I would like to say a huge thank you once again to my Main Advisor Jennifer English, for her thorough, consistent and inspiring support.
Also to my Mum & Ian and the land at Brook End for keeping me nourished and being so patient with my sometimes relentless lifestyle. Also to my friends Carly and Kepa, who will never know what their love and support has meant to me, and how much I have learnt about self care from them.
Big thank you to Liora Adler from Gaia University whose wisdom I can only admire from afar, I am learning a lot from you!
Gaia U Participation
Mahara, GEL site, Gimp, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Word, Text Edit, Mail, iCal, iPhoto, iTunes, Digital camera, Firefox, Wordpress, CiviCRM, Scrivener, Adobe, Calibre, XMind, iReminisce, Stickies, Fontbook, Google drive, Excel, Filemaker pro, Safari, Crabgrass, Open Office, Skype, Doodle, Spotify, GPG, Photobooth, Backblaze
My notebook & post it notes (invaluable).
Project & Peer
- I completed an Access to Land Handbook and Directory, with advice for landowners and landseekers and anyone organising for a socially just and ecologically sustainable food system.
- I finished a four year access to land project!
- I accessed funding to design and run the Growing Resilience Project, which involved designing an accredited course in Community Horticulture, with 14 fabulous participants that are all organisers in their community, stacked with six grassroots workshops designed around the food sovereignty principles. The whole course is an experiment in popular education & is yielding empowering results.
- I led a talk/workshop on vegan permaculture for a local vegan group.
- I attended the Food Sovereignty Colloquium, that took place in the Hague, with more than 200 people.
- I facilitated a workshop about Reclaim the Fields at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in January.
- I organised a Seed Swap in Glastonbury & designed and facilitated a workshop on ‘Seed Sovereignty’ with more than 15 home growers new to political organising.
- I wrote articles for Growing Green International about permaculture and Brook End.
- I organised a Reclaim the Fields Gather-in and helped initiate a proposal to host a european gathering in the UK in 2015 and a new ‘Of this Land’ Zine about land struggle in the UK.
- I helped organise the first People’s Kitchen, a large community meal with over 30 people, in Glastonbury.
- I have designed and marketed, in collaboration with Graham Burnett, a Vegan Permaculture Design Course, that is now nearly full, taking place in the summer 2014.
- I helped coordinate Frack Free February, a month of action in Somerset where over 31 events took place in 28 days. My roles included email admin, website updating, venue booking, grant applications and budgeting and actually attending a number of events including film showings and workshops on Community Action.
- We organised a public meeting ‘How could fracking affect farming?’ and brought together over 50 food producers locally.
- I was part of organising the second South West Extreme Energy Gathering, supporting anti-fracking, open cast coal, nuclear and big biomass campaigns in the South West.
- I helped support the Avon Coalition Against Big Biofuels get started, including website design and support, meeting facilitation, grant applications and event advertising for the first two public meetings. I have now re-negotiated and communicated to the group I am unable to commit to further input.
- I explored my own political understandings of energy, through reading Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution and Fracking Capitalism (see political section).
- Formed the Empty Cages Collective in November 2013 with a close friend & comrade
- Together we accessed funding from the Anarchist Federation and Edge Fund
- We built the website www.prisonabolition.org
- We undertook a 6 day tour around the UK. The Tear Down the Walls Tour involved a participatory workshop (see the design here) about the prison industrial complex in the UK & ideas of prison abolition. We visited Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Liverpool, speaking to over 200 people.
- We organised an ‘Organising for Abolition’ skill share weekend, to take place in May.
- We put the call out for a new publication about supporting someone in prison.
- We’ve continued to network with people around the UK to build a movement and work towards our National Conference on Prison Abolition in November 2014.
- On a personal level I also continued to self-education about the prison system, did extensive research on prison privatisation in the UK and read a number of texts integrating a queer analysis including Captive Genders, Lockdown and why prison abolition is a queer issue.
- I’m participating in a radical accountability process, which involves supporting a support group and self education about available tools and processes.
- Supported a close friend through an 8 week trial, helping to organise court support & fundraising, as well the support campaign blackmail3.org.
- Initiated a working group to organise a solidarity campaign with 7 defendants on trial in September 2014, the ‘SOCPA7’.
- Helped organise & give a talk at a Resilience to Repression info night in Bristol about the lessons of the animal liberation movement
- Supported a solidarity event for NO TAV prisoners in Italy
- Wrote the article ‘Resilience to Repression’ in the Animal Liberation Front Supporters Group newsletter
- Facilitated a workshop on ‘knowing your rights & understanding the arrest process’ at the Community Action Training workshop with Frack Free Somerset. See a news article about the training here.
- Participated in two-day gathering planning meeting for the Radical Herbalism Gathering 2014.
- Helped organise site logistics & booking.
- Set up a variety of IT infrastructure to support with the gathering
- Completed the first module of my earth based herbal medicine apprenticeship.
- Continued to make medicine at home & self-educate about the role of healing herbs.
Gains in Managing my Time & Promises
It is clear that:
- I am very skilled in managing complex amounts of information and getting things done effectively.
- However my ability to manage my time in relation to my self care is very poor. I regularly poorly design my life to not include periods of rest and recuperation, and my boundaries in sustaining personal commitments, such as my herbalism apprenticeship always ‘slide’.
- I have a huge ability to focus and complete tasks, however I would like to improve my systems for managing my next actions so I am not as distracted.
- In tracking how many hours I spend on my emails I learnt that it averages 1.43 hours per day. I am now trying to design this into my life. I have changed my attitude to emails as “Spending time communicating and collaborating with a global network of passionate allies”. I am trying to allocate 1.5 hours per day to managing all of my email accounts for various projects and commit to a zero inbox system.
Learning Journal Extracts
The majority of my learning journal entries have been captured using my Output 3 Tracker Form, as seen at the beginning of this output.
Below are a few journal entries or 'snippets' from this process.
24th January 2014
See computer. I am an organiser!!! Have so much to offer that has come through action learning.
How to support others/non academics to reflect on their learning so we are not dependent on 'professiona'\ thinkers to do it?
All events to have collective knowledge of the room/participation - not a critical dialogue.
People need to understand the state.
Academics don't give me a voice, I have to claim it myself.
Format enabled those with only confidence/privilege to join in the discussion.
Observing experts/felt passive.
21st January 2014
Am I addicted to organising? Or do I think that I 'should' rest more/do less? but actually I love what I do and feel a huge sense of purpose. I feel alive, my heart beats right. I gain energy constantly through being in my own power & connecting with the land.
12th January 2014
Don't feel part of the academic world at all. It feels very disempowering. Statement from woman from via campesina "without formal education we can still organise and build a movement"
- change my website to liberation agroecology? feels like wildheartperm doesn't represent me.. grown more from permaculture now & has lots of connotations, not fully representative of who I am.. agroecology more known/respected?
want to grow!!!!
don't want a conceptual/intellectual relationship with the food system
need to write this anarchist agroecology book badly!
Friday 27th December 2013
This morning I had to get up at crack of dawn to get the train to come & see Sam. Over breakfast I was reading the political prisoners calendar.
It generated in me a bit of a feeling of overwhelm.. can I really do this? Can I dedicate my life to organising for prison abolition? Can I stay in it for the long haul?
And then when I was driving I saw a fox :) I took a deep breath and knew that I can. Once more, I know that everything is connected. I don't need to compartmentalise my life again. Fit into one AR box. Any being caged anywhere is the reason my heart beats.
26th December 2013
Capital reduces, compounds & curtails our ability to do meaningful work. As we are subjected to the 'market', taking jobs to survive, we loose our most valuable, finite resources a humans - time. 'Time is money' therefore reclaiming our time from capitalism is defiance and redesigning ourselves to optimise our time for necessary resistance and life giving work is therefore a huge priority. Time is our captor and our liberator.
20th December 2013
Ceremonies as decolonisation- maybe its my attitude that needs to change. my spiritual/land based practices are my rejection of oppressive culture. 'knowing the land is resistance'. so its a mental shift which can open my heart to more self care and what glasto has to offer e.g. ceremonies.
4th December 2013
Its weird on saturday day I couldn't help notice the abundance of hawthorn berries, and when I was harvesting them I couldn't help but think I hope I don't know someone who is going to have a heart attack or something this year because I always seem attracted to plants that then are needed for someone.
I realised tonight hawthorn is for the heart. Its for loss. Its for grief. Its for loosing Jo.
27th November 2013
I am used to interacting with a system not based on monetised relationships - hardcore scene, anarchist movement, animal liberation movement
I am RICH beyond my wildest dreams in social capital. I live with a sense of purpose that generates more vitality inside of me than many would long for their whole lives. I have access to land and have a rich spiritual relationship with the beings where I live. I live in a house with a family who support, nourish & care for me, with a shared sense of purpose. I have friendships as deep as Sam & I that run thicker than blood, that have taken me to the depths of human experience.
Some rich upper class banker can mourn his loneliness. Keep trying to fill his empty life with materialism. While the rest of us reclaim our riches, share experiences, resist and create.
Thursday 24th October 2014
How is my organising meeting personal needs? Why so many projects?!
Frack Free Somerset > need for radical work with non-radicals, experimentations in community organising, local issue, linked to passion - land base, also global struggle, feel like building something
AAN - need to connect with other animal liberation organisers, desire to process repression, re-build movement, connected to base of who I am/identity, huge history in movement. Desire that no other faces bad experiences of repression
RTF - need for other radical allies, need wider networking outside sometimes frustrating local organising, like the radical/anarchist perspective in often lobbying orientated food sov/community food movements
Feed Avalon - employment needs, need for something super local, actual see change on land base level, also experimentations in community organising
Vegan Organic network - growing & animal lib allies!
Bristol ABC - desire to work with small group with totally solid politics/dedicated to struggle. linked to my own history & healing.
Output Process Reflection - Long
What has been going well?
- The form I created as worked REALLY WELL. In fact when I stopped tracking I couldn’t wait to design my next form. It overcomes that ‘blank page’ feeling of a diary, draws attention to areas you want to focus on, and gives you the freedom to track what you need. I created mine using InDesign. It also helped me process my day, slow down & prepare for the next day. It was very therapeutic and enjoyable. The data from my form had a very strong impact (e.g. Actually how much of my life I experience stress), which I feel will be a powerful way of changing my behaviour.
- I learnt a number of methods of making my learning faster and more simple. One was the decision to just make mindmaps from books I’ve read rather than typing booknotes (I only type key quotes).
- In fact, I used mindmaps for nearly all the elements of this work.
- Redesigning my OP plan worked really well in terms of having a more narrow focus helped with overwhelm and overwork. I still ended up self foraging extensively however having these ‘baseline themes’ decided at the beginning really helped.
- I treated myself with more kindness during this OP process. I deferred my submission date, I used the ‘get it done then get it good’ attitude with nearly all of the elements and I just generally tried to enjoy myself more than having fear of ‘not enough’ which I place on my own shoulders.
What was challenging?
- Typing up all the forms towards the end of the OP period was time consuming and boring. Doing it more regularly would improve this e.g. Weekly and would allow faster feedback of ideas and feelings.
- Limiting myself - I wanted to submit this output in March and it is being submitted in May, once again later than planned because the material grew and grew that I needed to process.
- Making the decision to drop the horticultural aspects felt frustrating. I struggle with placing areas of interest that are less urgent in my life higher up my priority list and so they are continuously renegotiated.
- My Guild Buddy & I have definitely let our relationship ‘fall by the wayside’ and do not communicate regularly, which I aim to change.
- I wanted to focus more on Feed Avalon, however several personal issues of my co-worker meant that the collaborative processes were reduced and therefore it has also been ‘on the back burner’ longer than expected.
- I am still not disseminating material as widely that I could be, or using my website to its full potential, which again frustrates me.
- I still didn’t write up workshop designs soon after they happened or be vigilant with updating my own website after events.
- I have still not tested my learning edges in terms of IT e.g. Film or more artistic work.