Archives for posts with tag: The Commons

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Last weekend I was incredibly moved to be in the presence of seeds descended from those which Vavilov and his colleagues saved under wartime duress (i.e. a Stalinist prison, and starvation).  These were exhibited as part of the Artes Mundi exhibition at National Museum Cardiff in which the Futurefarmers collective of artists installed visuals to their “Seed Journey” exploration of the history and future of seeds as part of our common heritage. Amy Franceschini explains some of the project in this video below:

A few days later I found myself working at an event where Anne Parry of Felin Galon Watermill was speaking on behalf of her visionary efforts to network farmers, millers, brewers and bakers around “Welsh Grain.” We talked a bit about the Cardiff exhibition, and she shared that some Welsh grown wheat had gone off on the sea-faring adventures of FutureFarmers.

So exciting! I went home and wrote to Anne, asking if she could write a paragraph for this blog, sharing the story.  And she responded:

“As part of their Seed Journey the Flatbread Society were meeting with Andy Forbes of the Brockwell Bake in London. The Welsh Grain Forum has been collaborating with Andy, who is wonderfully knowledgeable and committed, to reintroduce the wheat Hen Gymro back to Wales….so since The Seed Journey group were travelling to Cardiff it seemed appropriate that we celebrate this by them symbolically bringing us a sheaf of Hen Gymro from Andy when they came up to Cardiff. (Pics from the Brockwell Bake gallery here). About half a dozen WGF members were able to be there and it turned out to be a simple, inspiring and encouraging event where we received the wheat, gave them samples of Hen Gymro grown once more in Wales, and other Welsh grown heritage cereals, to take on their journey and then shared bread and cakes baked with our locally grown and milled flour. There’s something about the it by Artes Mundi here , and stuff on our Welsh Grain Workshop page and on Rupert Dunn’s Torth y Tir page.”

Really wanted to share this wonderful story which gives Hen Gymro an epic adventure, its itself part of the whole global Story of seeds, grain, people, history.


And now, a moment with Johnny Cash, and an affecting photomontage:

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I’ve written about Fire Cider as a kind of folk medicine popularised in contemporary herbalism, and that a particular company is trying to trademark– in other words, to claim ownership of — the term. Now this company is suing herbalists for using the phrase Fire Cider, which is essentially a generic term, which is another way to say, common, or something that is held for common, mutual benefit, rather than private ownership. Here’s a site that is raising money to help the herbalists who are being sued. I’m going to give a little money.  And I’m going to write some emails to the addresses in the video linked above. If you are on Facebook, you can join this group to keep informed.

There’s a flu remedy I believe in. It’s pretty popular in the US and less well known in Britain, where the long spells of cold and damp certainly require some of the fire offered by this “cider” — really, Apple Cider Vinegar.  Fire Cider is a  nutritional supplement, really.

It’s considered “traditional”– of course it seems to take a multi-pronged approach to “tradition,” –but no worries — and has entered the DIY healing vernacular. I make it, and I take and give spoonfuls when extra immune boosting is needed, a cold or flu coming on,  or an infection rises somewhere in the body.  I often drink diluted vinegar anyway for a certain kidney-ish ache I seem to get if I eat too much cheese, and the discomfort slowly recedes. Fire Cider is extra powerful.

I prepare mine every year by finely chopping, in various relative quantities: onion, garlic, ginger, dried chills, horseradish if I have it (which is rarely), turmeric, maybe oregano– all the famous goodies. This article  has good variations and tells the story well,  with variations and possibilities.  They add honey– I never have, but what a good idea. There’s no need for strict rules.

Steep your concoction in ACV (as the hipsters call it) for as long as you wish (3 weeks or longer), then strain.  I tend to use what I’ve strained out as a marinade for spicy pork dishes.  You can be creative of course — make a soup– add it to anything really — marinate your tempeh, eat it plain if you’re feeling brave.

I’m writing now because there’s a campaign I support, to keep the name Fire Cider in the commons, belonging to all of us, at a time when a company in the US has trademarked it.  That means– taking something that belongs to all of us, claiming it for themselves, and profiting thereby.   For Goodness Sake!  (Or if I’m being English, “The bloody cheek!”  Here’s the petition– please sign it:

http://freefirecider.com/take-action/

And if you are on Facebook, there’s a really fun action page called Tradition Not Trademark with photos people send in of their own homemade Fire Ciders and themselves toasting to the Fire Cider movement, and the plea to let local retailers know that the trademarked brand is stepping on our toes indeed!

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