Wild herb garden on Loughborough Estate

Wild herb garden on Loughborough Estate

Next Invisible Food Walks

 

We’ll walk in any weather so come prepared for the rain and cold. If it your first time, please do give us a call on 07963 446605 to have more of a chat about what’s going to happen. Feedback people give after is often that they’d like more info about what to expect. So give me a call!

Please bring some extra food to share .

Children must be accompanied by an adult

We’ll walk around 1 mile and the route is wheelchair and pushchair accessible

Call 07963 446605 or mail invisiblefood@gmail.com for further info

All Welcome!

Write ups of previous walks here

In October, we walked near the Garden Museum and reflect on foraging as taking http://lambethbandofsolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/reflections-on-foraging-as-taking-an-afternoon-with-the-garden-museum/

In August, we made blackberry ice cream in Ruskin Park and then had wild herb jamaican patties as part of Brixton Splash! http://lambethbandofsolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/august-7th-monthly-walk-blackberry-ice-cream-and-jamaican-wild-herb-patties/

In July, we walked to mark Zero Carbon Day and looked at easily mistakeable plants. We walked to the Lambeth Country show in Brockwell park

More info here: http://lambethbandofsolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/invisible-food-monthly-walk-saturday-16th-july-walk-to-lambeth-country-show-from-loughborough-estate-for-zero-carbon-britain-day/

In May, we collected lime leaves to stuff. We picnicked in the new pond / frog area in Ruskin and had a tour of the Ruskin Park community garden. We made May baskets and discussed the EU ban on Medicinal herbs.

In April, we collected wild herbs for a spring tonic soup and sang songs from around the world with Shilpa Shah.

In February, we beat the winter blues with a party in Myatts Field, with some food prepared by Invisible Food participants. The end of January and the beginning of February is the time of the Fire Festival of Imbolc, when the earth in the northern hemisphere is awakening from the stillness of Winter.

In November we looked for frost resilient edible plants such as the plentiful chickweed and goosegrass which loves this time of year. Now’s the time to harvest goosgrass while it’s young. We tasted goosegrass seed coffee made with seeds collected in dry July. Back at base we made festive wreaths from evergreen plants and a lavender and rose face cream.

—-&——-&——–&——–&————-&

The aim of Invisible Food is to strengthen social cohesion in disadvantaged areas throughout Lambeth, and specifically in the Coldharbour ward, through engaging with the natural environment. Invisible Food walks and workshops aim to increase opportunities for local residents to contribute their environmental, botanical and culintary knowledge and experience as part of a reskilling process towards a low carbon future.

Walk on 15th May 2010 – Dandelion flower fritters and hawthorn flower syrup
Walk on 17th April 2010 – Stuffed nettle leaves and horseradish mash
Walk on 20th March 2010  – Forage for a spring tonic and launch of Low Carbon Zone
Walk on 20th February 2010 – Eritrean bread and goosegrass and chickweed curry!
Walk on 16th January 2010 – new growth & what survived the snow
Walk on 19th December 2009 – Winter Wassail on the Loughborough Estate
Walk on November 21st 2009 – Chickweed pesto
Walk on October 17th 2009 – Hawthorns and sloes
Walk on September 19th 2009 – Collecting rocket seeds
Walk on August 15th 2009 – Mulberry Stains and Herb Conversations
Walk on May 23rd 2009 – Fritters in the Sun
Walk on May 9th 2009 – Launch of Invisible Food pack
Meeting instructions:

If we start at the Loughborough Centre, here are the directions to get there if you’re not from the nearby area.

The Loughborough Centre is on Barrington Road, SW9 7PD, near the Loughborough Road end, a few minutes walk from bus routes (P5, 35, 45, 345, P4) and a brisk 10 minute walk from Brixton tube and train station. (Straight up Coldharbour lane and then left at crossroads into Loughborough Road, then left into Barrington Road, is the easiest route)

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=sw9+7pd&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=18.566626,39.331055&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=London+SW9+7PD,+United+Kingdom&z=16

Learning new-old skills

What is Invisible Food?:

The aim of Invisible Food is to strengthen social cohesion in disadvantaged areas throughout Lambeth, and specifically on the Loughborough Estate, where the project is based, through engaging with the natural environment.  Invisible Food walks and workshops aim to increase opportunities for BME groups to contribute their environmental knowledge and experience to the reskilling process that London communities are undertaking.  Invisible Food organises wild food walks, cooking sessions and creative workshops as opportunities for sharing experience and strenghening communities.

The Invisible Food project searches for wild food in the Loughborough area of Brixton with local residents. After walking, participants make or cook something such as tea, jam, cordials, wild leaf burgers, fritters, soup or cakes with the herbs, flowers or berries that we find.

Rationale behind the project

Invisible Food came out of a commission by arts organisation Artangel, to explore approaches to play. In the search or hunt for wild food, we enter into a spirit of play, of tracking down, of excitement or expectation. Looking for wild food alters our perception and the way we use our eyes. Other outcomes from playing this ‘game’ is an increased appreciation of our shared environment and where food comes from, as well as potential medicinal and culinary uses of plants. It can also impart a sense of well being and satisfaction from the self-sufficiency of finding and cooking food, not using packaging or needing to go to the supermarket.

What skills can be learnt?

Identifying plants and learning about their properties

drawing plants

reading skills; scanning and skim reading, using Invisible Food library of plant and cookery books for information about a plant

writing about plants; writing recipes or plant information, poems, adverts for plants emphasising their specific properties

map making (plotting plants on a piece of land or area)

cooking jams, soups, cakes

learning about and using carbon-neutral cooking equipment such as storm kettles and rocket stoves (in suitable environments)

photography, tile painting

“Now I’ve opened my eyes to the plants, I feel like I’m in a different land. Brixton is teeming with plantlife.” Walk participant

Info about Invisible Food
Invisible food is a project to discover the wild food growing quietly in the Loughborough area, food that can nourish local residents into health and resilience.

Invisible food responds to the global necessity to live more locally, to rely less on transport – now that the blip of cheap oil is over – and to create stronger networking communities.

Invisible food recognises that “the logic of the market leads to mass starvation”, as Mumia Abu-Jamal wrote about recent hikes in food prices leading to riots in Mexico. And we want to pass on the insight made by Vandana Shiva that we can only strengthen local economies in the developing world by relocalising agriculture in the West.  Invisible food is fed up with the idea that developing countries have to export the food growing in their back yards for ‘growth’ and progress at the cost of their own nutrition and health. You can’t eat money. And besides, money is never fairly distributed, whereas plants are.

Invisible food responds to a sense of lack of earthly connections in inner city areas in London. It provides an opportunity to get on first name terms with local plants and to cook them up. Wild food is whole food. Wild food carries power and energy. Wild food is naturally occurring and uniquely adapted to its environment; resilience and strength are present in every cell of plant matter.

“Eat wild food frequently, in addition to your normal diet, your tastes begin to change. The junk foods you couldn’t resist before now irritate your tongue, smell offensive and generally annoy you … Wild food is vital, unique, local, common, simple, messy, fresh, abundant, accessible, seasonal, varied and full of love.”  Susun Weed

Our wild food in London is a gift to us from its ancient woodlands.

Invisible food invites people from the local area to walk and talk and search out some urban food. It will then be used to make tea, infusions, cordials, soup, fritters, tarts, pies, salads, jams and beer.

In the noisy green silence of the hedgerows and bushes of Brixton, Invisible food will talk about what your mother told you about plants, what you can remember your grandmother doing with plants, what plants you remember from your childhood, wherever that was.

Invisible food is no expert. We are an experiment arising from the fractured and isolated urban condition of having very little to do plants.  Invisible food is an excuse to learn.

Invisible food loves to acknowledge this suggestion by Meg Wheatly that, human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change … if we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive. We share what we see, what we feel, and we listen to what others see and feel.

Sample Months and Recipes (There is food to be had all year round, including the winter months, this is just a summer outline)

April
Nettle tart, ravioli, soup, tea Crystallised violets and violet rice pudding
Young hawthorn leaves

May
Nettle tart, ravioli, soup, tea Crystallised violets and violet rice pudding
Young hawthorn leaves Elderflower cordial, fritters and champagne

June
Elderflower cordial, fritters and champagne Chickweed salad and pesto
Fat Hen, Good King Henry and Dead nettle greens

July
Dog rose petal jam and crystallised dog rose petals Lime blossom tea
Chickweed salad & pesto Fat Hen, Good King Henry and Dead nettle greens

August
Dog rose petal jam and Crystallised dog rose petals Lime blossom tea
Chickweed salad & pesto Fat Hen, Good King Henry and Dead nettle greens

September
Hawthorn jelly Blackberries Mulberries Rowan  and Elderberry jam
Dandelion root coffee

October
Sloe gin Hawthorn jelly Chickweed salad, pesto
Rosehip soup and syrup Dandelion root coffee

for the champagne
4 elderflower heads in full bloom
4.5 litres (1 gallon) cold water
1 lemon
650g (1.5 lb) sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Dissolve the sugar in a little warm water and allow to cool. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, cut the rind into four, put the pieces with the elderflowers in a large jug, add the white vinegar and pour on the rest of the cold water. Leave for 4 days. Strain off and bottle. Should be ready in 6 to 10 days. If not, re-cork and wait some more.

19 Responses to “Invisible Food”

  1. o pen bracket Says:

    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/postcode-plants/

    a great resource – search for native plants by postcode

  2. openbracket Says:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/BiddlyBee/InvisibleFoodWalk23July2008?authkey=8jn7LBHptEI#

    Photos by B, taken on 23rd July. I don’t think the plant that says it’s chickweed is chickweed. Thanks for sending photos on, B!

  3. cheritycall Says:

    Hi, Do something to help those hungry people from Africa or India,
    I made this blog about that subject:
    on http://tinyurl.com/65dptv

  4. Wild Food Says:

    What an excellent find. Glad to see you city-dwellers are chomping on wild food too :-)

    I go around the country filming foragers, and writing of my own foraging antics down here in Devon. If you’re up for it and when I’m next in London maybe I could come and film one of your wild food events. What says you?

    You can see the kind of stuff I’m doing over at http://www.EatWeeds.co.uk

    Keep up the food activism, we need folk like you to keep spreading the word.

    Robin

  5. luca Says:

    Hi,
    I would like to ask you all if you think is good idea to eat all this free food found around the centre of London.
    I recon, there are too much pollution that can make food containing unhealthy substances causing illness to people and animals.
    Thanks

  6. Katie Says:

    Can you hold another one in the next month please? I couldn’t come last weekend but heard it was awesome!! Thanks :-)

  7. Gadget Says:

    If you haven’t tried it yet, please do. You’ll love it.

  8. Gadget Says:

    RE: Polution. Stuff next to roads, and especially busy roads, is usually avoided for good reason. Old industrial land can be contaminated, so it’s good to ask around.

    Just come along on a walk and chat with people about what’s good and where.

  9. sabrina Says:

    Hi
    I was wondering if any of you would be intrested on jar and ramekin i seen you doing jam and conserve maybe some of you want them


  10. [...] met up with a group from Lambeth Band of Solidarity, led by Ceri Buck and picked nettles, dandelions, lime leaves and hawthorn before returning back to [...]

  11. Hara Says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    We are a Group of students, from the university of London College of Communication, department of the MA Interactive Media.
    Our project is to approach a community like you and detect any needs you might have in order to create the right tool for you.

    That could be for example : an interactive map, an iphone app, or anything else you might need)
    Please give us the opportunity to help you, and help us create a sustainable interactive tool proposal for you.

    In case you are interested, the only thing we ask is less than 30 minutes with you in order to learn more about what you need.
    Please contact me, as soon as possible, in order to arrange a meeting or leave your contact details so i can reach you.
    Because of the limited time we have for this project i would really appreciate it if we could arrange a meeting for tomorrow
    or even this weekend at your preferable time and location.

    Kind regards,

    Hara Michailidou


  12. [...] RSS feed for updates on this topic.Last year I became really interested in food foraging, or ‘Invisible Food‘ – food from plants most of us don’t even notice. We began attending Invisible Food Walks in [...]


  13. [...] Caroline Christie & Sofia Wennerstroms, Beaconsfield, Encounters, Fergus Drenan & Invisible Food,Francis Thorburn, Gasworks, Linda Florence, Lisa Cheung & Avant Gardening, Magnificent [...]


  14. [...] out special events or joining a group.  Have a look at London Orchard Project, Project Dirt and Invisible Food for [...]


  15. [...] out special events or joining a group.  Have a look at London Orchard Project, Project Dirt and Invisible Food for [...]


  16. [...] all around righteous babe, hence she will be leading the magical foraging walks under her project Invisible Food.  Expect the unexpected as she leads people through green spaces they might not have noticed, [...]

  17. Roz McCarthy Says:

    This sounds like a great opportunity to increase well being as well as getting us to recognise and learn about wild food and how you can use it.


  18. [...] – it literally necessitates a sackful of nettles!’. They have also been working with Invisible Food in Lambeth who organise walks around the borough to find wild foods and teach people how to make [...]

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