Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

My Last Days at the Greenhouse Trust

May 7, 2011 · No Comments

During my last two volunteer visits to the Greenhouse Trust, I was entrusted with more responsibilities than previous visits, which allowed for more insight into how the organisation works.  I also worked slightly longer shifts in order to complete my 20 hours.  On April 16, Tigger assigned me to the kitchen of the Greenhouse’s Cafe, which was very different from my previous experiences at the Greenhouse. I acted as a kind of sous chef, cutting vegetables, shredding cabbage and the like for the different dishes that they serve.  After being demoted to the position of dishwasher (not through any action of my own, but merely a lack of jobs for me to do), a position that I held for nearly an hour, I was tasked with making hummus (or houmous, if you want to be all British about it), which I feel was a major promotion.  The best part was having the very houmous that I made on a jacket potato for lunch that afternoon.

On May 7, I was back in the shop, as Tigger had to prepare for an organic Wine Tasting that evening.  This required him to be out of the shop for the vast majority of my shift, which left me to run the shop myself.  I was quite alright with this, and before he left, Tigger tasked me with preparing an order for him.  This was particularly interesting because the order form contained the place of origin of all the products in the shop.  The shop’s mission is to highlight both locally sourced and health foods, which sometimes contradict each other, making the places of origin very interesting.  In addition to a large number of things from Norfolk and Suffolk, some of the supplies came from China, India, Turkey, Ecuador, and even Palestine!  Because Tigger severely underestimated my skill at using Microsoft Excel, what he thought would take me several hours only took 20 minutes, leaving me time to participate my regular activities whilst watching the shop, namely stocking the shelves and perusing the reading material in the shop.

The Greenhouse Shop

The Greenhouse Shop Storeroom

The shop was quite brisk for most of my shift compared to how it normally is (a fact I assume has something to do with the Football celebration in town today), so I was kept quite busy.  At one point, I actually had three customers simultaneously, which is almost unheard of at the Greenhouse.  This also kept me stocking the shelves quite a bit, which made for some good exercise.  In my downtime, I found several interesting magazines pertaining to environmentalism, including the cover story of the new issue of the New Internationalist, explaining how to convince a climate change denier to change their mind about climate change.  It was very well-written, and will be useful to me in the future.  I also glanced through Adbusters, an American monthly anti-consumerist magazine, where I learned that young children are being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and given anti-psychotics meant for adults.  They attribute this trend to doctors getting paid by drug companies to test their meds of kids.  This was rather shocking, and though it was not related at all to the Greenhouse or my academic/career interests, it was interesting to read about all the same.  Just before the end of my shift, I was flipping through the Greenhouse cookbook to kill a few minutes, and I came across the comic below, which I am posting solely for the viewing pleasure of my Dr. Who-loving comrades.

A Doctor Who-related environmental cartoon

Dates: 16/4 and 7/5

Time: 10-4

Hours: 6 each, 12 total

Total Hours: 20

Supervisor: Tigger

Categories: 2010 MatthewM

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