The Good For Nothing Nottingham email landed in my inbox and sat there languishing, untended and unopened for a week. When I opened it, I looked upwards, thankfully, and sighed with relief. Help was here.
It is a profound sense indeed when help is simply offered and a good, strong grip reaches out to assist with the mountain-scaling feat of trying to change the way we eat in this country from dysfunction and damage to something much, much better (and tastier)... I believe that our outer experiences are a meter of inner registers- of deservedness, self-belief, the sense of a service to life, of self-creation. So when Good For Nothing showed up, I knew that something was up... The social eating project is moving; wending its way past dropped teapots, burnt pans, never ending washing up and clashes, consternations and criticisms. And although there have been many times that I have thought I can't be arsed, that I want to wear my hair down and have painted nails, that I'm sick of chopping and that I need a steady job, the one thing I have never thought is 'I'm going to give up.' The heart-held ember of social eating has never been dampened and somewhere deep down at the bottom of the mega pan is a whole-being belief that this can help... That I can help... That we can help each other.
The Good For Nothing Nottingham hack was evidence to me that The Secret Kitchen and Family Cafe projects are 'the right thing to be doing and being' and that they are helping hands towards answering and manifesting that inner message I hold of deservedness and desire to do good.
The good smelling smells of the mega pan caught on a breeze of imagination and wonder and enticed the Good For Nothing Nottingham crew to set up '24 hours of turbo charged hacking, making and doing' where briefs are fulfilled and in our case, huge pans of vegetable stew are magicked up by those who claim they can't cook. Ahem...
It took a TEDx talk late in 2012 to make me focus down, message up and transmit what that inner belief was and it was the manifestational shove I needed to conjure up the Family Cafe project.
It took a GFN hack to look with clarity what was working and which bits were rainbow-unicorns otherwise known as good ideas but unworkable in reality with our current Family Cafe model. It took the GFN hack to show me there was a team of strangers out there who were ready to drag me out of the kitchen and remind me that although I don't follow recipes; that I taste and test and temperature-adjust as I go along and this might seem frustrating, bewildering or just plain annoying, that I do mean well and that some people get social eating and want to be part of that. The GFN hack revealed in its very existence that there are good ideas and there are good people that can make those ideas manifest. Very good, talented, hardworking, purdy damn awesome people.
Lots of testings and tastings as we attempted to plan the move from an idea to a wholesome movement and to get it up and out of its lowly birthplace in Sneinton. The teams produced an incredible series of outputs from social media: see if you can find the bit where I talk about 'resurrecting prehistorical creatures from fragments of DNA' or when I suggest that the thing that could most benefit Sneinton would be a meteor-strike (ooooonly joking!), a schedule and costings of deliverables for me next year, ideas about a toolkit, loads of technical stuff on social franchises, content about engaging volunteers, backstory copy (phew, I got off lightly there!) and ta-dah! a new logo, a new branding and a new name!
It was really humbling. It was a heart-exploding, super uplifting experience. I met some fab people there and I was gifted with loads of ideas, enthusiasm, energy and a kick in the big girls pants about keeping on keeping on. But most of all it gave me a renewed sense of urgency about what it is we are trying to bring about with a social eating movement. I'm crap at dotting and crossing things but I'm good with ideas and gobbing about them. I needed help and it came. I'm still reeling from it; up at night pondering, scribbling, jotting and plotting...
Lots of stuff to do and still the Family Cafe project to deliver but we are sort of on target and the recipe for an onwards mega pan march will come...
Since then I have decided to launch a new project post-April 2014 which is dedicated to the promotion, empowerment and general ka-bwatty-booming of social eating, it'll take all the f&*k up's and the fancy bits and use them to make a stock upon which a better, stronger, faster, harder platter will emerge. Stupidly excited about this, just wait until you see what it's called... Next year I'm going to hand over the Sneinton mega pan to be developed and delivered by some passionate people who want it to thrive, I've got a few peeps that want to test my social eating model and sign up to the pledge and I've shifted the idea of a flagship cafe to a flagship toolkit. It's a moveable feast...
It'll happen. I'm sure of it. It may seem like chaos in the kitchen but the dish is coming together. It'll taste good. But it needs a bit of braising, some basting and some bubbling.
The Good For Nothing Nottingham hack proved to me that social eating is a dish worth cooking up...
(subject of course, to a bit of a reverse-recipe engineering... )
p.s. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody that helped in all of the wonderful ways you helped... http://www.strikingly.com/gfnnottingham
It was evidence that when 'smart folk collaborate and experiment we can do stuff that matters'. Good For Something? Yes, indeedy...
I'm Vic, and I run the Secret Kitchen Cafe in Sneinton, Nottingham. This is where me or Marsha post our updates on events and other happenings.