A few days ago a friend brought us a bottle of wine as a gift – & it had no label. From some folks that would be a sign of a home brew, other wise waste fruit fermented to something nearly drinkable. This bottle was the product of a Dorest vineyard, owned & run co-operatively by a group of villagers.
It has no label as is it not for sale, it will be consumed by those who produced it or whomever they share it with.
In continental Europe this would not be unusual but this is England. This is part of a trend that signals a number of processes at work in local food in England.
1 – Europeanisation – the example & experience of wider European food culture is changing British food culture. This is not just the infrastructure of PGI, PGOs but the lived experience of local foods.
2 – Participation – people no longer just want to eat local food or just to buy it but they want to be a part of creating it.
3 – De-commodification – taken together this is a trend towards stopping food being a commodity. This product will not be exchanged for money or its production sold as an ‘experience’.
4 – Localised knowledge –much talk of localised knowledge is about skills but I think publicity is equally important. A local product of which people are globally aware risks commodification & potentially elite access. The status games of authenticity rather than an everydayness.
I am left feeling optimistic, & looking forward to a moment, hopefully not too distant when we get to drink it.