Freedom FEASTival Artist in Residence – Jerome Whittingham

Freedom FEASTival with Jerome Whittingham

Take a simple seed potato, pop it in the ground in early spring, and by mid summer ‘furkle’ in the soil for your return on investment. It’s that simple. An act of food sustainability. An act of revolution even.

This summer I’m spending time with people who see food differently from people like me. These people have freed themselves from the ‘added value’, ‘pre-washed’, ’plastic-wrapped’, ‘pingable in 5 minutes’ meals that are marketed to the sophisticated consumer. These people are finding neighbours, making friends, building communities – by sharing something deliciously simple, home-grown food. At Freedom Festival 2018 and FEASTival, we can sink our teeth into this movement too, perhaps even getting the pips stuck in our metaphorical teeth.

I attended an event recently where I was informed that some fish, netted in northern waters and landed in local docks, is shipped off to China for processing – with some of that catch returning to the Humber region as fish fingers. Me and my kids love fish fingers. But what?! Blimey! It’s time to consider what we put on our plates with our brains, not just our taste-buds, and bellies, and the cash in our pockets.

City-wide food sustainability isn’t a distant dream. The people I’m meeting keep telling me that. The people I’m meeting have a inoculable enthusiasm, not just for locally-grown food, but for food as a currency for change. I freely buy into that.

That bag of a dozen spuds I was given by Rob when I visited his allotment, that’s both an act of loving-kindness and an act of economic revolution and freedom. I’ll enjoy them with my steak and oven-roasted veg.

Locally produced food, grown with its feet in local soil, shared, that’s freedom. I’m seeing it.

Jerome Whittingham