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.

Toward a Permanent Culture

I’ve arrived as a new volunteer at Newbold after attending the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) Course at Findhorn this past autumn. Since 2013, I’ve been volunteering at a number of similar projects — retreat centres, educational institutes, and spiritual communities — each with its own strengths and challenges, each aiming to achieve sustainability, each taking active steps to improve their infrastructures, foodways, social networks, and habits. I’m delighted with how Newbold compares to the others, and how folks here are engaged with the challenges of making Newbold more sustainable.

The EDE Course divided sustainability into four aspects: spiritual,economic, ecological, and social. Something Newbold does particularly well is the social aspects. I like how we Newbolders incorporate spirituality throughout our daily life, from the morning meditations & Taize singing, to casual conversations at tea break or mealtimes. No one insists that we all follow one particular path, yet I get the sense that we all hold some things sacred, which makes me feel welcomed among warmhearted folk.

An exciting area with which I’m involved is the development of in-house educational programmes at Newbold. One of Newbold’s strengths is on the social side, for instance, a new monthly-meeting Permaculture Design Course (PDC) will be offered at Newbold soon (permaculture.com.au/what-is permaculture).  Permaculture espouses a more ‘permanent’ ‘culture’  including pattern thinking, sustainable design, re-imagining human settlements and resource management and also include personal and social permaculture aspects, which is why it seems like such a natural fit here at Newbold. Many of the places I visited were using permaculture, especially the ones concerned about local food.

 

Permaculture applies the same principles used in ecological systems to social systems (loobymacnamara.mouseman.info/people-and-permaculture), encapsulated in the phrase: “planet-care, fair-share, and people-care.” If we are to become a truly sustainable culture we’ll need to communicate, make decisions, negotiate conflicts, and gather for celebrations and ceremonies. People-care is what Newbold does particularly well. The culture here includes a balance of work time, informal group time, and personal time; meetings happen regularly both for personal sharing and to take care of business. There’s an emphasis on non- violent, or “compassionate communication,” (compassionatecommunications.us) so that when difficult conversations need to happen relationships can stay intact, or even be strengthened. Sociocracy structures (sociocracy.info) help discussion of changes in policy, and ensure that most of us are well-informed when decisions are taken. I’ve been introduced to the 8-Shields work of Jon Young (8shields.com), with specific practices to create a more regenerative culture. We who work and reside here feel valued, nurtured and supported so that we can ably convey our sense of well-being to guests and visitors. It’s striking to me, and I haven’t found anything like it in all my travels. At Newbold, I have I found a culture which cares about people *and* the planet. So I’m hopeful, and encouraged, and plan to stay a while to learn what I can, and teach what I’ve learned.

 

root2

Root Cuthbertson is an environmental educator, local food gastronomist, honey collector, dance teacher, story-teller, singer-songwriter, blog-writer (that’s a new one!), and is working on a sci-fi action adventure novel.

Garden Blog: All about Apples

Mid August in the walled garden, the first variety of apple ripen and fall. The snow in early December has ensured the remainder of any hanging fruit has fallen, the blackbirds feasting on the frozen Bramley’s Seedling variety plump on the ground, creating apple carcasses on the frozen earth.

apple_juiceThe last trees baring fruit were the six Bramley’s Seedling and the first in September where the Beauty of Bath. In between this seasonal parade of
70 apple trees in leaf, in bloom, with apples, without apples, without leaves, dormant, we create and celebrate the bounty of these beautiful trees.

There are around 35 different variety of apple some of them Heritage varieties. Some planted 100 years ago, they have experienced much more than any of the human beings living here now. They are home to many lichens, mosses, birds, insects and help create the atmosphere of the walled garden that grows a majority of the food for the community of Newbold House.

IMG_5833This year Newbold Trust with the help of the Voluntary Action Fund created a Volunteer Coordinator post that enabled the coordination of preserving of many garden harvests including apples. Thanks to all the volunteers who come to our preserving days and to work in the garden.

We made apple – compote, butter, curd, chutney, rings, cake,
tarts and all those things forgotten. We also, together with the garden volunteers, picked up windfalls, picked from the tree, processed apples into apple juice, sorted apples for storage, and spat a pip on Apple Day.
It will soon be time for pruning the trees. Each is very unique and with loving human attention and a positive outcome at the COP21 talks (see http://www.transitionnetwork.org) will again bear fruit for many years to come.

For more photographs of Apple Day and Food Preservation follow us on Facebook or click here.

 

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