November 15, 2008

The Land that Feeds Us: 16th Oct

Curious to hear more of Simon Fairlie’s ideas, we attended this talk by him at the Hornbeam Centre.

‘Simon Fairlie is an inspiring writer and thinker. He has worked for 20 years as an agricultural worker, builder and stonemason. He is editor of ‘The Land’ magazine and campaigns for access to land for all through environmentally sound planning. He will lead a discussion about what it would really mean for us to become much more self-sufficient in food production in the UK. How would our diets need to change, and how could it be done sustainably? What changes need to be made to land control and ownership? To what extent are we forced to make these changes as the age of cheap, plentiful oil comes to an end?’


The discussion was based on an article he published in the latest issue of The Land.

Download a pdf of the article here: can_britain_feed_itself


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:


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

‘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 and the Hornbeam Centre:

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