Report from our national gathering

On Sunday 11th November 2018 we held our national gathering at Friends of the Earth’s offices in London.

We had a beautiful group network members gathered, including a v. dedicated contingent who made the pilgrimage (by minibus) all the way down from the Reclaim the Power gathering in Sheffield, and it was the first LJN gathering for eight wonderful people – welcome!

Our 30 second intros which kicked off the meeting were a challenge, but we got some major updates– David is a cat person, Maddy likes good books and bad jokes, Tom feels it’s important to wave the flag for the flageolet bean. Good.

But it was four-year old Luca who really hit the nail on the head and got us off to the best start with his call to action. We need to ‘take back the land!’ he said, ‘and there’s a lot to do, so we better get on with it.’

Too true.

And we had a packed schedule, so we got straight to it, facilitated brilliantly by Kennedy Walker from the National CLT Network. Huge thanks also to Guy for organising the space for us and to everyone for bringing such delicious lunch! General consensus was that putting a big spread of food including some pretty irresistible baklava *between* break out areas was genius – apart from Kennedy who probably felt like he was herding cats, as we all rushed back for just one more biscuit to add to our handful, before we could possibly discuss working group structures!

It was an ambitious day in terms of what we needed to talk about, but there was lots of excitement about everyone collaborating on our actions for next year, a general feeling that the network was really pulling together and that momentum for our movement is building faster than ever!

Key Updates

  • Plans are afoot for a major network action camp and occupation in Spring/Summer 2019. If you want to know more or would like to help, get in touch with our action working group.
  • A beautiful Land Justice pamphlet, worked on by the network, and designed by the unstoppable Nick Hayes is at the printers and will be in the hands of future land lovers across the nation soon! Keep your eyes peeled.
  • We will be trialling a rotating representative for each working group for 6 months. We hope it will make it easier for new people to get involved and for the network to keep updated between gatherings.

Action Group Updates

Guy gave us a quick brief on the action group’s work so far for newcomers and the fact that after our last trespass, the consensus was that people wanted to spend more time being naughty! We heard about what the group have cooked up so far including a draft walking tour of Fitzrovia which Denise led, and Nick and Guy’s Halloween video and poster campaign on ending empty homes in London. In our afternoon break out session most discussion focused on plans for a week-long action camp next year which Guy proposed and was met with lots of enthusiasm, ideas, and maps were unfolded… Get involved in planning the action camp: contact Guy.

There are also plans  for more creative actions, to be peppered in between now and the action camp. Want to get involved in smaller creative actions in London or inspiration to start some in your area?: contact Denise.

Policy Group Updates

Bonnie invited us all to look over the group’s People’s Land Policy Document and reminded us of the need for policy to come from the ground up. She emphasised that the PLP is a working document at the moment, intended to promote discussion within the network and which can be used to reach out to others. In our afternoon break out session, those interested in policy had a chance to start planning an outreach day, to be hosted by LJN in the Spring. Lots of ideas came out of the discussions and the policy group will be working on coordinating this event, as well as continuing to gather feedback on the PLP so that we can incorporate policy workshops in our spring/summer action camp. If you would like to be involved in their work, contact Bonnie.

Land Justice Network Process Update

We started off the day with a break out session discussing network processes, what is working well at the moment and how we can improve our ways of working, something which has been on the cards for some time. Energy was high and discussions buzzing as we rotated between four areas which we are working on at the moment: Membership, Strategy, Working Group Structure and Building Capacity. Our co-ordinator will be digesting these discussions over the next weeks and working them into our activities over the next few months.

Next meeting and land action: Bristol, Saturday 19th January (& Sunday 20th  Jan for action!)

This will be a really important meeting for our actions in Spring and Summer 2019 and we hope that we will see many faces there, new and old. More details will be up on our website as they are confirmed. We will meet on Saturday, and then do a group action on Sunday for anyone who would like to stay for both days. If you have any questions about this or anything else, get in touch with our co-ordinator Kate.