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 Myvillages, 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 ‘hidden food economies’ – the many ways in which people are involved in exchanging food 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 reframed 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 to consider 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.

Invited contributors (in no particular order) include:

Kate Rich, Feral Trade
Ben Mackinnon, E5 Bakehouse
Fozia Ismail from Arawelo Eats
Organic Lea
Cooking Sections, artists
Laura Wilson, artist
Leila McAlistair, food trader and grocer
Land Workers Alliance
Deirdre Woods, cook citizen, community chef and activist
The People’s Supermarket, Dagenham
Helen Taylor from Stories and Supper
Gleaning Network UK
Sarah Williams from Sustain
Natascha Walter from Bread n Butter
Ida Fabrizio from Castle Garden
Simon Fairly and Gill Baron, The Land Magazine
Jonathan Gordon-Fairlie from Stir to Action
Cam Jarvis, Company Drinks and When it Works
Katherine Gibson, Community Economy Research Network
Jaega Wise, Wild Card Brewery
Carolyn Steel, architect and author
Jojo Tulloh, author and food researcher
Jack Monroe, food writer
Fallen Fruit, artists

Please e-mail if you want to suggests other.

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

A Haystack on Icebergs with Katherine Gibson

Meet for a coffee and cake afternoon with Katherine Gibson to talk about re-drawing the economy and representations of the economy as a public realm we are all part of.

Sunday 6 Nov from 4-6pm
7a Vyner Street
London E2 9DG

Katherine has recently set up a new research initiative Re-drawing the economy: creating place-based images that can travel. The research is closely linked to the work of The Community Economies Research Network (CERN), which is comprised of 130 scholars and activists working in communities all over the world to imagine and enact non-capitalist economies.


The economy represented as a Layer Cake with Icing, by the feminist economist Hazel Henderson, 1982


Over the last 20 years CERN members have used visualisations of a diverse economy to expand the scope for economic action and legitimate economic politics across a broad front. The image of the diverse economy, originally represented as an iceberg, has travelled far and wide helping people and organizations to represent and transform economic relationships in a variety of settings from the rust belt of Australia and the USA, to the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, to inner city London and Paris, to rural communities in the Philippines. Their ability to translate the ethical concerns of community economies into images that can travel and increase user experience is at the centre of this project.


Katherine Gibson is in London for a few days and we were going to meet to talk about the collaborative research on “Re-drawing the economy” which started in 2013 with a redesign of the “Economy as an Iceberg” by James Langdon for “Trade Show” at Eastside Projects (co-curated with Gavin Wade).


Haystacks are moments to make conversations public.
Coffee and cake afternoons are regularly held by the women in Kathrin’s home village Höfen as a good format to talk and catch up.


Please join us on for a
Haystack on Icebergs with
Coffee and Cake.

Sunday 6th November
from 4-6pm
7a Vyner Street
London E2 9DG

With coffee from Feral Trade (run by Kate Rich)
and  bring some cake to share if you want.



About Katherine Gibson
Katherine Gibson is internationally known for her research on rethinking economies as sites of ethical action. She trained as a human geographer with expertise in political economy and, with her collaborator for over 30 years, the late Professor Julie Graham, developed a distinctive approach to economic geography drawing on feminism, post-structuralism and action research. The diverse economies research program they initiated has become a vibrant sub-field of study within the social sciences. In the late 1990s the collective authorial voice of J.K. Gibson-Graham led the critique of capitalocentric thinking that was blocking the emergence of economic possibility. The end of capitalism (as we knew it): a feminist critique of political economy published in 1996, was republished in 2006.

A Haystack on Gleaning with Natalie Joelle

Join us for a talk and conversation with gleaning specialist and Gleanologics founder Natalie Joelle.

glean, ɡliːn/, verb
1. intr. To gather or pick up ears of corn which have
been left by the reapers.
2b. To strip (a field, vineyard, etc.) of the produce
left by the regular gatherers.
3a. transf. and fig. To gather or pick up in small quantities;
to scrape together. Now chiefly with immaterial object,
esp. to glean information, to glean experience, etc.

–Oxford English Dictionary

160901-gleaned_sticker copy

Wed 26th Oct 2016
7pm, 7a Vyner Street
London E2

Natalie Joelle is currently writing a transdisciplinary study of gleaning and it’s relationship to lean culture, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has published on Georges Seurat’s drawing ‘The Gleaner’ and The Book of Ruth; her work forthcoming includes considerations of gleaning and lean language in the writings of Peter Larkin (Punctum), Jim Crace’s novel Harvest (Bloomsbury), contemporary agrotechnology (Routledge) and managerial glossaries (Palgrave).

Natalie is going to present and discuss her research on contemporary conditions and practices of gleaning.

Members from the UK Gleaning Network will also talk briefly about their initiative and upcoming activities.

We’ll be serving Thinning Soda and Gleaned Cider, made with fruit gleaned in Kent and produced by Company Drinks.

7a Vyner Street
UK London E2 9DG
Nearest Underground: Bethnal Green

Kathrin Böhm
mobile: 0044 7941 696515

“Gleaned” label designed by An Endless Supply