Granville Community Kitchen(GCK) is an ethical, sustainable, culturally diverse community food hub, offering food centred activities, services, education and training that is accessible, family friendly and open to all. We place the most disaffected at the centre, co-creating a local response to social issues whilst building capacity and lifting voices to advocate for structural change at local, national and international level.
Founded in 2014 as a community response to the entrenched deprivation, disenfranchisement and ongoing fragmentation of the local community, GCK is a community-centred and rooted organisation. GCK is located in The Granville, a heritage building of local architectural, historic significance and treasured by the South Kilburn community as a home away from home. We became a Society for the Benefit of the Community in 2016. Our board of directors is primarily made up of South Kilburn residents and our co founders Leslie Barson and Dee Woods who have worked in The Granville for almost 30 years.
Our areas of work
Our work covers 6 areas:
In South Kilburn we see the community-disintegrating effects of regeneration, uncertainty and marginalisation. At GCK we want to provide a counter balance to this.
We work towards a world in which people in South Kilburn have supportive, diverse and sturdy social, emotional and practical networks within the local area. Where people know, trust and spend time with their neighbours and there is a rich sense of place and belonging, which is available to all.
At GCK we work towards this world by working to bring the community together, creating opportunities for people to build social connections and practical solidarity, including through friendship and collaboration. We work to share and build community wisdom, grow and protect knowledge and skills and celebrate our diversity. We work to create and protect physical community spaces where people can come together to do all of this.
In one of the richest countries in the world we still see a significant proportion of society unable to access Good Food. Here in South Kilburn we see people skipping meals to pay electricity bills, and increasing numbers of people accessing food aid such as food banks.
We work towards a world in which we have reimagined our localised food system, co-creating a community of abundance, healing and resilience. In this world good food is accessible to all, not just those who can afford it, and people interact with food in a dignified manner, with food a human right.
At GCK we work towards this world by creating and modelling a localised, accessible and justice based food system where local people of all incomes and backgrounds have access to nutritious, culturally appropriate and ethically and ecologically produced food. We are working towards this by creating radical models of food production and distribution, whilst also working on the issues outside of the food system that affect people’s ability to access food, issues addressed in other parts of this strategy such as employment, power and influence, and community resilience.
When many of the day to day decisions that affect our lives are made behind closed doors and we live in a vastly unequal society, it’s easy for us to view the world as those who have power (political, economic, physical) and the rest of us, who don’t. These perceptions of powerlessness can lead to feelings of hopelessness in communities and a culture of forgetting and leaving behind by those outside. But there are other ways that we can conceive of power.
We work towards a world in which all communities (including the South Kilburn community) have the power to shape and make the decisions that affect their lives. A world in which those most affected by an issue have the most say in it and in which power is something which we collectively build within our communities through cooperation.
At GCK we work towards this world by building power and influence within our local South Kilburn community. We do this by connecting community members and taking their concerns to political decision making centres, building and strengthening community, training people to advocate for change, influencing policy making, and by connecting to and shaping the movements we are a part of.
We cannot address food insecurity without addressing employment and workers rights. In South Kilburn there is a tendency for local employment to be bad for the planet, to have poor worker rights (including low pay and a lack of security) and to support the capitalist economy which tends to drive huge wealth disparity and contribute to the social ills related to that. We know that work and jobs can be very different, they can connect us to our community, give us meaning, make us proud and be good for our community and the planet, alongside paying us fairly and giving us security.
We move towards a world in which everyone has an opportunity for sustainable meaningful secure livelihoods. Where people’s work holds a social or environmental good, and gives them connection to, and makes meaning from, the world around them.
At GCK we travel towards this world by creating opportunities for good work and enterprise, starting at GCK and moving outwards, providing livelihood and enterprise opportunities that work for society, the environment and the individuals.
We live in a world in which education is largely deemed to be something which happens in schools and universities, early in life, with achievements represented through certificates, and the learning of facts and set ways of thinking dominating. The current education system falls short in preparing people for collaboration and co-creation and more generally for the types of complex thinking and doing that will enable us to solve or adapt to the complex problems we face societally and environmentally.
We work towards a world in which education is embedded all around us. A world in which we learn through working, playing and being together. Through this education and learning we move towards a more socially and environmentally just world.
At GCK we work towards this world by valuing education and learning in our community and organisation. We are working to develop our educational programming in relation to localised food systems, offering courses to develop skills across all aspects of food systems, including practical skills, enterprise skills and political and advocacy training.
The stories we tell shape the world around us, they keep history and its lessons alive, and they allow us to dream a better future into existence. If we can lift up the stories of those not normally given space, and we can challenge people to think through a different lens we can change the boundaries of what’s possible.
We work towards a world in which we are rooted in our history and heritage, celebrating and remembering it and thereby keeping it alive. A world in which we build relationships through sharing and learning about each other’s stories, and our struggles, hopes and dreams. A world in which we dream radical visions for the future and challenge the dominant narratives of how things have been, how things are and how things will be.
At GCK we work towards this world by telling stories and changing narratives, by uplifting the voices of the most marginalised, and rewriting narratives about the food system. We do this by holding and sharing the histories of South Kilburn people and communities, by sharing our models of just food system transition, by keeping our work rooted in a systemic analysis, by modelling and sharing alternatives to mainstream education, and by making space to dream about the future.
Most of our programs intersect multiple of these areas. For us this brings a vital richness and depth to our work.