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

2016 Community Haystack

Come and scythe and celebrate the fourth annual Community Haystack in east London on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 July 2016

Community Haystacks is a celebration of an ancient piece of common land -Walthamstow Marshes in east London one of the last expanses of semi- natural marshland left in London. This community haymaking event brings together local residents, conservationists, historians, activists and artists who join together to recreate the pre-mechanical hay harvest and revive traditions of scything and commoning.

2016 Community Haystack flyer_Page_1

2016 Community Haystack flyer_Page_2

Towards a Museum of Contemporary Farming with Georgina Barney

Agricultural diorama, Science Museum, London, England, UKTowards a Museum of Contemporary Farming: A walk through and
discussion of agricultural dioramas in the Science Museum

Led by artist Georgina Barney with invited guests:
Guy Smith, Vice President of the National Farmers’ Union
Kate Genever, artist and farmer
Alice Carey, curator
Mary Cavanagh, Science Museum London

Wednesday 29th June 2016, 7:30-9pm
Agriculture Gallery
Science Museum
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2DD

Georgina Barney has been exploring the relationship between art and farming since her ‘GB Farming’ project in 2007, an eight month journey around fourteen farms across the UK. Celebrating the ten year anniversary of this project and closing her Kickstarter Campaign to publish ‘GB Farming’ as a book, she has invited speakers from contemporary art, the farming industry and the Science Museum to reflect upon how farming is collectively imagined  and how it is represented in art. Using the historic agricultural dioramas in the heart of London as a starting point, Barney invites proposals from the group on how to update the dioramas as an imaginary ‘Museum of Contemporary Farming’.
The event will take place during the ‘Science Museum Lates’ on Wednesday 29th June.  Please be aware that the building may be quite busy. We will start in the Agriculture Gallery at 7:30pm and be moving to a meeting room directly upstairs at 8pm.


Directions to the Agriculture Gallery: After entering the Museum from Exhibition Road walk through the Energy Hall directly ahead.  Take the stairs on your right. At the top of the stairs the Agriculture Gallery is on your right.

Alternatively, Kathrin Böhm will meet people at 7.15pm at the main entrance to the Science Museum on Exhibition Road.


About Georgina Barney

‘GB Farming’ was the first of a number of projects by Georgina Barney that explore the relationship between ‘Art’ and ‘Farming’.  In 2007, she lived and worked on a series of fourteen farms, bearing witness in her blog and artwork to a wide spectrum of agriculture, from crofting and family farming to industrially-scaled ‘agri-business’ in the UK.  In preparation for its ten-year anniversary and the publication of a new book of ‘GB Farming’, Barney is hosting a series of events. Barney has worked extensively with farmers, farming communities and agencies such as the National Farmers’ Union to explore questions about farming in practice-led research. What is farming and how do we imagine it? How is farming represented in traditions such as the pastoral and naive livestock portraiture? Who has authority or authenticity to speak of farming? How should farming be represented in contemporary art?

Barney studied at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford University (2003-2006).  Her MPhil research project ‘Curating the Farm’ was funded by the Arts And Humanities Council (2011).  She is based at PRIMARY, Nottingham.


Scything in east London with Ida Fabrizio in June 2016


Scything the Lea Valley

Join local scything instructor
Ida Fabrizio for two short scything sessions on
Wedneday 15th and
Tuesday 28th June
from 10am to 1pm.
The first session is for beginners who want an introduction into scything and learn about its benefits and how to use scything in an urban environment.
The second session offers a tutorial for improvers and those who want to practice their scything skills.
An introduction to peening and how to keep the blade sharp as well as health and safety will be part of both sessions.
Scythes and equipment are provided, but feel free to bring your own scythe.
Costs are £10/session.
Meeting point at 9.45 on both days is
WaterWorks Centre
Lammas Road (off Lea Bridge Road)
London E10 7QB
To book a place please
e-mail or call 07941 696515

A two-part Haystack event with Gaja Mežnarić Osole: Japanese Knotweed and Urban Foraging as Collective Performance

Spring has sprung and the Japanese knotweed season is upon us.
Please join us for the next Haystack in collaboration with Phytology and Company Drinks.

Urbana zetev-v zgodnjem oktobru smo pred staro Cukrarno nabirali japonski dresnik za pridelavo papirne kase_Foto_NatasaKosmerl

Friday 22nd April from 6.30pm at Phytology
Presentation and talk by designer Gaja Mežnarić Osole
about her work with the Ljubljana based Re-generacija collective and
their specific interest in Japanese knotweed.

Bethnal Green Nature Reserve
Middleton Street
London E2 9RR

Join us at the campfire, with food and drinks as always.
This event will take place whatever the weather.

Saturday 23rd April from 2.00 – 4.30 pm
Japanese Knotweed Foraging Walk and Syrup Making Workshop
at Eastbrookend Country Park in Dagenham.

Meet at Dagenham East Station (District Line) at 1.30 pm or at
2pm at the Millenium Centre in Eastbrookend Country Park,
Dageham Road, RM7 0SS.

About Japanese knotweed
Japanese knotweed is best know in this country as an invasive plant that needs to be controlled and it is obligatory to prevent the spread, see also

The plant is classified as non-native and due to the damage its strong and quickly growing root systems cause to the built environment – it’s considered a huge economical and ecological threat. Yet the plant is edible – tastes like rhubarb – and contains a high level of antioxidants, which make the plant valued also for it’s medicinal qualities.

Japanese knotweed is mainly introduced through construction works,
when ‘infected’ soil gets imported into new developments, slowly spreading it from place to place. That is why the plant usually grows on ecologically damaged land, neglected urban areas or down the streams and rivers – in areas where the land and its soil was not treated without the necessary care.

Japanese Knotweed is best to be foraged from the beginning of April until end of May – that’s the time when the plant is still young and juicy. The shoots are great to use as as a substitute for rhubarb or asparagus, in drinks, snacks, pies ect.
We are planning to use the crop from the foraging walk for a new Company Drinks soda made in collaboration with Square Root.

About Gaja Mežnarić Osole
Gaja  is a Ljubljana (Slovenia) based designer working within Re-generacija collective. Their work focuses on re-introducing urban foraging as a collective performance through spatial and social engagement. The exploration assembles a harvest gathered through picking up edible plants, walking, talking to people, interviewing and facilitating workshops, cherishing spontaneity and unexpected encounters.

Focusing on the accepted ways of confronting the problems of domination of invasive species the designers started looking for ways to present Japanese knotweed not as an economic and environmental threat, but as a new opportunity to learn from contemporary natures and initiate new synergistic partnerships. By introducing ways to use Japanese knotweed as a local source of cellulose, a tasty snack or a natural dye they started to encourage new community economies, field works and had a chance of working within a trans-disciplinary field of collaborators in a rather organic, ever-learning manner.

About Company Drinks
Company Drinks is a Barking and Dagenham based community drinks enterprise which links the history of east Londoners ‘going picking’ in Kent to the set up of a new kind of company. As part of our year-round public programme of activities we organize monthly foraging walks in local parks. The Japanese knowtweed walk on Saturday 23rd April is part of our seasonal picking tours and we hope to turn the crop into another delicious Company Drinks soda.

Company Drinks has been initiated by the artist group Myvillages, with support from Create and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

About Phytology and the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve
The Phytology medicinal garden was established at the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve in 2014. This urban physic garden provides free food and medicine for local and surrounding communities.
The garden has been sown with over thirty-two varieties of indigenous plants common to the streets of London and urban ecosystems across the country.
Generally regarded as ‘weeds’, each plant has been selected for its historic and on-going use in phytotherapy and traditional medicine.
The physic garden grows in pollution free soil to ensure our plants are safe and suitable for daily use. Visitors are invited to harvest from the medicinal garden with the support and guidance of the Phytology team. Phytology aims to challenge ideas of use, value, resilience and the function of wildness within our urban ecosystem.

For more information about the events and to get in contact please e-mail
Kathrin Böhm

Michael Smythe

or call 07941 696515