blog

Calming the mind allows the subtler senses to engage. Gentle listening to trees and landscape features inspires awe and connection with something greater. Some trees (see picture below) have quite a presence indeed! I had a question in my mind before visiting New Zealand. If the English landscape is imbued with milennia of spiritual practice, how …

japa

There are many repetitive tasks in growing – weeding, shovelling, forking, picking fruit, for instance. There are others that take a while and aren’t that complicated but require a level of concentration – watering, driving a tractor on a rutted track (yes, I can do that! show off)…and more. Here in the picture you can …

heart centre

Anahata is a retreat centre perched on a mountain top in overlooking Golden Bay on south island, New Zealand. There’s a wonderful energy pushing up, and the rock below is full of springs and crystals. Literally, you feel uplifted. Anahata is Sanskrit for heart chakra. Chakras are represented with petals radiating from the centre, opening, and here there is …

urvaru

…may it come to pass, just as the fruit comes away from the vine… There’s a classical Sanskrit mantra that yogis chant, the Maha Mrityunjaya, or Great Death Conquering, mantra. And being at Okiwi Passion market garden on Great Barrier Island off New Zealand, I have had the visualisation and experience that the mantra evokes. Here, …

food as blessing

At the Hare Krishna farm in Motueka valley, top-of-the-south-island, New Zealand, the sacred link with food is a given. There is an understanding that eating is a gift from, and a sacrifice to, God. As Antar Darshan, chief chef, explained to me, for the Hare Krishnas, food eaten is an offering to Lord Krishna. Their …

I’m in New Zealand doing a nice lot of weeding. The indigenous flora is completely different to the UK, but I’ve noticed the weeds are pretty much the same. Wherever you go the mind weeds are the same. As a grower and a yogi, the analogy of unwanted thoughts as weeds is an apt one. …

Feed the soil: lessons from a stock-free organic farm for urban cropping

One of the biggest obstacles to growing in the city is obtaining and maintaining a healthy, fertile growing medium. Currently, it’s more or less all imported, notwithstanding green waste compost initiatives, at Clapham Common, for instance. In traditional farming, since before the Iron Age, very simply put, there has been a closed loop system of …

Master Gardeners – a model for skilling up the nation

I’ve had the joy of working with south London volunteers on this Garden Organic programme for the last 3 years, and here are my personal reflections (click) written February 2014. Please look around the site and see the value of this great volunteer programme where households and community groups get free advice to better grow fruit …

Bandstand Beds: growing in public

In 2011 I was on a compost crusade: fresh, peat-free dirt for the masses! One of the major problems facing food growers in the city is good, affordable growing medium. London, with its history of light industry and WWII bomb damage, has soil with an unknown risk of heavy metal pollution. I was introduced to Clapham …

Lambeth Poly – community cropping

Lambeth Poly was a prototype project to explore what we can grow and sell in Lambeth, and how we can train and employ local people to do it. The project ran from April 2012 to October 2013. This informal report states the outcomes, reviews the project and indicates learning/evaluation. Scroll down too for a roll …

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