For the April Global Gardens supper at the Embassy Cafe, we celebrated all things permaculture.
Permaculture is based on three key values: EARTH CARE, PEOPLE CARE and FAIR SHARE. Usually, the Global Gardens monthly suppers involve the communal cooking of food - whether in the form of a workshop or a curated menu. For this supper, we thought it would be a timely opportunity to have a potluck in order to celebrate the foundations of permaculture. A potluck is an event where people are invited to bring a dish to share. It turned out this was a lovely way of learning more about the people who cooked the food and an opportunity to share some tasty recipes and interesting places to procure ingredients.
Alongside the three core values of permaculture, there are twelve design principles:
1. Observe & interact
2. Catch & store energy
3. Obtain a yield
4. Apply self-regulation & accept feedback
5. Use & value renewable resources & services
6. Produce no waste
7. Design from patterns to details
8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small & slow solutions
10. Use & value diversity
11. Use edges & value the marginal
12. Creatively use & respond to change
12 Permaculture Principles
We kicked off the session by talking through the ethics and principles of permaculture. In small groups, we focussed on one of the ethics (earth care, people care and fair share) and worked through the design principles to think about examples of what is going on in Cardiff - and what needs to change.
Let's talk about fair share and people care
We then shared some of the key points raised during the small groups discussion to the group. By this point, there were around 20 of us!
This group spoke about how we can apply the ethics of earth care using the principles as a guide...
Producing no waste: some local initiatives were mentioned to reduce food waste and packaging including the zero waste shop Ripple, Cathays Community Fridge and the app to reduce food waste OLIO. Shopping at farmers markets such as Riverside for local and seasonal food and consuming less were also suggested. The Repair Cafe. was also mentioned as a great local resource enabling people to get broken household items repaired for free.
Observing and interacting: foraging workshop were mentioned as a great way to build awareness around wild food and seasonality. Community gardens, allotments and other garden and farm projects were also recognised as a way of learning more about growing and using herbs, fruits and vegetables.
Use slow and small solutions: growing food, building social awareness of the waste produce within food systems and challenging oneself and breaking out of destructive habits were thought to be key.
The second group spoke about a few ways of supporting the ethic of fair share in Cardiff...
Volunteering: Cardiff Conservation Volunteers, Keep Wales Tidy local groups, Good Gym Cardiff and Vale and local community gardens.
Supporting social enterprises: Wild Thing, Cardiff Salad Garden, Green City and Green Squirrel workshops and the Oasis Food truck were mentioned as local examples.
Shopping locally: such as at Riverside Farmers market and Cardiff and Vale sellers Cavetsy,
Joining and supporting cooperatives and cooperative ways of working: Riverside Sourdough and Coed Organic are both workers cooperatives in South Wales. You can find out more about cooperative ways of working at Cooperative Wales.
Getting involved in local currencies: such as Cardiff Taffs
Getting creative: for example, signing up to arts-based workshops at Chapter, Spit and Sawdust and One Fox Lane supporting and getting involved in local community festivals such as Made in Roath.
The third group considered how we can support people care. First, building awareness of the wide range of what is happening in Cardiff at grassroots level from community fridges to refugee kitchens and seedling swaps and at policy level from the Well Being of Future Generations Act (2015) Wales - which legislates the public duty of well-being, as well as the vote that happened today at the Welsh Assembly to declare a 'climate emergency'. Second, raising awareness of how observation, connection and interaction can support people and communities. Third, how lifestyle changes are needed in so that we can follow the ethic of people care - whether by flying less or switching to a more plant-based diet.
After this discussion session, we shared the delicious potluck offerings. People brought an amazing range of dishes including Aubergine curry, Mooli pancakes, Onion bhajis, Kale noodles, Squash soup and some tasty Rhubarb rice pudding and Chocolate brownies. Interestingly, most of the vegetables in these dishes could be grown in South Wales. So we better get growing!
These dishes were supplemented by a delicious vegan dhal with raita made by Riverside Sourdough cafe and some tasty sourdough thanks to Riverside Sourdough.
With full bellies and a nice opportunity to chat with old and new friends, we then came back as a group to get an update on some local news including the @XRCardiff Extinction Rebellion campaign. Alice Taherzadeh, recently returned from the campaign in London told us about the news on the streets. We reflected on the success of the three day Critical Mass #climateemergency bike rides on the 23rd, 24th and 25th April and the news from earlier that day that the Welsh Government voted to declare a climate emergency. Following this, there was a fruitful discussion around the politics of XR and the need for decentralised decision making and localised action as complement to the national collective efforts.
Post supper group chat
Those who wanted then stayed on to watch #wetheuncivilised. All together a nourishing and informative evening! Thanks to all who came along and shared food and ideas. Watch this space for the next supper and Global Gardens workshops.
Many thanks to the Permaculture Association for making this supper possible.