As we come towards the close of 2022, we thought we’d take a look back at the year. One that saw two of us relocate from Thurrock down to Keynsham which sits between the cities of Bath and Bristol. A year that has seen us have to start from scratch in a new location. A process which is slowly starting to gain traction.

Rather than go on for paragraph after paragraph, we thought it would be best to let our posts do the talking about what we’ve been doing and thinking about during the course of 2022. Below are links to a selection of what we think are our key posts. Ones which hopefully explain how we see things and what we want to achieve with this project. The posts are in reverse chronological order.

Food deserts, food supply and taking back control 1.2.22

The answer to food deserts would be taking over control of the planning process from the grassroots upwards so our neighbourhoods grow and develop for the benefit of all residents. That would mean a better distribution of food supply outlets. Well, we can all dream can’t we?! It’s something that has to and will happen after we take power back down to the grassroots. In the meantime, there’s still plenty that can be done to start taking more control of our food supply.

Rebuilding solidarity at the grassroots… 7.2.22

In order to get people to know each other a bit better, canvass opinion and organise a practical activity such as a community clean up. Not only will you see a physical difference after a few hours graft, for a lot of people, doing something collectively with their neighbours will be an empowering experience. Even if it’s just a close or a small street, it’s a start and if people on other parts of the estate see what’s been achieved, hopefully they’ll be inspired to do the same.

Breaking free… 5.4.22

We’ve seen more than enough anecdotal evidence to suggest a growing number of people realise that being stuck on this atomising, dehumanising treadmill is not the way to live and that they want a more spiritually fulfilling life built round a solid connection with nature. The hard part is pulling away from the dystopia we’re in and starting to build the new world we want on our terms.

Working out an escape plan 23.4.22

It would be arrogant beyond belief to have a plan already laid out for how we can unplug from the matrix and go our own way towards a more humane, more in tune with nature future. It’s going to be a case of experimentation and learning as we go along. That means learning from the mistakes that will inevitably be made as well as the successes. It means accepting that this will not be an easy journey and at times, it will be tough. When we start to get closer to a humane, connected future that’s at one with nature, it will have been worth the struggle…

A fluffy project? Nope, not us… 23.6.22

When you start talking about bringing power back down to the level of the neighbourhood where we can all be accountable to each other and take it away from the elites, you’re making a fundamental challenge to the status quo. Challenging the status quo is a serious business. That is why Grassroots Alternatives is NOT a fluffy project in any way, shape or form!

Don’t let them divide us 12.9.22

From our experience of working on grassroots community projects, they generally attract a fairly wide range of people. What unites them all is the desire to work together on something that will deliver tangible results and make their neighbourhood a better place to live. Additional side benefits are meeting new people, making new friends, sharing skills and learning new ones.

Starting local and then working outwards from there 1.10.22

Over the years we’ve come to the conclusion that if radical change is going to happen, we have to start at the local level in our neighbourhoods and then build outwards from there. That means working on the kind of projects that bring a little power and control back down to the grassroots. These projects can encompass anything from community kitchens and food banks, through community food growing and onto repair cafes and skill shares.

Set up to fail 24.10.22

Regardless of where you may be on the issue of CO2 emissions and climate change, this piece will hopefully prompt you into considering how we have a planning system that fails to be future proofed and is incapable of anything remotely resembling joined up thinking. This is because too many planning decisions assume near universal car ownership continuing into the future and do not allow for the developments of any meaningful and fair for all alternatives to a vehicle based society and economy.

Attachment and connection 20.11.22

It’s about working towards how we should be living. That’s living in a community where people have an attachment and connection to the town they live in and the people they live alongside. It’s about looking out for each other, building the bonds of solidarity and caring about the locality you live in. It’s about real connections in real life, not fake ones online.

If it wasn’t for volunteers… 26.11.22

All of this shows that there’s a basic human desire to help each other out and offer solidarity when times are tough. What it also shows is that the seeds of a society based on mutual aid and co-operation are already planted. It’s showing that there are many ways of meeting our needs outside of the market economy we’re constantly being told there’s no alternative to.