June 20, 2008

‘What on earth is growing on?’ Pilot Publishing investigates

Last week, we attended this event at the Hornbean Centre in Walthamstow. Neither of us had ever been there before…it was a great surprise to find such an informal friendly centre on the high street. We were greeted with a plate of delicious vegan curry and garden grown salad, plus a pint of home brewed Leyton Ale. They serve food in this community kitchen every Saturday and its well a worth a visit. Named after the locally renowned Hornbeam Tree, its ‘an environmental community centre organized and run by its users’.

The event was the first in a series of discussions called:

WHAT ON EARTH IS GROWING ON?

Contributions came from Christina Ballinger: director of Somerset Organic Link, formed in 2001 as a partnership between local farmers to market their produce
Collectively, and Ru Litherland: a member of OrganicLea workers cooperative, and grower for Hackney-based Growing Communities, supplying its box scheme
with zero food miles salad.

Questions and points raised included:

‘How can small scale organic farmers sustain a livelihood in the face of big agribusiness competition, and ensure that we get food produced with integrity?’

‘Our food growing efforts in the city offer opportunities for social organisation,
cultural renaissance, ecological recovery, and ermmm, providing quality
healthy fresh food at a price that everybody can afford… When successful
they are truly incredible – and pretty amazing even when they stumble a
little!’

‘The first step of action is to know our collective history. What are the connections between, today’s debates about food and England’s peasant struggles of the past – who owns the land and how did they achieve this? A history of struggle, small victories and big defeats.’

The event was organised by Organiclea community growers www.organiclea.org.uk and the Hornbeam Centre: www.hornbeam.org.uk

Quote of the night: “Its not a bad world just badly organized” Ru Litherland

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