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Personal Story 2, by Ali Ajaz: Islamic Community Food Project at Spitalfields

“Disenchanted with biased globalised food system” check!

“Tired of seeing a new Tesco Express opening up 5 minutes from the old Tesco Express” check!
“Unhappy about seeing the old Tesco Express in the first place” –check!
“Interested in exploring alternatives” check!
“A community food initiative sounds good” check!

Having been aware of the important work that Wisdom in Nature have been involved with, I’d been meaning to be a part of this interesting movement for some time now. But events came and went as the toils of this world seemed to get the better of me and my ‘free’ time. However, upon hearing about an Islamic Community Food Project, I was determined to attend hoping to learn something tangible from this grassroots, progressive movement which was based upon the underpinnings of Islamic principles. What could sound better than this?

This first meeting was held at Spitalfields City Farm and although I live less than a few miles away, I had no idea that it existed. Neatly tucked away amongst the urban hustle and bustle, it provided a very welcoming distraction to the all too familiar commotion of the Sunday market in East London. The day started off by helping out with a number of duties on the farm. Now this may sound somewhat daft but I experienced a hint of apprehension about doing something on a farm. I attributed this to my urbanised upbringing and limited connection/neglect of the natural environment around me. I was therefore surprised by the degree of tranquillity obtained from just pulling weeds on this cool Sunday morning. More of this was what I needed!

The afternoon session initially focused upon getting better acquainted with the other members of the group and it became apparent very quickly that there was a common enthusiasm shared by all. Individuals from various backgrounds, seemly united by a hope to be part of something exciting, something meaningful. The group dynamics were allowed to evolve naturally by the expert guidance from Muzammal and Wasi. Concepts of food and community in an Islamic context were explored by the group and by the end of the afternoon, I felt an optimistic vibe reverberating though the group, this despite the ever falling temperature. This Islamic Community Food Project has the potential to grow and bloom into something special and I am looking forward to being a part of it.

Ali Ajaz

All Photos © Wisdom In Nature

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