Shifting the power

In Spring 2021, the directors of Custom Food Lab began the process of decentralising the structure of the organisation. This is a process that will take some time to embed, but it was clear that the top-down hierarchy that had been necessary for the Custom Folkestone restaurant set-up was not right for us any more. In fact, we feel like these hierarchies are not really serving anyone very well and that if we reflect on this quote from Buckminster Fuller (that was a great motivation when we first started back in 2018), it is incredibly important that we step out into a new reality as soon as we sense that the old one is becoming toxic.

You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

We realised that we had instinctively been working in quite a horizontal and fluid way for some time and that it was important to recognise this and name it. We’re exploring work by other artists and organisations around the idea of the commons, alternative structures of governance and anti-capitalist methodologies, whilst building on research that is already ongoing within Custom (particularly Madeleine Collie’s PhD research around new institutional forms). This is a massive work-in-progress and builds on huge amounts of generous knowledge sharing from (among others) Bek Conroy and the Marrickville School of Economics, the Hum, Speculative Landscapes, Dr Naomi Millner, the FAR Network, Philipp Grunewald (Permaculture CoLab), Landworkers Alliance, Helene Schulze (Seed Sovereignty UK/London Freedom Seed Bank).

Some resources we’ve been looking at: