I’ve been feeling restless once again. I find it hard to stay in one place, have difficulty staying in the moment and releasing my ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’. I feel an overwhelming sadness that cannot be cured by friends or the occasional glimpse of sunshine. I know what this feeling is because I’ve felt it many times before, always in London: it’s a sense of not belonging, of being constantly on the fringes of this society – I am the other. My heart yearns to tread the familiar streets of Portland, Canada begs to be explored a little more and the West Coast? She calls my name persistently and insistently, invading my dreams and promising me happiness. I can’t help but be drawn in and believe her – probably because I recognise the truth when I hear it.
One thing that struck me most strongly whilst I was living in and travelling around the West Coast was just how much better at looking after the earth my friends were. The emphasis was on living and consuming locally, supporting business in the area, reducing your carbon footprint, cycling and walking instead of driving, reusing, reducing and recycling. We are a people of waste and excess. With technology has come an increase in food production and survival – I joke with a good friend that without the wonders of modern medicine she wouldn’t even be here, her allergies and intolerance are so numerous; natural selection just doesn’t exist for 1st world countries. But what of those starving around the world? What of those starving in the UK alone? There is an estimated 400,000 tonnes of surplus food that is disposed of each year from supermarkets, shops, restaurants and many others in the food retail industry, food that could go to feed others, food that is perfectly good to be turned into a healthy and nutritious meal.
Living in excess is something I most certainly have been guilty of. It’s very easy to fall into bad habits when you grow up (for lack of a better word) spoilt, but it is equally easy to begin the process of unlearning these bad habits and start to do your part to help – it’s certainly something that I miss about the West Coast, the company of those who hold these values close to their heart. It’s understandable then that when I heard about The People’s Kitchen in Dalston I knew I had to go.