REVIEW: Festival of Interdependence

Festival of Interdependence (c) New Economics FoundationA review originally written for the Londonist.

Organised by the self styled ‘think and do tank’, the New Economics Foundation, the Festival of Interdependence was a popular choice for a free day out this weekend.  By midday, a long queue to get into the Bargehouse was developing and organisers were forced to start operating a ‘one in, one out’ policy of no return.  The crowds and not being able to leave and come back were our only complaints about this event.

We got there early to sign up for a bread making class and to take part in an urban agriculture workshop, which was fascinating when the architects leading the discussion could make themselves heard over the loud background noise.  This green fingered Londonista especially enjoyed the section when we broke out into small groups to discuss the value of the urban growing spaces we knew.

Wandering around the Bargehouse before the bread making began, there was much to see and do.  The festival spread out over several floors and Festival of Interdependence 1 (c) New Economics Foundationeach room had its own character.  In one room we stumbled upon a climate change poet and indulged in free coffee, in another we witnessed mad looking gadgets from the ‘Human Powered Home’ and on the top floor we walked into an indoor recreation of the Climate Camp.

The bread making workshop was great.  Run by Paul Barker from the Cinnamon Square Bakery in Hertfordshire, and organised by the Real Bread Campaign, it was a flour fuelled hour of fun.  We learned an awful lot about the humble loaf as well as getting to make one of our own.  Ingredients and kneading techniques were covered, and Paul revealed that baking bread is an obsession and an art.  The Londonist’s energetic hand work saw our dough fly through the air and onto the floor, but happily at a moment when our teacher’s back was turned and he never knew.

By the time the bread making was done, the Bargehouse was feeling really busy and we decided to go off in search of a quiet, late lunch.  As we left a speaker was just getting started outside, taking advantage of the queue / captive audience.  It looked like the Festival of Interdependence was going to buzz for the rest of the afternoon.


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