Below are links to various organizations I am either involved with or interested in.
Growing Communities, London N16
Growing Communities is a community-led social enterprise based in Hackney, North London, providing a sustainable alternative to the current food system, particularly in an urban environment.
From being a customer of the organic fruit and veg box scheme and Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market in 2004, I became increasingly interested in the organization behind these two outlets and have been an elected member of it’s Management Committee (a “Director” in legal parlance) since December 2006. Growing Communities aims to re-localize the food system through urban growing (Patchwork Farm), using local, sustainable farmers and suppliers and paying a fair price. It’s spreading this idea through the country with it’s start-up programme. It’s a pragmatic approach to the problems of feeding an urban population.
The Hackney CAACs, North London
The six Conservation Areas Advisory Committees (CAAC) in Hackney are consulted on all planning matters involving twenty-nine designated conservation areas within the borough.
Originally set up in the late 1990s by the Council’s conservation team with the support of The Hackney Society, the Hackney CAACs are independent of the Council’s planners, and are typically formed of members of the public who live or work in their respective areas. It’s possible for a city like London to grow, develop, and innovate sustainably and sensitively, without destroying heritage. The key to this is promoting good design and preventing destruction of characteristics that positively define an area. Conservations Areas help do this, and effective consultation on design is key to understanding what a community needs.
I have been a member (and more recently Chair) of the Clapton CAAC since late 2010 and joined the Stoke Newington CAAC in mid 2011. Both meet monthly and I try to regularly attend the Council’s monthly Planning Subcommittee meetings as an observer.