Whilst in London, I managed to attend the new Food Not Bombs London meeting. We gathered at LARC (London’s Action Resource Centre) – an awesome space mysterious owned. It has been a central-hub since before all the Reclaim The Streets stuff in the 90’s, but nobody knows how or who initially bought it. For this reason, it is collectively looked after and used by different activist and anarchist groups. If a new group attends at least 3 organizers meetings in a row, they can get a key cut and occupy the space for their projects when its available. Food Not Bombs London will be attending their 3rd meeting soon, so that they can then have more freedom to meet, cook and serve grub from LARC.
The London chapter is an attempt to pull a lot of the cities Food Not Bombs activists together. In the past, there have been many different chapters popping up over town – Whitechapel, Hackney, Lewisham, Dartford etc. – and sometimes this means they end up fading away a little bit. This groups idea is to create one main London chapter, which will become increasingly active and invite anybody to join from all over the city.
The meeting was very energetic – and very productive for the group. There were a real mix of people there… 3 folk that used to run Food Not Bombs in Colchester (which I’ve now learnt isn’t active any more).. 1 person from Food Not Bombs in Halifax, Canada.. another person from Zimbabwe who’d been part of Food Not Bombs in Melbourne, Australia. myself, and others from London.
There was a real sense of engaged discussion at the meeting. Lots of ideas thrown around. Lots of stories shared from other Food Not Bombs chapters. Lots of attempt to arrange the best suitable day for a consistent action. Toward the end, the group decided that they’d cook and share a free meal at LARC twice a month, from the last week in January. Before then, they would meet up to design some posters and work on spreading the word a bit.
Since they formed the London Chapter a few months ago, they have provided edible support to the E15 Mums in Stratford, had a Food Raise (an event where people bring dry/tinned food they’d like to donate) and cooked for around 80 people at a feminist event. The group were lucky to receive a small amount of funding recently, so they will be using this to buy themselves equipment and reimburse travel costs for individuals who need to use public transport to eat with Food Not Bombs at LARC.
It was so, so great to meet the chapter! I hope to come to London for food sharing at March For The Homeless in April. Really looking forward to cooking with Food Not Bombs London and supporting the streets at a time of real, real need.