Archive for the ‘Permaculture’ Category

London Eco projects

March 4, 2015

seeds for a swapping in the

South London Seed Swap organised by Lewisham Gardens (Anne-Marie at the helm)

This proved to be a lovely afternoon, out at the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, with dozens of enthusiasts bringing their bulbs and seeds into the garden, to share, swap and exchange. I selected a range of veg, herbs and flowers to take in for my swap and as exchange, selected a range of others including; 2 varieties of kale, cress, swede (we shared out a pack), 2 types of cauliflower and lettuce, peppers, tomatoes (as a result of hearing Mihail from the nursery discuss his tips), plus basil, echinacea, 2 varieties of sunflower and half a dozen other flowering annuals 🙂

There were also a series of excellent workshops; demonstrations to educate on new skills. We learnt how to hold and twist a bouquet of flowers, to form the perfect jug, from every angle, by Sharmini, a local seasonal florist who designs the floral arrangements for the garden museum in Lambeth. She very carefully showed us how to add different colour stems and place them at angles which appeared to me odd, at first, plus foliage, but when all fully combined, yielded the prettiest of bouquets. She shared, too, her trick to displaying stems in a wide neck vase: place scelloptape in a criss-cross pattern across the top, to keep them in their place, to prevent them from falling over.seed swapping day Lewisham Gardens

Next up was Mihail from Dig this Nursery; a heath shop, plant nursery & cafe by New Cross ‘Venue’ club… it has recently moved there, from opposite New X Gate area (by the Hobgoblin Pub). Now they are in their new home and teaching us here, how to best sow our tomato plants; in to the smallest containers first, prior to planting into slightly larger pots, then into hanging baskets (in order to avoid slugs etc) or raised beds etc. This makes a lot of sense; to develop the roots gradually and to master the stems first.

Finally we learnt about Wildlife Gardening from Alison, who’d driven all the way up from Kent (where it had been snowing-proper) to teach us about easy ways to attract all sorts of wildlife & engage us with a nice quiz! 🙂

We left feeling v.happy (though I’d have felt happier had I not had a flat back tyre & had to walk, all the way home, to SE6…)

WM garden trowel

The V&A have launched a William Morris design range of garden tools; inspred by his paintings & art work, there’s a torch, tape measure, scissors, secateurs and hammer\screwdriver multi-tool (all of which I am much enamoured by) and I recently bought myself a garden trowel, in a ‘Daisy’ print design. It is both stunningly beautiful and utterly practical; Morris would approve, himself. 🙂 Re- the recent exhibition at the NPG in London; on his life & work 🙂

Other news: I recently attended an Introduction to Permaculture Course based at Stepney City Farm, which is a super-fab place to hang out, at the best of times. We enjoyed the course enormously; it was justthe right mix and balance of fun, studious design efforts & planning out projects that was needed. Plus we turned compost heaps and were left to roam the farm to develop our senses of this environment.

primula potSpring has sprung! My colour-co-ordinated Primula plant pots, in the kitchen (matching the blind!) 🙂

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The Ecology, Environment and Eating your words in London

November 23, 2014

Saturday morning, I casually interviewed our local farmer’s market assistant trader, Jackie, from Whitegates Farm & Nursery. She is every inch a convert to organic gardening and growing but later in life (some might suppose…)  owing to being brought up in a concrete jungle, in Brixton (South London), she said & her accent hasn’t changed… What’s more she hasn’t eaten fresh produce from a supermarket in 4 yrs and buys her toiletries elsewhere, as to find the brands which are free-from SLS.  and she explained that she’s amazed by just how different the fresh produce tastes! She finds it amazing how much better the home-grown carrots taste by comparison to the supermarket ones; “Flavour versus no flavour!”

Since it’s now Autumn, there are a great array of squashes & patty pan (small squashes, masquerading as miniature pumpkins) but a distinct lack of Horesradish, which was due to the weather. The strong-flavoured roots grow far further down into the soil and owing to the heavy rain, it had become very muddy and somewhat difficult to remove, given the time he (the farmer, Mike) now has, since he began to run the stall weekly and has to dig up more carrots too.  This really brought home the whole farm-to-fork concept of gardening.

Consider the alternatives; whereas  the supermarket culture has us examining our veg all year round, here is a farm where many products are grown, seasonally and annually, only to be directly affected by the weather… of course. It’s much  more easy and practical to pull up several bunches of carrots, than to spend the same time pulling up a single horseradish root, for a few pence more…

As a result of her working for the farm,  Jackie’s friends and family have all become more chemically conscious; she is a marvelous example and  activist (with a v.small ‘a’) for all things eco.

Go & visit them for the farm fresh fruit and veg http://www.weareccfm.co.uk (Manor House Gardens)

A round-up of this week’s other activities…

This week it’s all about food relating to community, cost of living and climate change \ the Earth at large, concepts.

Starting on Tuesday – Our monthly London Permaculture Publicity group meeting held at the South Bank, which is looking gloriously festive with lots of new food stall huts, complete with a maze made out of the type of things I’m not mentioning ’til next month, being as it’s not yet even the month of December … it’s all very pretty. Lola & I went on a little walk about; there is a Scandinavian theme bar area, complete with sofas and rugs and all with a great view of the river from upstairs.

Stefan Gates Food Matters Excel

Wednesday: took the DLR over to Food Matters expo at Excel Centre  – in time to join the audience for a panel discussion\debate with Prue Leith CBE, an MP, an Oxford Uni Prof and a food historian. All debating their views on how to eliminate childhood obesity and malnutrition: A combination of free meals for all, school influence, improving school dinners, banning packed lunch boxes and changing legislation. This was excellent to see a panel of such eminent authorities putting their views forward. I thought they were all great if not a little far fetched. I didn’t think any are totally plausable in current UK political climate. What govt. is willing to make cuts to subsidise these proposed desired changes? It was rather like an ‘If I ruled the world’ type of exploration.

Onto another exploration of another kind altogether… ‘feeding 9 million +’ read  the blurb on the board, which looked like the most interesting demonstration of some type of food related cookery. An area of research close to my heart & head for campaigning to reduce\eliminate farming of livestock. This was Stefan Gates, author, tv presenter and weird chef (but in a kind of exciting, very active way…) An adventurer and explorer (as he prefers it). He started out by handing round marshmallows and traditional lolly pops to the gathered audience – the public duly popped them into their mouths and onward he went. We watched as he shared video clips from his travel series where he eats many (revolting) things inc animal penises (in China) then he filled a huge long plastic bag with dry ice and explained that it represented how much methane gas a cow emits throughout  a day\annually; which incidentally, is lots (see above). He explained how reducing our meat consumption might help to reduce this gas and instead, suggests we eat insects… & he & his ‘grub’ chums promptly handed round fried crickets which half the audience tasted, whilst the remaining half (moi y inclu) looked on in silent disbelief…

Next, he proceeded to crush beetles into a pestle and mortar as if to illustrate that we, humans, have eaten insects, just unknowingly. The crushed beetles were added into a big vat of water, which duly turned pink; Cochineal \ E120 \ Red food colouring. And the trick? He explored how this innocent sounding food colouring actually ends up into marshmallows and lolly pops, which the audience had gamely eaten earlier. Except myself, for precisely that same reason…. (& the sugar… & the gelatine…)

Thursday – Monty Don; ‘Down to Earth’.  Sadly, I missed the great Monty Don speak about his gardening career locally this week at Blackheath Halls 😦  His twitter account is full of great joys to read though, so I can recommend that as at least a small alternative…) it sounded v.inspiring from what I could tell by the other tweets… I need to find out what I’d missed.

Friday – a UCL talk on Climate Change by @ClimateGeorge; author of a book entitled (something like): ‘Are our brains wired to deny climate change’ ie I think not, it makes sense for us to be ‘wired’ towards sustainability, I felt.  A long & deliriously comic talk, at times, about how the nation should be discussing this topic, why it isn’t, why it should care more, as seen through the eyes of a fossil-fuel activist (ie focused in this fashion; as his ‘lens’).  He went to Brussels to speak to EUMPs there, before I got a chance to ask him a question about his eating habits re-meat & methane production in general. Met some interesting people at the cloisters afterwards though inc. political editor & film maker.

Despite the style of talk, I’ve since discovered that his wife, Annie, writes an exceptionally lovely blog here: http://kitchencounterculture121.wordpress.com/

With thanks to @hedgehoghugh for connecting us together on this matter 🙂

Meanwhile great news in the ‘News’, well, Time Out (which is the news we’d sometime rather read and isn’t so much that but more up-to-the-minute-London-life info) and The Final Word pg columnist, Giles Coren; not known, I’d have previously thought, for his pro-eco stance in the world but here he is, in an article, debating the nations’ love of …. coffee… and milk!  It’s not one that I can understand, personally, since I detest it; its flavour and that of honey (aka ‘bee vomit’ – reinforces adventurer, Stefan Gates!)

To quote him verbatim; ‘and you don’t even like the taste. So you drown (it) in a pint of hot milk and call it a ‘latte’ and … mope wordlessly to work, suckling like a giant toddler on quantities of warm cow’s milk that are healthy only for other cows,newly born and then only for a matter of weeks, delivering levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) that in adult humans will grow you at best a fat belly and at worst, it is argued, give you cancer…’  

Whoah! Wow! The restaurant critic that is GC has come out as a cow-caring consumer! 😉 Whatever next..? he’s read enough about the dairy industry to learn that it isn’t all hunky-dory to go consuming milk, willy-nilly and is taking up a gauntlet to educate his latte-loving readers. Well done GC & TO, for almost daring readers to become coffee & dairy-free 😉

Back to the great outdoors and the Burgess Park Glengall Wharf Garden: On Saturday, I cycled and bussed over to Burgess pk (off Old Kent Rd) for the main meeting of the London Permaculture Network. There is a lot going on here at this garden and we held a v.productive meeting to discuss future plans and expansions 🙂

Finally, as if that wasn’t enough, the BBC has a good link to a foraging article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-30015052

Save our Lamp-posts! Hither Green SE6 Campaign

July 15, 2014

Following the appearance of the new, black, stick-like lamp-posts (or as 3 residents interviewed described them ‘War of the World’s style!)  in Hither Green, I have begun a local petition to save our traditional lamp-posts in our street against their destruction by company Skanska (Croydon & Lewisham lighting contractor).

Our original, traditional grey lampposts date back to 1930’s and are quite a feature in our road. They are quite ornate and possess decorative ‘T plates’, from which a ladder was hung to change the bulbs in eras gone by.  Several older residents recall that they remember seeing them used back in the 1950’s, for this purpose and others said that it formed a part of their choice to move into this area.

I’ve felt moved to start a petition in our street which has since been signed by over 30 residents, all in agreement that there should be a dialogue over any lighting changes and that the original posts offer a degree of heritage in the area.

Action undertaken so far:

I contacted Skanska to report my concern for the historical element of our area and was contacted by the public liasion officer, Sara O’Malley, yesterday. She was unhelpful and simply stated that we should have received notice of the changes back in May but my research shows that we were NOT informed.

I have a petition signed by 30+ local residents who all object to the plans and want to retain our original lights.

After surveying the local area last night, the vast majority (90%) of local residents expressed their upset are against any proposed changes to the lighting system. NO-ONE in this area had heard anything about it prior to the signs which went up 2 weeks ago at the end of June. Skanska is wrong in their claim that they pre-warned us and my neighbours and I are unhappy and seek to take action in this situation with a view to safeguarding our current lampposts.

Having spoken to a local planning officer, I have also contacted English Heritage with a view to find out if we can apply for a ‘spot listing’ for the posts.

Lamp-posts feature in other news items:

A campaign in Crystal Palace: An article in the Evening Standard
http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2013/07/05/skanska-highways-crew-call-police-over-lamp-post-huggers/

CALL SKANSKA LIGHTING TO VOICE YOUR CONCERN, FREE, NOW ON 0800 0285986
CONTACT LOCAL GOVT. COUNCILLORS TO REGISTER YOUR CONCERN http://ourhithergreen.com/mp-and-councillors/
SIGN OUR PETITION!

#saveourlampposts!

Sing your Hart out; highlights from the London Permaculture Festival

July 8, 2014

Last Sunday saw a record number of people attend the 5th Annual London Permaculture Festival.
For myself, one of the main highlights of the Festival was the singing workshop with Su Hart (as I’d had the privilege to sing\perform with her and the Shakti Sings Choir at Glastonbury Festival 2013, with her catchy song lyrics still fresh in my mind, a year later). Eagerly anticipated by festival organisers and public alike; we held a v.strong group of approx 50 people by the end, all humming and singing in unison, together as one team , or gang, as Su liked to refer to us (!) constantly referencing back to the Baka tribe she has lived with, in Cameroon. This method of singing together in harmonies reflects the methods used for traditional hunting techniques by the Baka, for calling their prey to them, in a series of beautiful, enchanting melodies which enrapture the listener.

Su lead us into 2 groups with an energy beholding a playful exuberance, in a call and response style and response towards one another as groups ‘the opposition’. She explained the ups and downs of the forest life and how the Baka tribe communicate not only with their voices but also by using their hands using actions in unison. We all aimed to sing together, as one, equally, as is the custom of the Baka tribe itself.
We all sang our hearts (or should that be Hart’s?) out towards one another and felt a stronger bond, together as a result having been part of a tribal ritual mostly through drama, voice & song alone.

London Permaculture Network are aiming to put on a day workshop with Su Hart in the near future. If you are interested in receiving more information on attending Su’s workshop(s) or her project works please contact LPN\Susannah Hall through http://www.londonpermaculturenetwork.com
Places will be limited, so express your interest now for a place on this special singing workshop day with the energetic, professional choir leader and land-care lyricist, Su Hart.

Events Diary for Spring & Summer 2014 (Eco, Raw Food, Vegan, etc)

June 3, 2014

Kitchen Buddy Nutrition is attending, present at (& occasionally a visitor) at the following events Spring \ Summer 2014

Look forward to meeting you over the coming months at an event or more here…

June

Sat 7th June Doug Graham http://www.meetup.com/northlondon-veganorganic-rawtreat/

Sat 21st St Dunstan’s Fair, Catford. Raw Chocolate Talk & workshop

Sun 22nd Raw Food Pot Luck http://www.meetup.com/northlondon-veganorganic-rawtreat/

Sun 22nd Brian Clements (*TBC) Fresh – Network http://www.fresh-network.com/acatalog/a_day_with_dr_brian_clement_2014.html

July

Fri 4th-Sun 6th V-Delicious & Allergy and Free from Fair at Olympia (online discount tickets)

Sat 5th Goldsmiths Community Day (*TBC)

Sun 6th London Permaculture Festival http://www.londonpermaculturefestival.co.uk

Thurs 17th – Mon 21st Raw Fest www.rawfest.com  (how many times can you spot me in the picture below? 😉 )

August

Sunday 3rd August Yoga & Raw Food Day Workshop TBC (please contact us for details)

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September

Sat 13th Festival of Life http://www.festivaloflife.net

Sat 27th-Sun 28th  (*TBC) VegFest at Olympia.

 

Ecstatic & meditative Dance with Live Music

One Spirit http://www.meetup.com/OneSpirit-Ecstatic-Dance/  Raw & Cooked Vegan Cafe

Urubu http://www.meetup.com/london-ecstatic-dance/  Provides dancers’ complimentary Liquid Love Raw Chocolate Shots

5 Rhythms http://dancingtao.net/home/index.php

 

London Permaculture Festival 2014

May 4, 2014

It’s just a couple of months away ’til the 4th Annual London Permaculture Festival. A one day event held at Cecil Sharp House, Camden, London NW1 7AY. Once again, I’m proud to be part of the volunteer publicity team on this special event day.

There will be workshops (intro and advanced), ‘how-to’ sessions, live music, films, a stalls market and a kid’s zone. Find more information at www.londonpermaculturefestival.com.

Tickets: £6 (waged) / £4 (unwaged) on the door

Join people from all over London and beyond to discuss, network and learn about creative solutions for a sustainable, healthy future.

This is a grassroots event, organised entirely by volunteers, if you’d like to help out with program planning, publicity or being part of the crew on the day, please contact Kayode at: info@londonpermaculturefestival.com

Wild Food Foraging Nature Walk

April 29, 2014

Tickets are now on sale for the guided Nature Walk on Sat 24th May.

Have you spotted the Green Events posters around the local area{Q}! 🙂

Visit http://www.ourhithergreen.com for more info.

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Get your GLOW on!

March 23, 2014

I walked into one of my favourite health stores in London this afternoon and was greeted by the owner, Steve “Wow! You’re glowing today!” I smiled and suggested that it may have been perhaps that I’d worn my hair up…? (I could think of no immediate difference from any other day.) “No, you’re definitely glowing!” he replied. “Aha! I’ve been collecting wild greens and making tea, soup, eating more fresh fruit & … barefoot gardening…!” I responded. So here’s how to get on a glow, naturally 🙂

Sleep, rest (another hr would be nice…)

Meditiation. My friend Joe announced this week that meditating for just 5 mins can change your whole day.

Barefoot gardening. Gardening in general – hands in the soil (as opposed to our mobile devices – re Satish Kumar’s recent quote in Resurgence magazine) is a good thing. Taking off your shoes and socks, voluntarily and pootling around the lawn and paths on a warm sunny day, is even better 🙂 Grounding through the earth, soil, negative ions, makes for a pleasant 20 mins gardening session weekly \ daily.

Weeds up to your ankles? Find your local hot-spots for naturally wild growing edibles. March brings nettles, cleavers, chickweed, mallow and many more soon & before long there’ll be a multitude to chose from. This involves knowing what, where and how to collect. See other blog posts for info on this weeks’ collection items. Clearly, they have done their job. 2pts Cleavers Tonic = Cleansing to a glow on another level! Lots grow in my local nature reserve, clean alley ways and woodland.

Natural Hygeine and Food Combining. A good food combination makes for easy digestion, greater energy and brighter skin. I began the day with Banana & Pear (& Satsuma end of previous day -post party!). Less is more – choose from a couple of items eg fresh fruit & a fresh fat or even 1 variety eaten alone makes the stomach feel full and replenished. Try blueberries, melon (when warmer) all with lettuce, celery & fennel (when in season) for further weight-loss action.

Fresh Water & healing herbal teas – Chamomile, green, mint, Jasmine, lemon in water. During warmer weather, we must replenish our levels often, with the purest sources possible.

I like to drink a mixture now, of a variety of teas, combined with fresh water, juice, smoothies, coconut water, ‘mocktails’ and nut & seed milks.

Sunshine; well as often as we can get it in the UK – in the mornings this week, I’ve been out to soak up Vitamin D and enjoy the sun as often as possible. Tips – homeworkers, moving the office outside can be a nice way to begin the day & barefoot in the grass. However it’s not always the most plausable or ideal option for us all.

Touch = giving and recieving, in the most harmonious of ways, makes us feel, and feel more human as we’re physiologically and biologically made to enjoy and give, natural (wanted) general or loving touch. Whether at a Tantra festival (as I was yesterday) stroking a strangers brow or in a more intimate embrace; giving and recieving a natural touch is healing on many levels. Recieving a light, gentle stroke across my face or a neck & shoulder massage, makes me feel understood and welcome (in the right circumstances).

Hobbies – spend time in the best way you know how, at that moment. This morning, I browsed round a collection fair and discovered my love for vintage posters, local social history and my old floral & fruit interests re-ignited again 🙂 I purchsed a number of images to show my family and friends and invite their interest into social history in new ways.

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Home Grown Apples

February 4, 2014

The last of the locally grown apples from my neighbour’s tree have been made into Fresh Apple Jelly (with cinnamon & psyllium) over the weekend.  I made a jar especially and took it round to her house as a ‘thank you’ for supplying me with 2 bags over last autumn (I’d never seemed to have a spare jar before).

Over the past months, I’ve used them to make into apple sauce, baked apples, stewed apples as well as jars of sugar-free apple jelly (suitable for babies!) it is lovely to eat for breakfast with muesli (Mmmm!) or as an addition to a dessert or pie\tart filling. They have filled a gap for a dessert when needed (and utterly out of chocolate.. 😉 )

Long live local apple trees! and lovely neighbours to provide and supply to.

 

A Taste Test: Organic versus Non-Organic Almonds

January 23, 2014

Take an Almond taste test: do you know the difference between Organic and Non-Organic Almonds?

At early lunchtime, I felt like a protein snack (as it always seems to assist computer typing…) Voila! Enter Organic Almonds which really did the trick.

I’ve gradually been using up a batch of non organic Almonds I bought last year (on the right of the picture) which are paler, wider\fatter and have a hard-crunchy texture.

On the other hand (left) Organic Almonds from a bulk-selling health shop which are darker, flatter\thinner and happen to taste … DIVINELY almondy; like marzipan! Like fresh from the tree itself. Incredible; it’s ages since I’ve tasted an almond quite like it.

They taste SO completely different, it’s astonishing!

I’ll have to use up the others in breakfast \ evening milkshakes and in future, ImageTImagechoose the (even) more organic options …