Author Archives: Tony

What’s Going On?

Have you got a food-related event planned for the near (or not-so-near) future?  Why not add it to our events calendar?

It’s really simple.  Just log in (the username and password are both “guest”), then select “Events” and “Add new” from the menu on the left.  You can add links to a website, a Google map, all sorts.

And if you come across an event advertised elsewhere, on a flyer or on Facebook, for example, feel free to add it to our calendar.

You can even write your own articles here too.  Simply log in and select “Posts”, then “Add new”.  There’s no need to bother with things like tags or categories and such like – we can sort all that out later.


Many thanks are due to Saul for producing this excellent flyer.  Sums up what we are about pretty neatly, I think.


Agenda Suggestions

Here are some suggestions (thanks, Graham!) for agenda items for tomorrow’s meeting.  Nothing is finalised, so feel free to add, remove or mess around with anything here at the drop of a hat.
– Introductions
– Open discussion on what the network could be
– Food distribution network
– Potential events, actions
– Hunger Resistance Network
– Mapping groups
– Twitter, Facebook, Website, logo
– Share events for the calendar

A Grand Day Out

I’ve just come home from my first visit to the HASL/LCAPSV Lunch Club, just around the corner from Elephant and Castle.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I think it’s fair to say that a tremendous time was had by everyone who turned up.

There seemed to be quite a mixture of people there, with a range of interests from across London.  The atmosphere was incredibly friendly and relaxed, and the idea of a group of reasonably like-minded people meeting up to get to know each other over a table crammed with really good food worked amazingly well.  It was great for us all to be able to spend time together and learn a bit about what we are all up to without the pressure of having to organise the next demo, bring down the government or whatever.

There was a slight comedy interlude when the chocolate fountain was turned on – more of a shower than a fountain.  It’s never done that before, apparently :-)

As we were leaving, a passing cyclist stopped, attracted by the name of the venue (Bike Curious) and hoping to find somewhere he could fix his bike.  Although it obviously wasn’t the place he was looking for, we did give him the address of somewhere nearby that he could take his bike, and sent him on his way with a rather nice loaf of bread.  I say “rather nice” because I was fortunate enough to get one myself too, and it is delicious.

I must admit my expectations in getting the Radical Food Network started were really quite vague.  I kind of imagined that if a load of people with a common interest in food came together and did community things, then all kinds of good stuff would come of it.  Beyond that, I didn’t have too clear an idea of where  it might go.  But this is definitely the sort of thing I’d like to see happening more often.

The people who organised this had clearly gone to a lot of effort in setting it all up, and I for one would like to thank everyone involved for making it happen.

Origins of the RFN

There is perhaps some confusion about the relationship between the Radical Food Network and the Radical Assembly.  These two groups were starting to form around the same time, and it is perhaps not surprising that a lack of clarity might arise.  So I’ve decided to write this to explain my understanding of how things started, and perhaps shed some light on how they may or may not interact in the future.

The idea for the network sprang out of discussions between Graham Jones and myself in the days following the general election.   Graham was one of the people organising the first Radical Assembly.  The discussions can be seen both on this site and on Graham’s blog, along with various conversations on Twitter.  We arranged to meet up at the first Radical Assembly meeting, where Graham was going to introduce me to someone from Streets Kitchen.

As it turned out, I was not at all happy with the way the assembly was managed by the organisers and left in disgust before the end. As luck would have it, I bumped into Graham outside.  So we did the things we needed to do, and I left.  I didn’t see that as being anything to do with the Radical Assembly, and since then I have had no involvement with them and very probably won’t in the future.

The reason I won’t be involved is only partly because of the shortcomings of  the first assembly.  I have heard that they have been addressed now, and maybe they have.  The main reason, though, is that they are organised differently, in a way that I don’t think benefits the Radical Food Network.

The idea behind the RFN is that there is already a number of groups that are involved in similar activities that overlap and could very easily support each other, and could expand the scope of their activities by joining together.  This is the way the Radical Housing Network has worked, and it has done so very successfully.  The Radical Assembly, on the other hand seems to have taken a large group of individuals and formed them into local groups.  Although there is some value in that, groups based purely on a geographical link don’t build upon a shared interest between members.

Times change, and the ways that the various activist groups interact  will likely change as they grow,  so my opinion on this may well change over time.   I’ve no time for people who want to be leaders but, apart from that, I’m more than happy to work with anyone who can work with me.

These are just my opinions – others  are available…

Tony Smetham