Real Junk Food in Leeds

‘In this country we throw away something like 35% of our food, most of this throwing away being done by the big supermarkets and that’s just wrong.’

I’ve been talking with the Real Junk Food Project.

Here at Armley in Leeds.

Here at Armley in Leeds.

In fact a whole group of us have been talking with them and getting a direct experience of what they’re about.

You might remember us visiting the brilliant Severn Project urban farm and much more in Bristol a few weeks back? Well the same group of us have just been in Leeds, me and a group of front line staff from social enterprise bus company HCT, bus drivers mostly. From London, Bristol, the Channel Islands, Wakefield, Dewsbury, here in Leeds and me from Liverpool. Here to learn, here to question. Here to find out.

I'm so glad Real Junk Food found the time to let us visit.

I’m so glad Real Junk Food found the time to let us visit.

This café in Armley is where the whole ‘Junk Food/Pay As You Feel’ movement got started. Continue reading

The House

'We live here' Sarah Horton quilt, 1995.

‘We live here’ Sarah Horton quilt, 1995.

Our house is being decorated at the moment and so there’s scaffolding up. Providing an unexpectedly good opportunity for an objective look at and reflect on the place I’ve lived in for longer than any other.The House - 4

As part of this reflecting I’m spending a good amount of time out on the scaffolding. Idly talking with our friend Jayne while she paints the house for some of the time. But also doing bits of work that would be a lot more difficult without the scaffolding here. Continue reading

‘Community Led’ – What it looks like

15.05 Homebaked - 1This post is by way of being a visual accompaniment to the words-only ‘Community Led’ post of the other day. In that post I talked about my views and experience of how community led change gets done and the demands it makes on all of us involved. Today I want to show you what it actually looks like when done well. Staggeringly well here at Homebaked in Anfield.

As well as being deeply and joyfully engaged with what we’re all doing at the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust, I’ve also been invited in by the community around Homebaked to contribute to getting their own Community Land Trust into serious movement. Homebaked have been open a good while now as a social enterprise community bakery, and now their next phase of development is to begin their CLT work on the land around them. Turning a soon to be demolished row of houses next to the bakery into? Well that’s what we’ve all been starting work on these last few weeks.

In the shadow of the expanding LFC stadium.

In the shadow of the expanding LFC stadium.

A series of intense sessions involving, I'd say, around 50 people in all.

A series of intense sessions involving, I’d say, around 50 people in all.

About

About ‘Building your own high street.’ Architect and long time Homebaked helper, my friend Marianne Heaslip here.

We’ve been getting ready to appoint the architects Homebaked CLT will be working with by working on how we’ll work with them. How the whole involved community can work out what is wanted and then work through the complications of getting it all done over the next couple of years. Continue reading

A Granby 4 Streets Poem

Cairns Street.

At the last Granby 4 Streets Market, local community organisation Writing in the Wall presented some of the work done at a series of events they’ve been running for us lately. These events were about people getting together and telling their Granby stories. Getting a shared sense of the history and the rich culture of the place as part of working on its future, specifically working towards what we’ll do with the Four Corners, where the shops used to be at the corners of Granby Street and Cairns Street.

Hazel Tilley, on the right here, in Cairns Street.

Hazel Tilley, on the right here, in Cairns Street.

Everything that was read was powerful and real and truly rooted in the place being written about. And one, this poem, struck me so powerfully at the time, painting such a vivid picture of what the Granby people have had to go through to get to where we are now, that I asked its writer if she’d let me publish it on here. She said yes.

 

A rant about the bins
(And how other people always seem to know the best way for us to live)
By Hazel Tilley

“So, houses are knocked down, because someone who’s never walked down Granby Street
knows how to improve our area, and the best way for us to live.
And people are moved out, because the shops are closing down
And the area’s neglected.
And the other people, the ones who know the best way for us to live, smell money
So, they ignore the history of each brick and slate and skirting board,
Of each life spent in each house. Continue reading

‘Community Led’ – Moving beyond victims and heroes

If you walk where you’ve always walked you might think what you’ve always thought. So today I’ve been walking along streets where I don’t often go. And not to take photographs of them like I usually do on here, but because I needed to think. Because we all need time to go off and think sometimes and because I seem to do my best thinking by walking around. Then, after a while of  this walking, to sit down with a pen and a notebook and see what’s turned up. Here goes then.

Thoughts from a park bench.

Thoughts from a park bench.

 

A Sunday morning conversation

Already this morning there’s been a very rich conversation on Twitter. It starts with people, and thank you all, refelcting on our good fortune in Granby this week. Some wishing they could ‘have’ whatever it is we might have. Our architects, our supporters, even named members of our community! This gradually moves into a Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and architects and mostly northern and Homebaked and Welsh Streets and Four Streets conversation about ‘community led’ and the stories that get told. Eventually and mostly circling around these two ‘big’ questions on this particular Sunday morning:

  • How does ‘community led’ change actually happen?
  • And how can we move our stories of place and change on from old archetypes about victims and heroes?

Which is what I ended up thinking about as I walked round Liverpool this afternoon. Continue reading

Sunshiny Day in Granby

Cairns Street Liverpool 8, 16th May 2015.

Cairns Street Liverpool 8, 16th May 2015.

Early evening of the Saturday after the news about the Turner Prize broke things have calmed down in Granby. After a week of television cameras, radio microphones and general media attention. All welcomed by all of us but nevertheless a relief today to walk around the quiet weekend streets.

In Beaconsfield Street.

In Beaconsfield Street.

Plus Dane well on with this row of houses now.

Plus Dane well on with this row of houses now.

Continue reading

Granby 4 Streets and the Turner Prize

Assemble at Granby 4 Streets Market, in the yellow jackets.

Assemble at Granby 4 Streets Market, in the yellow jackets.

The news has just broken that Assemble, the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust architects, are one of the four nominations for this year’s Turner Prize, principally for their work in Granby.

“In an age when anything can be art, why not have a housing estate?” asked judge Alistair Hudson, when pressed about the inclusion of the London-based collective Assemble.”

The Guardian goes on to say:

Assemble represent a first for the Turner prize: currently comprising 18 designers and architects under 30, they are a loose collective who make direct interventions. The primary project they are nominated for is their collaboration with residents of the Granby Four Streets area of Toxteth in Liverpool.

 

The red-brick terraced estate had fallen into disrepair until four years ago when, inspired by the guerrilla gardening movement, residents began taking the situation into their own hands by setting up a community land trust. From there, they invited Assemble to help improve the houses and neighbourhood. “This was people on the ground, bringing artists in, to make the world better,” says Hudson.

Another Assemble project is the Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock, east Glasgow: a rethinking of what a playground is and one that allows children to embrace both their creative and destructive sides.

All 18 share a studio in east London and accepted the nomination only after a group meeting. “They don’t occupy the realm of the single genius, solitary artist,” said Hudson. “This is collective activity working in society.”

Assemble, Granby residents and the fireplaces.

Assemble, Granby residents and the fireplaces.

Continue reading