A highlight in our calendar comes every October when, on the last weekend of the month, the streets of Hockley are taken over by musicians, poets, street performers, food vendors and punters for the annual Hockley Hustle festival. For obvious reasons, it won’t be returning for its fourteenth year, but that doesn’t mean Team HH are taking a (probably well-deserved) break. Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, they’ll be treating the people of Nottingham to a few different projects. The first of those is Green Hustle, a digital festival celebrating, promoting and exploring all things green in our city…
A recent study conducted by global hygiene company Essity – manufacturer of household brands Cushelle, Plenty and Bodyform – on two-thousand UK adults discovered that environmental issues have become more important to the nation during lockdown, with 81% agreeing they were becoming increasingly concerned by the fate of the planet. They also uncovered that, on average, consumers would happily spend 12% more on products if the items they were purchasing were sustainable. Conversations around sustainability have become unavoidable, and witnessing a shift of attitude towards making a change as small as reusable cotton pads or recycled toilet roll is encouraging.
Brought to you by the team behind Hockley Hustle, Young Hustlers and Nottstopping Festival, Green Hustle is a live-stream festival which will take place on Saturday 19 September from 10am - 11pm, aiming to encourage Notts folk to live happier, healthier and more sustainable lives. The all-day event will provide over ten hours of creativity, interactive discussions and workshops, all based around going green.
And what better way to ignite change than showcasing all the community-based action already being taken locally to help reverse the climate and ecological crisis? “There are lots of truly amazing, small businesses, grassroots organisations, individuals and community projects dotted around the city that are making our city greener and more sustainable for the future,” says Jack Benjamin, one of the festival’s co-organisers. “You would be surprised how many people volunteer on various projects every week, or put their own money into ensuring our city is a greener space for their neighbours and into protecting the urban wildlife. The level of passion is inspiring.”
The festival schedule is split up into six themes: wildlife, food, lifestyle, growth, community and green spaces, with each section illustrated with videos and content shot by the Green Hustle team, who took to the streets to get to know the organisations and people already doing work in these areas. This year, the festival’s main partner is local conservation charity Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, who have been doing some valuable work across the county with beavers, badgers, birds and much more, and fundraising efforts on the day will focus on supporting this vital organisation. Throughout the day, you’ll also get to to learn more about the likes of: Shop Zero, the zero-waste lifestyle store next to the Malt Cross run by Notts sustainability-hero Sarah Maloy; local food market and collection service NeighbourFood; Ecoworks community garden; retro and slow fashion stores such as Soul and Flare, Selena's Shop and Piece of Nova; The People’s Forest, Nottingham Open Spaces Forum and many more.
“For me, the feature on AMC Gardens in the Meadows is a special one,” says Jack. “When I was a kid, it was just a boggy field and sometimes people would fly-tip there. These days it's this beautiful, abundant garden in the centre of the estate which is volunteer-run and open to everyone. You can go and buy fruit and veg that has been grown there or just relax and enjoy the garden. In non-COVID times, there were even events where members of the community could come down and use the tandoor oven to make food for people.”
I became involved with Green Hustle as someone that cared deeply about the environment but never felt I truly engaged with the green movement for a myriad of reasons
Hockley Hustle’s Young Hustlers will also be getting involved, kicking off the festival by posing questions to representatives of Nottingham City Council about all things Carbon Neutral 2028, and Jack and co-organiser Christine Katerere have been collaborating with with various creatives based in Nottingham to discuss intersectionality within sustainability. “It’s probably not the best move to admit this publicly, but I became involved with Green Hustle as someone that cared deeply about the environment but never felt I truly engaged with the green movement for a myriad of reasons, including income and lack of intersectionality,” says Christine. “But I can honestly say that I've been on a journey of discovery and learning while preparing for this festival.”
Christine – and the Green Hustle team alike – wanted to reach other people who, for whatever reason, may have felt unable to engage with the issues of sustainability before, and those who feel the burden of having to do everything perfectly. “As a mother to young boys, my greatest wish is to educate them on how to employ a more ethical way to and help erect infrastructure that will help create a better world for their future,” she says. As well as intersectionality, Christine has been out filming segments on second-hand and sustainable fashion, and has been coordinating all the youth centred projects – linking local primary schools with local practitioners who will be conducting workshops with the pupils.
Festival attendees – that’s you lot at home – have got all this to look forward to, but it’s not all a case of you sitting back and relaxing. Rounding off the festival – before live music from local artists and sets from some eco DJs – Green Hustle co-founder Adam Pickering will be hosting Climate Assembly Nottingham, an interactive discussion in which people at home are encouraged to join in via Zoom. The topic in question: What should we do with the future of the Broadmarsh site?
If you’re chomping at the bit to get involved yourself – there’s still time. It wouldn’t be a Hockley Hustle production without showcasing Notts’ diverse creative scene, so the team are seeking musicians, poets, dance troupes, artists and more to submit their work – based on the theme ‘green’ – by Sunday 30 August to be included in the broadcast.
The Green Hustle team want to ensure they attract the attention of people who wouldn’t normally engage with content surrounding sustainability, and hope to open up the discussion on this crucial global conversation to all of Nottingham’s diverse communities and every generation. Come on Notts, we’ve got a world to save.
Green Hustle takes place on Saturday 19 September via the Green Hustle website and Hockley Hustle’s social media channels.