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A Decade of Shaping Food Culture in South Kilburn, London: a case study of the Granville Community Kitchen

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Version 2 2024-04-11, 15:05
Version 1 2024-04-11, 09:34
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posted on 2024-04-11, 15:05 authored by Lamis Jamil

Agroecology- encompassing science, political activism, and practice- promotes context-sensitive approaches to local food systems. Among its core principles is ""culture and food traditions,"" yet a systemic concern arises from a lack of cultural understanding within agroecology at the individual and community levels. “Community kitchens” emerge as a promising space to address this knowledge gap.


In post-Brexit, post-pandemic Britain recently affected by upheavals in the global food supply chains in Ukraine and Western Asia, so-called ""community kitchens"" are resurging in urban metropolises, marking a second comeback since the wartime British restaurants. This coincides with a historic time where its four nations are reconceptualising their relationships with food and mainstream industrial agriculture, revisiting legislation around the Right to Food and consulting on the National Food Strategy (England), Good Food Nation (Scotland), Wellbeing of Future Generation Act 2015 (Wales) and Food Vision 2030 (Northern Ireland). As agroecology garners recognition within these policies, there remains a lack of awareness around mechanisms that embrace the complex tapestry of cultures that define the Britain Isles.


By examining a deep case study of the Granville Community Kitchen (GCK) in London, in which I have been embedded for over two years, I hope to offer three contributions to agroecology: 1) a decolonial understanding of food culture by foregrounding people’s culinary memory and emotions 2) an inquiry into how this embodied knowledge transforms and is transformed by community kitchen encounters, and 3) a subsequent agroecological food culture toolkit to inform the UK’s food system and intangible cultural heritage.

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