On Nourishing the Commons

In April 2022, the Landworkers Alliance launched Food In Our Hands. Centring intersectional, anti-capitalist and decolonial action, this “movement of movements” aims to unite and invigorate organising around Food Sovereignty in the UK.. On Nourishing the Commons has been designed to convene a group of creative minds to share experiences of commoning in transdisciplinary practices, engage with the Food In Our Hands campaign and generate movement-building actions ahead of their September Food Sovereignty gathering.
Facilitated by interdisciplinary artist, writer and community organiser Raju Rage, we meet to collectively consider two main questions through conversation, communality and collaborative creativity:
How can the food sovereignty movement acknowledge and embed different knowledgesystems, ways of knowing and ways of sharing (including cultural/arts engagement and research) without appropriating marginalised knowledge or being coopted themselves?
Who is missing from the conversation, what are the barriers, how can we open the movement out?

On Nourishing the Commons is generated from a collaborative research project based at the Developmental Planning Unit,
UCL, as part of the UK Food Systems CDT. It includes researchers Cherry Truluck and Molly Clarke, alongside supervisors Dr
Robert Biel, Dr Zeremariam Fre and Prof Yves Cabannes.

Location:
The Early Years Room,
Calthorpe Community Garden,
258-274 Gray’s Inn Road,
London WC1X 8LH

Date:
6th July 2022

Time:
10am-5pm

Schedule for the day
Reference Material
Reference for Zine
Who
Guidelines

Schedule

Morning Session

10amTea/Coffee and introductions
10.30Welcome and gentle beginning from Raju Rage
10.45Food In Our Hands
Jo Kamal (Landworkers Alliance)
11Contributions from online
11.15 Kitchen Table Discussion – ways of knowing, ways of sharing
11.45Break
12:00Kitchen Table Discussion – space at the table
12.45Walk and Talk – breakout groups in the community garden

Afternoon Session

1.30pmCommunal Lunch provided (vegetarian, vegan & gluten-free options available)
2.30Reflections on hopefulness
3pmZine Making Workshop
4.30Conclusions, next steps, discussion around sharing workshop outcomes
5pmEnd

Reference Material

“Peoples and communities have the right to maintain their own spiritual and material relationships to their lands…this implies the full recognition of their laws, traditions, customs, tenure systems, and institutions, and constitutes the recognition of the self-determination and autonomy of peoples.” 
Declaration of the International Forum for Agroecology, Nyéléni, Mali, February 27, 2015

“If the eaten is to become ‘food’, it must be digestible to a formerly foreign body. Likewise, if the eater is to be nourished, it must accommodate itself to a formerly foreign body. Both, then, have to have been mutable, to have always been a materiality that is hustle and flow as well as sedimentation and substance.”
(Bennett 2010)

“Slow Food is dedicated to stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production; to the revival of the kitchen and the table as centres of pleasure, culture and community; to the invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions; to the creation of a collaborative, ecologically-oriented and virtuous globalization; and to living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life” slowfoodusa.org

“A critical and politically oriented exploration of the link between food and the commons triggers fundamental questions relating to colonialism, post-colonialism, commodification, and social justice. This is nowhere more evident than in the United Kingdom foodscape, a space rooted in colonial ties and reproductive of the colonial legacy…. Therefore, it is important to ask whether the urban citizens and predominantly farmer-led UK Food Sovereignty Movement that was created in 2012, whose aim is to create a fairer and more sustainable food system in the UK (Shawki, 2015), plans to do so with or without incorporating feminist, post-colonial and post-commodity approaches.” 
(Ferrando, Claeys, Diesner, Vivero-Pol & Woods, 2021) 

Commoning is the process of creating or bringing resources into collective ownership and management. It is also the social practices, the rituals, rules, and labours of people working together as one to manage them, commoning starts with what we have and where we are. We have been focused on the symptom – climate change – and not the cause, which are the ways we interact with natural resources.
Lucy Stone and Gustavo Montes De Oca: Commoning Our Way through the Climate Crisis

References for Zine

https://www.farmingwhileblack.org/
http://www.foodphreaking.com/
https://jarsquad.com/
https://www.openspacecontemporary.com/projects/2022-programme/i-have-eaten-it/
https://www.colorlines.com/articles/three-lessons-adrienne-maree-browns-emergent-strategy
https://compost-mentis.com/#publications

Who We Are

Raju Rage has a theirstory in activism, self and collective organised queer/ transgender/ people of colour movements and creative projects in London and beyond from which their politics and works draw on and from. They explore the spaces and relationships between dis/connected bodies, theory and practice, text and the body and aesthetics and the political substance. They are a member of Collective Creativity arts collective and are a creative educator with an interest in radical pedagogy. They have been trained as a pastry chef and baker and worked in countless community kitchens.

Image: Recipes for Resistance Library. Courtesy of Raju Rage and Ort Gallery

Cherry Truluck is an artist, doctoral researcher (UKFS CDT) and Creative Director/Founder of Custom Food Lab. Her work seeks to rethink ecological strategies for commensality and sharing space. She does this through participatory art interventions, curatorial projects and research, creating sensory and site-specific eating experiences. Cherry’s poetic narratives of the journey from ground to gut unpick the body/environment binary. Her work is transdisciplinary, strongly visual and often collaborative.

Custom Food Lab is a decentralised programme of collective action led by artists, designers, researchers, growers + activists who are passionate about food and the future – where food comes from, how it’s grown, it’s potential to tell a story, to connect people to each other, to nature, to heritage, to rediscover lost sustainable practices, to imagine a food system outside of capitalism.

Guidelines

The guidelines have been kindly shared by Raju Rage as a basis for our community building work during this session.