Community Haystack 2019 and June Scything Workshops

Safe the Date
Saturday 20th July, all day

… plus June Scything Workshops with Ida (scroll down)

Announcing this year’s annual haystack event on the Walthamstow Marshes! Join us for a day of hay harvest, learn about the basics of scything with workshops led by Master Scyther Ida Fabrizio, participate in competitions and field-talks and stay us for an evening session of Jam on the Butty.


The location this year will be different from previous Commnunity Haystacks. We will be much closer to Springfield Marina, using the picnic area on the canal for the talk and music session in the evening, which will be hosted by the very famous Village Butty.

10.30 – 1.00 pm
Book a space on eventbrite.

1.00 – 3.00 pm
Join a guided tour around the marshes with park ranger Eamonn Lawlor.

2.00 – 3.30 pm
Sharpen your blades for some urban mowing. Prizes from local food manufacturers.

4.00 – 5.00 pm
An informal talk to discuss land use, cultures of commoning and doing things for the “good of the village”.
Guests to be announced soon.

6.00 – 10.00 pm
Drinks, music and food.

All details and a map will be published soon.



Book your place for additional workshops with Ida Fabrizio, for beginners and refreshers, during the month of June. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get a lesson in a small group in one of London’s calmest outdoor spots!

Scything Workshop for Beginners
Date: Tuesday June 18th 2019
Time: 10:00 – 1:00 pm
WaterWorks Centre Nature Reserve & Middlesex Filter Beds
Lammas Road, London, E10 7QB

Get your ticket on eventbrite.

Refresher Scything Workshop

Date: Tuesday June 25th 2019
Time: 10:00 – 1:00 pm
WaterWorks Centre Nature Reserve & Middlesex Filter Beds
Lammas Road, London, E10 7QB

Get your ticket on eventbrite.


For information call 07941 696515
or e-mail

Facebook : @HaystacksE17
Instagram: @haystacksessions

Haystacks are a series of informal talks and annual Community Haystacks, set up by Kathrin Böhm/Myvillages.
Haystacks tell us something about agricultural land use, local traditions and collective efforts. The Haystacks series addresses rural practices and histories in Kathrin’s home town London and invites guests and specialists to talk about specific topics in relation to land, labour and usership.

Land Workers’ Alliance

Communal Lunch and Film Screening
Friday 26 April from 12-3pm
at Company Drinks, Barking Park, London IG11 8TA


Sara Barnes from The Landworkers’ Alliance will introduce their work during a communal lunch, and after the talk we’ll be watching the one hour documentary In Our Hands: Seeding Change, a documentary telling the stories behind the sweat and tears of the British farmers seizing the Brexit moment to outgrow the industrial food system.


“The Landworkers’ Alliance is a grassroots union of farmers, growers and land-based workers with a mission to improve the livelihoods of our members and create a better food system for everyone.

We work for a future where farmers are able to work with dignity and earn a decent living, and people can access healthy, affordable food from local producers.

We are a democratic member-led union, run by producers for producers. All our policies and representation comes from farmers, growers and land-based workers who have direct experiences of the issues we campaign on.

We are members of La Via Campesina, the global movement of small-scale producers and peasant farmers.”

Company Drinks is a Barking and Dagenham based community drinks enterprise, and a member of The Landworkers’Alliance. We organise regular Digesting Politics Lunches to talk food politics whilst sharing food.

Company Drinks Pavilion
Barking Park
London IG11 8TA

The pavilion is a 7min walk from Barking Station.


Sketching a Foodberg

Organised by Catherine Flood, curator of FOOD: Bigger than the Plate, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Kathrin Böhm, artist and co-founder of Company Drinks and the Centre for Plausible Economies.

Wednesday 03 April from 6.30 – 8pm
at 7a Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

This Haystack is more of a brainstorm and a drawing session, and the invitation is to start mapping the ‘hidden food economies’ we are involved in – beyond being simply consumers. The food system as we know it is often drawn as a bottleneck, in which a small number of corporations hold all the power in the supply chain. What would an image of the food system look like if it was to make visible all the economic practices that don’t feature in mainstream accounts of food and the economy (cooking dinner for your partner every night, freeganism, growing vegetables, community supported agriculture, breastfeeding, honesty cafes, protest camp kitchens, exchanging recipes, etc).


The inspiration for the ‘Foodberg’ is the ‘Economy as Iceberg’ image used by economic geographer Katherine Gibson and the Community Economy Research Network (CERN). The Iceberg shows the dominant and most visible economies on the top and below the waterline are the less visible and often disregarded parts of the economy which keep everything afloat. The image of the diverse economy, originally represented as an iceberg, has travelled far and wide helping communities and organisations to represent and transform economic relationships in a variety of settings, and to make a first step towards ‘taking back the economy‘.

The ‘Sketching a Foodberg’ get-together will be within this spirit of collectively articulating and reclaiming the economy. We start by identifying the kinds of practices that constitute hidden and less present food economies, and discuss what kind of image could represent them in a way that helps people to see the food system – and their role in it- differently. The image might be a ‘foodberg’ or something completely different.

A design based on the outcomes of the workshop will be displayed in the V&A exhibition ‘FOOD: Bigger than the Plate’ opening 18 May (scroll down for more information), but the desire is for it to be a useful tool that has a life beyond the exhibition.

Confirmed guests and contributions (in no particular order) include:

Kate Rich, Feral Trade
Organic Lea, Community Assisted Agriculture
Natascha Walter, Bread n Butter
Cam Jarvis, Company Drinks and When it Works
Jojo Tulloh, Author and Food Researcher
Ruby Tandoh, Food Writer
Claire Ratinon, Grower
Michael Smythe, Cultural Producer, Phytology
Lori de Mori, Towpath Café
Jaega Wise, Brewer, Wild Card Brewery
Güneş Güven, The People’s Kitchen
Shaun Tuck, Company Drinks
Alice Masson Taylor, Gardener, Company Drinks
Betty Vandy, Podcaster and Cook, Bettyliciouscooks
Ben Mackinnon, E5 Bakehouse
Fozia Ismail, Arawelo Eats
Deirdre Woods, Cook Citizen
The People’s Supermarket, Dagenham
Simon Fairly and Gill Baron, The Land Magazine
Jonathan Gordon-Fairlie, Stir to Action
Katherine Gibson, Community Economy Research Network

Please e-mail if you want to suggest others.

About the Exhibition:
Food: Bigger than the Plate (18 May – 20 October 2019)

Food is the most important material there is. It is one of the most powerful tools through which we shape the world we live in, from how we create society, culture and pleasure to how we determine our relationship with the natural world. Today desire is growing for a food future that is more sustainable, just and delicious than the one we are currently cultivating. In an era of major ecological challenges, fast-changing societies and technological re-invention, now is a crucial moment to ask not just what will we be eating tomorrow, but what kind of food future do we want? What could it look like? And taste like? This exhibition brings together a rich mix of creative approaches to investigating, rethinking and reassembling the ways in which we produce, distribute and consume food and the rich networks of relationships that involves (the food system). It is easy to feel that the future of food is out of our hands and will be decided for us by corporations and politicians. But we all have a stake in this story. The projects represented here demonstrate that food is rich ground for citizenship, subversion and celebration.

2019 Haystacks and a haystack


I’m currently planning a few Haystack talks for the first half of 2019, and names and details will be announced soon.

The 2019 Community Haystack wich involves actual scything and haystack making will again be on the Walthamstow Marshes in east London, together with Ida Fabrizio (master scyther and head of the London arm of the Scything Association). We’re currently looking at dates which need to fit with the conservation management plans of the land, and the most likely date is mid July.

My work with Myvillages, which contests urban cultural hegemony and addresses the rural as a space for and of cultural production, will be fairly present in London this year, including

- the launch of a new book called The Rural, published by Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press

- an exhibition of our work at Whitechapel Gallery from May until August

- and last but not least we have been involved as advisors on an international conference titled The Rural: Contemporary Art and Spaces of Connection, organised by the Whitechapel Gallery, taking place on the 21st and 22nd June this year.

Community Haystack 2018

Saturday 30th June, all day

The annual haystack event is back! Join us for the hay harvest on the Walthamstow Marshes, learn how to scythe and build a haystack, ramble the marshes, come along to a field-talk on ‘commoning’ or simply ‘bring your own picnic’and enjoy some outdoor music.



10.30am – 12.30pm
With local super scyther Ida Fabrizio. Refreshments and equipment are provided. £20 (concessions £10) per two hour session. To book a place e-mail

1am – 2.30pm
We are running a scything competition on the marshes – sharpen your blades and join us for some urban mowing.With prizes from local food manufacturers.

Join a guided tour around the marshes with park ranger Eamonn Lawlor. Meet at the entrance to the Lee Valley Ice Centre.

Sit down for an informal talk with invited guests to talk about Cultures of Commoning, Nature Deficit Disorder in the city and doing things for the “good of the village” with Ida Fabrizio (Castle Garden and SABI), Michael Smythe (Phytology and Urban Mind) and Kathrin Böhm (Myvillages and Company Drinks).

Come along to help us build a large community haystack on the marshes. Bring your own picnic and enjoy some life music from 5pm onwards.

For a few hours only this ground breaking clinic is setting up shop on the marshes. Get your ad-hoc prescription from our special nature Deficit Clinic team. No charges.

All day
A large area of the marshes wil l be dedicated to scything, and open to thosewho already know how to scythe.

The Community Haystack 2018 is again taking place on the Walthamstow Marshes. It is a 10 minute walk from Lee Valley Ice Centre and the event takes place at the northern edge of the lower marsh land. We are setting up camp slighly further up from our location in previous years. There will be signage in place.

Rail: the nearest train stations are Lea Bridge station (a five minute walk) and Clapton (a 15 minute walk). Both are on the main line out of Liverpool Street station.

Bus: numbers 48, 55, 56 stop on Lea Bridge Road. Buses stop at Lee Valley Ice Centre, follow the Lee Valley Walk to the event.
Car: chargeable and limited parking is available onsite at Lee Valley Ice Centre.

There is no provision of toilets or drinks and food on site. Please use Lee Valley Ice Centre orLee Valley Riding Centre as the nearest facilities.

The event will take place whatever the weather. Please follow the local weather forecast on the day and dress accordingly.

This event is organised by the Community Haystacks Group together with Lee Valley Regional Park’s Rangers.

For information call 07941 696515
or e-mail

Insta: haystacksessions

Haystacks are a series of informal talks and annual Community Haystacks,
set up by Kathrin Böhm / Myvillages.

Come to the 2017 Community Haystack

2017 Community Haystack Flyer_front

2017 Community Haystack Flyer_back

E-mail to book your place for the scything workshops and for more information.

The Agrarian Trust: Farms as Community Assets

Haystack Talk with Severine von Tscharner Fleming
Thursday 25 May 2017 at 7pm
7a Vyner Street, London E2


Severine van Tscharner Fleming is a farmer, activist, and organiser based
in the Champlain Valley of New York. She is founder and director of The Greenhorns, a US based grassroots cultural organization with the mission to promote, recruit and support a growing movement of young farmers and ranchers in America.

Severine is going to talk about her current work with the Agrarian Trust, a legal, cultural and economic experiment in land commoning. The trust has the mission to support land access for the next generation of farmers both in the US and elsewhere, and is grounded in the work and analysis of Vinoba Bhave, Slater King, Leo Tolstoy, E.F Schumacher and others. The Agrarian Trust has been a long-term institution-making project to co-conceptualize, fund, create and steward farms as community assets.

Severine will also share learnings from the recent OUR LAND 2 symposia in New Mexico, and we’ll have time to talk about land-gifts and land repair, un-monestaries, squatting, gentrification, financialization and much more.
And in case you have land to give away – click here DONATE FARMLAND.

Food and drinks as always.

Two Scything Training Sessions in May

Want to learn how to scythe?


Need some warming up sessions?
Join local scything instructor, Ida Fabrizio for two great sessions at
The WaterWorks Nature Reserve in east London this month.

Date: Tuesday, 16 May 2017
Time: 10:00 – 13:00

Date: Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Time: 10:00 – 13:00



Venue: WaterWorks Centre
Address: Lammas Road (off Lea Bridge Road) Leyton, London, E10 7QB
Price: £25, £15 concession

- Scythes and equipment are provided, but feel free to bring your own scythe
- The meeting point for this session is the WaterWorks Centre at 09:45
- Please wear suitable clothing and footwear for outdoors
- There are refreshments available at the Centre but please bring a bottle of water and a snack with you to keep you going

Getting here
By train: the nearest train station is Lea Bridge (6 minute walk) or Clapton Station (10 minute walk)
By bus: routes 48, 55, 56 stop along Lea Bridge Road
By tube: the nearest tube station is Walthamstow Central on the Victoria Line

Booking is required for this session, please email or
call 07941 696515 to book your place.

The annual Community Haystacks return to The Walthamstow Marshes for the
fifth time! The dates for 2017 are the  24th and 25th of June and we’ll been soon sending out the full programme and details.

Upcoming Haystacks

Upcoming Haystacks include


Haystack talk with Severine von Tscharner Fleming
Thursday 25 May 2017 at 7pm, location tbc

Severine von Tscharner Fleming is a farmer, activist, and organizer based in the Champlain Valley of New York.  She is founder and director of The Greenhorns, a grassroots cultural organization with the mission to promote, recruit and support a growing movement of young farmers and ranchers in America.


Community Haystack 2017
Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June 2017, Walthamstow Marshes, east London

The  two-day community hay harvest on the Walthamstow Marshes is entering its fifth year, again with scything workshops and public talk on the Saturday and haystack building, scything competition and a ‘bring your own picnic’ on Sunday afternoon.

Sat 24 June
10.30-12.30, 1.30-3.30pm & 4.00-6.00pm

Learn how to scythe with scything expert Clive Leeke.
Refreshments and equipment are provided. £18 (concessions £9) per two hour session.
To book a place e-mail

Sat 24 June, 12.30-2pm
Join us for an informal public talk with invited guests about the history of the land and cultures of commoning.

Sun 25 June, 1.30-3.00pm
Scything Competition

Sun 25 June, 12-4pm
Haystack and Picnic: come along to help us build a large community haystack on the marshes.

Sun 25 June, 1-3pm
Ranger Ramble: join a guided tour around the marshes with park ranger Eamonn Lawlor.

A large area of the marshes will be dedicated to scything, and open to those who already know how to scythe.


Community Haystacks 2017 Planning Meeting

Community Haystacks Meeting
Sunday 5th February 2017
2 – 3.30pm
Waterworks Centre


The date for the 2017 Community Haystack is set already and we’ll be back on the Walthamstow Marshes
on the 24th and 25th June 2017.

We are meeting on the 5th of February at the Waterworks Centre to have a chat about how to run the 2017 event.
What should be continued, what to change, what to extend? New ideas are always welcome.

This get-together is also the Community Haystacks AGM.
There will be coffee and cake!

Best wishes and hope to see you soon

Jojo, Joe, Kathrin and Louis
Community Haystacks Group



Waterworks Centre link
Lammas Road (off Lea Bridge Road)
London E10 7QB

Kathrin Böhm
07941 696515