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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 other’s point of view, each other tasks, difficulties and delight.