Food Sov Month 2012

This October is the UK Food Sovereignty Month. October is the perfect time to celebrate the Food Sov movement because it’s the harvest period and on 16th October the whole globe celebrates World Food Day. This year, Seed Freedom fortnight is also running from 2nd October (Gandhi’s birthday) to 16th October.

Here’s an overview of events taking place around the UK for food sovereignty month:


           Films, music, debates, public talks, food festivals, growing food, campaigns and more…


Good Food March

19th September, Brussels, Belgium

From all corners of Europe people set out on foot, bicycle or tractor, to meet outside the European parliament. The way Europe organises it’s agricultural policies is being reviewed, and the good food marchers want to reverse the 50-year trend towards industrial scale agriculture and return to fostering a sustainable, resilient food supply. Along the way they gathered support and encouragement from the people they passed, raising the profile of the European food sovereignty cause. The Common Agricultural Policy shapes the way Europe legislates around food; the reforms are being debated through next year and the people behind the good food march want to keep up the pressure to embrace sustainable and just policies.

Across Europe, free event


Film night – Reclaiming our food system

20th September, Bethnal Green, London

6 Billion Ways is a collaboration of action groups united to go beyond single issues and contribute to building a broad movement for progressive change. They are holding an evening of short films, speakers and discussion – followed by music from Asian Dub Foundation’s John Pandit – to explore issues around food sovereignty and corporate dominance.

6:30pm onwards
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd.
Free event


Seed Freedom workshop – creating a London Seed Bank

2 Oct, Crouch End, London

Food from the Sky is an organic food garden on the roof of a supermarket in London! Volunteers are always welcome and they host a number of events and courses. They are the venue for a day long workshop involving activists, growers and enthusiastic individuals coming together to initiate a London-wide seed bank. Marking the start of Seed Freedom fortnight, the day will put the wheels in motion for building a network of seed savers and swappers across the city, and is a vital step towards securing seed sovereignty – and therefore food sovereignty – in London. Join the facebook group to find out more about future events.

Thornton’s Budgens, 21-23 The Broadway, Crouch End, London N88DU, England
Free event


Forests are not Fuel: The Limits of Bioenergy in Climate Mitigation

9th Oct, Central London

An event by Biofuelwatch who campaign in the UK and around the world for better regulation and analysis of biofuels. The day will feature speakers and discussion to unpick the issues around the ‘false promise’ of biofuels as a carbon neutral fuel source, following the release of Biofuelwatch’s new report ‘Sustainable biomass: a modern myth‘. An opportunity for campaigners and individuals alike to learn, discuss, and plan effective responses to the government trend in subsidising and expanding biofuel industry.

9am – 1pm
Quakers Westminster London WC2N 4EA
Free event

Film: Seeds of Freedom at the Native spirit film festival

Saturday 13 Oct, London

Seeds of Freedom is a compelling documentary of the story of seed, from the food crops which evolved over millenia as generations of farmers selected and saved them, into the modern era of genetic engineering and patented seed. It is a wake-up call to the planet to protect our rich food diversity and keep the corporations’ hands off our seed. Find out more here. The Native Spirit film festival showcases films, as well as activity days, music and food, that celebrate indigenous peoples from around the world. See the full programme

Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London Thornhaugh Street Russell Square London WC1H 0XG
Suggested donation £5-£10, film festival pass £35


Documentary: Growing change: A Journey inside Venezuela’s food revolution

16th October, Brighton and London

Two World Development Movement groups are showing Growing Change, an inspiring documentary that looks at one of the most exciting experiments in the world to grow a fair and sustainable food system: the food revolution in Venezuela, where the people are taking back control of food production from corporations.

London: 6.30pm
Firebox 106-108 Cromer Street, London WC1H
Brighton: 7pm
The King and Queen Pub 13-17 Marlborough Place, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1UB
Free event


Vegetarian Punjabi at Cracking Good Food

16th October, Chorlton, Manchester

Treat yourself on World Food Day and learn how to cook some delicious Punjabi dishes – with locally and sustainably sourced food. Cracking Good Food work with local businesses and projects to create cookery classes and courses, designed to help people reconnect with their food and promote healthy, sustainable food habits.

6pm to 9pm
Chorlton High Training Kitchen, Chorlton High School, Nell Lane, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 7SL
£35 / £30


Celebrating World Food Day: Agricultural Cooperatives - All Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology

16th October, Westminster, London

Agricultural cooperatives are the subject of this year’s APPG event for World Food Day.  Leading food policy speakers are: Mike Perry (Plunkett Foundation);  Nicholas Saphir (OMSCo) and Doireann Lalor (Cultivate Oxford). Please register interest with Harry Greenfield at [email protected]

Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament public entrance (Cromwell Green)
Free event, register attendance and allow time to pass through security

A growing change – debating the UK food system at Organiclea

22nd October, Chingford, London 

Experienced producers and food rights activists Jyoti Fernandes and Ru Litherland lead the debate on how far the recent resurgence of interest in local food has translated to substantive changes in the food system, and what the most significant obstacles are in the struggle for a sustainable and just food system in the UK.
Hornbeam  Café, 458 Hoe St, Walthamstow, E17 9AH
Free event, food and drinks available to buy

Open days at Organiclea  vegetable gardens

25th and 27th October, Chingford, London

Organiclea are a workers’ cooperative growing food for their community, with a weekly stall and organic veg-box scheme. Their regular open days at the two sites are a chance to get involved in the work in the garden. The days also involve a site tour, skill-share session and the preparation and sharing of a seasonal dish using produce from the garden. Volunteers are welcome to drop in on open days.

115 Hawkwood Crescent, Chingford, E4 7UH
Free event


Green Unconference

27th October, Long Ashton, Bristol

An ‘unconference’ is an informal meeting driven by it’s participants. This one concentrates on the question “”What are the big Green Issues that we face now here in Britain (particularly the South West), what might we face in the future and how might we solve those issues?” – with a focus on practical application and sustainable living. The event will include guest speakers, workshops, displays, and hands-on learning.

10am – 6pm
All Saints Church, Church Lane, Long Ashton, North Somerset. BS41 9LU
Free and open event
See the website for more information


Best Before Documentary

31 October, Lexi cinema, North West London

‘Best Before: the London Food Revolution’ is a short documentary about the food system in the UK and the growing food movement in London. There is more information on the film website. The Lexi is an independent cinema in Kensal Rise. The event is hosted by Transition Kensal to Kilburn, who will hold a Q&A session afterwards.

The Lexi Cinema, 194b Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London NW10 3JU
Free, registration required
Event information here.


The New Putney Debates - Land & Democracy

1st  November, Putney, London

Nearly 400 years ago at the original Putney debates, English civil war radicals the Diggers described the Earth as a ‘common storehouse for all’ and objected to land being kept in the hands of a few. Are landowners still oppressing the people today, and how should we respond? With George Monbiot; Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party; Kate Geary, land grab expert at Oxfam, and the Runnymede Diggers. Performance poet Pete the Temp. Listen and debate on the site of the original Putney debates.

St Mary’s Church, Putney High Street, Putney
Free, donations welcome 

Supermarkets Watch Dog Campaign – War on Want and Traidcraft

October – November

War on Want have led an alliance of campaign groups in a long battle to persuade the UK government to appoint an independent watchdog for the big supermarkets, to end the exploitation of overseas workers and other bad behaviour. The supermarkets are lobbying hard to soften regulatory powers, and the bill is now passing through parliament. It is the final stage of the campaign and a crucial time to register your support for a strong bill, as the final decisions are made as to how much power the regulators will have.

Find out more about the War on Want campaign.
Write to Jo Swinson MP and demand a strong regulator.


Later in the year…

The New Putney Debates –  Food &Democracy/ Energy & Democracy/ Law, Environment & Democracy

10th November, Putney, London

11-12.30pm – Food and democracy: how do we ensure people have access to nutritious, sustainable and good food? With Helena Paul, Econexus; Dominika Jarosz, Head of Campaigns for Pig Business, and Biofuelwatch
1.30-3pm – Energy and democracy with Jeremy Leggett, Solarcentury; Fuel Poverty Action Group, and Danny Chivers.
3.15–4.45pm – Law, environment and democracy with Polly Higgins, Eradicating Ecocide, and Melanie Strickland, speaking on the Community Bill of Rights, from the Occupy Law working group, and Halina Ward; Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development.

11am – 5pm
Oasis Centre 75 Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7HS
Free, donations welcomed 


Feeding Manchester#11

10th November, Prestwich, Greater Manchester

Feeding Manchester are a network of sustainable food producers, retailers and groups working to get a food supply that is sustainable through each link in the chain. They are holding a day-long event aimed at projects and community groups, new or established. There will be workshops, action groups, and talks, with a focus on improving skills and enabling projects to progress or expand their work. The day will also be a great opportunity to strengthen links between sustainable food projects going on in and around Manchester.

9.30am – 4pm
Creative Living Centre, Bury New Road, Prestwich, Greater Manchester, M25 3BL
£10 (£35 for public sector)
event details here:
Feeding Manchester also have information about regular farmers’ markets and other things going on in the area on their website.


Open Pollinated Seeds: Reclaiming a forgotten skill

14th November, Crouch End, London

Food from the Sky is an organic food garden on the roof of a supermarket in London! Volunteers are always welcome and they host a number of events and courses. In November, they are holding an introduction to collecting and saving seeds to replant. This is a vital step on the path to food sovereignty, which must begin with seed sovereignty. Learn how to save and store your own seeds, and why it is so important that we do. Led by Peter Brinch from Open Pollinated Seeds.

Thornton’s Budgens, 21-23 The Broadway, Crouch End, London N88DU, England


All Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology

14th November, Westminster, London
The cross-party group for agroecology focuses on national policy to promote local food, drawing a comparison between the US and UK experience in order to better understand and resolve current problems in our food production systems.2-4pm
Portcullis House, room tbc
Free event, register attendance and allow time to pass through security

6th December, Westminster, London
Soil Day – three sessions of speakers followed by debate and discussion looking at soil condition in the uk. Session 1: 10-12pm The state of UK soil. Three speakers from different perspectives set out the current health and condition of UK soils. Session 2: 1-2.30pm Solutions. Three speakers set out their vision of what is required to restore UK soils to their full health to meet future requirements. Followed by discussion and debate. Session 3:3-4.30pm Crystallising the discussions into a set of key policy recommendations

Committee room 6, Houses of Parliament public entrance (Cromwell Green)
Free event, register attendance and allow time to pass through security


Seedy Sunday

18th November, Eastbourne

A day of workshops, talks, stalls, art and crafts centred around a seed swap. Bring your surplus seed to swap with others. Home-cooked meals available all day.
Leaf Hall Community Arts Centre 51 Seaside Eastbourne BN22 7NB
£2/children free



Ongoing community food growing & trainings

The Big Dig – training and volunteering events

Manchester, Sheffield, Middlesborough, Coventry, London, Brighton and Hove

The Big Dig is working through local volunteering organisations to offer training and activities to get more people volunteering to grow food across the country. Members get free access to the growing sessions and garden open days; visit the website and sign up to find out what’s happening in your city. The Big Dig wants to expand beyond the initial six cities to be truly nationwide: if your local growing group would like to team up with them and get valuable support and resources for free, contact [email protected]

Grow Heathrow – community garden and activity groups

Sipson, Heathrow

Grow Heathrow is a project run by Transition Heathrow in Sipson, one of the villages to be completely tarmacced to make way for a third runway at Heathrow. In defence of the village, the group cleared a derelict site and established a permanent presence there to resist the runway. Key to the project is the vegetable garden. Two years on, the project includes regular workshops and craft days, is nearly self-sustaining, and is teaching food-growing and developing a real sense of community in the village. Drop in to volunteer in the garden or attend a workshop. For details see the website.

Organiclea – vegetable growing and veg-box scheme

Chingford, East London

Organiclea are a food-growing workers’ cooperative in the Lea Valley outside London. They run regular courses and a veg-box scheme delivering organic vegetables in London. They also help projects set up and maintain their own community gardens under their Common Sense Growers scheme. Organiclea welcome volunteers in the garden and to help the veg-box scheme with sorting and packing the veg and delivering it by bicycle around the borough. See the website for more.


Community Harvest Whetstone

Whetstone, Leicestershire

Started in 2009 by Transition Leicester, Community Harvest Whetstone is a sustainable vegetable growing co-operative based in South Leicestershire. In connection with the growers, the membership decides how the scheme is run. We have a wide membership, made up of Supporting members, Investing members, and Crop-Sharing members, who buy our vegetables. Members can join us on regular Community days and are encouraged to volunteer on the farm during the year. Get involved through the website.