Revisiting Global Generation’s History - 2010

I think it is fair to say that to date the strongest elements of Global Generation’s work have revealed themselves through a process of hands-on doing, rather than any form of organised strategic plan. It is the things that have created a spark within and between people that have held our interest, enabling us to shape them into a formalised stream of work. Our venture into the world of enterprise is an example of this, writes Jane Riddiford.

In August 2010, we began working with a small group of 12 – 14 year olds from the nearby Copenhagen Youth Project (CYP).

These were boys for whom the idea of taking care of the planet or even one’s own community generally held no traction. However, the thought of engaging in business and learning how to actually make money was a winner.

Very quickly their interest shifted from worrying about how much money they could make from two bunches of Moroccan mint to consciously creating a positive atmosphere with the chefs from the Guardian canteen who they were negotiating with.

They were all posh and I thought we wouldn’t match with them, but in the end we found out that they liked us. I think because we put on a positive attitude, it set an atmosphere. There was a spark because they knew we were young people and it seemed that they thought they could also learn something from us. Speaking to everyone was nerve-wracking, but when I got to the middle bit I started engaging with the people I was speaking to and because they were showing gratitude and giving good remarks back I got that little feeling, that spark going and so I felt pride and happiness mixed together and I knew I could do it. The way they were made me bring out the faith in myself. I felt that special place inside and I could keep going. This week has opened windows for us, especially if we don’t make it as footballers, we could always do this.
— Participant, 12 years

Working with the young people from CYP laid the ground for delivering a Horticulture BTEC on a programme commissioned by South Camden Community School. In September 2010, we began with six 15-year-old boys and one girl who had had not been on best terms with the school system.

We knew the only hope of generating any kind of enthusiasm might be through involving them in the business of selling produce and began the term with the unit that focused on Marketing and Harvesting. The fact that ‘local’ and ‘organic’ commanded a higher price was a useful doorway into finding out what those words meant in practice. The opportunity to tell the chefs how vegetables grew helped the students discover their own interest and gain confidence in the fact that they knew something of value to others.

At first I thought it was going to be boring but it is fun learning how to present stuff and also teaching people in the Guardian what plants need to grow and how to protect them in winter and also I’ve learnt that you get a better price if it has a good carbon footprint.
— Participant, 15 years

The programme was well received by the school (now Regent High School) who went on to commission us to deliver a Business and Sustainability BTEC, which we now run for 40 Year 10 and 11 students each year.