FEASTival: Growing for Freedom

 

Artist and writer Jerome Whittingham has been commissioned by Artlink, as part of its contribution to Freedom FEASTival. Jerome will spend the next few months exploring local growing, food sustainability and urban gardening through connecting with grassroots groups in Hull and the wider region. This will culminate in a publication ready for the Freedom FEASTival itself in September 2018. Look out for Jerome’s writing, photographs, social media posts and podcasts leading up to the event.

Freedom FEASTival

Take a simple seed potato, pop it in the ground in early spring, and by mid summer ‘furkle’ in the soil for your return on investment.  It’s that simple. An act of food sustainability.  An act of revolution even.

This summer I’m spending time with people who see food differently from people like me.  These people have freed themselves from the ‘added value’, ‘pre-washed’, ’plastic-wrapped’, ‘pingable in 5 minutes’ meals that are marketed to the sophisticated consumer.  These people are finding neighbours, making friends, building communities – by sharing something deliciously simple, home-grown food.

At Freedom Festival 2018 and FEASTival, we can sink our teeth into this movement too, perhaps even getting the pips stuck in our metaphorical teeth.

I attended an event recently where I was informed that some fish, netted in northern waters and landed in local docks, is shipped off to China for processing – with some of that catch returning to the Humber region as fish fingers. Me and my kids love fish fingers. But what?! Blimey!  It’s time to consider what we put on our plates with our brains, not just our taste-buds, and bellies, and the cash in our pockets.

City-wide food sustainability isn’t a distant dream.  The people I’m meeting keep telling me that.  The people I’m meeting have a inoculable enthusiasm, not just for locally-grown food, but for food as a currency for change. I freely buy into that.

That bag of a dozen spuds I was given by Rob when I visited his allotment, that’s both an act of loving-kindness and an act of economic revolution and freedom.  I’ll enjoy them with my steak and oven-roasted veg.

Locally produced food, grown with its feet in local soil, shared, that’s freedom. I’m seeing it.

Jerome Whittingham, July 2018

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You can follow Jerome’s podcasts’ here.

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Arts Council Hull City Council