London Community Ambassador Amanda Foley recently had a chat with London local Laura Scott. Laura is a passionate cyclist, vegan, longtime Londoner,  editor of  The Locals and social director at MEC. Here’s what she had to say about life, London and beekeeping!

You’re a Canadian expat who has lived in London for 5 years now. What draws you to the city and keeps you here?

There is always so much happening in London, it kind of sucks you in. It seems like there is a new exhibit or lecture every other week. In many ways London lets you make of it what you want… there is just so much on offer.

What’s your background, and how did you end up becoming at Social Director for a large agency like MEC?

I completed my masters at Goldsmiths, University of London in Media and Communication. It seems funny now, but I was really interested in the way that social would impact cultural production and the ways in which brands would eventually seek to appropriate online cultures. I guess I was studying what was happening online at the right time, and was lucky enough to get into digital strategy as brands were starting to use Facebook and blogs.

What inspired you to create your website, The Locals?

I had been writing for other publications for a number of years, but never felt I was getting the opportunity to write about the things I am passionate about. I had debated starting my own site for a while, and then all of a sudden it seemed like all my friends were quitting their day jobs to start their own companies, from coffee shops to furniture design. Seeing the dedication to their various trades, really inspired me to not only document what they were doing, but this cultural movement of creators taking place across the globe.

The Locals currently has writers in London, New York, Venice and California . Where else else would you like to cover?

I would love to cover the nordic countries. I have been to Iceland, Sweden, and Norway a number of times and have completely fallen in love with the landscape and the people. Not to mention the incredible design, fashion and passion for food.
I would also love to feature more about Toronto on the site – its my home town, and there are some really interesting things happening there from food trucks (they are a gourmet experience there – trust me) to nuit blanche, the annual all-night arts festival.

As a passionate Londoner and an even more passionate cyclist, what are your top three tips for cycling in our fair city?

  • Get a bike you love! It is so important to make sure you get a bike that fits you, and that you are comfortable riding. I cycle daily and can honestly say every morning when I go to get my bike out I get excited – its the best part of my day.
  • Don’t worry about holding up other traffic. They may honk at you, but being more visible and taking a primary position is the best way to stay safe. Only let people past when you feel safe.
  • Get a good waterproof jacket. it is London afterall

What’s next?

I am currently looking at bringing the Locals offline and running talks/workshops where we can start to showcase some of the interesting things local business and people doing. I want to find a way to bring people together to celebrate and encourage the maker culture that has been emerging over the last year.

On a final (funny) note, we hear you’re a “Wannabe Beekeeper”. What is it about Beekeeping?!

A couple of years ago I read an article which mentioned that there had been a drop of 54% in English honey bee colonies over the last 20 years. I remember reading this and becoming quite concerned as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that out of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated. In fact in the UK, the government have stated that “the value of pollination to UK agriculture is £440 million per year”. So basically bees are pretty essential to our food chain. The more I read about the global decline of bee populations, the more it made me wonder if this is our warning. Has the bee become our canary in the coal mine? Shortly after I took beekeeping courses as I wanted to learn more about bee conservation and how we can help protect the species.  Right now I have the beekeeping outfit… just need to find somewhere in London to keep them.

Thanks for chatting to The Fetch, Laura!