Our Green Iftar At Castle Hill: Less Waste, More Nature (Photos)
On our second-to-last fast in Ramadan The Eco Muslim family drove 9 miles to have the greenest iftar we could plan within a few hours. Nex...
Packing Plastic? No Thank you
For the iftar meal on 17 August 2012 we planned several warm and cold 'finger foods' and wraps. I made a lot of salad because we eat more greens than anything else. Kebabs were grilled not fried and wrapped in foil, not plastic cling-film. Foil can be reused for sandwiches, craft projects or to insulate my plants when they're first growing.
For my creative readers, make an eco-friendly resusable sandwich bag.
Our vegetarian food consisted of salad and cheese wraps and thin potato wedges, which are like onion pakoras but shallow fried in a gram flour and cumin and sea salt paste instead of hot spices.
My aunt made the meaty food, a rich Indian chicken dish in tomato sauce and coriander, which we also turned into wraps on site.
There are a few extra things you have to consider when hosting an eco-iftar. These are in addition to a regular indoor dinner.
- Where is the nearest bin?
- Is there a recycling bin on site?
- Since we don't do plastic (we brought paper plates for storage only) how are you going to wash the dishes after eating?
- Don't use tissue paper for serving, bring fabric napkins which you can wash - no waste, more absorbent for spills and environmentally friendly.
- How many people are attending?
- How much will each person eat? Give smaller portions to adults and give more greens to children.
- Pick a spot that does not obstruct the path of others and with plenty of space to run around.
- No benches? Go with the sunnah. Bring a water-proof nylon mats and a fabric cloth.
- Have you brought prayer mats? Where will you pray?
- Assign the youngest man in your group to make the adhan (call to prayer) and help the youngest girl to read the du`a (supplication). This involvement is vital.
- Make the meal fun and happy. It got quite cold towards the iftar but we kept ourselves warm by singing and reminiscing our childhood memories.
- Bring a few outdoor games. A tennis ball will do to play a game of catch and carry smaller children in turns on parachute fabric.
- Bring night lanterns. The paper ones that lift in the air after lighting. Ensure you come back to pick these up! Otherwise stick a note on the lantern for return or asking the finder to dispose of it appropriately.
- Begin your iftar meal with dates and water. Don't throw the date stones away: gather them in a pouch, wash them at home, boil and thread them together to make a natural tasbih (dhikr beads/rosary)
- Drinking too much after an iftar meal makes you bloated so begin with half a glass of water and sip slowly 3x in between courses.
- What hot drinks are you having?
- Is there time for dessert on site? If not, keep them packed to have at home.
- Don't use plastic cups, bring flasks.
- Eat every last salad morsel (the perishables) but save more water. You can use this bottled water to wash your hands afterwards, make a quick wudhu near an unused grassy area.
- Have you brought a bag for any rubbish?
- Bring another water-proof bag for the fruit peelings to toss into your compost.
- Assign a person to distribute the left-over food. Pack in foil containers or sandwich boxes.
- Check you haven't left any food or rubbish. The smallest food piece can attract pests and spoil the natural environment.
- Who will read the ending du`a?
Phase 3: Eco-mum sits to make dhikr. This spot is the highest in my hometown. We live in a rural town that has a good balance of the city-life and farm-life.
Peace + eco-jihad.
Zaufishan, The Eco Muslim