TEN Years ON...June 2006 - June 2016

Early 2006, a friend who knew of my passion for environmental and social justice activism, forwarded an email telling me that 'this idea' would really be up my lane.  It was a link to Green Drinks International.  My eyes lit up and a smile spread on my face.  The idea resonated nicely.  On the 26th of March 2006, I contacted Edwin Datschefski (the man behind it all globally) and he send us some tips of how to set Green Drinks up.  Sergio Azzopardi and myself immediately put our heads together to organise the Green Drinks Launch on the 22 June 2006.  I remember the flow of ideas, the creativity, the meetings, the excitement of preparing for it all. Thanks Sergio for being such an important part of this.

The first big break was when the Mr Joe Borg, the owner of Il-Kastell of Tarxien sponsored the venue, drinks and food!  He gave us the needed encouragement that we could pull this through.  I remember the little printouts we designed and disseminated during the first national environmental protest march by FAA.  I remember Mario Axiak and Luke Vincenti and their help with the presentations.  I also fondly remember the 150 people turning up at our very first event.  Many of them still join us at Green Drinks Gatherings.

Over the years, different, beautiful  people flowed in and out to give a much needed hand like Ian Christie, Luke Vincenti, Danielle Calenti, Elaine Bugeja, Mario Axiak, Paula Axiak, Aldo Saliba, Daniela Agius, Barbara Elekes, Alan Cassar, Jonathan Pace and John & Geraldine Portelli.  On a special note I would like to thank Aldo Calleja for his unrelenting support.

We also collaborated with a lovely number of organisations along the years and with special thanks I wish to mention Friends of the Earth Malta, The Permaculture Foundation, Nature Trust Malta, Malta Organic Agriculture Movement, Sharklab and Gaia Foundation. In 2012 we had a special collaboration with Malta Cafe Scientifique were we co-organised three very successful gatherings thanks to Edward Duca.

A  noteworthy thing was that Green Drinks Malta was approached by the producer of the film 'Happy' and we were given the rights to screen it as part of a global screening event on the 25th of February 2012.  We had over 160 people turning up, making it the most well attended Green Drinks to date.  The event was held at and supported by Bottegin Palazzo Xara in Rabat.

2013 was a quieter year for us, mainly focusing on bringing to the forefront the Anti-Monsanto issues.

2014 is a dynamic one with started with the participation in the World's Biggest GREEN DRINKS event on the 7th of February where we launched the Clean Food Movement and continued with a series of events to raise awareness about Food Quality & Sovereignty.  2014 is also marked by our active participation in the National Clean-up Campaign Let's Do It! Malta. Coming up on the 31st of May 2014 we will be participating in the March Against Monsanto and the Worldfest.

In 2015 & to date, we mainly focused on the Pesticide Free Activities culminating in the March Against Monsanto. In April and March 2016, we had 5 major events like the Open Day for Pesticide Free at The Veg Box, Organic Wine & Organic Chocolate Pairings with Carole Rondot and Core Green ecoFood, Afternoon Teas with Pop Up Cafe Malta and a Veggie Picnic and Trek with The Vegetarian Society of Malta.

We would always appreciate a hand in all of this so if you have a little bit of time and energy, we would love to hear from you!

Looking forward to the Gatherings to come, to the people we will reach, to the connections made, to the support we will feel in our quest for a greener world.

Many thanks to all of you who made it possible with the kind words of encouragement and presence at the events.  Thanks for the sharing.  The big heart.  The network. Thanks to all for being part of this.

With gratitude and appreciation

Natalie Debono
June 2016