Last week I taught a fermenting workshop and did some demonstrating and q-and-a, as part of the really brilliant Liverpool Food for Real Film Festival put on by Squash Nutrition and Liverpool Food People, “a network of food growers, composters, buyers, cooks and eaters passionate about a positive healthy food culture for lovely Liverpool.” If you are working in your way towards food justice and urban growing, health and food sustainability and local responses to hunger– the whole shebang– it’s really worth looking up these groups and exploring what and how they do things. They are energetic, creative people working hard in unique, inspired ways. I fell in love with them, and with Liverpool. From my point of view, I was really glad as well to be sharing my knowledge with a truly multi-aged and multiethnic group of people, much more diverse than usual. This made for an especially interesting conversation about how people were going to go home and integrate these new food preparation techniques into their home cuisines.
I also had the opportunity to see a stunning film, Read the rest of this entry »
The beans as runner beans were old and scraggly and would have been chewy and tough. Inside though– little magic beans, beautiful colours and telling stories of a diverse genetic lineage. It’s amazing really to LOOK at them, to hold them in your hand, and imagine they are both seeds, and security, and food for the winter too– food for indefinite duration, if stored correctly. Beans here in Britain can feel– well, there are Baked Beans, of course, donning in sugary, tomatoey glory many a Jacket Potato with Cheese. But these beans: these feel Old World, and humble, yet mysterious, Jack and the Beanstalkish, something from the past and hopefully the future, a good food future, in which people, gardeners, farmers, still save and plant seeds, a future in which we’ve retained freedom of seeds, the little amulets that communicate the magic and mystery of life-cycles.
Corporate seed control, via patents and elaborate legal regulation of sales, is so absurd I barely can understand it, except in terms of a growing trend in which common (meaning shared) resources are privatised for profit and ownership. How could any of these seeds, these precious living beans, be owned for the life that they can generate if planted and nurtured? I just don’t get it.
Seed Freedom Fortnight is upon us, please see what might be happening near you, or make something happen– even if it’s just saving seed or sharing seed or thinking about the importance of keeping our right to access, freely, joyfully, humanity’s agricultural (and culinary) heritage.