Author Archives: Monique Wijn

Monique Wijn

About Monique Wijn

Monique is fascinated with food since a long time. She studied biology and became a vegetarian. Food was her main topic, along with environmental health and complementary medicine. She created educational materials for school children and for analphabetic mediterranean women. In the ninetees she leaded a green consumer organisation raising awareness on the ecological and social impacts of food production. She leaded campaigns on the risk of genetic engineering and radiation of food; on the impact of global transport of food; on agri-biodiversity and on oestrogenes in food. Since 12 years she is a gardener in edible wild plants and a seedsaver, after studying biodynamic agriculture, permaculture and agroforestry. She has a diet of mostly raw, vegan and wild plants. She wants to explore the relation of food and health on all four dimensions (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and the relation of food and consciousness. For her, healthy food is only truly healthy if it is at the same time healthy for plants, animals and the planet. Recently she is involved in the transition movement: how local food production and urban gardening can contribute in creating sustainable and resilient communities. website: www.degodin.nl. Blog: http://degodin.wordpress.com/

Monique Wijn

Ecovillage Sieben Linden

Our host: Ecovillage Sieben Linden

For the 3rd Future of Food meeting the FOF members went to Germany to visit ecovillage Sieben Linden. Situated about 200 km west of Berlin in a region that once was part of the former German Democratic Republic, a new village was built from scratch completely out of natural materials. It is  now considered an internationally acclaimed model sustainability centre with visitors all year long and one of the major ecovillages in Europe.

As the story goes, the permission received by the initiator group in 1997 to build an entirely new village in Germany was close to a political miracle. The idea for the project  goes further back in time when a Berlin based core group was born that started to build plans in 1989 for creating an “autonomous, ecological village”. Due to the unification of the two Germanies in that same year, new opportunities arose to buy a property with the desired size. Near the former border between East and West such properties existed but it lasted until 1997 when 22 ha of land were bought and the first settlers moved in.

Since then much has changed. The pioneer group of twenty persons has grown to around 140 residents. The first persons born in the village have by now grown up. By subsequent acquisitions of land, the total area of the community owned property has grown to 80 ha, of which 45 ha forest and 8 ha at which building is allowed. When walking around still see the famous Bauwagen (wagons on wheels) that were used for living by the settlers, now standing next to a series of modern, energy-efficient houses all built out of natural materials. Sieben Linden is renowned for its straw bale housing and boosts a three storey straw bale apartment building unique in Europe. The former farm house has been transformed into a community centre and hosts an international educational institution. All the infrastructure (roads, wells, electricity, telephone etc. ) have been created by the settlers themselves.

Food production

Growing your own food was important right from the project inception back in 1989. The poor soil that the settlers found has been transformed by years of care and turned into beautiful gardens. The relation to the surrounding landscape has been recovere. Nowadays a small team of gardeners employed by the community makes sure that a lot of good quality food is available for the inhabitants and guest all year round.

If you want to know how it feels like to walk through a human settlement completely designed by ecological principles, go to Sieben Linden, it is definitely worth a visit.

http://www.siebenlinden.de/

 

Monique Wijn

Permaculture intro + tour

logo permacultuurpermaculture flower-50%

On the thursday morning in Sieben Linden we had a talk and a walk on the topic of permaculture.

After a general introduction by Monique, we visited the garden plots of Jörg and Julia and their community. Here we could see raised beds with a lot of vegetables and herbs growing together in synergy. They also planted quite a large forest garden with a lot of varieties of fruittrees surrounded by herbs and wild weeds.

permaculture flower-50%Below here you find an overview of permaculture, permaculture ethics & principles and domains of action.

Permaculture

Permaculture was developed in the seventies by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren at the University of Tasmanië.

Bill-Mollison_David-Holmgren-_Permaculture

These biologists researched together the ecosystems in the forests of Tasmania and were inspired to build a sustainable system in which mankind could fullfill its basic needs for food, drinkable water, housing, energy and waste management.

Bill Mollison was inspired by and worked with Australian Aboriginals where he learned to look at nature in a new way:

  • Permaculture is a danse with nature, in which nature takes the lead.

Also Fukuoka, a Japanese expert in natural agriculture  was a source of inspiration to him (‘One straw revolution’).

In the beginning, permaculture spread specially fast in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Nowadays it has spread in many life domains and also in moderate areas.

Definition of permaculture

Permaculture is a creative design process that is based on ethics and design principles. It mimics patterns and relationships we can find in nature and it can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and economics.

permaculture-principles-wordle

By adopting the ethics and applying the principles one can make the transition from being a dependent consumer to become a responsible producer. Permaculture builds skills and resilience, both at private and at community level, that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.

The techniques and strategies used to apply these principles vary widely depending on the location, climatic conditions and resources that are available. The methods may differ, but the foundations of the holistic approach remain constant. By learning these principles one can acquire valuable thinking tools that help to become more resilient in an era of change.

Three ethical principles

Centrally in permaculture are three ethical principles:

  • Earth Care The Earth is a living, breathing entity. Without ongoing care and nurturing there will be consequences too big to ignore.
  • People Care If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.
  • Fair Share We are provided with times of abundance which enables us to share with others.

These principles principles are developed after researching community ethics and by learning from communities who live in close contact – and balance – with nature. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore modern progress and techniques, but in the transition to a sustainable future we need new norms and values.

Design Principles

In the beginning, the design principles where dispersed and not clearly defined. After 25 years of experience in permaculture, David Holmgren developed 12 clearly defined design principles:

  1. Principle1  Observe and interact
  2. principle2 Catch and Store Energy
  3. principle3 Obtain a Yield
  4. principle4 Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. principle5 Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
  6. principle6 Produce no Waste
  7. principle7 Design from Patterns to Details
  8. principle8 Integrate rather than Segregate
  9. principle9 Small and slow solutions
  10. principle10 Use and value diversity
  11. principle11 Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  12. principle12 Creatively Use and Adept to Change 

The Permaculture Flower

The ethics and principles are nowadays applied to seven different domains of action, required to create a sustainable culture:

permaculture-flower

  1. Land & Nature stewarding
  2. Building
  3. Tools & Technology
  4. Education & Culture
  5. Health & Spiritual Well-Being
  6. Finances & Economics
  7. Land Tenure & Community Governance

Listen to David Holmgren
talk about the permaculture flower (mp3 – 1.20MB).

More information on permaculture on
www.permacultureprinciples.com

 

 

Monique Wijn

Worldcafé: What is needed to grow healthy food?

What is needed to grow healthy food ? 

World café during FoF stay in Spain autumn 2013.

In one World Café we discussed in small groups the question ‘What is needed to grow healthy food?’. On a big paper we wrote down our thoughts and explained to each other what we ment. For example someone wrote: ‘Education in what really is healthy food, e.g. provide knowledge and information about the food we are eating’. This person explained that we first need to know what is really ment with healthy food and what not. This text is a compilation of the thoughts we shared.

What is healthy food?

Healthy food is food that is grown without pesticides ande chemical fertilizers. Food that is grown in a clean environment and from plants that can use clean water and root in a clean soil. Plants that preferable grow outside, beneath the sun and exposed to wind and rain. Rain water has special natural healthy properties, although rain nowadays can be also polluted by our modern human society, especially when it is the first rain after a dry period.

Healthy food is from plants that can fully live and grow as they like, so no pruning of tomatoes. Growing together with other plants and allowing soil animals and all kinds of insects around and on them. Healthy food comes from plants that grow together with bigger animals like birds, moles, rabbits etc. In this way the plant has the possibility to interact with other beings. This interaction even changes the physical chemistry in plants.

Healthy food comes from plants that grow in a divers plant community, with many other different plants around, an agro-eco-system. Plants interact with each other and bring different nutrients in the soil and help each other this way. This happens in interaction with soil life, the bacteria and mycelium. About weeds: there are no wrong plants: everything that is growing is your friend, is coming to help you. The question is why is it coming?

What is needed to create a healthy soil?

Healthy plants grow in a healthy soil. How do you create this?

In permaculture we agree on the idea that in order for plants to pick up the right nutrients from the soil, we need to feed the soil and the life in the soil, in stead of  the plants.

Feeding the soil: If you want to add materials to your soil, only natural additions are good for soil life. The best is a wide variety of fresh organic materials, added with mineral rich rock powders, lava powder, dilluted celtic sea salt, seaweed, grinded shelves, etc.

Compost: A good humus rich compost helps a soil the best. Making a good humus rich compost is an art. Fresh and excellent quality materials are needed to built a good compost heap. You need to place, protect and monitor the compost heap in skilled manner.

Preparations: Knowledge is needed how to make and add special prepared  ‘energized plant information liquid’ like Biodynamic preparations – comparable with bach remedies – for the compost and soil.

Animal manure: When animal manure is used, it needs to be from healthy animals, that are not treated with antibiotics, or fed with fodder with of from genetic engineered ingredients.

Drainage: A healthy soil is also rightly drained. A good drainage is made from natural materials preferable willow branches deeply burried.

Protection: A healthy soil is always protected from extreme weather conditions like direct sunlight, heavy rains or strong winds. This can be done by plants, mulches, hedges, catch crops, ditches.

Knowledge: Good knowledge about cultivation techniques is needed to create and maintain a healthy soil and healthy plants. There are many books about this, but a lesser known example is letting the plants flower and keep deep rooting plants that can bring minerals to the surface (mineral pumps) and organic matter into the soil. An example of this are the thistles.

Awareness: Awareness is needed to feel and be connected with the earth and soil in order to make the right descisions. An attitude of respect and gratitude towards the soil, towards nature and towards the animals, insects and plants is very important.

Political awareness

To be able to grow healthy food it is essential to have access to good seeds. Good seeds are seeds that are e.g. open pollinated, free available and not patented. This brings up the political issues around seed legislation. A good seed legislation ensures the access to seeds, the right to produce and sell seeds, the protection and promotion of agro-biodiversity. We need sound regulation and legislation in order to maintain access to seeds. This is a global issue and requires quite some knowledge about global food and seed policy.

Social aspects

Last but not least social aspects are very important in order to grow healthy food. Happy people grow healthy food. Tasting food together and eating together, peer support, is important. This brings healing to people. Care is needed, the work should not only be socially just, but should bring happiness, creative force, love and well being to the people who produce, prepare and eat the food.

The posters where presented in a very funny  and creative way. In a small theatre piece, the soil, the plants and the farmer who owned the land where presented. The owner clearly didn’t take awareness of the needs of the soil, busy as she was, earning money and trying to make a profit..

Monique Wijn

Dutch ‘Reclaim the Seeds’ Festival

plaatjeOn the 8th and 9th of March 2014 I was co-organiser of the third edition of the ‘Reclaim the seeds’ festival in the Netherlands. This was held at the beautifull Botanical Garden in Haren, Groningen.

RtS-markt-650hortus-haren-350

The first and second event, in 2012 in Amsterdam and 2013 in Den Bosch were allready very well visited, but the over a Thousand visitors that came to the event exceeded largely our expectations. There where 27 stands with special and historic seeds, more than the years before and many people spontaneously brought their own seeds to swop. Both standholders, workshopgivers as visitors were very positiv about the event.

 

The event attracted people from all over Netherlands, from Germany, but to a large extent from the region. It is very clear that the growing of special varieties of seeds and seedsaving is alive in the North. One of the outcomes of the event was the starting of a Northern Seedsavers Network.

RtS-presentatie-colombianen-6509All workshops where very well visited. There where political workshops about the European seed legislation as well as very practival workshops like seedsaving, permaculture etc.

 

noticias-colombianen-300One of the highlights was the presentation of three representatives of Colombian farmerorganisations. This was their first visit on their European tour to raise awareness about the new seed legislation in Colombia. They shared their problems due to the new freetrade treaty between the United States and Colombia. Thousands of tons of local and regional, non registered seeds – including real food like mais – were under threat of mass destruction. The positive site of their story was, that farmers are more and more organising themselves, creating their own seed networks and the big scale national protests in 2013 had the effect that the harsh seed legislation is postponed.

 

Very inspiring was the visit of the founder of the Toronto Seed library.

“Each new seed library represents a new, radically decentralized approach to food security.

Those at the vanguard of the movement recognize the revolutionary importance in their work. No one is demanding any transparency or accountability from the big seed companies. More and more, the only way we will have any kind of seed sovereignty is by saving our own seeds and sharing them.”

– Alan Green, Librarian and founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Library

Saturday night was a debate on ”the living Genebank’. All participants agreed that the thousands of varieties of vegetables, fruits and cereals on the fields and in gardens should be preserved, not only deep frozen in a genebank, but specially also on the land. Differences in opinion where also there: one put more emphasis on the maintanance of historical varieties, whereas someone else stressed the importance that ‘ordinairy’ farmers regain knowledge and skills to use their own seeds and get involved in creating new, sustainable varieties.

Jürgen Holzapfel from Longo Maï, representing the ‘European Campaign for Seed Sovereignty’ mentioned specially the important role of consumers in the preseverence of old and special varieties. Everybody agreed that we have to transform the present day, industrialised agriculture with only a small amount of varieties and crops and this means a more direct involvement between consumers and producers.

On Sunday the 9th of March the main topic was city agriculture. After a presentation how to create community gardens the participants visited city gardens in Groningen. In the last garden, the Grunotuin, we helped on this Sunny afternoon to create and prepare a new plot with spades and wheelbarrows for the new season. This succesfull citygarden allready has 80 participants from the surrounding neighbourhoods.

The first seed event was clearly organised again in relation with the revision of the European Seed legislation. This time again, the participants and visitors gave clear messages of protest: the agrarian biodiversity and the access to seeds is seen as very important. The multiplication, the reuse, trade and access to seeds should be permitted, not just as a small niche and exeption of the rule, but allways and without restrictions and quota for production in order for this agriculture to form a counterbalance against the growing grip of big seedcompanies like Monsanto on the seedmarket and agriculture in general.

(Update: On 11 march 2014 the European Parliament listened to the many reactions and protests from the society and voted against the recent proposal for a new European Seed legislation. In the mean time it seems that the European Commission will continue her proposal anyway and it will be discussed again in the Parlement after the European elections in May.)

Monique Wijn

World Café in Asturias

In the Spanish meeting we used several techniques to involve everyone on an equal basis in the process. One of the powerful tools to promote collective creativity is the world café.

We used the World Café to work in small groups on the brainstorming and planning of the products we intend to make during the project and for several discussions on content (‘healthy soil’, ‘healthy food’ and ‘the future of food in Asturias’).

What is the World Café

The World Café is a powerful social tool for engaging people in conversations. It offers an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today’s world. Because every participant is equally invited to participate, it works as a vehicle for social innovation and positive change.Link: http://www.theworldcafe.com

How does the World Café work?

The World Café can be done with 12 or 1.200 participants. In the room are several tables – like in a café – with on the table a white tablecloth (sheet of paper) and several pens. During several rounds, the guests sit together at the tables and work together on a specific topic or question. Every table has one host, selected from the group of participants. This host stays at the same table during the rounds. The other participants change tables after every round.

The participants share their thoughts on the tablecloth. After several rounds, a mindmap forms, that will become the basis of future steps after the meeting.

At the next rounds, ideas, questions and themes between the tables can be linked and connected. Cross-pollination with insights of prior conversations takes place.

A  World Café always starts with an inspiring story of a moderater and ends with presenting and discussing together what has been written.

Because of the informal atmosphere, the creativity, openess and participation of people can be much larger than in formal settings and meetings.

World Café 1: Brainstorm on the products (8 posters, 8 video’s and 1 PDF-book)

Presentations..

And outcomes..

Although still work in progress, we came up with some criteria, topics and ideas. Just some impression:

Posters: adresssing subcultures – healthy planet, soil, food and people – community gardens – cycle of food – land use – size: big or pocket size

Video’s: short and sweet – subcultures again – from land to kitchen to plate – short interviews

PDF-book: different dimensions of food – food calender – recipies with stories – transitional food – best practices – beauty – hands/heart/head – poems – recipes

World café 2: ‘Healty Food’, ‘Healthy Soil’ and ‘the Future of Food in Asturias’

We put up three tables to discuss three different topics:

1.- what is the future of food in Asturias?

2.- what is needed to create healthy soils for food production?

3.- How do we grow healthy food?

The presentation was inspiring and partly hilarious..

Impression of some outcomes:

The Future of food in Asturias? Most people live in cities – create community supported agriculture (CSA’s) – localize production&consumption – small scale traditional selfsufficient lifestyle is partly still alive – learn from them..

How to create healthy soils? Soil is an invisible ecosystem – mycelium is web/communication system of the soil – observation is essential – alive – need for soil politics – every soil is different – absence of synthetic chemicals..

What is needed to grow healthy food? Healthy soil – humus – help of animals – political interest – high energetic quality of earth and plants..

Monique Wijn

Reclaim the seeds 2014

I am currently co-organising a national seed-event in the Netherlands:

The Reclaim the Seeds Weekend of 2014 will be taking place on Saturday the 8th and Sunday the 9th of March 2014 in Groningen, in the north-east of the Netherlands. This is the third edition, following previous events in Amsterdam and Den Bosch. The seed fair offers a wide range of interested parties the opportunity to exchange seeds and knowledge about seeds, sustainable agriculture and the current threats to seed diversity.

One of our goals this time around is to create more exchange between the Netherlands and the north of Germany and other European regions. In several countries interesting initiatives to preserve the heritage of regional and other crops have developed. The current climate in Europe around seed laws leads to an almost imperative need to keep strong connections across borders and to continue to exchange seeds. And naturally we hope the event will encourage gardeners from this area to store and share their seeds in the future. The previous events attracted hundreds of people to the seed fair, workshops and discussions.

The main part of the debates and workshops will be held in Dutch, but there may also be parts of the programme in English. We will try to arrange translation so that everyone can participate in the program as much as possible.

We hope that you will join us this March, whether as stall-holders or just as visitors. We would really appreciate it if you could help us spread this announcement, by sending it on to your networks.

Programme

Saturday the 8th March: seed fair, film and debate

During Saturday the 8th of March there will be a market at which Individuals, organisations and businesses from the Netherlands and abroad can swap, give, buy and sell seeds. Simultaneously there will be a workshop programme. There will be practical workshops focusing on the self-cultivation of seeds as well as workshops that focus on international developments in the field of seeds and biodiversity. There will for example be workshops focusing on new EU seed legislations and the effects of Monsanto on agriculture internationally. In the evening you can attend a debate between experts, focusing on seed policies and their consequences for the Netherlands.

Sunday the 9th March: getting to know local projects

On Sunday the 9th or March we will be getting our hands dirty with practical projects. Among other things there will be a bike tour through Groningen to visit local initiatives such as neighbourhood gardens and allotments. Where possible, riders can roll up their sleeves and help out with preparing the gardens for the new season.

Why Reclaim the Seeds?

The production and distribution of healthy, resilient agricultural seeds is under pressure. Regulations make it increasingly difficult for small business owners and individuals to grow seeds for sale or exchange. At this time, the EU seed market legislation is under revision. At the same time, the production and sale of seeds is increasingly controlled by large international companies such as Monsanto. These developments mean that choices about food and agriculture are confined to a small number of companies and organizations. The big seed companies offer only a small number of varieties, varieties that are suitable for large-scale, mechanized agriculture and the food processing industry. And this at the expense of the resilience and diversity of agriculture and our food supply. Smaller producers and individuals are losing more and more control over their food.

In reaction, increasing numbers of small-scale food projects are appearing in neighbourhoods and villages, and seed producers who work with organic, non-genetically engineered seeds and old varieties are busy creating new networks.

Reclaim the Seeds wants to offer an alternative to the negative developments by creating positive initiatives and organizing this weekend. The project is organized every year by ASEED and a changing group of local organizations and volunteers. In 2014 the Godin Eetbaar Landschap and Hortus Haren are involved in the organization.

Practical Information

Like the sound of it? Take part in the seed weekend as a stall holder, volunteer or just as a visitor.

Location of seed fair and the rest of the day programme on Saturday: Hortus Haren (botanical garden), Kerklaan 34, Haren. Time: 11:00-17:00

Location of evening programme Saturday: Oude RKZ, Emmastraat 15, Groningen. Dinner: 17:30-19:00. Start debate: 19:30.

Location of activities Sunday: Oude RKZ, Emmastraat 15, Groningen. Starts at: 10:00. Lunch: 12:00. Excursions: 13:00-16:00.

For attendees from outside of Groningen: there are a limited number of sleeping places available through our organisation. If you need a sleeping place, please contact us in time.
If you are planning to come and you’re in need of translation please inform us about this, so that we can estimate the organisational requirements.

The entrance fee at the Hortus Haren (the Botanical Garden hosting the seedfair) is 3 Euros. (Normally this is €7,50 for the Hortus Haren alone but here the full programme is included.)

Updates, a more extended programme and some background information is available on this website.
Contact: info@reclaimtheseeds.nl.

Food is hot. More and more people want to know where their food is coming from and how it is produced. Small-scale initiatives to grow or distribute your own food are gaining popularity. In other words: it it time for food sovereignty, also in the Netherlands. This ASEED brochure explains what is wrong with the current agriculture and food system and presents food sovereignty as an alternative. It also contains concrete examples of how you can strive towards food sovereignty in the Netherlands yourself.

The booklet can be found at the internet through this link: Brochure ´Towards Food Sovereignty´ (in Dutch: Brochure ´Op weg naar voedselsoevereiniteit´)

Paper versions can be ordered by e-mailing to ASEED Europe

This brochure takes a look at the current state of affairs regarding monopolisation in the seed market of Europe and the Netherlands, and examines the implications for the future of food and farming as we know it. The influence of the large corporations on the global food production is growing fast. The global seed market gives a clear indication of their power, with market monopolies for ever fewer multinational biotech corporations. As new European biopatents legislation and agriculture policies are taking shape, the global corporations are quietly taking over the European market. This brochure takes a look at the current state of affairs in Europe and the Netherlands, and examines the implications for the future of food and farming as we know it.

Currently available in English and Dutch.

Monique Wijn

Creating delicious food together in Spain

Creating delicious food in Spain November 2013

For four days we came together and active shared ideas and recipes during lunch and dinner preparation times, about 4,5 hours a day to give an idea about the time spend on this by different participants.

20131109_190546

We learned many things about gorgeous looking and tasting food, fully made with fresh locally grown and locally bought food. And as top exclusive with a large diversity of wild edible plants and flowers found just around the place of stay.

20131112_190647

Raw pancake, plate, cup or wrap

On thing we learned was the different ideas to present a food-dish lovely. As a “basic” we used colorfully nicely shaped foods for example a round thin slice of a red beet, a pink sweet potato, a green sliced zucchini “wrap”, a orange round sliced pumpkin. Let you fantasy grow on these. I found yellow beets in Holland, white rash like bulbs, purple carrots, green large collard leaves as wrap. Also zucchini or soft pumpkins types are a good “basic” for a dish and a feast for the eye when sliced like spaghetti in long thin dreads.

20131109_132202

20131108_190929

The above examples of thin sliced vegetables become easier to digest once mixed with some oil and salt and maybe some herbs and citrus added, and set aside in a warm environment (25 degrees), for a while, like at least 20 minutes. This process can be altered or also used by means of putting pressure on the vegetables. For example by putting them in a bowl and putting a jar filled with water on top. No need to put oil, but salty water should be added. Finally warmth helps the process to make a vegetable easier to digest. So putting your bowl in a warm place, maybe even 40 degrees, but not more as that will kill the enzymes in the food.

20131112_190631

Raw sauces

Then as we set aside our “basic”, we can start making the sauces that go between them. We learned that it is possible to vary endlessly with different vegetables and herbs to make e nice tasting sauce. Some rules we found out about:

A sauce can become more interesting when adding something sweet, like honey, raisins, maple sirup, something salt, like sea salt, olives or dried tomatoes. Something sour, like vinegar, lime or lemon. And by adding something spicy like pepper, herbs like basil, oregano, dill, fennel.

20131108_190901

A sauce can be made more creamy texture and full taste by adding soaked nuts and/or seeds, like walnuts (we used home grown in Spain), sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pine tree seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, flax seed, sesame seeds.  Also the color of the sauce changes to more pastel like, as in fact you add a white  paint. Red tomato sauce becomes a beautiful pink sauce.

It’s important that raw seeds and nuts, when regularly eaten, should be soaked (or dry fried when you prefer). This because seeds and nuts have enzymes that make the digesting more difficult. When soaked the germination process starts and this will change a lot of the biochemical process in the seeds and nuts, thus making them more rich in diversity and easier palatable. We found out that in practice this meant that in the late evening, just before going to bed, we would meat in the kitchen and put different mixtures and bowls with some seeds or nuts to soak with water. It is not really needed to know exactly what you’re going to make with them. They can be used for a wide variety of recipes. As a measure you can take a small handful per person to 1 cup per person. Because we were 13 persons the seed stock was declining fast during our stay.

For preparing the sauce it is very simple with a good electric blender, or hand blender (for baby food such hand machines are on the market). Blend everything together until a nice sticky sauce that will stay between your “basic” vegetables. For a thinner consistency, for example for mixing with the spaghetti sliced zucchini, or for mixing in a green wild leaves salad, simple add some water. Watch out not to use the water from the soaked nuts.

Finally put the food in a nice way on a clean plate and add some flower petals or a whole flower for superb color effect. During our stay in November in Spain we enjoyed much the sight and taste of pink cosmea flowers, the delicate beauty of the daisy flower, the nice tasting purple vetch flowers. Some other beautiful topping we made were finely grated white parsnip topping, and very finely sliced and marinated mustard leaves topping.

20131110_190517

raw sauces recipes

• wild chickweed, zucchini, red bell pepper, ground coriander seeds, lime and honey

• soaked sunflower seeds, red bell pepper, tomatoes, oregano

• root celery, dates, olive oil, salt

• leeks with spicy oil, red bell pepper with spicy oil, mushrooms marinated in tamari (makes three different colors.

• soaked cashew nuts with cumin seed, basil and salt

• the famous fof spain barbeque sauce: soaked dried tomatoes, soaked raisins, oregano, little bit of hot pepper, some fresh tomatoes.

Raw burgers

For vegetable burgers typically the mixture of vegetables and soaked nuts and even maybe sprouted seeds are not blended through. But put in the kitchen machine. This time the intention is to reach a crumbling, and sticky consistency and texture that can be easily formed into “burgers”. For us it took some time and effort to find the right machinery in the new kitchen to do this job.

20131110_190551

Sprouting seeds, lentils, or grains like buckwheat is a process that takes several days. The grains are soaked overnight and than put in a plate, and cleaned with water twice daily in order to keep them wet, and fresh. The store place should be preferable more dark, moist and average temperature )15-25 degrees. Once the sprouts are long enough the can be kept as dry as possible in a glass jar in the fridge for some days more. Be careful that they stay smelling nice, a notification they are alive and not rotting. Or dry your sprouted grains in a dehydrator.

20131109_132213

We learned that in order to make the texture of the dough more dry and sticky, it is possible to use a little dry blend flax seed “powder”. This will soak up the extra water and at the same time glue the dough together. The burgers taste great with the above mentioned barbeque sauce.

Raw pizza or cake dough

Another nice use for the mixture of soaked nuts and seeds, maybe dried fruits, ore herbes and maybe added, sprouted grains, lentils, seeds is to make a dough for vegetable toppings (somewhat like pizza) or a dough for fruit toppings, like cake. The texture that you would like to create is somewhat dryer then the burger and maybe even more sticky. We found out that some kitchen utensils were of great help. For example the cake form with a floor that can be taken out. It was easy to press the dough on the floor and make a nice thin layer. Also the small iron/metal rings that were used to put some dough inside and press firmly to create a nice regular, thin little pizza.

20131112_192349

Toppings for a cake would be a mixture of blend and are grated/cut fresh fruits of the season. Interesting to know is that some fruits have more soluble fiber than others. The more soluble fiber the better they make a smooth texture when chopped. These fruits are; bananas, peers, strawberries, mango. In Spain we found some of the last fresh raspberries, strawberries and physalis in the garden, these beautiful colorful fruit we used to decorate our apple base pie (if they made it back to the kitchen).

20131112_190640

raw chocolate balls

Toppings for the pizza crust would be a mixture of marinated vegetables like, zucchini, mushrooms, olives, yellow beet, or red bell pepper. Marinated in lemon, or lime, and some salt. And of course when first punt a layer of soaked dried tomatoes, with dates (blend to a sauce) and a layer of soaked cashews with basil and salt, the vegetables stick easier to your dough and the taste is more rich.

20131109_190440

Salads

A meal is not finished without it’s salads. So we made many different types of salads. The base is rough parts of many different (wild) edible leave plants, mostly mild and sweet tasting alternated with some bitter (but healthy) tasting plant leaves. We took the most soft felling parts and took away the more woody parts. As we were able to pick herbs from the large farm we were blessed with a huge variety of wild and semi wild edible greens. This made a simple salad already special and very taste, maybe some sauce of lime, lemon, slat and oil was added, or some of the other sauces mentioned above.

20131109_190602

I watched how the two cooks of the hostel easily produced spectacular looking salads with vegetables from the garden. For example the took a large bowl and filled it layer by layer with, cut tomatoes, cut avocado, cut endive (greens), these were  “pressed” into the bowl, then a plate put on top and the whole thing turned around, now we could see a pudding like salad, the different layers nicely built.

The same technique they used for a salad made of soaked seaweed, with onion rings, ginger, orange and some garlic. With capers first put in the bowl (thus later on top).

We enjoyed much the beautiful pink/purple colored salad of sliced red bell peppers, (yes from the own garden), sliced beetroot, parsnip and carrot, with added some sprouted lentils. Marinated with oil, lemon, salt and sit for a while. Actually the next day the left over was really tasty.

20131109_190353

Raw soups

Also we made some soups of vegetables with some water added and put to blend. We learned that because of the watery texture of the soup it is not easy to keep fresh. So preferably make a small quantity. Much smaller then you would recon for a cooked soup. To present the soup it looks nice to put a flower petal in the middle, or green chopped chives. We tried pumpkin soup with coconut and some tomato and apple. Also we tried some onion soup, with blended onions with oil and water. This soup was far to strong tasting, so be aware to try out your soups and find out how much water should be added. Also a soup can be warmed by keeping the blender longer turning, or heating it on a stove (not above 40 degrees Celsius).

20131108_191330

Rascha Wisse the Netherlands december 2013

20131110_123317

Monique Wijn

Chestnut story of Posada del Valle

This is a little story of our visit to the farm and hotel in northern Spain: Posada del Valle in Arriondas, Spain, near Picos de Europa.

20131111_173550

On the14th of November 2013,  our first day of visit,we make a tour on the farm. It is a cold crispy frosty automn morning. Special of this farm is that a Hostel with a restaurant is combined with the farm.

20131109_114407

This farm has meadow mowers that are alive! Sheep stay and graze parts of the hills. After some time they are brought to the next field. Some horses will follow and after that even the chickens will be part of the rotation. The sheep give the farm wool and meat. In the restaurant the lamb is prepared for the quests. Also the eggs are served.

Because of the good use of the fields many wild plants and flowers are growing back in the fields. This brings back also insects and butterflies.

20131109_102725

And we as a group of mixed European permacultural, interested in raw and wild and traditional food can pick a nice diversity of wild plants for our salad.

20131109_132258

In an enclosed vegetable garden many veggies for the restaurant are grown year round, as the climate here allows year round growth.

The sheep are also herded on a long hill full of apple trees. many traditional cider appels are grown. The farm brings the apples to a local juicer and the apple cider juice is served (instead of orange juice) in the restaurant.

20131109_130241

Then a sudden wind blows, autumn leaves fly in the sky. To our surprise this wind is very warm, it feels like a late summer evening. And again, a strong blow. Trees are bending. We are told this is called “the chestnut wind”, as this wind comes often in autumn and makes the chestnuts fall out of the trees. And indeed many chestnuts fall on the path, and we start collecting them. The wind is warm coming right over the Atlantic ocean from Africa. The wind brings warm soft rain.

We bring the chestnuts inside to make some delicious meals with them:

1) breakfast: take a chestnut, peel the chestnut also the second skin and take small bits. Chew very well and enjoy the sweet taste.

2) store: take some chestnuts, peel the first skin. let soak for a night. peel the second skin and dry in a dehydrator less than 40 degrees Celsius. When dry grind to a powder to stock.

3) raw chestnut salad; slice the soaked and peeled chestnuts very fine and mix with other veggies.

4) traditional recipe of cooked chestnut with kale;

Chestnut festival Next day we walk down the mountain (hill says our Spanish team) to the chestnut festival in the region town of Arriondas. We pass by many stone enclosed gardens, full with the large traditional kale plants we used in the chestnut recipe. Along the road we find many different wild edible plants like fennel, malva, milk thistle, chickweed, purple nettle and others.

20131110_114822

 

In the chestnut festival we find an incredible amount of different chestnuts. Large, small, all noted with different names. These are  local varieties, maybe not even botanically different, but for sure different for the local experts. One of the names is ‘Marina’. Sounds so nice. Many different cakes made with chestnuts are sold and also freshly pressed “raw” apple cider.

20131110_125650

20131110_131340

Our Spanish host tells me he is going to plant chestnut trees soon. There is a problem with a new type of disease in the area. He says his new trees are inoculated with special fungis that withstand the disease.

written by Rascha Wisse, december 2013, Spain

20131110_123317

 

 

Monique Wijn

Dishes from the Hungarian meeting

At the kickoff meeting in Hungary we had delicious meals, both cooked and raw vegan, by the Hungarian chef Petr Peter Hortobágyi..

..who was in the past running a floreshing restaurant in Leeds and is now cooking for many groups in Hungary, like summercamps of Roma children…

First day

 

Second day

Soup

and main dish

Third day

 

 

 

Monique Wijn

Creating a vision together

In the kickoff meeting in Hungary we worked together to create a common vision on the four fields of the project:

1      collecting and growing

2      preparation of food

3      eating and sharing

4      communication and education

Elements where used from different cocreating techniques, like Dragon Dreaming and Worldcafé.

Step 1: brainstorming

We divided ourselves in four groups, based on the four themes of the project.

Every group started brainstorming on one of the four topics on a big sheet of paper. These papers are given around to the other groups to add keywords and comments. Every group added comments on all of the four sheets.

Step 2: harvesting

Everybody looked for the three most important keywords from each of the four sheets and wrote them on small papers. If necessery new words could be used. In the end we had eight times three keywords is 24 keywords per field.

Step 3: organising

The original groups took all the keywords in their field and looked for groups and patterns and overall keywords.

Step 3: forming sentences

From these keywords we formed sentences for the four fields.

These sentencess express our common vision on the topic and will be used to formulate our overall vision on the project Future of Food.

Results of Common Vision:

Field 1: Growing and collecting:

 

 

1. Growing and collecting is about establishing a healthy relationship between society and earth cq. nature by practising sustainable, resilient methods.

2. Growing and collecting is about co-creating a healthy soil, leading to healthy food, leading to healthy people.

3. model, easy to do!, based on diversity and resilience (diversity of methods, biodiversity, resources like seeds…)

 Field 2: Foodpreparation:

 

 

 

1. Foodpreparation is a transformative marriage between nature and culture.

2. It creates a new dimension of quality and health by love, creativity, passion and joy

3. It is based on knowledge and wisdom, honouring cultural diversity.

4. It is a basic recipe for a healthy life.

 Field 3: Eating and sharing:

 

 

 

1. Eating and sharing is about making food available for everyone, honouring and celebrating our food and where it came from.

2. On a personal level it helps creating life energy and consciousness.

3. In groups it can create community building.

 Field 4: Communication & Education:

 

 

 

1. Our aim is to communicate our work in an accessible and inclusive way, using fun and participative methodologies, that honour diversity and collective intelligence.

2. We want to find a new language by which we can relate to the true nature of food.

3. We want to empower people to create resilient communities.