Kathrin Böhm, Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks, Hop-picking in Kent, photo courtesy of Maureen Hostler, Dagenham.

As part of The Politics of Food: Markets and Movements, Delfina Foundation has commissioned a new film by Kathrin Böhm in collaboration with Sue Giovanni, the latest stage of her ongoing Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks project.

The film offers an insight into the culture and economics of ‘going picking’, bringing together former hop-pickers ‘who went down to Kent’ from east London and today’s pickers who come there and are both key to British agricultural success. They share the experience of being so-called foreigners in the Kent countryside: east Londoners and current ‘foreigners’, often EU citizens from eastern Europe, who come to Kent as seasonal agricultural workers. Both groups of pickers are and have been essential to British agriculture, providing the en masse low-cost manual labour necessary to pick certain crops and fruits. Furthermore, both have developed their own cultures around being seasonal and casual workers on low income, from adapting mobile or low-spec accommodation, securing cheap travel, inventing free spare time activities, to socializing away from home.

Surrounding the making of the film are a series of field trips and events that both shape and share the experience of picking with new publics. This includes a closed workshop and picking weekend at the Hoppers Hopsital in Five Oak Green, where participants explored the wider infrastructure and architecture related to hop-picking, such as Oast Houses, Hoppers Huts and Cookhouses on the open field. In co-operation with East London University and muf art and architecture.


7 September 2016
Haystack: Film Screening and Talk
Delfina Foundation

The premier of the film at Delfina Foundation will be accompanied by a talk and the launch of two new Company Drinks beverages which result from the trips to Kent in 2016: a Thinning Soda and a Gleaned Cider.

With Kathrin Böhm and Toby Butler, University of East London.

9 September 2016
Hop Picking Trip
Tonbridge, Kent

An opportunity to join in with a day of hands-on hop picking in Kent. The hops picked on the day will be used by Kernel Brewery (Bermondsey) to make a special green hop beer, which will be part of the 2016 Company Drink’s range.

Company Drinks was set up by international arts collective Myvillages in May 2014 as a way to revive this extraordinary urban-rural relationship and link it to the set up of a new community drinks enterprise. The plan for the new company was not only to pick, but to keep the crop, make the drinks and trade them directly with all profits feeding back into the collective endeavour, completing a whole cycle of production, trade and reinvestment.

For other picking trips and activities visit www.companydrinks.info

16 September 2016
Exhibition: International Village Show 7/8
Leipzig Museum of Contemporary Art

The project sits within the collective myvillages International Village Show, a two year long exhibition programme in the specially furnished Gartenhaus of Leipzig’s Museum of Contemporary Art. This space acts as a ‘Headquarters’ to bring together partners, products and activities from myvillages dispersed rural connections and projects. In September 2016, The Foreigner Pickers and the new drinks that resulted from the 2016 trip to Kent will be presented as part of this programme.

Art in Romney Marsh Festival

The film will be on display during the Art in Romney Marsh Festival 2016.