we’re coming for you this year!

    We learnt that it’s not just us that care about injustice.
    You do too. Lots of you told us that you are trying to make little changes to the ways you shop, whether it be making less waste by cooking with leftovers, or choosing Fairtrade products.

    We learnt that you like to make yourselves heard! When we had our Oxfam Thinking Caps on to discuss how we could best show the level of support in a future where injustice is out and a fair food system is in, we had no idea people would take to our hashtag action as you guys did! The GROW fan wall started filling up straight away and now we have over 3500 of your faces on there. Coldplay were so impressed, they released a gift video to celebrate the growing movement.

    And we learnt that Oxfam volunteers are seriously hard working.
    While I was lucky enough to be at the Manchester show (see my blog about being a first-time campaigner here), it was the volunteers (and of course tour coordinators Pete and Esme) who did the most hard work. It’s not always easy talking to people about such a big topic as food. Where do you start? There are many factors and sometimes you need to break it down and do the hard-sell. But it’s always nice when people listen. And that’s just what people did.

    Coming up… A look forward to this year’s tour.

    And also… if you love cooking and think you can create a meal good enough for a top international chef to put on his menu, why not enter our GROW recipe competition on Facebook.
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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  2. #2 2012 Oxfam tour Blog (oxfamontour.org/coldplay) 
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    Behind the band: meet Digital Technician Neill
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 23 January 2012


    Photo by Roadie #42 for Coldplay.com

    Behind every great band, there’s a great technician. And great roadies, great caterers, great box office attendants…I could go on.

    So in the first of more behind-the-scene interviews to come, i’d thought i’d share with you an interview with Neill Lambert, Coldplay’s Digital Technician, where he tells me about how he swung his envious job, what it’s like touring with one of the biggest rock bands in the world and exactly what he thinks of Oxfam…

    Pete: Hi Neill, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Could you tell me a bit about your job on this tour?

    Neill: My formal title is Digital Technician, and this job falls in the ‘backline’ department. In non-gobble-de-gook, I look after the band’s instruments that aren’t guitars or drums. I’ll take care of pianos and keyboards, drum samples, synthesisers and percussion loops that the band might use in a show.

    P: What does a show day involve for you?

    N: Hopefully, i’ll set up and test all my equipment and it will all work! We will ‘line check’, meaning we’ll test all sounds from their creation right through to them coming out of the PA system. Then the band will probably want to ‘sound check’, meaning rehearse during the afternoon, and then i’ll be there for the show in the evening. Hopefully it all works, but sometimes this is unrealistic, so i’ll be on hand to fix stuff if it breaks.

    P: Do you work with the band when they are not out on tour?

    N: I do little bits for them in the studio, like tuning and fixing drums, and building sound projects.

    P: How long have you been touring and how long with Coldplay?

    N: I’ve been touring with bands now for over 15 years. The last 4 or so i’ve been with Coldplay.

    P: Who else have you been on tour with before?

    N: I’ve worked on tours with the Flaming Lips, and the White Stripes. There’s a long list! Recently I also worked with the Kills, Mika, and the Futureheads.

    P: It must have been nice to catch up with the Flaming Lips when they supported Coldplay on the Viva La Vida stadium run in 2009?

    N: It really is a lot of fun to meet old friends while you are out working. Everyone is out and moving, but there is always a lovely sense of camaraderie, of belonging to something – the music.

    P: How did you get the envious job of Digital Technician for a rock band?

    N: That’s a hard one. It didn’t happen overnight, I know that. At the end of the last tour, I thanked Jonny Buckland for taking me out, and he said “we were trying to get you for years”. I’d never even thought of it like that, but you never know who’s watching your work, you know?

    P: What are the strangest and best things about touring the world with a rock band?

    N: Strangest – the speed at which you travel through all these places. It never ceases to amaze me just how far you go in such a short space of time. The best has to be getting paid to be with your friends and watch a show every night. Who wouldn’t want that?

    P: What do you think of Oxfam’s presence on this tour?

    N: I’ve always been a big fan of this alliance. I like the presence of the organisation, which never steps over into being in your face. It presents its truth, and lets people for themselves decide what they think. I was always a bit sceptical of the ‘big sell’ especially in entertainment, but it doesn’t happen like that with Oxfam and Coldplay. It’s a long term relationship too, that adds a lot of credibility.

    P: Have you ever been involved with Oxfam yourself?

    N: I have bought Christmas presents from Oxfam Unwrapped, clean drinking water and so on. And I must have spent thousands in Oxfam Books and Music over the years!

    P: Last question…Oxfam’s GROW campaign is about the food system, what is your favourite food?

    N: The boring good stuff: great salads, vegetarian, Japanese. But it’s winter and i’m at home in London, so right now pies take it!

    P: Thanks so much for your answers, Neill. Much appreciated!
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    The Olympic Food Vision
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 01 February 2012



    2012 offers so much to look forward to! Not only are Oxfam continuing to tour with Coldplay, starting in Edmonton, Canada on 17 April, but this is the year that Great Britain, that little island which Coldplay call home, will host the 27th Summer Olympic Games in London, England on 27 July.

    The Olympics is a huge cultural event, which spans not only the world of sport, but many other aspects of our lives. Its athletes are positive role models for young people and it is a great opportunity to teach our children about the rich and diverse cultures of the many countries competing.

    Olympic appetites

    But what about the food? It might not be the first thing you think of when you think about the Olympics, but add up all the millions of spectators and the thousands of athletes, officials and media and that’s a lot of hungry mouths to feed! It has been estimated that 14 million meals will need to be made in the Olympic village alone. Is it going to be possible to provide healthy, nutritious, good-value and ethnically diverse food to satisfy that many people?

    Running on leftovers

    The catering of the 2012 Olympic games will be the largest peace-time feeding operation in history, ever. Compared to the last time Britain hosted the games, in 1948, in the shadow of World War Two, things are very different. Food, then, was still being rationed in Britain. British 200m runner Silvia Cheeseman remembers being very envious of the American athletes packed lunches:

    “The Americans had their lunch provided by their country, but we had to bring our own. They would often not finish their boxes, so when they’d gone, the British athletes would take the food they’d left!

    Seeing all this unusual food we’d never seen before, of course we ate it! It was a case of the British getting the crumbs from the rich man’s table.”


    While some things have changed (we’ll be feeding our athletes this time!) the food system still puts some at the top of the food chain, with those at the bottom not able to reach what they need. With countries like Haiti, Tanzania, El Salvador, and Azerbaijan competing, their athletes might be thinking about the people back home who aren’t getting enough to eat, due to rising food prices or as small-farmers not able to grow enough food to sell to market because drastic climate changes have made their crops fail.

    In 1948, the Americans swept the medal board. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that they were fit and strong, having access to plenty of food without rationing. Countries that can feed the majority of their population well, like Australia and Canada, often steam ahead at the Olympics. This shows how big an impact a lack of regular and nutritious food can have on an entire country.

    Flexing our consumer muscles

    The Olympics is a chance for us to show our power and influence as consumers. The fact that all the fish at the Olympics is sustainably fished, all the meat is farm-assured and all the tea and coffee is fairtrade, shows that the big brands know we are coming to expect better standards from them.

    Watching countries showcase their best sportswomen and men is a chance to think about the food that comes from that country, who grows it and whether they are being treated fairly, and make better choices about the products we buy. When you see Usain Bolt from Jamaica on the Gold podium (inevitable!), why not think about the next time you buy bananas? Caribbean bananas are grown on small family owned farms using more sustainable methods of production than those used on the huge monoculture plantations in Latin America. There’s an easy shopping choice right there.

    Here are some foodie facts for you. To feed the crowds and all those hungry athletes, this Olympic village will produce:

    25,000 loaves of bread
    232 tonnes of potatoes
    More than 82 tonnes of seafood
    31 tonnes of poultry items
    More than 100 tonnes of meat
    75,000 litres of milk
    19 tonnes of eggs
    21 tonnes of cheese
    More than 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables

    We’d love to know which athletes you’ll be cheering for and the country you’ll be supporting. Let us know in the comments!

    Image from www.london2012.com. Silvia’s quote from the Food Programme: London 2012, Coke and McDonald on BBC Radio Four (15 January)
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    Coldplay’s The Scientist takes food production ‘Back to the Start’
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 17 February 2012



    US-based Mexican food chain Chipotle have chosen a Coldplay song for their short film about small-scale farming. Country & Western star Willie Nelson provides the track for the film; a charming cover of Coldplay’s The Scientist.

    ‘Back to the Start’ depicts the life of a cartoon farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. It highlights the harsh reality of food production and distribution in the United States and the effect it has had on the environment and on family farms.

    Rather than the red barns and white picket fences that come to mind when we think of American farms, the reality is very different. Large-scale industrialized farms have largely replaced independent family-run ones as the primary suppliers of meat, dairy and vegetables within the United States. Family farms represent 88% of the total farms, but just 16% of the food produced. This makes food cheaper, but the costs are shifted to other parts of the system in terms of environmental damage and loss of earnings for small-scale farmers.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos&feature=player_embedded"]Back to the Start - YouTube[/ame]

    The system’s broken. Cheaply produced food stops family farmers make a decent buck at market and forces them to buy the cheaper food going, rather than grow their own, because they struggle to sell it. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Occupy the Food System

    Willie has been fighting small-farmers’ corner for over 25 years. In December last year urged us to ‘occupy’ our food system. “[The food system] belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations”, says Willie. He is president of Farm Aid, an organisation that campaigns to keep family farms running in the US.

    “Each and every day family farmers work to sustain a better alternative — an agricultural system that guarantees farmers a fair living, strengthens our communities, protects our natural resources and delivers good food for all. Nothing is more important than the food we eat and the family farmers who grow it.”

    Nobody said it was easy

    As the song says, nobody said it was easy. Fixing the food system isn’t something we can do over night, but change IS possible. WhichColdplay track would you like to see used for the GROW campaign and why?

    Willie’s cover of The Scientist is available from iTunes. Proceeds go to The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which is dedicated to encouraging sustainable farming methods.
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Fakeaway
    Posted by Ching-He Huang on 27 February 2012



    A warm welcome to our guest blogger Ching-He Huang. Ching is a Taiwanese-born British food writer, food entrepreneur and TV chef who has hosted and appeared on many UK TV shows, including Ching’s Kitchen on the Good Food Channel and Chinese Food in Minutes on Five.

    Ching has also has written several best-selling cookery books, including Ching’s Fast Food (HarperCollins). You can read more about Ching and her love of traditional Chinese cuisine at chinghehuang.com.


    Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Fakeaway

    The humble Friday night takeaway is an institution across the globe. From China and Australia, to the US and Europe, despite our cultural differences, many of us are united in our love of the sacred takeout.

    There is a greater takeaway menu choice than ever before, but before we tuck into our chilli beef, curry or pizza, do we stop to think whether the meat we’re eating is ethically reared, or if the tomatoes in the sauce have flown thousands of miles, or if the rice farmers that grow the rice for our curry are paid a fair wage and given rights to their land?

    Despite many restaurants adopting a more ethical approach to their menus, our only reassurance that we know what we’re eating is to buy our own ingredients from sustainable sources and to make it ourselves. This way it’s healthier, fresher, tastier – and it’s easy to do too!

    One of my favourite takeaway dishes is General Tso’s Chicken – there are variations of this recipe all over the world and here’s my version from Ching’s Fast Food.

    General Tso’s Chicken

    Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook in: 9 minutes | Serves: 2–4 to share



    Ingredients

    2 skinless free range chicken breasts, cut

    into 1.5cm (58 in) cubes

    Salt and ground white pepper

    1 tbsp of potato flour or cornflour

    1 tbsp of groundnut oil

    1 clove of garlic, crushed

    4 dried red chillies

    1 tbsp of Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

    4 spring onions, chopped into 2.5cm (1in) lengths

    For the sauce

    1 tbsp of yellow bean sauce

    1 tbsp of light soy sauce

    1 tbsp of tomato ketchup

    1 tbsp of chilli sauce

    1 tsp of soft light brown sugar or runny honey

    1 tsp of dark soy sauce

    1. Place the chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the potato flour or cornflour and mix well. Place the ingredients for the sauce in another bowl and stir together.

    2. Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke and then add the groundnut oil. Add the garlic and dried chillies and fry for a few seconds, then tip in the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 2 minutes. As the chicken starts to turn opaque, add the rice wine or dry sherry. Cook for another 2 minutes, then pour in the sauce and bring to the boil.

    3. Cook the chicken in the sauce for a further 2 minutes or until it is cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened and is slightly sticky. Add the spring onions and cook for just under 1 minute, then transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    It's not a tour blog but it's tour related!

    On tour wth Coldplay
    Big news...We have a new tour coordinator! Rachel will be off on @coldplay tour on 14th April, tweeting all the way! Proper intro soon...
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    Hunger is Not a Game
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 30 March 2012



    Fans of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian franchise The Hunger Games sure have a ferocious appetite
    . The film adaptation of the novels, which premiered this week across the world, is currently sweeping box office records.

    The Hunger Games is about a post-apocalyptic world in the fictional country of Panem (once North America). Each year, The Capitol, a rich metropolis holding absolute power and keeping millions in poverty, holds The Hunger Games, in which one teen boy and one teen girl from each of the 12 districts are selected to compete in a televised battle until only one survives.

    Pretty far-fetched, right? Making them fight, just to stay alive? Keeping millions of people perpetually hungry and unable to get themselves out of poverty? Hang on, some of that sounds awfully familiar. Rising food prices have led to riots worldwide over the last few years. Make the ‘millions’ one billion and you’re somewhere near the truth. That’s not so much fiction as reality.

    Oxfam and GROW has teamed up with fan-focus project Imagine Better, from the Harry Potter Alliance, who have created a new campaign about the injustices in the food system, Hunger is Not a Game. At the midnight premiere screenings of the film in the US, fans were asked to sign up to the campaign and to create a community within a community among Hunger Games fans by tweeting about real-life hunger, with the hashtag #notagame.

    So what is that motivates fans to be activists? The Harry Potter and Twilight franchises have proved that fans of the Young Adult novels that are part of the fasting-growing literary genre are quite an extraordinary bunch of people. Communities of fans are already culturally active; they create conversations online about the stories they love, organise events, use social media to make their favourite characters trend. They are already using the tools of online activism.

    Not only are these groups of fans hugely dedicated to the stories, they really care about making social change and will go out of their way to help a cause they believe in, in the name of the characters they love. Not that surprising I suppose, when you think about the issues YA novels tackle; things like poverty and hardship (The Hunger Games) and being an outsider (Harry Potter). These are real-life things, not just fantasy. Through the Harry Potter Alliance, Potterphiles have sent $123,000 (£77,275) worth of relief supplies to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, donated more than 88,000 books across the world, raised awareness about important issues like net neutrality and taken on Maine’s 2009 ballot that sought to repeal same sex marriage.

    If you saw #KONY2012 trending on Twitter earlier this month, you might be aware that one of the reasons the video was seen by 30 million people in just 48 hours (making it the fastest viral ever) is because the group behind it, Invisible Children, targeted celebrities with very powerful fans in order to get their message out. Two forces to be reckoned with; the Beliebers and the Little Monsters (Justin Bieber’s and Lady Gaga’s fans respectively). The fans were outraged by the tale of Joseph Kony and they made some noise about it. LOTS of it.

    Of course this isn’t the first time Oxfam has connected with fans (hello, you!). We already know that fans care. Because you’re reading this blog! Just looking at the vast numbers of you that tweeted #lovefoodhateinjustice and had your pictures taken at the Coldplay gigs last year, it’s clear to see that if your favourite band, film franchise or book talks about issues important to you, you’re going to want to talk about them as well. After all, it’s through stories that we express ourselves.

    The Harry Potter Alliance: Hunger is Not a Game

    Coming up! Introducing our new tour coordinator Rachel…
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    Introducing: ‘Little Pea’!
    Posted by Rachel Edwards on 05 April 2012



    As I write, i’m sat in the Oxfam head office, packing up the final things for the Coldplay crew to pack onto the tour buses.
    In a few hours our case of food costumes, stickers and stamps and our brand new photo booth will be on its way to Canada to join the first leg of Coldplay’s global Mylo Xyloto tour.

    Hi, i’m Rachel, the new tour coordinator for Oxfam on Tour with Coldplay. I will be blogging about my journey through Canada, US and Europe, discussing all the wonderful things that come with a Coldplay tour and joining up with hundreds of campaigners and fans to talk about the injustices in the food system and how they affect millions around the world, as well as the food we all love.

    Food is something I can talk about for hours; my favourite food, the strangest thing I eaten, my best pizza vendor. When it comes to choosing where my food comes from, I am very careful to think about free range, local or if I’m feeling swish, organic.

    But what I don’t understand is why the food system is in such disarray. So many people go hungry, yet in some countries we waste up to a quarter of the food we buy. I see so much food outside my local shop that is thrown away because it’s the wrong shape or size. Surely this system can’t be working; shouldn’t we be sharing our food wealth?

    What is exciting to see is that so many people feel the same way and thousands of people have already signed up to the GROW wall and are following us on Twitter. It isn’t just Oxfam that feels the system needs fixing, millions globally feels this, too.

    So my journey starts here, little old ‘pea’ in a tour case, ready to leave London and start talking with campaigners and Coldplayers globally about how we can fix the food system. I can’t wait to see you all at the gigs or chatting on Twitter. So if you’re at a Coldplay gig, make sure you come and speak to our campaigners and get your picture taken with Oxfam. Or if you can’t get there this time, I’ll be tweeting from @oxfamontour. Tweet #lovefoodhateinjustice and your photo will appear on our GROW wall.

    See you all across the ocean! Rachel.
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    Volunteer for Oxfam with Coldplay
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 12 April 2012


    Coldplay with Viva La Vida tour coordinator Soha Yassine

    SO, it’s just one day until Rachel flies out to join the Coldplay crew for the first show of the new tour on April 17 (Tuesday), in Edmonton, Canada.

    While she’s busy packing and saying farewells to the team at Oxfam GB in England, I thought you guys might like to know a little about about how YOU could be an Oxfam volunteer at a Coldplay gig near you.

    Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in Canada are covered, with volunteers recruited from outreach at university Oxfam groups and committees. BUT…

    Oxfam America is now recruiting for volunteers for US shows from April 24.

    I’m a huge Coldplay fan and I hate injustice. How can I get involved?

    If you love Coldplay, live in the US and you’re as passionate as we are about finding solutions to hunger, poverty and injustice, then find your closest show, sign-up and see the show for free!

    What will I have to do?

    As a volunteer, your role will be to talk to concert-goers about the GROW campaign. GROW is all about conversations; talking to friends, family and others about one thing we all have in common – food, and how we can make the system better for everyone. “The GROW campaign is one of those rare campaigns where we can talk about something everyone can identify with,” Oxfam America’s music relations guy Bob Ferguson told musicforgood.tv.

    ** SIGN-UP TO VOLUNTEER AT A US SHOW **

    What if I don’t live in the US?

    If you’re in another part of the world, don’t worry, we need you too. We’ll add more information about volunteering in your country as soon as your local Oxfam (or a partner organisation if you’re in non-Oxfam countries like Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic and Poland) starts recruiting.

    Find your local Oxfam:

    Canada - Oxfam Canada and Oxfam Québec

    US - Oxfam America [www.oxfamamerica.org/coldplay]

    UK - Oxfam GB

    France - Oxfam France

    Netherlands - Oxfam Novib

    Germany - Oxfam Germany [www.oxfam.de/coldplay]
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


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    Everything’s big in Canada
    Posted by Rachel Edwards on 17 April 2012



    I’ve been in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for two days and I have to say, one thing I have noticed is how much bigger things are here than the UK!

    The biggest shopping malls, coffee cups, cars and most importantly, the biggest group of friendly people. Since I touched down I have been overwhelmed with how friendly everyone is, which has helped put my nerves at bay about flying across the ocean to be part of this amazing tour.

    As it’s my first time on the Coldplay tour I didn’t really know what to expect. But let me tell you, this tour isn’t just a band with a few staff putting up lights. It’s a whole entourage of experts in music, film, set design and lighting.

    We all rolled into the arena at 6am and everyone scurried off to start their own tasks to prepare for the show. I followed suit and started setting up the Oxfam set, complete with food costume, badges and a photo booth.

    As it approached dinner time, the crew were all set for band rehearsals so I joined everyone for dinner. Sitting down to eat, with an array of food around me, I started to think that the food on the table – chicken curry with all the trimmings – could look very different indeed if the caterers were unable to afford rice because the price had risen so high. This is happening to millions around the world. A team like this wouldn’t be able to exist for so long on the road with long hours without getting sick if they didn’t have the vitamins they needed. Should this be right, that some people live like this and other don’t due to the unfair food system and price hikes?

    This is why I’m so excited that Oxfam are part of the Coldplay tour. Now our Oxfam campaigners have the opportunity to talk to Coldplay fans about the unfair food system and get them to use their BIG voices and join Oxfam to change the food system. Come on Canada, everything else is big here, let’s make sure your voices are too!

    Rachel x
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


    Rotterdam 03-10-08 Nijmegen 09-09-09 Landgraaf 11-06-11 Arras 03-07-11 London 09-12-11 London 10-12-11 Rotterdam 17-12-11 London 01-06-12
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    Challenge: Represent your city with food pictures!
    Posted by Rosie Cowling on 19 April 2012

    We have a challenge for you! Show your home town or city some love by featuring its food on the GROW wall.

    We want you to show us your town or city’s ‘food personality’. If a city can be defined by its most popular food, what does your home town or city’s signature dish say about it?

    We want to integrate much-loved dishes from around the world into the GROW wall, which currently has over 4100 faces on it. So, what tickles your taste buds in Toronto? What’s Hannover hankering for? What’s a treat in Detroit?

    How can I get involved?

    It’s easy:

    1) Get a friend to take a picture of you with some of your city’s favourite or best known food.

    2) Make the photo your profile picture on Twitter.

    3) Sending a tweet saying which town or city you are from and why the food you’ve chosen is important to the place. Tweet the hashtag #lovefoodhateinjustice so that it will be seen on our GROW wall. Put “@oxfamontour” at the end and that way all your followers get to see what you are saying as well as us!

    Here’s me scoffing my home town London’s famous fish and chips:



    My tweet:

    “In London we love to eat fish and chips because it’s a big part of our history! #lovefoodhateinjustice @oxfamontour”


    Make sure we can see the food in the picture but also that we can see your face. It’s faces we want on the wall! Don’t worry if you feel silly having food in your profile picture, you can change it back as soon as you’ve tweeted and the GROW wall will keep the food picture. The photo will only appear on the wall if it’s your profile picture.

    Good luck!
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


    Rotterdam 03-10-08 Nijmegen 09-09-09 Landgraaf 11-06-11 Arras 03-07-11 London 09-12-11 London 10-12-11 Rotterdam 17-12-11 London 01-06-12
    London 02-06-12 London 04-06-12 Detroit 01-08-12 The Hague 06-09-12 London 19-12-13 Cologne 25-04-14 London 01-07-14 London 02-07-14
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    Thank you Edmonton
    Posted by Rachel Edwards on 20 April 2012



    So the tour has begun and it has definitely started with a bang!

    From 1pm on the first day of the tour, Oxfam Canada and I set about putting together the Oxfam set. The volunteers rocked up at 4pm and were straight into their food costumes. A veggie fashion show in the Rexall Centre – now i’ve seen everything! Everyone was buzzing about our campaign and excited about talking to people about changing our ways and creating a fairer food system for the world.

    Around 7, doors opened and the stadium was flooded with Coldplay fans, filling the stadium with a buzz that could only come with 16,000 excited people in one place, for one reason; to see their favourite rock band.

    From the very start Oxfam volunteers were on fire! The Oxfam on tour twitter account was a hive of activity and the photo booth went down a storm. Everyone wanted to be part of the Oxfam vibe and join our campaign. It was such an amazing thing to see that people all over the world care about the food system and agree that it’s unfair. It isn’t just people in some cities that care about these issues, these issues effect everyone. Most of us know that we need to make changes to the way we produce, buy and eat food, and we want to help show people ways they can help.



    At 9pm Coldplay was about to start and I said goodbye to the volunteers. I had only been with them for a few short hours but their energy and passion for sharing the GROW message with others filled me with excitement and anticipation for what the rest of the tour will bring.

    Coldplay started and I slipped to the side of the stage in time to watch the encore. It was incredible! The band put on an immense show with a mixture of songs old and new, and a set with all the trimmings, including an arena full of exclusive wristbands which lit up Rexall in an array of neon colours.

    The audience were singing and jumping to every note that Coldplay played. This gig was the perfect way to kick off a global tour! Thanks everyone for your warm spirits and being part of the Oxfam work.

    Edmonton you sure set the bar high.
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


    Rotterdam 03-10-08 Nijmegen 09-09-09 Landgraaf 11-06-11 Arras 03-07-11 London 09-12-11 London 10-12-11 Rotterdam 17-12-11 London 01-06-12
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    Individual actions create ripples. Working together creates a wave.
    Posted by Rachel Edwards on 23 April 2012



    It’s 7am and i’ve woken up on the bus driving through the stunning scenery of Canada.

    I pop on the kettle for cup of tea to wake me up. You can take a gal out of England but you can’t take England out of a gal. As I switched on the laptop to start tweeting, I stop to watch the world go by. This country is beautiful.

    That’s when it hits me just how exciting this trip is, both for me and for you guys. From the comfort of your own home you can get snippets of Coldplay, read my blogs and communicate with the whole world via Twitter and Facebook about what is happening with the food system in your country and what we can do globally to change it.

    As I packed my stuff up again – the giant jigsaw that is my tour case – the bus rolls into Vancouver. Today was a day off after the amazing Calgary gig, so I wandered down to the harbour front and took in the sights of Harbour Green Park. Snapping away on the camera I found a quote by artist Jill Anholt,

    “Individual actions create ripples. Working together creates a wave.”

    This quote seems to sum up this whole tour and illustrate what the volunteers and myself are trying to do. It also made me understand why Coldplay would ask us to come on tour with them; to create a wave of change.

    So what is it like to be on tour, I hear you ask? It’s like being on a rollercoaster which slows down in the morning to collect the tour team and equipment, speeds up to the next city, chugs up the hill to set up the stages in a new venue and then rushes down the high drop as the band comes on to perform, making the crowd scream with excitement. It is such fun meeting new people in every city and feeding off their energy for talking to people and joining the Oxfam movement.

    For me this tour shows how much music and food issues unite people. So if you’re reading this and want to do more, start conversations near you. Go to your local Oxfam facebook page or tweet your concerns for the food system followed by #lovefoodhateinjustice. Then pop over to the GROW wall and see just how many people agree with you. Go on, people, let’s start a global wave!


    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


    Rotterdam 03-10-08 Nijmegen 09-09-09 Landgraaf 11-06-11 Arras 03-07-11 London 09-12-11 London 10-12-11 Rotterdam 17-12-11 London 01-06-12
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    “Have you been approached by a vegetable yet?”
    Posted by Juliette Buiter on 24 April 2012


    Ms Tomato AKA Juliette

    This is a guest blog. Juliette, AKA Ms Tomato, volunteered with Oxfam at the Edmonton Coldplay show.

    Being someone who thoroughly enjoys donating my time to good causes, I jumped at the opportunity to combine going to a Coldplay concert with garnishing support for a great cause. But what exactly was this organisation called Oxfam?

    After some Googling, I discovered that Oxfam was right up my alley – I am a firm believer in equality, social sustainability and women’s rights. And i’m a true food lover!

    But I lost my appetite completely when I discovered that one out of every seven people in the world goes hungry each day. While enough is food produced, it simply is not reaching some people, because the food system is broken. How can that be when I can order in at the touch of a button and take home a doggy bag after each meal?


    Juliette's view of the show in Edmonton

    Sitting behind my computer contemplating the unfairness of it all, I needed to vent my feelings and chose Facebook as the place to do it. Speaking to others about the food system sparked some interesting conversations. I could distinguish between two groups: people who had no idea about the injustices in the food issue and those that didn’t really understand the facts. I knew i’d made a good decision signing up to talk to people about why we need to change our eating habits for the better.

    Volunteering at the concert in Edmonton, in my giant tomato outfit, I thought carefully about how best to approach the hordes of Coldplay fans. Since the band was the uniting factor, I thought casually dropping their name seemed like a good strategy! Here are some opening phrases I decided to use that had the most success:

    “You must be a huge Coldplay fan; well did you know that Coldplay is a huge Oxfam fan?!”

    “We’re touring with Coldplay and would like to tell you about Coldplay’s favorite charity: Oxfam!”

    “If you give me two minutes of your time I’ll tell you how to get your picture on Oxfam’s Coldplay tour website!”


    The phrases which actually had 100% success rate to pledge sign-up were: “Have you been approached by a vegetable yet?” and “You are probably wondering why I am dressed like a tomato, well let me tell you….” Coldplay’s name did not necessarily need to be mentioned for Edmontonians to show their support to the GROW campaign, though it certainly helped!

    Some strategies proved more successful than others, and with Coldplay’s diverse fan groups we had to adjust our opening line depending on age, gender and group size. But what truly helped was my tomato costume. It drew the crowd’s attention and many people even approached me and asked if they could take a picture of the Apple, the Strawberry and the Tomato. So in retrospect, maybe I underestimated the genuine interest of Coldplay fans in this good cause!

    Within just two hours we had over 60 new sign-ups. Although we were exhausted and had no voice left to sing along to our favorite Coldplay songs by the end of the night, it had been an extremely rewarding and satisfying night!
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


    Rotterdam 03-10-08 Nijmegen 09-09-09 Landgraaf 11-06-11 Arras 03-07-11 London 09-12-11 London 10-12-11 Rotterdam 17-12-11 London 01-06-12
    London 02-06-12 London 04-06-12 Detroit 01-08-12 The Hague 06-09-12 London 19-12-13 Cologne 25-04-14 London 01-07-14 London 02-07-14
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    Portland, the Foodie City
    Posted by Rachel Edwards on 26 April 2012



    I’ve spent the last two days replenishing my gig energy with the delights of Portland’s food. Portland, Oregon is everything I could want from an American city, with a punk scene, street art scattered everywhere, outdoor food joints and people singing with guitars on the street corners. It was like walking through a festival.

    As I wandered through the city, I began to think of what an ideal place Portland is to talk to people about the global food system. Food is in Portland’s blood, their Saturday food markets are incredible! There is food from Thailand, Italy, Mexico and El Salvador, to name a few. All being served up on a hot spring day.

    As I sampled the delights of the markets, I start thinking about the people in the countries where the street vendor’s food came from, who were struggling to buy enough food for their families to eat. Such as people in Tanuja Dhanuk, India, who can’t afford flour and rice for their families. And there it was, the ideal way to talk to Portland people about the food system at gigs, talk to them about their food markets. They all love food, care about it and love the diversity of it; their food markets speak for themselves.

    Portland doesn’t just have food markets; it is at the forefront of local food movements. Every third Tuesday of each month Portland people meet at a ‘Local Food Breakfast’. The breakfast is a space for people to discuss local food movements, trends and farming activities. Its focus is to ensure the people know how to eat locally.

    Portland also has a Slow Food movement: A cooperative that advocates for locally grown food and provides ways for people to source and be creative with their cooking. One amazing guide the Slow Food movement created was a ‘Real Time Farms´ guide. This guide tracks hundreds of products back to where they first started in the farms, to ensure people can determine exactly where their food came from. Such inspirational shopping really got me thinking about what I can do with my own food consumption to improve the food system.

    Portland, you left me with some ‘food for thought’ and I know we left you with the same from all the people who signed up at the gig last night. From now on I will ensure that all the produce I can buy locally, I will. This is a simply step we can all take to change the food system.
    Luctor et Emergo/not swallowed in the sea


    Rotterdam 03-10-08 Nijmegen 09-09-09 Landgraaf 11-06-11 Arras 03-07-11 London 09-12-11 London 10-12-11 Rotterdam 17-12-11 London 01-06-12
    London 02-06-12 London 04-06-12 Detroit 01-08-12 The Hague 06-09-12 London 19-12-13 Cologne 25-04-14 London 01-07-14 London 02-07-14
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