At The Brink on Parr Street, Sunday nights are usually movie nights and their free Film Club draws in the crowds with big screen entertainment, ranging from foreign language thrillers to cult Hollywood classics. This Sunday, however, things were a little different, and instead of sitting back and relaxing with popcorn and a movie, patrons were introduced to The Brink’s newest monthly event, ‘Beatroot’. This new event is organised in conjunction with local people and based around healthy eating so it fits in perfectly with The Brink’s ethos of promoting health and wellbeing within a relaxed, community atmosphere.

'Chaga King' open the event

‘Chaga King’ open the event

‘Beatroot’ had a diverse line-up, including talks from two mushroom enthusiasts and a local farmer, and its debut was quirky, informative and entertaining. It was a high-energy event with two guest speakers, a compere and a band, and it thrived on being something a bit different for a Sunday night. The evening commenced with a brief talk from the event organiser, Steve Barney, who discussed his health-focused reasons for developing ‘Beatroot’. Steve is a familiar face at The Brink, as he has previously hosted an event on the benefits of ‘juicing’, with Joe Cross of ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ fame. Steve is passionate about the juicing phenomenon and his Facebook group on the topic has over 600 members. Following Steve’s enthusiastic introduction, there was an informative talk from representatives of ‘Chaga King’, a UK based company which specialises in the sale and manufacture of products made with Chaga mushrooms. The two Chaga enthusiasts extolled the virtues of this particular type of mushroom and, though the scientific explanations were a little befuddling, they explained the benefits of using Chaga for the health of skin, hair and nails and for the prevention of illness. The Chaga mushroom, which only grows in the circumpolar region in the Northern Hemisphere, has apparently been used in Siberia for centuries, as a supplement which maintains the immune system. Harvested by ‘Chaga King’ in Northern Scotland, and known by Siberians as ‘king of the mushrooms’, Chaga has been credited with the absence of cancer in the Russian regions where it is still regularly consumed in the present day. The Siberians commonly take their Chaga in tea form and, following their talk, the Chaga representatives offered free samples of Chaga tea to the audience. The dark brown colour was slightly unappetising but the flavour itself was sweet and tangy and a cup each day would certainly be palatable if all of its proclaimed benefits were to be gained.

Farmer John Jones

Farmer John Jones

After a musical interlude from Gary Edward Jones, the second guest speaker, local farmer, John Jones took to the stage and brought a table full of locally grown produce with him to illustrate his talk. Before ‘Beatroot’ the idea of an event with a farmer on the bill seems strange, yet, many people are developing a real interest in where their food comes from, and Farmer John’s talk was interesting and engaging from start to finish. His farming credentials are well-earned as he is one in a long line of farmers in a 100-year family business, and his stories about the changing face of agriculture brought the reality of farming in today’s ‘supermarket society’ to the fore. Farmer John’s family business has survived as they have adapted to the changes in the market, but many others were not so fortunate. This brought us to the crux of John’s talk which was encouraging people to buy locally grown produce at farmer’s markets instead of buying substandard produce at the supermarket. John eloquently and affably argued that fresh is best, in terms of quality and taste, and also explained that farmer’s markets are comparable in cost to the supermarket prices. As well as taste and quality, buying local also ensures that customers know exactly where their food has come from and also gives them the opportunity to connect with the farmer that has worked the land to provide it. This connection between farmer and customer is something that John is very passionate about and on the second Thursday of each month he takes his stall to University Square from 10am – 1:30pm and sells fresh, locally grown produce to the local students. Go along, get some fresh vegetables and make a connection with your local farmer, with the added benefit of helping your local economy!

Gary Edward Jones and his band

Gary Edward Jones and his band

Finally, with the speakers providing the ‘root’ portion of the event, it was up to Gary Edward Jones and his band to put the ‘beat’ into ‘Beatroot’, a task which they deftly performed. Diving on to the stage between talks, Gary Edward Jones fired off tracks from his forthcoming debut album, ‘The Cabinet Maker’, before diving off-stage again to make way for Farmer John and his table full of vegetables. The band graced the stage once more following Farmer John’s Q&A session and rounded the evening off nicely with another couple of tracks which, combined with the efforts of the speakers, left the audience thoroughly entertained.

‘Beatroot’ is a monthly event at The Brink on the last Sunday of each month. For a full guide to all events at The Brink go to www.thebrinkliverpool.com