The Future of Food participants met in Sieben Linden on August 18th to 21st 2014.
After a kind welcome with hosts Julia and Joerg on Sunday evening, the group met for the programme on Monday morning, bright eyed and bushy-tailed for a tour of Sieben Linden. The participants were interested in the history and democratic principles in operation in Sieben Linden-to see how a community co-operates and learns how to live in harmony and also what does it involve living in a community.
The group learned that the community is not food self-sufficient but that 60% of fruit and vegetables are grown and eaten on site.
As a vegetarian community on a plant based diet, we were intererested in what percentage of the overall diet this constituted-but this is a question for another day…in short most people in the village needs to work and earn money to live in the community and “Raw living” employs 8 people from the village, so it is good source of local employment-even employing one person who is from the local community as well as Sieben Lindeners.
The afternoon was spent with a trip to “Raw Living” (read Joerg’s article here) where the group were fascinated to learn about the Wholefood raw vegan business.
Joerg makes a living from both gathering wild herbs and posting these out to people and also by selling amongst other things these new “superfoods”. This started an interesting conversation on superfoods and the Local versus Global discussion which was to happen later.
After the tour of the Raw Living Headquarters, the group split into two. Some went with Julia to visit the kitchens at Raw Living where goods are packaged and dehydrated if necessary and then visited local pear trees and admired the local sheep on the landscape. The others went to the Fruit Alleys where cherry plums, yellow and blue plums and interviews were conducted and ideas flowed from the inspiring environment where food was growing for free far away from Supermarket realities.
The group were motivated to create a product or two exploring the idea of free food and how people in Europe have become so alienated from nature that they are afraid to engage with free food.
This was followed on with a dip into the wild and Joerg and Monique shared their knowledge on edible wild plants growing around Sieben linden. The talk was fascinating and it was incredible to learn about how nature provides such abundant nourishment in so many flowers and so called weeds.
We had a wonderful tour of the the garden with Monique where she shared and inspired with her amazing knowledge of plants and their benefits. The day was fine, a little sunshine and a lovely setting to continue our journey in getting to know each other. The main focus was on edible plants and as we rambled through the garden we identified and tasted many lovely herbs, almost thirty plants in total including Yarrow, Cow Parsley, Ground Ivy and Malva. Many of the herbs we saw are herbs we would pass daily in our gardens and commons and yet never think to pick and put on our plates.
A real memorable little tour and a great opportunity to connect with the food around us.
The afternoon session was spent working on products, especially posters.
Later in the afternoon we had a talk about vegan agriculture with Joerg. Read his article about it.
Our evening conversation was about the Global versus Local food topic. Quite a wave was created by it. You can read Fionnuala’s article about it!
Monique gave a talk on the 7 principals of permaculture and it was very interesting and inspiring. She also guided us to the permaculture and forest garden to explore it.
We had 2 raw food preparation sessions leaded by Julia, Trish and Agi. Check out the recipes here what we tried out!
Mini workshop on how to save tomato seeds. Small, sweet variety from the Netherlands.
On Thursday morning we helped the community in their Potato Harvest!
Than we worked more on products.
This visit inspired Eileen to write an article on a smaller Spirulina farm where they are producing Spirulina as a sustainable answer for solving nutritional issues in Kenya. Do you feel the difference?
Our community and learning process has started more than a year ago. Seb explains in a beautiful article how we embrace experimental learning and Learning and working with the Senses.
We closed the meeting with a group evaluation.