Memories of Arjuna

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Arjuna Memories from the 1970s and beyond

From Dave at Arjuna Wholefoods: "I’m putting together a history of Arjuna from conception to the present day and was wondering if you’d like to share your thoughts and memories. Both former Workers and long/short serving customers are welcome! The idea is to collect everything together into a book (half history, half classic wholefood recipes), that would inform those new (and old) to Arjuna of the value of cooperative working and living, as well as the fun that can be had along the way! If you’d like to contribute, you are welcome to use the questions below as a springboard to trigger your memories and write as much or as little as you like." Please send contributions to Dave.

Questionnaire

Please use this as a guide rather than a rigid questionnaire. Hopefully it’ll trigger memories you didn’t even know were there! Feel free to write as much or as little as you can.

1970s / 80s / 90s

What was it like working in Arjuna during these decades? What was the political climate like? Did you feel you were part of something bigger, part of a movement? Was it so very different to today? Any links to CND, Greenham Common, the feminist movement, anti-Apartheid? Wages? What did you spend your money on? What kind of food was the veggie staple? Can you remember how things changed and developed? Eating out as a veggie? How did the black outs and strikes affect Arjuna? National events such as the Queen’s Jubilee in 1977 and the royal wedding? How good/terrible was the music?!

Mill Road

What was Mill Rd like when you worked at Arjuna? What kind of shops do you recall? How is it different today? Shops you miss/remember fondly.

Working at Arjuna

Can you remember how you got involved at Arjuna and how long you stayed? What are your abiding memories? Favourite things, changes made/saw, colleagues, customers… What were the frustrations/benefits? Did you feel part of a community? How has it compared to working in other jobs/fields? Do you miss it?! Do you remember how decisions were made regarding what was sold? The no sugar rule? Only organic dairy? Making tofu in the kitchen? How was Arjuna ahead of the times?! Do you recall how new technology crept into Arjuna and the affect it had? Do you remember when the packing machine arrived? The old filing system – pre computers?!

The old / new shop layout

Do you remember packing beans and pulses in the outdoor shed? Herbs and spices in the back of the shop? How about memories of going to the London docks to collect sacks of pulses? Muesli memories – who came up with the recipes? How did the shop evolve into the layout we see today? Were you part of the team who built the extension? Who decided the layout?

Setting up Arjuna as a cooperative

Can anyone remember how this was done? Especially with regard to writing the rules/articles and memorandum, how the business was structured as regards who did what etc. How did you get to hear of setting up a coop in the first place? How does it feel to see Arjuna still going after all this time? Does anyone know Peter Cockerton (Pedro)?

What went on upstairs…!

Anyone remember group therapy sessions, acupuncture and even sleeping upstairs in what is now the Arjuna Clinic? What were the rooms used for? Did you help set up or work at the clinic?

Eating at Arjuna Kitchen / The Arjuna Cookbook

Was the restaurant/café there when you worked at Arjuna? Or the hot counter? What are you memories of Arjuna grub? Do you remember eating all together? What about meals out as a group? The cookbook: was there a 70s version? Did you help contribute recipes? What were your favourite recipes?

Mr Baker – organic vegetables pioneer

Do you have any stories about Mr Baker and his amazing veg? How did he first get involved with Arjuna?

Strawberry Fair / Outside Events

Can anyone recall the meetings held at Arjuna about setting up the fair? And any memories of the first fairs themselves? What other outside events did Arjuna get involved with? Did you work on the market stall?

Parsonage Farm, Crab Apple and other coops

Were you involved in setting these up? Links to Arjuna? Suma? Leeds, Manchester…

Reality Checkpoint

Anyone recall how the myth/rumour/truth got started and were Arjuna members involved?

Any Other Memories you’d like to share that do not fall into any of the above categories?