Greetings to you, my name is Cai. A Bristolian born and bred, living my youth both in the city and in Weston-super-Mare. Now, I have found myself living in Easton, looking at our city through the lens of a young man critical of his surroundings and society around him, searching for answers.
I like extreme sports, camping and natural swimming - also I enjoy foraging, primitive skills, exploring and climbing trees. My health and my community is what I care for most.
I have found myself involved in issues relating to autonomy and freedom from my school days to the present, in and around Bristol. This could look like boycott campaigns, local gift economy, food growing or squatted social centres. I have lived in large community housing, ran informative evenings and helped at fundraisers for a wide range of self-organised groups.
What does it mean to go local and go green? I have been living with this question in various guises for the last twenty years. My imagination for, and sense of, what it ‘can’ mean to live local and green were ignited by experiences in South East Asia, particularly in Cambodia. This occurred when living and working both amongst the lowland Khmer people with their paddy rice based culture, and amongst the Hill Tribes with their forest based cultures.
In the last six-seven years, I have been exploring what it means to go local and go green primarily in the form of learning how to grow fruit and vegetables for a living and setting up and running community growing projects. More recently, I have begun to explore a more feral kind of learning and approach to life.
My fledging career as a grower was cut short last year through injury, and since then I have been struggling with chronic pain in my right hip-sacro iliac.... so it is time to think and imagine again:
How to make a livelihood, a life, in closer relationship to the land and all it’s inhabitants?
Born in the midlands and bred in the West Country, I grew up just outside of Bristol in a small town. Living down the road from my milk man, with dairy cows and rapeseed growing in the field behind my house and a chef as a brother, meant I was never far away from food - even though a Macdonalds or Chinese Take Away was the ultimate of food-based treats when I was growing up.
For Going Local Going Green I'll be looking at our connection with food - if we really have one. I'll be eating locally: undertaking the 100-mile locavore diet, investigating our relationship with food and farming in terms of both growing, agriculture and our relationship with animals in the city; food waste, resilience, land use and accessibility to land and re-use (amongst lots of other things).
In academic terms I have a in a Diploma in Art and Design, BA in Cultural and Historical Studies and a Masters in Human Rights Practice, which means I'm pretty good at drawing things, being critical and recognising injustice when I see it.
I misspent my youth on a council estate within a once beautiful town called Bletchley. Famous for the Enigma code breakers at Bletchley Park it also had a pretty sweet market high street. The development of nearby Milton Keynes Shopping Center subsequently transformed the high street into a sad, desolate wander through pound shops and bookys. This what I came to know as local shopping.
I moved to Bristol 10 years ago, to a very different city which has inspired and nurtured my love of nature and fostered an alternative way of thinking that has taken my interests into herbalism, permaculture and grass roots projects. These interests recently sallied me over to Mexico where I was excited to experience the same enthusiasm there for a change from the ground up, whilst also the realisation of a need to explore further the connections within my own community.
I’m embarking on our Going Local Going Green project due to a need to be more autonomous, consume and waste less, whilst also uncovering a growing movement of people in Bristol doing the same. This all starts with the 100 mile diet which I’m reckoning will be tough and slightly irritating but hopefully... bloody fun!