Declaration for Soils

A couple of weeks ago we hosted an afternoon and evening of food and discussion at Kinning Park Complex to explore how we value soil and what opportunities there are for collective action to protect it as a resource. The event was part of Soil City, a project by Open Jar Collective to reimagine the city as if soil matters, and was presented in association with Glasgow Local Food Network and the CCA’s Intentions in Actions programme.

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We started with a Soil Soup workshop.  People brought a selection of ingredients, soil samples, stories and words.  We wrote histories and imagined narratives from the perspective of our soil samples, followed by a shared a meal.

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In the evening we were joined by journalist Karin Goodwin, to explore what a declaration, manifesto, or statement about soil might involve.  We asked the questions: What do we know about soil?  What are our hopes and visions?  What actions can we take?

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In the group of people assembled – including scientists, artists, local growers – we found a strong interest and desire to continue this conversation about creating a Declaration for Soils.  In the New Year we hope to develop these ideas further and invite more people to join this conversation and work towards collective actions to protect our soils, while looking ahead to the World Congress of Soil Science which will be held in Glasgow in 2022.

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What do we know?

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What are our hopes and dreams?

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What are our next steps?

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Notes from the frontline

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Open Jar Collective was commissioned by The NewBridge Project to take part in Hidden Civil War in October. Hidden Civil War was a month long programme of activity in Newcastle upon Tyne which invited activists and artists to contribute to a series of events that exposed, collated and presented evidence of a Hidden Civil War in Britain today.

Open Jar Collective artists Alex, Beth and Clem began with a period of field research, carrying out interviews with people in Newcastle and the North East of England who are connected to food and farming.  Through this research we began to build a picture of the people active in the food system, including local organic growers, food policy organisations, academics, community activists, and food banks. People we spoke to expressed a need to have more opportunities to share knowledge with others working within the food system.

In response to this expressed need, we organised an event at Summerhill Bowing Club to enable connections to be made between people who are on the ‘front line’ of making food in Newcastle more accessible and sustainable. Our aim was to stimulate conversation, provoke new ideas and build the potential for collaboration by inviting people to share a meal prepared using locally sourced sustainable produce.

We invited people to describe their hopes and concerns, we explored the strengths, obstacles, unknowns and possibilities of the food system.  We finished the day by devising a series of questions to instigate a wider conversation with the public.

The next day we took over a shop unit in Grainger Market, creating a space for conversation about food and building social connections in the face of austerity.  We invited people to respond to the questions and generate their own.  We gifted bundles of fresh herbs to the people who shared their thoughts with us.

We are in the process of collating all the material gathered which will be shared with the participants in the form of a series of postcards.

 

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Soil City Zine

We are really looking forward to launching our Soil City Zine next week at Not by the Book, 10 years of the Radical Independent Bookfair Project in the Intermedia Gallery in the CCA Glasgow.

The Soil City Lab will be popping up from 4 – 6pm with activities including soil printing and fermenting followed by the launch of the Soil City Zine 6 – 8pm, documenting our research and conversations so far. Thanks to all our contributors and Design by Zag for all the work that has gone into it.

Check out all the other fantastic events which are part of the programme.

 

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Notes from the Front Line

Open Jar Collective are taking part in the Hidden Civil War programme in Newcastle this October with a project called Notes from the Front Line.

Hidden Civil War is a month long programme of activity in Newcastle upon Tyne, commissioned by The NewBridge Project. Throughout October 2016 we are inviting activists and artists to contribute to a series of events that expose, collate and present evidence of a Hidden Civil War in Britain today.’

Open jar Collective have been gathering evidence and inviting people in the Newcastle and the surrounding areas to consider points of fragility in the food system.  We are hosting conversations and will create a space for dialogue that will help to build points of connection in the face of austerity.

We are posing the question – who’s on the front line in the challenge to feed Newcastle sustainably?  The front line of food production and distribution is all around us in our everyday lives  – from farms to food banks, supermarkets to corner shops, cafes to canteens.

We’ll be popping up in Grainger Market on Saturday 15th October, 11am-3pm, to share the stories we have gathered from the front line and to welcome your own ideas

Open Jar Collective: Notes from the front line

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Our Land Festival: Soil City Bike Tour

As part of Our Land Festival 2016, we invite you to join us for a free bike tour of the East End of Glasgow, where we’ll be asking the questions: Who owns the land? Who uses the land? Who benefits from the land? Explore the city’s industrial past, the connections between dereliction and people’s health, and the potential of plants to remediate contaminated soils. Join us for drawing, writing, visioning and conversation about the kind of Glasgow we’d like to see. Soil City is a long term project initiated by Open Jar Collective, to reimagine the city as if soil matters. For more info go to www.soilcity.org.uk

Meeting outside the People’s Palace at 11am, the tour will involve a gentle cycle on roads and riverside paths, with a number of stops along the way, covering a total distance of approximately 8 miles, returning to Glasgow Green by 3pm. All participants must be proficient at cycling, bring their own bike and helmet. Children 12 years and over who are confident cyclists are welcome to join too. You’ll also need to bring a packed lunch, suitable clothing and waterproofs. Hot refreshments provided. Further details of the cycle route coming soon.

Book your free place on eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/soil-city-bike-tour-tickets-26680002606

Soil City Field Notes

April was an intense, inspiring and rewarding month. The launch of Soil City was really successful and we couldn’t have anticipated how much people wanted to talk about soil.

We’ve documented the journey so far in the field notes section of the Soil City website. Please have a read of the wealth of activity, responses and reflection that came out of the Soil City programme during Glasgow International.

Thank you to all the people who contributed and made it possible.

We will we sending out an update soon about future plans for Soil City.

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