Author Archives: Agnes Repka

Agnes Repka

About Agnes Repka

Agnes Repka is a raw living & vegan food expert with a passion for growing organic food and living a natural lifestyle. She has been sharing her experiences and visions in the last 3 years on her blog and on various lectures around Hungary. She is one half of the raw food catering team LifeKitchen (www.eletkonyha.hu/en). Agnes studied catering and economy but her focus tuned more on the connection of food, health and sustainability.

Agnes Repka

The little booklet of Children’s songs about food

This booklet for children and their parents is a result of the Future Of Food
project. The Future of Food is a two year European learning partnership created to exchange practices related to sustainable and healthy food for planet
and people. During a visit to Eco Village Sieben Linden in Germany in March
2015, an international group of participants were having a walk while picking
wild fruits. They discovered that although coming from 5 different countries
(Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the Netherlands) they were growing
up with very similar childrens rhymes – on the theme of the five fingers, all
focusing on food. On the pages of this booklet you find the five rhymes for the
smallest – and five contemporary alternative food stories for their parents.
Enjoy it!

Click on the pictures to open the full pdf booklet in bigger size and to download it as well!

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Agnes Repka

Interview with Samantha Burch

An interview made during the Future of Food learning partnership about the future of food growing, food preparation, eating and education with Samatha Burch from Gaia y sofia organization, Asturias, Spain. Filmed and edited by Agnes Repka and the Community Conscious.
Share our love for food!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=aZiCdwebzDMframeborder%3D0allowfullscreen

Agnes Repka

Hungarian Meeting Diary Day 2

Day 2

Opening counsel in the local woodlands with Sebastian Burch.

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Counsel reminds us to be present, clear the air and share who we are in the moment-however that may be. In the counsel there is honesty and spontaneity and equality. There is no hierarchy. As a symbolic totem is passed around the circle everybody listens to the one who speaks and all voices may be heard or one can remain silent if no words flow from the heart. It is a sacred space and what happens in the circle stays in the circle. It would be a wonderful tool to teach in schools to honour each other, respect the speaker by listening in silence. It also teaches us how to share, to speak with intention and say only what is needed in the moment. Can you imagine a global counsel where our wisest are sent to listen and to share from the perspective of unconditional respect?

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First session-Strategy for learners to share their learning

Using the idea of Knowledge, Skills abd Attitudes in the hands, head and heart trilogy the spanish Co-ordinator leads the session. The participants are asked to draw themselves in terms of their current skills, knowledge and values as a way of introduction to non formal learning tools and to empower participants to see themselves as journalists, photographers, diary keepers, artists, cooks and people of common sense. They are invited to express their learning and energy in whatever form feels appropriate to them. It is still early in the group life for some to feel inspired to create work, but we mention it so that when they are experiencing the programme and our week together, they will engage not as passive recipients of some prescribed wisdom but more like active citizens awake in their own curiosity.

Common sense time

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In the life of every group tasks are needed, so the time slots before and after meals are dedicated to housekeeping, practical tasks, food preparation tasks in support of the cook and such things as need to be done to care for our space and maybe ourselves. We have a loose timetable drawn up and people are free to fill themselves in where they like. It works well and everything gets done somehow. I think it is a good example of getting the balance right between structure and flow-themes that emerge often in adult education-so that our time together is fruitful.

Workshop Session

Nature as a mirror-The 4 elements Workshop-Irish co-ordinator leads a session in the nearby woodlands. See link here for one participants experience of it.

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Cultural Slot

One of the the Irish participants Marie (see LINK) who teaches set dancing in Ireland offers a session. How quickly the participants learn the basic steps! Ready for a final nights singing and dancing exchange between all countries.

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Agnes Repka

Hungarian meeting Day 1 – Tour of the venue

 

Text by Fionnuala Collins, editing by Agnes Repka.20150615_174752

The group were then given a tour of the farm where we were staying. As well as meeting all  the animals such as new baby lambs, new puppies, a hairy Hungarian pig, goats, sheep, rabbits, we met the owners and the local farmer assistant and heard a little of their their story, what brought them to the place and how they are managing with all their work.

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Their story is a very interesting one as they have created a new farm from scratch. They had to clear tonnes and tonnes of rubbish from the 8 Hectare site and import all the top soil, landscape the area to include all sheds and barns, a pond and fields for animals and create an orchard garden, cellar and clay fire chamber for smoking meat from the farm. They are “living the dream”, after holding this dream for 22 years, they finally found the time was right and they had gathered enough resources to make it happen. A key motivation was reconnecting with their source of food. Many children eat meat but they do not know where it comes from or how it lived. The woman of the house is a formidable woman, once a very successful tourism business operator she is spritely and energetic and often works long, long hours to keep the place ticking over.

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She is from a farming background, so she wanted to reconnect with her true source of nourishment and during this last 8 years has gone to her mother and asked her to show her all the things she saw her do as a child from making cheese and jams to preserving elderberries and blackberries in syrups.In this place visitors see what the animal looks like, can pet it and see how it moves in the landscape or what its living conditions are like. There is also the opportunity to make bread, cheese and a salami type sausage from their pigs meat. It is a new Agri tourism enterprise but a very good example of how people can blend tourism with growing…food for thought….

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Agnes Repka

Healthy food recipes and food ideas from the Irish meeting

Autumm is the harvest time for plants! See what we had in our feast in Ireland.

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Sprouts of chickpeas, mung beans, lentils and alfalfa! Goes well with any meal, even in the breakfast bowl!

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Era is making the salad dressing
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Raw food picnic after the seaweed foraging
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Autumm Beetroot salad – colour theraphy – Beetroot, apples and carrot

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Curly Kale “chips”
Do you have a dehydrator? If yes, here is a recipe how to enjoy a totally healthy, crispy kale chips at home!
Wash the kale leaves, and remove it from the hard stalks
Make a cream in a food processor from olive oil, garlic, cashew nuts, herbs, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne pepper. It shall be like a pesto.
“Massage” it into the kale leaves and sort it onto the trays of the dehydrator. Set it on 42 degrees and dry it till it is totally crisp. It might take up to 12 hours, but dehydrators are very economical with energy. Alternatively you can use the oven also on very low temperature.

Why kale and is it better raw?
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, luteinand zeaxanthin.[9] Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.[10]
Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying does not result in significant loss.[11] Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.[12][13] Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat.[citation needed] Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.[14]

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Edible wild and home grown greens and flowers were also on the menu!

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Energy snack for any time! Dehydrated fruit leather with seeds and nuts.

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A simple carrot salad with oil, salt, apple cider vinegar and soaked seeds.
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Delicious Raw vegan pudding 
You need a ripe avocado, 4 dates, some coconut oil, raw cocoa powder to taste, some banana and a little bit of ginger. I wish i live in a warm climate where all these are local!

Ohh, foraging! Lots of mushrooms in the Irish woods! :) Here is our harvest!
Always check with an expert what you picked, before you eat it. gombaAnd the recipe:

Mushroom stir-fry
In a pan sweat the garlic in olive oil and/or butter. Brush and wash the mushrooms, chop it and add to the pan. Stir them around in medium heat till it gets the liquid out and wait till the liquid it reduced. Than add some water (or stock) and reduce it on fire again. If they are fairly wet, than it is time to add some wine and parsley to it. At the very end add some butter just to melt it on it.

Boletus Carpaccio – a very simple and quick raw food recipe from Esther, Spain
You can use the cup of fresh, young boletus aereus or edulis for this recipe.
Slice the mushrooms very thin and lay the slices on a plate. Sprinkle on some salt flakes, extra virgin olive oil, lemon or lime juice and mashed walnuts or hazelnuts. Enjoy!

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Wheatgrass juice for every diet!
Whatever diet you follow, wheatgrass can add a lot of extra nutrition to your body! We also had some shots of it in Ireland.
Let’s see what Wikipedia says about it: “Wheatgrass is a good source of potassium, a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E(alpha tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, zinc, copper,manganese and selenium, and has negligible amount of protein (less than one gram per 28 grams). Adding other foods with complementary amino acid profiles to this food may yield a more complete protein source and improve the quality of some types of restrictive diets.[11]

Wheatgrass proponent Schnabel claimed in the 1940s that “fifteen pounds of wheatgrass is equal in overall nutritional value to 350 pounds of ordinary garden vegetables”,[3] a ratio of 1:23.[6] Despite claims of vitamin and mineral content disproportional to other vegetables, the nutrient content of wheatgrass juice is roughly equivalent to that of common vegetables (see table 1).”

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How to grow it?
Wheatgrass can be grown indoors or outdoors. A common method for sprout production indoors is often on trays in a growth medium such as a potting mix. Leaves are harvested when they develop a “split” as another leaf emerges. These can then be cut off with scissors and allow a second crop of shoots to form. Sometimes a third cutting is possible, but may be tougher and have less sugars than the first.[5]

 

Agnes Repka

Informal summary of the Future of Food 5th meeting

By Laura Farkas

Scariff, East Clare, Ireland 22-28 October 2014

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This learning partnership aims to explore and exchange new insights of sustainable practices related to food for a healthy planet and for healthy people and share this knowledge in an inspirational way.

This was the first time I visited Ireland, the first thing I realized the supergreen grass, and the gray stony architecture. Fields are separated from each other by stone fences. Buildings are made out of stone, the sky is often cloudy, it can rain any time suddenly, even when it is sunny.

I was so excited to see how these people live, work, how they solve the questions of their community, what expereinces they have in order to keep there life environment sustainable and liveable, what they are up to, why do they come and gather around a topic, from all over Europe (Spain, Holland, Germany, Hungary and Ireland): future of food.

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The event last a week, Irish members of the project made a very interesting and colorful agenda. The first day newcomers introduced themselves to the oldies and Irish partners intorduced the community garden and coop. The coop is not just a place to gather together, there are two fully equipped supermodern kitchens, rooms for people who would like to join in learning how to sew or meditate and a well-maintained and pretty community garden: we walked around the garden while its establishment, past and future was explained.

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The lounge of the coop building accommodates the artworks of local people: paintings, sculptures, mosaik, hand made postcards. Important information like events in the community, trainings and courses are shared on the notice board.

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Every day we had a morning circle conversation in one of the attic rooms. On these occasions we had the chance to share our thoughts, feelings and opinions.

The second day we learned about mushrooms, these amazing living beings: how fungi live, how we are all connected. In the afternoon we went to the woods to see the lesson learned partially in practice: a fairy forest, where soil is like spounge, so soft and flexible, it expressed so much peace and lazy willingness to go to sleep for the winter. Many of us took a lot pictures, those picture may tell more than words: http://fofpics.gaiaysofia.com/index.php/5th-meeting—Ireland-October-2014

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The same day at night we particpated in and Irish set dance lesson in a neat and classic Irish pub. I loved the smell and the color of the wooden furniture and interior. I found Irish danc style very friendly and reserved at the same time, like someone you feel attraction to but too reserved to get closer, like platonic love? The lady who keeps the venue warm, burns moss to heat the furnace. I have heard of but have never seen this material before.

The next day we visited the seashore and studied seaweeds that can be collected and prepared for consumption: eating, preserving and/or making cosmetics. Walking and collecting seaweed on the shore was very clearing. Potential energy popped up, releasing itself later during the day. It is amazing how huge effect ocean and the power of rain and wind can be on us. Salty breeze and slippery rocks brought a lot of deeper thoughts out of us.

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On the way back our kind hosts took us to a Moy House community garden. A neat and fertile field where volunteers/wwoofers are too welcome for a season or more.

The next day we went to visit Irish seedbank. People who work here aim to preserve the genetic diversion of Irish varieties. A whole article was written on this topic, so I can only add my main experience: the wow feeling how important is to be aware of biodiversity, to respect all kind of manifestation of life.

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During these days a lot of interesting conversations went on, in the morning, while waiting for the bus coming, in the afternoon having a walk in the town, in the evening sitting near the fireplace.

This experience was not only about future of food but also about sharing cultural and personal behaviors, conventions, knowledge, experiences and memories. Interesting and hopeful sign that people are able to tell stories about their inner mind, deep understanding and the way they see the world, whilst others pay entire attention, digest what was heard and then reflect with their own filter of perspectives. This way the whole picture could be more detailed and textural while getting over the barriers of unkown people, language, cultural and personal roots.

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It was an interesting to open up, to share impressions and see things from many different points of view. One of my friends from Holland explained to me this feeling as a parallel comparison to a diamond, it has so many sides, but still it remains a diamond at the end of the day. We can see the same thing from so many different aspects and still we observe the same object. This can be a nice and human solution when trying to understand and respect each others point of view, each other tasks, difficulties and delight.

Agnes Repka

Irish Seed Savers and agro-bio-diversity

On the fourth day of our travel to Ireland we visited the center of the Irish Seedsavers Association near Scariff. After a brief introduction and a nice lunch we were guided through the whole farm which is more than 7 hectares. We got many thoughts, I would like to share them with You.

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The local seedsaving story began 24 years before, when Anita Hayes (an American woman) brought back original Irish varieties.

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Later on many other professionals joined who were active on this field. Keith Lamb collected native apples, while Michael Miklis had a collection of original grain species. The structure of the group and the association were developed by Bridget Carlin. Thanks to her work now they have lots of members in the Irish Seedsavers Association who support the project in terms of finance.SONY DSC

In the past two decades the community started various professional projects. They have a worldwidely unique collection of self-rooting apple trees. These types can propagate without grafting. Maybe this “skill” is directly descended from their wild ancestor.

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Besides the above mentioned original grain collection they have also wide variety of running beans and special cabbages. After all, the most popular topic is about potatos: since the history of Ireland is connected to this plant, people tend to honour potatos (and like different kinds). Finally, they have more than 600 kinds of vegetable seeds, 140 varieties of fruits and 25 ancient grain.

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Besides the gardening they engage in other activities like bee-keeping, forestry, cheese-making, etc. Groups can come and participate on events and courses. Topics are different: composting, organic gardening, planning of orchards or even setting up polytunnels. This last is extremly important in Ireland, because of the regural rains and continous wind.

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Beyond the numerous vegetable beds and the large orchard the farm has many buildings on the spot, too. The first small center was extended with a cafe and a visitors room. There is a shop and different kinds of storage buildings: one for the potatos and other roots, one for drying seeds and a cold store where they can preserve the varieties for long years.

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Why this project is successful, how to manage well an initiative like this?
Personally I think one of the most important factor is the professionality. There are well educated staff on key positions: from the growing of plants, through the harvesting and processing of seeds, till the storage and documentation. All of these are in good hands. They cooperate with scientific instituts and high schools, as well.

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Not less important is the social aspect. It is good as they try to get involved people around, also youngs from schools. It could be interesting for class to journey here and learn. The site has its own “young-corner” with a pond, insects hive, composter and also living buildings made of willow. It is also pratically useful for all members of the association that they receive varieties which are inaccessible in normal shops. In exchange of the yearly fee they get 10 different types of seeds and discount on buying fruit trees.

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Maybe we even cannot understand the importance of the task what Irish Seedsavers (and similar initiatives worldwide) do. To enable agro-bio-diversity spread around a country and also in the world can allow our long-term survivorship on Earth. Not only because of the wider range of nutritions we can get from them, but also because of their skill to adopt to the changing environment. It seems this question gets more and more actual these days…

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We are all affected by the questions of food-security, not only those who have not got enough to eat. It is our common duty to maintain diversity! Let us do now what we can: somebody just buy local food on the market (try to choose old varieties), others can step further and use traditional seeds in their garden. Let us connect to local initiatives who are working with original varieties and support their activity with our interest.

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This articles was written by our volunteer, Geza Bohm. Thank you Geza!

Agnes Repka

Community garden at the East Clare Community Co-op, Scariff

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Thanks for the great conversation for Michael Kennedy, who is the responsible person for the community garden in East Clare Co-op. He has been working in this garden for one and a half year. He joined the community because he likes doing this and he does gardening at home too, he has experience in growing vegetables, beside that he has cows and goats for their milk and to make cheese.

The garden has two parts; the first is the older one, almost 25 years old, and planted mainly with perennials in rock framed beds. The bench on the path is a piece of artwork made at the mosaic course, hm…pretty…cool.
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The second one was established later, where the frames of raised beds have been changed step by step from timber to rocks, as timber rots very fast in Ireland due to climate and fungi and it lasts five times shorter than on the continent.

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We can find also ornamental plants to gladden the soul. There has been a government supported program through which a group of people who is interested in gardening came and renewed two herb spots neatly (borage, rosemary, dill, mints, oregano, chamomile, sage included).

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Beside fruits and herbs, vegetables are also grown in the garden – for example: lettuce, mizuna, kale, tomatoes, parsnips, turnips, potato, leeks those are sold in the café, especially the vegetables for salad. The community garden is maintained also by those who learn about theory of gardening in the classroom and would like to get some practical experience. Young pear trees and apple trees thrive in the garden which fruits are used for tarts and pies and sold in the café.

 

A tiny but cosy greenhouse is also included in the garden where seedling are grown in seed trays and kept warm by barrel-method (two large –approximately 200 litres) plastic barrels containing water absorb heat during the day, releasing it during the night, while increasing the inside temperature.) A solar panel is a future plan to be hopefully established to keep temperature even more consistent.

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Seeds are saved or purchased from the Seedsavers/Seedbank to which we had the chance to visit during the week. http://www.irishseedsavers.ie/

The earliest seeding starts in February, certain crops can be grown outside at that time e.g. garlic and other bulb typed plants or Brassicas. There are a lot of nasturtiums growing in the garden, not just for its edible leaf and flower but also to protect other plants against slugs (they prefer to choose nasturtium instead).

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Local market is for small holders: six or seven small holders can gather together and offer their products to local people who would like consume healthy food and support the community they live in.

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The kitchen is the extension of the garden; people can rent it out and try to make dishes out of the vegetables they grew here. Cooking courses are regularly held in the well-equipped kitchen.

Michael’s idea is to involve local schools, community groups to teach students how to produce food so youngsters can be more aware of the process of growing food and spending their time in good company. The community garden could be promoted and kept small and manageable at the same time.

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For further details and contacts please visit:

http://www.eastclarecommunitycoop.com/

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This article was written by our volunteer Laura Farkas. Thank you Laura!