Report by Sophie Phillips:
"On 24 October 2018 a small group gathered around the Feast Table for South Dartmoor Community Energy’s Pizza Feast for the Future at Ivybridge Methodist Church. One of the main strands of work for SDCE is delivering energy advice to householders, so the team was feeling a little frazzled by the busyness of the beginning of winter and the huge need for their service. For this reason we decided to keep it a small event, hoping to refresh and re-energise the people already working hard to imagine an alternative future where people do not live in fuel poverty.
And as we’re all supported by our families, we brought them along too! Along with a few extra husbands, partners and children (after all the children are the future!) to lighten the mood and increase the noise level. One of the benefits of having a small feast was that we all were able to sit around the Feast table if we wanted too – although that’s not what we did because we were all up and down chopping, rolling, spreading, cutting, sprinkling, wiping, sharing, chatting….
RedPod Food, a small local catering company made some fantastic vegan salads and the pizza dough. We were warned to “watch out for that one, he’s a bit lively” (the dough, not the caterer) and sure enough it did pop the lid off its tub more than once! Everyone brought along their favourite toppings and we all tied on our checked church café aprons and got stuck in. It was fun, and easy going, we all got messy hands, and one hero washed up all the dishes and plates for us all. At the very first feast back in June we used question cards to point people to deeper, future-looking conversations, and we could have used those here. Without them the chat was possibly a bit less meaningful, but was it still worthwhile? I think so.
If the point of the table is to record the conversations where we imagine an alternative future, we did that when we had a Board Meeting round it before the feast; we also held a Special General Meeting where we invited in more members and had to vote on a very important issue. And by the end of those two meetings, I think most people just wanted to switch off and enjoy a meal with friends. It’s hard working against the grain all the time, pushing boundaries and making change happen.
We’d definitely do a pizza feast again, and at a slightly less frazzling time of year would like to open the event wider and encourage people to talk more deeply – but this was right for us at this time. It’s been great being involved in the Imagining Alternatives project, it has made us think differently about why we think how we do, and how we can engage our wider community more. I would love to see the table used as a tool to raise awareness of the community energy revolution and how we are making changes on all different levels from grass roots to influencing policy. The table is a tangible record of all the feasts, and represents an army of passionate people working together to change the energy future for us all."