Freedom Feed Em is an event in Wirksworth that’s all about the food and the people. Each month one of the group will volunteer to be that months’ cook, either as a team or individually – there’s always a few people happy to help out in the kitchen. Being cook isn’t compulsory, you can just turn up to eat a delicious 3 course meal! Everyone gets involved as little or as much as they like. If you don’t fancy cooking, there’s always some washing up to do! All the meals are pay-what-you-want and (after ingredients and venue hire are paid for) all the money goes to support good causes. The group does run on volunteers’ cooking, and when you cook you get to choose which good cause gets the money!
Its great because everyone can have a full meal out, and enjoy the company of whover in the loacl community has turned up, at a cost of their choosing.
I am a big believer that for our environment we all need to eat a lot less meat, and I am mostly vegetarian, however at freedom feed em, the food is vegan. This means anyone can come and enjoy it, if they have a particular religion, if they have a dietary requirements, or if they are vegetarian or vegan, they can still come & enjoy it. The fact that its vegan is incidental other than for these reasons. It is why i go to this even, though I suppose i wouldn’t be going to it if it served meat, because i wouldn’t eat it! But i’m not personally committed to veganism, however i do realise that virtually all creditable science is saying its far, far better for us and our bodies, and so much easier to eat ethically this way. Inclusivity, accessibility & good food is what Freedom Feed em is all about.
To give you an example of what you might find though, this Monday we had a really delicious Miso soup, followed by a Coconut Butternut Squash Curry with Jasmine rice, and then autumn stewed apples with custard. And when I cooked with my friend Jo, we made mexican bean wraps and a sumac and grapefruit salad to start.
This last time I met another friend Juliete there and we both took our daugters with us, they helped waitress and had a wonderful time helping out. The fact that anyone can go and afford to eat in our local memorial hall, with anyone and everyone else for me is the special bit. The sentiment of this, of being comfortable with people you have not yet met, and of eating with your community is really pleasurable and fantastic. Its also something i wanted to teach my daughter.
So where did this come from? From Wirksworth of course! Miles Halpin a Wirksworth resident and sculptor (generally all residents are also Artists) who works mainly in metal. He decided to set up Freedom Feed Em whilst helping out at a housing project in Leipzig in Germany. With a few others from the project he volunteered to cook a meal for 70 activists at a big anarchist squat who run regular community meals there (known as VoKu in Germany – short for ‘volks kuchen’: “peoples kitchen”). In the huge building, everything was run on a pay what you want basis; gigs, the bar, all the meals. People were simply trusted to contribute and that trust formed the foundation of a true community spirit. That spirit of trust and honesty inspired Miles to do something similar in Wirksworth. Using pay-what-you-want challenges how we think about money. Its’ very meaning; it makes us think more about the value of people in themselves. Miles says that ultimately, Freedom Feed Em is about LOVE! Everyone freely gives what they can. Where there is trust and respect and community there is love. The freedom feeds them… and that’s where the name came from.
If you want to know more about this event find the facebook page, and join in! *search “freedom feed em” – there’s two groups now, the original in Wirksworth and a newer one in Belper.