On Weds 8th June 2022 we held our second Wider Interest Network Group (WING).
The purpose of this annual session is to look back at the year gone by and look forward to What Next?
We shared the results of our evaluations of our work and our governance, and heard from practitioners in the field of urban agriculture who shared their valuable experiences of their own work to address the challenges of our increasingly unstable and unpredictable food system.
We opened by acknowledging that our food system is at the sharp end of our efforts to combat a rapidly unravelling economic and ecological situation, and considered where we go from here.
Our End of year and governance evaluations will be uploaded to this website when they’re finalised in July.
Jump to the bit you want…
5 mins – PART 1. What is UAC in the bigger picture? Jeremy Iles
6 mins 40 secs – A little look at the UAC’s current projects. Maddy Longhurst
15 mins 10 secs – Video – How have we benefited from being part of the UAC? Fran Halsall, Regather, Sheffield
17 mins – Video – Seeding the new Middlesbrough Farmstart project. Catherine Howell, Barefoot Kitchen, Middlesbrough
21 mins – UAC from the perspective of the Core Oversight Group. Gary Mitchell, Open Newtown / Social Farms & Gardens / FPAC (Wales), Suzy Russell, CSA Network.
33 mins 45 secs – Our Year 2 Evaluation. Jeremy Iles
38 mins 28 secs – Our Governance review. Hilary Sudbury – Cooperative Assistance Network.
53 mins 14 secs – PART 2. What we’re learning as we’re doing this work. Key points. Maddy Longhurst.
1hr – Bethan McIlroy. The activist-grower’s eye-view from the ground in Nottingham and Derby
1hr 11 mins – Jessica Wilson – Sheffield City Council: Right to Food Resolution and new Food Strategy in Sheffield.
Q&A with speakers
1hr 40 mins – What is our Sun? comments from the floor about whether there’s a central idea around which we all need to coordinate our efforts…
What’s quite plain is that the separation of countryside and city as food productive places really crystallised after the second world war, and there’s plenty of evidence from continental Europe but also from Britain – Carolyn Steele is a great advocate of this , and Susan Parham at Hertfordshire University – that the function of the city space has been separated from food production, and it’s been really really hard to overcome that separation for the last three or four generations.Dan Keech Senior Research Fellow, CCRI
So I would simply say that our ‘sun’ is the idea that our urban space is a viable and actually plausible and historically normal place in which to include food production. That message needs to get through. It’s really really hard to do that through the planning system, and I really acknowledge the work that so many of the cities we’ve heard from today and at other times, have done. The sub-national is such an inspiration compared to the national level which is still approaching food policy in terms of agricultural productivity and efficiency.
Putting through that narrative that urban spaces are viable productive areas is important, and to take heart from the fact that it’s been like that, in our continent for 600-800 years.
University of Gloucestershire. Commenting at the WING.