Updated: Jun 5, 2019
It's been 2 days now since the launch event. 2 days to relax and reflect on how it went.
It's hard to be objective about it because so much went into getting to that point.
The idea, developing it, working out where to start, actually starting, sharing my thoughts with friends and mentors, wondering whether it was going to work, dealing with doubts, meeting and getting to know some really great people along the way, discovering problems & solving them, making the documentary, deciding on the launch date!, starting to create so much stuff (the logo, the launch website, all the social media) - when I think about it, I've done so much to get to the launch event and I've been well out of my comfort zone. (Have a lot of thank my supporters for keeping me sane!)
And here we are, Be Locals is live and up and running ready to take orders. Hooray!
And how was the event?
I looked around the wonderful Pavilion venue and saw all the food ready and waiting for everyone to arrive. Friends who had volunteered their help were milling around making some last finishing touches to get the room looking really good and Sophia was ready to check tickets. Then people starting to arrive in a constant stream and it was really fantastic to meet them all and direct them upstairs for a quick drink before the event started properly. I remember going upstairs to the roof terrace and I couldn't believe how many people were there for the Be Locals event. There were over 80 people, I had been hoping for 50.
For me, the next hour passed like a whirlwind, meeting friends, saying hi to new people, finding a bit about them, they finding a bit about me and all around me lots of food was being gobbled up!! I understand that the smokey streaky bacon wrapped mushrooms disappeared the fastest so I hope you all managed to try that! Then it was on to the film. I stood by the side of the projector with friends and half-watched the film and half-watched the audiences reaction to it. It was a bit overwhelming to be honest! It's not easy to watch yourself on the big screen. The power of the film is that I think everyone really got me & Be Locals and this was really cemented by the Q&A session where Tim & Rupert Hoare, Paul Leaning and Richard Foot came up to answer questions from the audience. That really was a great moment for me. It's what I wanted. For people to connect with and interact with real food producers. It doesn't happen very much in normal life and I wanted people to discover what I have discovered, that our local food producers are great people and what they produce is great. Since the event, people have said to me how well they all came across.
I didn't get to say this bit as I only thought about it later. Our society is so advanced and complex and our jobs reflect that: social services, market research, property development, insurance sales, public relations, customer services, theatre direction, building, etc. and these are the recognisable ones - there are many more jobs that are really specialised that most people don't even recognise, my job at the University being one - Enterprise Architect. They reflect the complexity of our world.
Yet some jobs I think are really fundamental and they have just become just another type of job. I think some jobs are different and the importance of these jobs has been forgotten. It's hard to put it into words but if we didn't have food producers, we simply wouldn't exist. Producers make stuff, they make stuff that the rest of the population need. In our society, I think we have lost the connection with the people who produce stuff for us day in and day out. We think that it is the supermarkets that produce it, we think it is the global food corporations that produce it - they produce nothing - they really do when you think about - they produce absolutely nothing. If they all disappeared tomorrow, the food would still be produced by producers like Tim & Richard. I'm not having a go at the food corporations and supermarkets. I'm just saying 'Remember the producers' - they give us one of life's essential needs.
Over time, Be Locals will find great local producers like Tim & Richard and create a network where we the consumer can re-connect to them. Please give www.belocals.uk a go and don't forget the discount code BeLocals10% for 10% off your entire order. Thanks everyone for coming to those who could make it!