“Food is a powerful vehicle for storytelling. This is true both for individuals and at the collective level. Food is who we are, where we come from, how we live, what we believe, and who we will become.” (Williams, 2017, Telling Stories Through Food, URL: https://thinkingfood.org/food/telling-stories-through-food/ Accessed: 06/09/2021)
Food and storytelling have always been connected. On an individual and collective level, the food we grow and eat not only generates stories about its origin, but also creates a space for people to share their stories and to create a feeling of community. These stories we tell each other make a community. These are positive, uplifting stories which bring people together and galvanise action to overcome personal, community and global challenges.
This course is about empowering people to create their own radically hopeful, uplifting stories of community food growing during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. Our approach is ‘accessible tech’ i.e. the course revolves around using everyday tools (smartphones and open simple editing software).It's true that we do not need any technology to do this. But simple accessible technologies give us the means to go beyond face-to-face storytelling, to put our stories online and so to reach more people.
We can use smartphones to gather rich audiovisual information for our stories, to produce them at minimal cost, and to share them virally throughout our community and beyond. Using smartphones allows us to capture the story as it unfolds in real time, to enhance the story with additional information (drawings, maps, pictures, graphs), and to add diverse perspectives afterwards.
This course builds on the highly successful ‘hands-on’ and participatory approach developed by the Cobra Collective to empower communities through digital storytelling of positive local practices.
This course is part of the project “Digital storytelling about group food growing” run by the Open University and the Cobra Collective in collaboration with the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) and Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming.