The garden is my church, the kitchen my altar and pantry a prayer book By Jake

At 22 years old, our new kitchen volunteer has developed an important path as a cook. 

Born and raised in Brighton, Jake shares with us his experience at Newbold and gives away this brief but very emotional testimony of his daily encounter with the kitchen.

He started as dishwasher when he was 14 and got his first chance as a chef at the age of 18. Since then, he has been working and travelling around places such as England, New Zealand, Uganda, Thailand & Vietnam. This has created a great impact on his life and of course in his cooking style.

His aim? To create community through food…. to bring people together.

We are grateful for Jake and his wonderful collaboration and hard work and hope you enjoy his blog post:  

Every time I sit to eat; it is an act of worship.

The garden is my church, the kitchen my altar and pantry a prayer book from which I can, with luxurious will, draw on flavours like a chorus of hymns.

Food for me is a direct connection to creation, to the source of our nourishment, the bubbling spring of natural abundance and expession of nature in tangibly tasty form.

We depend upon the myriad miracles of nature that align (maybe with a little assistance from the gardeners shadow) along a transformative process from sun to soil, seed to fruit, to eventually meet us, yet another integral contributor to the cycle of life.

And so it seems a great dis-justice for these precious jewels of divinity to so often be asphyxiated in lifeless plastic.

In stark contrast I find myself taking a stroll from the bubbling alchemical environment of the kitchen to take some time in communion within the Newbold gardens, harvesting with a grateful whistle, a prayer of sorts, parsley, sorrel, spinach, lettuce and other april offerings. These first enthusiastic arrivals setting the scene for a season of sensual theatrics as vines twine and pods pop.

It is at this threshold, between garden and kitchen where I thrive most. Knowing that the instant a stem snaps there is an obligation to honour in its freshest form the days harvest. I have been known to be found on all fours in the polytunnel grazing hands free to maximise the ‘freshness experience’. It is here that my native self is proven. As I play my part in this sacred cycle i acknowledge I am holding sunlight, condensed into a leaf or berry, lifegiving, planet sustaining sunlight.

Whereas a tree or plant can largely gather information directly from the sun, we as humans must depend upon a far more intricate and longer process of concentrating that energy into be it leaves or flesh. As we have not yet evolved photosynthetic powers, we seek from other organisms. Therefore as a necessary harvest this becomes an act of sacrifice that in turn should rightfully be worshipped. It is with this truth that I cook. 

By Jake

ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility Scheme by Deborah Benham

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Newbold believes in a life sustaining society where we can thrive personally, co-exist in harmony, feel interconnected with the living system of the planet and therefore protect and conserve this for future generations. We believe in empowerment and positive leadership. Newbold believes that to build a more positive society we must empower leaders to face the challenges of today.

Reports from a wide range of Youth charities show that young people face unprecedented challenges in the modern world. Finding meaningful employment is increasingly difficult, and with record levels of unemployment and decreasing job security, many feel a sense of anxiety about the future. Collectively, young people will be the most affected by alarming global trends like climate change, environmental degradation, and social tensions based on culture, religion, or class. At the same time, it is our young people who have the most potential and often the most drive to contribute to a sustainable future.

We aim to harness and empower that potential through recently awarded ERASMUS+ funding. Newbold have been awarded 50,000 Euros by the ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility scheme to run two fantastic 8 day trainings for Youth Leaders in August and September.

In the training participants will learn how to empower young people to identify and use their unique strengths and qualities, in service to themselves and their communities. This will enable them to develop more rewarding careers and take an active and positive role in their local communities.

deb_poppyBy Deborah Benhan

A PhD Marine biologist and animal behavior expert, Deborah is an environmental educator and sustainability designer working to support the emergence of regenerative culture and the recovery of healthy ecosystems through innovative design, stakeholder engagement, multidisciplinary education and deep nature connection.

Celebrating the Celtic Festivals – Imbolc by Heather Walley

At Newbold one of our traditions is to celebrate the ancient Celtic festivals throughout the year in order to honour our essential connection to the land and the rhythm of the seasons. We feel it is important to acknowledge the cycles of nature and how they are connected to the growing of our food and to give gratitude to the earth for the abundance we enjoy. This helps us to feel connected to the rhythms of life, each other and the importance of keeping in balance with the natural world that sustains us.

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Lighting our Imbolc candle and blessing our seeds.

The first of these festivals is Imbolc, traditionally celebrated around the 1st February, it literally means “in the belly” and marks the end of winter’s reign and the first stirrings in the belly of the earth of the energy of new growth. It is about celebrating the light returning, which we symbolise by lighting our white Imbolc candle,  and the first stirrings of new life in the soil and in the plants. We use this time to plant our first seeds and bless their growth for the coming season.

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Planting the first spinach seeds of the season in the greenhouse.

Imbolc is traditionally the great festival and honouring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit), so loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget, and the festival is also known as Candlemas. She is a Goddess of healing, poetry and smith craft; also of fire, the sun and the hearth. She brings fertility to the land and its people. One of her symbols is the snowdrop, the first flowers of Spring offering hope and new life after the harshness of winter, which have here found their way inside to bless one of our polytunnels!

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Snowdrops in the polytunnel.

Imbolc is a Fire Festival, so we gather round the fire after our seed planting to ask for a blessing on our land and on each other, and to share poems, stories and music. This is usually followed by a delicious meal in the dining room in honour of our wonderful volunteers!

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Playing music round the fire.

Brigid’s Cross. This is a traditional fire wheel symbol – used to decorate the hearth as a symbol of protection, here being blessed along with our seeds.

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Brigid’s cross and seeds.

More pictures of our celebration can be found on our Facebook Page.

heather_rockHeather Walley has been a resident member of the Newbold Community for over 5 years and before that, lived on the Isle of Erraid as a member of the Findhorn Foundation community there. As well as being an artist, she is a certified Esalen Massage practitioner, teacher and enthusiastic horsewoman!

Newbold Trust supports refugees

Sustainability is about far more than environmental policy and development; its a holistic way of thinking which integrates social empowerment and justice. A key issue in regards to social justice is the suffering of refugees migrating from Syria.

More than 750,000 refugee have arrived from Syria and other war torn nations
into mainland Europe. These refugees have left their homes with little food, clothes or shelter in the hope of finding a stable and improved quality of life.

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Newbold members attended a TSI Moray lead refugee crisis meeting and felt compelled to help make a positive impact in alleviating the struggles of refugees. Newbold Members since have volunteered alongside Moray supports refugees.

Newbold  Trust members Kirsty and myself joined local community volunteers Bas and Sallia at the sorting centre for Moray supports refugees. Newbold members and local volunteers helped sort and prioritise items for transport to refugee families most in need.

72717F36-C3E9-47A6-9A76-A3837F571C8DDF88DDD9-42B4-4E6B-9384-B611BEFB217FI was overwhelmed by the volume of donations from the Moray community. I feel that community and compassion are key in alleviating this human right struggle. If we work alongside our local communities and remain compassionate we can make a difference.


You can find out more about how you can help by visiting the Moray supports refugees Facebook page

Or visit:

Cal Aid – Humanitarian assistance for refugees

Cal Aid Facebook page.

Refugee donation drop off points

To donate click here