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

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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!

Top 10 tips for a more Sustainable Xmas

During the season of celebration we need to show extra care for the environment. Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden on the planet. A little effort and imagination we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season. Forget about the shops, the adverts and the corporate claims on Christmas – let’s do it in a personal way! Here are some tips we use during our Christmas retreats at Newbold Trust to make xmas more sustainable. (for more information about our christmas retreats click here – www.newboldtrust.org/christmas-holidays/ )

1.Buy Less, Buy Smarter                                                                                                                   Tiny things can make big changes. When you buy something you should ask you a couple of simple question which comes from permaculture ethic: Does it take care of peoples needs? Does it take care with the planet? Is this fair? To find out more http://permacultureprinciples.com/ethics/ These simple questions will help you to buy smarter and fairer for people and the planet.

2. Connect with Nature
P1020206Connecting with nature means more than simply getting a little fresh air. Rather, it entails reconsidering our individuality, and recalibrating our wider human and ecological relationships. A fuller connection with nature is an essential part of a good life, allowing us to temper envy and see ourselves from a proper perspective.

Newbold Trust is running for Xmas two different programmes to help you to connect with nature http://newboldtrust.org/christmas-holidays/

3. Reuse/Recycle
The Uk uses more than 220,000 miles of wrapping paper during xmas! (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8964837/How-Britain-bins-227000-miles-of-Christmas-paper.html ) This is why it is so important to talk about ways to reduce waste when decorating presents. Here are some tips to help reduce waste, recycle and reuse over the christmas period.

One solution is to be creative when wrapping presents; use magazine clippings from around your house, photographs from old albums, old newspapers, last years calendar can all make very creative and attractive decoration for gifts. http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/creative-gift-wrap.html

4. Choose a live tree                                                                                                                            Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.

A six foot tall artificial tree produces 40kg of emissions if thrown on a landfill, compared to a real tree which only creates 3.5kg of emissions if it’s chipped or incinerated.

P1020080Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, sving both transportation costs and added air pollution.

 

5. Christmas cards                                                                                                                                 Buy recycled paper (not plastic) cards without lots of decorations, otherwise these cannot be recycled. Around 744 million cards are sent each Christmas and if all these were made from recycled paper, it would save the equivalent of 248,000 trees.

Alternatively send an e-card; there are lots of websites which allow you to do this for free. And remember you can reuse cards as gift tags next year!

6. Lower the impact of holiday lighting
IMG_0883Reduce the size of outdoor lighting displays. A smaller presentation of lights can still be attractive, and more appropriate in the ‘season of giving’. Saving electricity is also a way of giving, since conserving resources benefits everyone.
Use LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting
LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. LED holiday lights use .04 watts per bulb, 10 times less than mini bulbs and 100 times less than traditional holiday bulbs. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.

7. Eat Organic                                                                                                                                           Food is a key part of peoples Christmas period so it is important to consider choices that are not harmful to the planet. Around 30% of our individual carbon footprint is made up of our food choices, so what we eat this Christmas is the single most important way we can reduce our environmental impact.
Choosing local organic produce can help support local farmers and provide food that is nutritious and free from harmful pesticides. Buying organic food also helps support improved biodiversity (See https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6496-organic-farming-boosts-biodiversity/)

Organic farms help keep carbon in the soil and therefor reducing the carbon footprint. ‘On average 22% more birds, 75% more plant species, 50% more pollinators such as bees’ (Journal of Applied Ecology Vol 51 2014)

8. Eat Less Meat and Fish.                                                                                                                  20kg is roughly the carbon footprint of a single Christmas dinner. This means that the country as a whole will produce around 51,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from food alone. Its therefor really important to consider how we can reduce our carbon footprint with our eating habits over the festive period.
Eating less meat and fish over the xmas period can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint with The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimating the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

9. Buy Local                                                                                                                                        Support local crafts, food producers and businesses by buying gifts from local owners. Local business can help you find the perfect decorations, gifts and food for Christmas dinner. Supporting local business builds community and resilience.

10. Make your own gifts, cards and decorations                                                              Making your own food and decorations brings people together and brings a personal tough to the Christmas period. Craft gifts can be some of the most precious and cherished gifts of all at xmas.

 

Find out how to integrate crafts into your xmas: http://www.mookychick.co.uk/how-to/arts-and-crafts/make-cheap-christmas-gift-ideas.php

For more information about how we implement these Xmas tips into our lives why not experience it by join us this Christmas.

http://newboldtrust.org/christmas-holidays/

 

Newbold supports climate action

The Newbold Trust is committed to the idea of building a culture of sustainability; both as a community and as a social enterprise. The importance of our connection to nature and the principles of sustainability hangs in the balance as the world is impacted by Climate Change.

COP21 in Paris is a chance to see global action with participating leaders from 190 countries attending the Paris convention. The Newbold community is showing their support for climate action with members attending a local Climate march standing in solidarity with the community and transition town Forres in demanding action to save our planet. The climate march is one of many across the world over the weekend.

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 You can find out the climate march by visiting:

https://transitiontownforres.wordpress.com

http://forresweb.net/event/climate-march-forres-high-street/?instance_id=945

http://www.stopclimatechaos.org

http://www.cop21paris.org

 

You can find out more about the Newbold Trust by visiting:

http://newboldtrust.org/sustainability-commitment/