I plan and run food courses at West Dean, a fabulously beautiful arts college near Chichester on the south coast of England. My events are part of their Short Courses programme, but I have been involved there for many years as I cook at the Garden shows. West Dean Gardens are home to the internationally famous Chilli Fiesta, as well as the annual MedFest and Apple Affair.
West Dean Gardens autumn colours
I have been a consultant to a major and very creative supermarket for well over a decade and have done everything for them from editing glossy food mags to training the specialist staff and chairing agricultural days for their specialist producers groups. I give talks to groups large and small and, increasingly, I try to tie my food activities in with my environmental and faith concerns. I am also starting to get more involved with our local councils who are waking up to the importance of local food to our local economy and our environmental responsibilities. Hurrah!
Activism is defined as the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. That’s what I think I have been doing for local food for the last few years. Speaking about it, using it, talking to the local councils about it, mapping it with our local Transition Town group in Chichester. Nothing confrontational. Nothing violent or aggressive. Vigorous, yes! But I’ve always been doing it in fun ways. Just trying to keep local food on the local agenda.