A Story That Must Be Told

Written by Marsha Smith - Founder of Super Kitchen & one of Nesta's 50 New Radicals

Last year, gawd it seems an age ago now. Back then I was young, fresh, I had more (head) hair and less tattoos.... And I was lucky enough to get a Good For Nothing hack done on what was then; Secret Kitchen.

*I think in reflection one of the most massive and effective outputs of that event was the development of the project into SUPER KITCHEN! *

By re-naming the project I was inspired quite simply, to live up to the name. To push things a bit further and to think beyond my mega pan, towards the real social changes my model could bring.

*Super Kitchen has to be good! It says so on the tin! *

The second and perhaps most enduring positive was making new friends, some of which have become colleagues. How freaking cool is that!?

The chaps who re-did the name and logo are still in touch. Gary Marshall from Brand Director and David Foster from Foster Designs are still helping me out... A Year Later! How amazing is that? I'm still in contact with Sarah King who was one of the founders of the Nottingham chapter. I still call her to update her with what's happening. And yes, she still fills up when I tell her how well things are rolling! Me and Sarah even sat together, cowering at a recent TEDx event at Uni of Nottingham where we both got up (me, waving a wooden spoon) and talked about the power we all have to make social changes..

A big thing this year has been finding a team I can work with. I'm a control freak and I'm infuriating, bossy, disorganised and I still use a paper calendar (sometimes to excruciatingly embarrassing effect.) It's not easy to work with me I guess, BUT my vision and passion is so strong, and my true love and belief in and for social eating has attracted some amazing talents. A core group I can respect, look up to (yes, you Steve Ralf!), natter things through and chunk down on ideas with (Iain Dimmock- you stand accused) and be blown away with a simultaneous mixture of corporate wizarding and hippy-tendency-ing (Andy Kitt). What most people probably don't know is that I am deep-hippy. I chant, I do manifestation boards, I have crystals that I talk to, I hug trees and I really, really, really try to keep in mind that what I do counts and I'm powered by unabashed spesh-love for all us crazy human type things as well as my mineral, animal and vegetable pals.

What has also happened since the GFN hack last year is that I've been very happy to hand over Secret Kitchen slice by slice to a worthy and much-loved successor; Vic Leadbeater. So I feel like one great project is still going and another even better one has been born of the mega. It's all good...

It's meant everything to be supported by the GFN'ers not least because it propelled me to greater achievements (and Super Kitchen is only beginning...) but also it bolstered me with a rock solid belief that what I was doing was good stuff. It works. It inspires. It feeds people amazing food. It gives communities a chance to get together. It tackles food waste. It gives us a new take on food poverty and food banks. It is indeed, pretty super...

So here we are a year or so on and I'm back in touch with Sarah. We're wondering what might come next. We all have some amazing news which will break on Monday 8th September and we are all so proud, so humbled and so piddle-panty excited to be doing what we do. And if I'm honest, not a small-bit terrified too) And so with Super Kitchen it's fingers crossed time. It's lifting the lid of things massively. We are about to get some investment, and our small-scale local model prototyping is in full swing, and we are solidifying our connections to FareShare East Midlands and looking at an iterative, membership model that potentially cascades through a national FareShare network (prepare to blow it sky high, baby!) and so of course a special thanks too, to Simone Connolly who saw the potential of my idea, endured my phone rants and general massive over enthusiasm and who has consistently got behind Super Kitchen and the story I came to tell.

When I was a little girl, I wrote a story that I was really, really proud of. I was asked to read it in front of the whole school; at assembly. Now in the rush to get ready, I asked the teacher (my favourite teacher) if I could go to the loo. She said 'No'. So, I went up and I read my story with a faltering voice, shrinking in and in as the urge to wee grew. And then I wet my pants in front of the whole school. I learnt a very valuable lesson that day which has steered me, mostly unconsciously until recently, towards where I stand today. Because although my pride and confidence was in complete tatters and I was utterly humiliated and embarrassed (yep, I was the dweeb at school after that), what I also learnt was that when it comes to something you are truly proud of... *DISOBEY any person who puts a block in the way of you telling your story. *

So, to end this little blog post which was really just to reach back to GFN with a iron-arm handshake (my grip and handclapping loudness are the stuff of legend but I'll save that for another post...) and say a big, genuine, heart and belly-full thanks and to state that I'm full of passion and positivity for what we can go on to achieve together. I have a mega pan full to the brim with good stuff.... DINNER IS READY!....

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