1. The Good Food Growers

    January – July 2024

    The Good Food Growers: Phase 02

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    A collaboration between Fruitful Orchard CIC and Company Drinks, with LBBD.

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    In response to the first phase of the project we’re delivering:

    🟢 ongoing outreach and engagement to grow the network of local people with an interest in sharing Food Growing knowledge, resources and activities: The Food Growing Community

    🟢 a piece of work to support LBBD’s ambitions to re-activate its community orchards

    🟢 the delivery of 4 x ‘Satellite Site’ activities, addressing the needs, challenges and aspirations identified in the Phase 01 outreach surveys.

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    The Satellite Sites – Our Community Needs…

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    The Satellite Sites – We are supporting….

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    We are currently in the process of planning and delivering the Satellite Site projects and will update you as they take shape.

    In the meantime, if you’re a local community group, organisation or project looking to establish more food growing initiatives in the borough, you can sign up to our mailing list to be updated with our programme of training sessions or community activities.

    Sign up 👉 HERE

    Your personal information will only be used by Company Drinks CIC for promoting Good Food Growers activities.

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    June – September 2023

    The Good Food Growers: Phase 01

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    A collaboration between Fruitful Orchard CIC, Barking Food Forest (Thames Life CDT) and Company Drinks  with LBBD.

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    Together, we delivered a four month programme, consisting of:

    🟢 an outreach survey, asking people about their needs, challenges and aspirations for food growing in the borough

    🟢 a series of four Food Growing training workshops delivered by Fruitful Orchard CIC and Barking Food Forest

    🟢 a proposal for a 4 x ‘Satellite Sites’ for food growing activities in Barking & Dagenham, which would address the needs, challenges and aspirations identified in the outreach survey

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    Photos and flyers, credit: Thames Life CDT and Barking Food Forest

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    The Good Food Growers outreach surveys found that….

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    🟢 A large number of residents are leaving the borough to seek workshops about food growing.

    🟢 There’s a lack of support and information in B&D to help residents start or maintain long lasting projects.

    🟢 There’s a lack of experts/specialists who can advise how to design growing projects or design spaces

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    Our deeper-dive, online research revealed that….

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    🟢 Local residents are keen to start food growing projects in the B&D but lack resources, training and/or development support.

    🟢 A large number of residents found green spaces/food growing initiatives to be inaccessible/un-inclusive/unwelcoming.

    🟢 There’s a lack of workshops catering to specific topics or issues.

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    In response to these findings, we’ve made four key recommendations:

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    🟢 Provide workshops based on residents interest i.e fruit trees, composting etc, through funding to specialists/experts who have experience in supporting grassroots/community initiatives.

    🟢 Increase green spaces or support community groups/organisations that can provide safe spaces for the BIPOC & BAME community.

    🟢 Provide development training for residents/grassroots start ups that would like to set up a project.

    🟢 Allow local residents access to green spaces that are not in use or have been abandoned. 

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    ARCHIVE: April 2022-Jan 2023

    The Good Food Plan: Community Research Project 2022-2023

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    Delivered by Company Drinks, with the Resident Research Panel, and support from LBBD. In 2022 we were commissioned by LBBD to work with the food charity Sustain on a piece of research to inform a Good Food Plan for Barking and Dagenham.

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    The aim of this research was to develop an understanding of the local food landscape and the great work already happening in the borough, to identify the challenges and opportunities of our food systems, and to propose a set of recommendations for a healthier, more climate-friendly, more affordable, more culturally appropriate and nourishing local food system, for everyone.

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    READ THE GOOD FOOR PLAN REPORT 👉 here

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    or VISIT THE LBBD GOOD FOOD PARTNERSHIP + ACTION PLAN WEBSITE + SIGN UP TO THE MAILING LIST 👉 here

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    Produced in 2022, published in 2023, for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, with Sustain, and a panel of resident researchers (see blog below).

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  2. Seeking Members for our Board of Directors

    ROLLING DEADLINE

    Company Drinks is a highly regarded, well-established community space and social enterprise based in Barking and Dagenham. We exist as an expanding network of users, collaborators and partners, who come together to pick, grow, make, learn, unlock and share the resources and knowledge around us.

    Like the seasons, Company Drinks changes and adapts, and is shaped by those who are involved. We collaborate and champion the ideas of those around us, encourage each other to re-imagine new ways of working, trading and existing together, through conversation, care and good company.

    Company Drinks was set up in 2014 as an art commission through a Create Art Award, and registered as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2015. Company Drinks sees itself as part of a larger community-focused ecosystem of care, that strives for an equal, just and non-discriminatory world.

    Company Drinks is based at the Former Outdoor Bowls Pavilion in Barking Park, where we have a multifunctional and fully accessible building, including a good size club room, a tea kitchen, a training and production kitchen, office, and storage. Our outdoor space has a large lawn area, a wildflower meadow and community growing area with a focus on well- being and community herbalism.

    Company Drinks is organised in a cooperative manner by a team of five who work between 1-3 days/week.

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    Our continuous programmes include
    – Community Growing, Well-being and Community Herbalism
    – Wild and Well Programme for families, carers and young people
    – Picking Trips and small batch non-alcoholic drinks production
    – The Good Food Collective and Food Research
    – Creative Opportunities for young people
    – Local Social History and Heritage
    –  Community Economy and the Arts
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    Everything we do is underpinned by our core values, which are
    – Be inclusive, our space and workshops are accessible to all, and we welcome everyone.
    – Be transparent, we are open and visible with the inner workings of how we run things.
    – Be anti – oppression, we are supportive of all marginalised groups, whether this affects race, age, gender or ability.
    – Give more than we take – we want people to leave us with more than they came to us with.
    – We are all teachers and learners – and respect everyone’s knowledge.
    – Being flexible – to change, we want to learn and grow as a community company and are open to changes to help us grow.
    – Promote positive community collaboration – we want people to work together collaboratively and in supportive environments.
    – Sharing healthy food and growing knowledge, giving people information and hand-on opportunities for healthier food choices.
    – Practice an economy that cares about the well-being of our minds, bodies and planet.

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    Context for Extending the CIC’s Board of Directors
    2023 marks a very exciting year for Company Drinks, as this spring marks our 10th year of ‘going picking’ together, and we are preparing to strengthen and develop the organisation to enter its second decade. Following the pandemic and a revised and remote programme to support and work with our regular user groups and communities, we now operate again from our fully accessible pavilion in Barking Park, and are actively expanding our Well and Wild outdoor programme, and community-led research and initiatives to highlight and address existing food cultures and knowledge in the borough.

    A group of regular users of the garden and the pavilion have in 2021 become the Company Drinks Keyholder Group, with the aim to share resources, training and development on a regular basis, and to co- decide on future programmes and spending. With the appointment of a new General Manager in 2022 we started a participatory process of adapting our policies, Anti-Racism Action Plan and Anti-Racism Tool Kit and safeguarding procedures as a matter of organisational care and commitment.

    Company Drinks is proud of its achievements so far and is here to stay. We manage and use our resources carefully and are acknowledging the different economic underpinnings and contributions that enable us to exist.

    The Board plays an important role in our organisational ecosystem of mutual support, and we are excited to welcome new members who like us believe passionately in the importance of unlocking and fairly sharing the resources and knowledge around us.

    The current board exists of Kathrin Böhm (Board and Team), Oribi Davies (Board and Team), Jess Denning (Board), Maddy Gunn (Board) and Jamil Khan (Board). We are looking for new members to the Board to add to the skills and experience of the current Board, who enjoy working as part of a supportive but rigorous team. We would expect you to be familiar with our organisation, and we are looking particularly, but not exclusively, for individuals who have expertise in the following areas:

    – Finance and Bookkeeping
    – Fundraising and Developing Relationships with Foundations
    – HR and Organisational Policies
    – Legal Advice (in regards to our site)
    – Community Food Sector
    – Developing Multi-Stakeholder Programmes and Dialogue

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    Company Drinks welcomes all applicants and wants the team to reflect the diversity of the communities we work with. We would like to encourage applications from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, disabled and LGBTQ+ background as they are underrepresented in the team. We’re interested in the whole person and know that we all develop skills both in and outside of work, so even if there are some boxes you don’t quite tick we’d love to hear from you anyway. We recognise that Company Drinks and the growing/craft food industry does not currently represent the population of the UK, and more specifically, that of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, and we are committed to addressing this in our recruitment process.

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    Being a Director of a Community Interest Company (CIC)
    As a member of the Board of a Community Interest Company, you will use your experience to help the organisation achieve its full potential as local a cultural and community-focused organisation. This involves:

    – Ensuring good governance, policies and management.
    – Achieving financial stability, based on our Community Economy Model.
    – Using your specific knowledge and experience to provide advice and guidance.
    – Supporting the strategic vision and long-term planning of this multi-stakeholderorganisation.
    – Legal responsibilities ensuring CD upholds it’s legal obligations.
    – Ensuring CD continues to act in the interests of the community.
    – Liable for commercial debts up to the value of £1.

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    The Board meets four times, and meetings take place on-line and at the Company Drinks Pavilion in Barking. Board meetings are usually held on Monday evenings. The director’s role is currently unpaid, but Company Drinks holds funds to pay members of the board who can’t support the organisation in an unpaid role. The current hourly rate that is paid across all programmes and activities is £16,50 per hour. Reasonable travel expenses can be covered.

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    As a Board member you will agree to:

    – Attend board meetings (minimum 3 a year).
    – Be up to date with the business of the company.
    – Be well prepared for each board meeting.
    – Offer timely feedback and responses within your realm of expertise.
    – Advocate for the company where/when appropriate.

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    How to apply

    We have a rolling deadline, and you can contact us directly if you would like more information and/or considering to apply. Please send a brief E-mail to contact@companydrinks.info.

    For an application please send a max 1 page (approx. 750 words) cover letter or max 5 minutes audio/video:
    – Tell us why you are interested in joining Company Drinks’ board of Directors.
    – Tell us about the experience and skills you would be bringing to the Company Drinks board.
    – Please indicate if you are available for board meetings quarterly on Monday afternoons (generally 4pm-5.30pm).
    – Attach a short CV (max 2 pages), as above, this can be written or an audio or video file.
    – Please include the contact details of two people we can approach for references, if required.

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    For any alternative formats or other access queries, please call 07941 696515 or email contact@companydrinks.info

  3. Talking About and Sharing Good Food

    READ THE GOOD FOOR PLAN REPORT 👉 here

    Produced in 2022, published in 2023, for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, with Sustain, and a panel of resident researchers (see blog below).

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    or VISIT THE LBBD GOOD FOOD PARTNERSHIP + ACTION PLAN WEBSITE + SIGN UP TO THE MAILING LIST 👉 here

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    As we like to say, Company Drinks is about much more than just bottling fizz. Our community enterprise is a shared production cycle which involves collaborators, partners, friends, exchanges, nature, wellbeing, commerce and community. We have always been interested in supporting healthier food systems and more collaborative food networks….. This is something we’ve explored over the years in our annual picking and drinks-making, our Digesting Politics Lunch Talks, our foraging walks, our visits to farms, our Molecular Fizz workshops and Youth Academy, our work with the Good Food Collective, and, most recently, our HAF Programmes with Made Up Kitchen….

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    In 2022 we dug deeper into these ideas and networks, and we were commissioned by LBBD to work with the food charity Sustain on a piece of research to inform a Good Food Plan for Barking and Dagenham. 

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    The aim of this research was to develop an understanding of the local food landscape and the great work already happening in the borough, to identify the challenges and opportunities of our food systems, and to propose a set of recommendations for a healthier, more climate-friendly, more affordable, more culturally appropriate and nourishing local food system, for everyone. 

    This blog tells you how we went about doing so…. 

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    In June 2022, we were commissioned to carry out the Good Food plan research project in partnership with the food charity Sustain. Having spent 8 years already informally connecting to local food growers and initiatives, we knew that a priority would be to spread our reach and to partner with local residents to ensure we were speaking to the people who are usually excluded from this kind of strategic research….

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    So in June we put a call out to our network and recruited a panel of 6 local residents, each working in some way connected to food, each representing the experiences and the cultural diversity of the borough. The Resident Research Panel are:

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    Together we set about coming up with a plan for going out into our communities, talking to residents, and hearing how people feel about local food topics, issues, initiatives and challenges. 

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    Here’s a summary of our research methodology and how we worked in partnership with the Resident Research Panel.

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    Through working with the resident research panel we were able to interview a total of 367 residents from across the borough. 

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    Throughout June – Sept we also established an online survey for those who couldn’t attend our in-person sessions at Company Drinks or with the resident panel. 

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    We asked people for their feedback on a range of topics relating to food, and asked them to tell us their favourite dish, so that we could really get a taste of the rich, cultural diversity of our borough, through food!

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    In addition to the resident interviews and online surveys, during the research process, we also went out into our community and interviewed local partner organisations, from across various sectors. We spoke with food growing initiatives, community groups, youth organisations and social enterprises. The aim was to get a broad, holistic view of the local challenges, needs, opportunities and ambitions, and to collate these alongside the feedback from residents. 

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    As part of this research we also carried out a series of workshops and visit to learn from people who we think are doing really great and inspiring work to tackle these four important categories…  We identified four Good Food Champions, a series or organisations or individuals, who shared their stories and their learnings with a group of local residents, the Research Panel and partners.

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    The Good Food Champions were…

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    1. Land, Planet and Produce:

    Growing Communities Dagenham Farm

    Visit the Growing Communities website here, and a find out more about Dagenham Farm here.

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    2. Better Access to Healthier, Fresher, Climate-Friendly Food:

    Made Up Kitchen’s Kiran Chahal and the Explore the Wild: HAF’s Grace Duggan

    Visit Made Up Kitchen’s website here, and visit Grace Duggan’s instagram page here.

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    3. Good Food Enterprise:

    Claire Pritchard, Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA)

    Visit the GDCA website here.

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    4. Local Governance and Advocacy:

    Dee Woods (Granville Community Kitchen, Landworkers’ Alliance and more…)

    Read a great interview with Dee Woods here, and visit the Granville Community Kitchen website here.

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    In a final co-production workshop with the Resident Research Panel, Sustain and LBBD, we shared feedback from all the research activities, and together drew out the most common and most pressing themes, and from this we came up with the 8 Community Demands…

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    With sustain in the room, we were able to hand these demands over for some guidance on a set of strategic and practical recommendations to help guide LBBD in the process of developing a Good Food Partnership, an Action Plan, and an initial set of funded activities. 

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    These recommendations all fell into four categories, which we think capture the full scope of what makes a healthy, affordable, planet-friendly and culturally appropriate food system for everyone… Those categories are:

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    We are extremely proud of the report, and how it has brought local, specialist voices to the decision-making process. With the cost of living crisis (or ‘Inequality Crisis’), climate crisis and nature crisis all taking their toll, there’s never been a more pressing need to rethink our food system and to support residents across the borough to play an active part in both demanding change and creating it.

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    If you’d like to read more about the council’s Good Food Action Plan in response to the research, you can visit the LBBD webpage for the Good Food Partnership and Action Plan, and you can sign up to the Food Partnership mailing list to receive updates on future activities and opportunities.

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    👉 Read the report + check out our full blog here
    👉 Sign up to the LBBD Good Food Partnership Mailing List here 

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    A big thank you to LBBD for supporting this work, in particular Jo Wilson and Tess Lanning, and to the Resident Research Panel for helping to deliver this work. Thanks to Sustain for collaborating with us and helping to deliver a truly community-minded set of recommendations. Thank you to everyone who attended workshops, filled in surveys, joined us at the kitchen table and contributed to the research! A full list of collaborators, Good Food Champions and partners can be found below….

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    If you’re interested in working with us on collaborative food programmes and research, or to find out more about this project… 👉 Email cam@companydrinks.info

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    And check out the blog from Resident Panel Member Kamila Bourouiba below!

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    THE GOOD FOOD PLAN: RESIDENT RESEARCH PANEL :

    Blog by Resident Research Panel member Kamila Bourouiba

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    6 Resident Research Panel members, 4 meetings between June and September, 367 people engaged.

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    One set of demands… making a collective vision for a Good Food Plan

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    Our Good Food Residents Panel was formed in early summer following a targeted outreach through Company Drinks’ local partners We formed a group of 6, who have experience of living and/ or working in the borough. Our panelists are all passionate about food issues in our communities and represent the cultural diversity in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

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    Introducing our Residents Research Panel:

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    Kamila Bourouiba (Couleur Cafe, Barking)

    Andrew Williams (Hustle Eats)

    Nia Lopez (Thames Life Community Development Trust)

    Emdad Rahman (CST, local voluntary sector

    Elisabetta Nasta (Local resident / EOED member)

    Mide Allen (permaculturist, Farmstead Project, Fruitful Garden

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    We held 4 meetings throughout this period, 3 of which took place before the research began and helped us shape the project. Focusing on ensuring better engagement across the borough. This was done mainly through our panelists who, being local residents, could each focus on our own networks allowing barriers of engagement to be broken through our personal connections with our communities. 

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    In order to raise more awareness, we set up our “Open Kitchen” drop-in consultations at the Company Drinks Pavilion and held meetings with local partners and partner organisations who joined us in open conversation to develop an understanding of existing growing, cooking, health and wellbeing options. They also identified our challenges for providing healthy food and wellbeing and opportunities to overcome these.

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    In August the time came to conduct our resident research. Before setting out and conducting our research we all received basic training in conducting social research through interviews and how to record qualitative data. We were also provided with care measures to safeguard both ourselves and our interviewees. 

     

    The Resident Research was conducted over the period of one month. Giving us plenty of time to reach out to our communities. Panelists had 1-1 or group conversations with fellow residents and workers of the borough focusing on our survey for guidance. This allowed us to collect the specific information we were looking for; what change our residents want to see in the food availability in the borough, and the apprehensiveness of some food businesses in how they would make the change and whether they would be supported with guidance.

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    During our final panel meeting we discussed our research journeys and findings. This revealed that there was an overwhelming demand for change and through-out the response to the research there were 8 x Community Demands agreed together as a group with Sustain and LBBD present: 

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    • Access to healthier, fresher food
    • The Good Food Plan must be inclusive
    • Develop and celebrate our Local Food Champions
    • Affordability and cost of living must be at the heart of the plan
    • Nuture a culture of Good Food Businesses and Enterprises
    • Building trust and long-term projects
    • More local food growing
    • More choice and cultural diversity

     

    We hope to see these demands be the focus points for the much anticipated change we all want to see in our borough’s food economy.

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    The Good Food Plan research was made in good company….

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    Report produced by Company Drinks CIC and Sustain with support from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

     

    Company Drinks delivery team:

    Cam Jarvis, and Kamila Bourouiba. With support from Kathrin Böhm, Shaun Tuck and Walter Hall.

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    Sustain delivery team:

    Ren Piercey, Bella Driessen, and Sarah Williams.

    With support from Fran Bernhardt, Fiona McAllister, Aryo Feldman, Ruth Westcott, and Carys Kettlety

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    Report design and production by An Endless Supply

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    LBBD team:

    Jo Wilson, Food Sector Development Lead, Lily McSweeney, School Food Partnership Coordinator, and Tess Lanning, Head of Inclusive Employment and Skills

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    The Resident Research Panel:

    Mide Allen (permaculturist, Farmstead Project, Fruitful Garden

    Kamila Bourouiba (Couleur Cafe, Barking)

    Nia Lopez (Thames Life Community Development Trust)

    Elisabetta Nasta (Local resident / EOED member)

    Emdad Rahman (CST, local voluntary sector

    Andrew Williams (Hustle Eats)

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    Thanks to the local residents who took the time to contribute to Resident Research Interviews or the Good Food Online Survey.

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    Special thanks to all the local partners, who were generous with their time, and shared their experiences and future food plans with our team: 

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    Partners we interviewed: BDCVS, BD Giving, Barking & Dagenham Park Rangers, BeFirst, Couleur Cafe, Dagenham Library / Church Elm Food Hub, Elevate Her, Every One Every Day, Farmstead Project, Future M.O.L.D.S Communities, Growing Communities Dagenham Farm, John Smith House Consortium, Kingsley Hall Community Centre, Make Your Mark, Soul and Sound / Healthy Mind, Healthy Grind, Thames Life Community Development Trust, The National Trust at Stoneford Cottage Garden, The Osborne Partnership, Woodward Arts & Culture Centre

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    The Good Food Champions:

    Growing Communities Dagenham Farm (Katy Barker, Julie Brown, Alice Holden)

    Made Up Collective and Company Drinks HAF team (Kiran Chahal and Grace Duggan),

    Brent Right to Food (Alex Colas, Rajesh Makwana, Dee Woods)

    GCDA (Claire Pritchard) 

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    The LBBD Officers:

    Darren Tranter, Donna Thacker, Lily McSweeney, Andy Johnson and Rebecca Nunn

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    Members of the Good Food Economy group:

    Andy Johnson, Darren Tranter, Craig Fitt-Cook, Monica Needs, Zoe Christodoulou, Zoinul Abidin, Latifah Miah, Paul Starkey, Jill Gallagher, Lily McSweeney, Erik Stein

     

     

  4. Thinking Differently About Plants

    At Company Drinks we’ve always encouraged people to see plants the way we do: as our friends, as medicine, as food, as a network of connected living systems….

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    Since 2014, Company Drinks have been working with drinks producers, farmers, green spaces, food businesses and local residents to explore the histories, community collaborations and drinks-making potential of nature! We’ve made delicious drinks from trees in our parks, gleaned food waste, foraged flavours, even made delicious fizz from a local “pest” plant.

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    In 2017 we launched Barking Grow Club, a weekly session where “We tend to our wellbeing as we tend to our plants”, and in 2019, the group started growing, harvesting and blending ranges of herbal teas, with each herbal blend being created in response to a particular wellbeing need, and with Perfect Puns provided by the Grow Club members!

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    In 2020 we started getting together regularly to ‘Have and Make Tea‘, something which we continued remotely using Grow Club herbs for ‘Tea by Post Club‘ during the first lockdowns, a way of sharing the benefits of calming plants, while we couldn’t be together in person.

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    Last year, Shaun launched the Community Herbal Network, in collaboration with the Mobile Apothecary, unlocking the healing potential of plants and sharing, uncovering and celebrating local knowledge about herbal remedies.

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    In 2022, we will be exploring our relationships with plants even further and we’ll be encouraging our groups and partners to ‘Think Differently’ about how we talk about, relate to, remember and share plants.

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    We’ll be collaborating with new partners who are working with plants to explore ideas of art and expression, cultural heritage and gender, and we’ll be looking to our plants, having new conversations and hopefully sowing new seeds and generating new ideas that focus on themes such as identity, belonging and local history.

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    If you have a different way of talking about, growing or using plants, that you’d like to share with us and our garden, please get in touch with Shaun on shaun@companydrinks.info.

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    Watch this space for more information….

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  5. Sharing Space, Spending Money Together

    Every 6 weeks we’re meeting up with the Company Drinks Keyholders; a group of artists, gardeners, volunteers, creatives, makers and organisers who run their own community activities at our pavilion and garden. We talk about what people are up to, find ways of working together; including how to spend £5,000, which has been given to the group by BD Giving, with support from Lankelly Chase.

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    The Company Drinks Keyholders are a group of independent artists, organisers, community minded residents, gardeners, makers, historians, crafters or foodies; each is involved in a separate community or volunteer group activity at the Company Drinks Pavilion in Barking Park.

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    Every 6 week we sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake to talk about what we’re doing, what we need, what we’d like to learn, what we’d like to share with each other.

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    In the coming months we’ll be making decisions together to spend a Participatory Funding grant, with support from BD Giving and Lankelly Chase. We’re testing out ‘Spending £5K together’ so that we can trial new ways of collaboration, sharing resources and growing our community impact,

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    Keyholders group activities include:

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    Sarina Mantle

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    Children’s art classes with Sarina Mantle: the Barking-based visual artist from London,  author of a colouring book called Women + Patterns + Plants, mother, singer-songwriter and founder of Wildsuga in 2008.

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    Find out more about Sarina at www.wildsuga.com and on instagram.

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    Art From the Start

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    Art from the Start advances education in the fine arts to the community in Barking and Dagenham. It’s purpose is to inspire, develop, and build social cohesion through art.
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    Find out more at their website, and on Facebook and Instagram.
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    Barking Grow Club

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    The Barking Grow Club is a weekly volunteer group that meets at the Company Drinks Pavilion: “We tend to our garden and our wellbeing”
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    The Company Drinks Thursday Group

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    The Thursday Group are local residents with an interest in Hopping, Picking, Crafting and visiting areas of historic or environmental interest.
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    Emdad Rahman

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    Founder of #BookBikeLondon, volunteer, community organiser (among many other things), Emdad Rahman has been using Company Drinks HQ for weekly Community Service Team sessions, packing books and hampers for local residents in need of extra support.  Follow Emdad’s great work in Barking and Dagenham (and beyond), on Instagram and his blog.

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    Toni Lötter – The Dye Path

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    Friend of Company Drinks, Toni Lötter, is an artist, grower and beekeeper from Ilford! Toni will be working with Company Drinks (and our plants) to explore ideas including natural dyes and other ‘outsider’ plants….   instagram
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    Yoga with Conscious Lea

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    Conscious Lea’s Community Hub is a space for those who want to enhance and support their wellbeing. On their website you will find all sorts of offerings from local classes to a list of Helpful Contacts with links to further support and assistance.

    Once a week, Lea runs Yoga, Meditation and Breathwork classes in the Club Room at Company Drinks.

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    Find out more at their Website, or book a class online.
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    Kati Rose (Herb Club)

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    Supporting people’s wellbeing and helping them re-connect with nature. Kati Rose is also involved in delivering the Herb Club activities in partnership with Conscious Lea and Company Drinks.

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    Find out more on Instagram.
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    Fruitful Orchard CIC

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    Designing communities around agroforestry…. Helping communities through Ecotherapy and training in Orchards, Woodlands and Farms. Working with local families and aiming to increase the diversity of people who connect with nature and food growing spaces.

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    Find out more online and on Instagram.
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    The participatory funding project is closed to new groups in 2023. Please contact us if you’re interested in becoming a keyholder in future.

  6. Imagining a New Stoneford Garden

    Company Drinks are thrilled to be working with the National Trust on coming up with ideas for the Stoneford Garden in Dagenham. We’ll be hosting a series of visits and ‘Dreaming’ sessions, and asking YOU “What would you like to see the garden become?”…. We’ll be talking to local groups (including our own), dreaming up ideas, looking to ‘Gardens We Love’, learning about the biodiversity of the site and trying to answer these questions together. This project will consist of a series of visits, workshops and creative idea-generation sessions. We’ll advertise these on our newsletter

     

    We want to explore ideas with you about how Stoneford Garden could be transformed ; how it could add to our local biodiversity ; how it could become a new, green community asset ; or what opportunities it could provide for learning about local natural resources and horticultural skills.

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    In the first phase of this project we’ll be asking:

    • Who would like to use it?
    • How can it be shared by the community?
    • What could be grown or made there?
    • Could this garden be our new favourite foraging site???

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    UPDATE SEPTEMBER 24 2021: We’re announcing our next public consultations for ‘Imagining a New Stoneford Cottage Garden’

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    Come join us at the Leys Community Centre Hub launch on Thursday 21st October!

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    We’ll be joined by the National Trust and continuing our community consultation about the Stoneford Cottage Garden! We’ll be able to update you on the project, share results from the first Phase, and, most importantly, hear your ideas about what should happen at this new, community green space! If you’d like to have your say, come along.

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    Also as part of the second phase of our consultation we’re organising a special Garden Reminiscing Session at Valence House Visitor Centre on Friday 29th October!

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    You’ll be able to look at archive material about the cottage and garden, see the early design ideas for the site, and have your say about what you think should happen this new community garden. Sign up is essential, numbers will be restricted for covid safety. We’ll be running two drop in slots. At 2-3pm or at 3-4pm.

    You can book online using our Eventbrite page

    Or please email cam@companydrinks.info with your preference. *IMPORTANT* If you are a member of the Thursday Group / Happy Hoppers, you will be joining for a special closed session at 12-2pm, please stick to the plans shared by Pip.

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    Arrival slot 1: at 2-3pm book here

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    Arrival slot 2: at 3-4pm book here

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    Please email cam@companydrinks.info with your preference.

    *IMPORTANT* If you are a member of the Thursday Group / Happy Hoppers, you will be joining for a special closed session at 12-2pm, please stick to the plans shared by Pip.

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    UPDATE JULY 2021: WE’RE GOING TO BE RUNNING A 2ND PHASE OF COMMUNITY CONSULTATIONS IN SEPT / OCT…

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    IN THE MEANTIME IF YOU WANT TO HAVE YOUR SAY OR TO GET IN TOUCH, PLEASE FILL IN OUR ONLINE SURVEY. OR IF YOU HAVE ANY ENQUIRIES SPECIFICALLY RELATING TO THE COTTAGE / PLANNING PROCESS, YOU CAN CONTACT THE NATIONAL TRUST DIRECTLY london@nationaltrust.org.uk

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    UPDATE JUNE 2021: BOOK YOUR PLACE ON OUR OF OUR COMMUNITY CONSULTATIONS + GARDEN TOURS OR FILL IN OUR SHORT+SWEET ONLINE SURVEY

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    SAVE THE DATE

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    Online and at the garden Wednesday 16h June to Saturday 19th June

    We’ll be hosting different Drop-in Consultation Sessions and Garden Tours each day

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    • Sharing + Growing Local Food on Wednesday 16th from 3-4pm link
    • Caring for Wildlife + Nature on Thursday 17th June from3-4pm link
    • Celebrating Local Heritage + History on Friday 18th from 3-4pm link
    • Green Community Spaces – Open Day on Saturday 19th June from 11am-1pm & 2-3pm link

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    IMPORTANT INFO:  Sign up will be essential to ensure we can limit group numbers, keep social distance and manage the sessions as safely as possible. Please send us an e-mail on cam@companydrinks.info or book a free place at Eventbrite.

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    IMPORTANT INFO: If you have already been invited to one of these days because you are a member of one of our groups, you do not need to book a time slot online.
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    IMPORTANT INFO: This site is owned by the National Trust and is not currently open to the public. The garden and paths may not be suitable for those with access issues or for wheelchair users.
    We will only be using the safe and accessible paths through the garden for our consultations.

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    IMPORTANT INFO: There will be WC’s on site.

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    FILL IN THE COMMUNITY CONSULTATION ONLINE SURVEY

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    From Monday 14th June – Sunday 20th June we’re inviting local residents to contribute to the community consultation online via a quick and simple survey.

    SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
    #StonefordGarden #StonefordGardenFuture #CommunityGreenSpace #madetogether
    @Goingpicking @NationalTrust

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    UPDATE: ANNOUNCING A WEEK OF ‘IMAGINING A NEW STONEFORD GARDEN TOGETHER

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    We’re pleased to announce a week of “Imagining a new Stoneford Garden Together“. From Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th June. We’ll be hosting different drop-in tours, workshops and idea-generating sessions on themes such as:

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    • Sharing + making local food 
    • Celebrating local Heritage
    • Feeling better with nature
    • Community-grown spaces
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    We’ll announce more information closer to the time, but in the meantime, if you have a story about Stoneford Cottage, or if you’d like to take part in a particular aspect of the consultation, please email Cam on cam@companydrinks.info and she’ll keep you posted. Sign up will be essential to ensure we can limit group numbers, keep social distance and manage the sessions as safely as possible.

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    UPDATE: THE TEAM VISIT STONEFORD GARDEN

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    On Monday 10th May the team were very lucky to visit the cottage and have a look around this hidden gem of a country garden, tucked away off Rainham Road South.

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    Stoneford Cottage is a Grade II listed house, located in the Village Ward of Barking and Dagenham. It was built in 1858 and bequeathed to the National Trust in 2018. The garden is large, wild and nature-rich with numerous out buildings.

    Read a great post on the history of Stoneford Cottage at the Barking & Dagenham Local History site here

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    This project is commissioned by the National Trust.

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