On this spring equinox weekend, where periods of day and night are becoming of even length, we’re going to hunt for ingredients for a Spring tonic soup. Young nettle and dandelion are springing up all over the city, chickweed and cleavers are still young, tender, and abundant.

Over the winter months we’ve been hunting for plants that survive and thrive on the cold weather and we’ve cooked up winter herb risotto, yarrow vegeburgers, toasted the crab apple trees at the herb garden with Caribbean sorrel drink, made chickweed and goosegrass curry to accompany Hembesha (Eritrean) bread.

The aim of the culinary activities is to cook the wild plants growing locally in ways that reflect the social and ethnic diversity of residents, learning from each other’s cooking traditions. The main emphasis in the monthly sessions is skillshare, food sharing and enjoyment! There is also usually opportunity for arts activities and an invitation to create a map of your foraging experience.

This month, things are slightly different because of the launch of the Low Carbon Zone. We’re going to meet at the slightly later time of 11.45 so we can come back to the Loughborough Centre to join in the Launch of the Low carbon zone. There will be stalls and activities in the centre between 2 and 5pm.

When you arrive promptly at 11.45 so we can do registration and leave around 12pm. Dress with warm clothes and strong footwear. Children are very welcome to come and must be accompanied. Please arrive on foot, bike or public transport if possible. If you have to drive, please be aware of strict parking restrictions around the estate to avoid getting clamped.

In February we visited the herb garden between Loughborough and Angell Town estates and many people expressed an interest in helping to maintain this lovely space. Since then I’ve met Mitzi, a local resident who helps to maintain this herb garden and another herb space on the Angell Town estate. It’s always warming to meet people who love the green spaces that you do. It’s feeling a connection through the ground that you tread.

Please get in touch for further information and to tell us you’re coming. Places aren’t limited this month because of the low carbon zone launch but they normally are to ensure a safe and friendly space where people can get to know each other.

In the herb garden smelling the herbs


The herb garden on the border between Angell Town and Loughborough estates

Crouching by the plants close to the ground - in the wild bit

A beautiful spear thistle in the wild part of the space

Radiant, radius of a Spear thistle

Mitzi introducing the second herb garden on Angell Town

In the second herb garden

Walking back to the centre, bit damp but still walking

Segen and Ellen at the Low Carbon Launch back at the Centre

We made 'spring tonic soup' to taste

To make spring tonic soup, use a mixture of young stems (nettle, goosegrass, chickweed).

Lightly fry onion and/or leek  small amount of oil.

Add a couple of potatoes and carrots which will thicken the final soup.

Once lightly fried, add vegetable stock and bay leaves if you want to use them.

Cook for 5 – 7 mins then add the nettles and other plants for further 5 minutes.

Liquidise and serve with a splodge of cream