As an old newcomer in Suderbyn my re-experience with the food made me think about how the food system here is the very example of innovation in adversity. Not that there is adversity in terms of what we eat at all. The adversity I am talking about is something I see, coming back from being able to pick anything up at the store, to living in a place that focuses on local, organic food. In Suderbyn we grow as much as we can with permaculture gardening methods and the rest we buy seasonally from as local and as sustainable providers as possible. The adversity that I am talking about comes when you let your geographic location and the seasons determine what you eat; options are limited. And not only that, but sometimes, food finishes.
But magic happens when you bring together +20 people from all over the world with different food cultures in the luggage. And wauw, there are no limits to what you can create with the same vegetables if you just let your different community members go wild in the kitchen.The same ingredients can turn out in so many unexpected ways, and it tastes too-good-to-be true.
And what more can you dream of than organic food, full of goodness and nutrition, as local as possible. Hmmm, and Vegan too. It defines the authentic, the quality and the ideals of the community in its truest form, and if the taste wasn’t something to talk about, I wouldn’t, but it is. Just the other day I had the most fantastic pesto made from carrot tops. SO good!
I think it has something to do with the fact that everyone gets a turn to cook not so often, and when they do, a lot of effort and love goes into the cooking process. I mean we are up to 20 people in the community right now, sometimes more! So about a 3 week rotation period. Not only that but a magical “kitchen angel” comes to clean your mess after you are done cooking. Its fantastic!
So to summarise, no guilt, no fuss, authentic, quality food, that is made with local goods and by people who are really into creating something great for the community.
We work hard and play hard here in Suderbyn, and part of the playing is enjoying a good meal with one another. The innovation in food is shown by the silly beautiful things that happen here, just the other day, the coffee press lost its head, that you use to press down, and only a metal stick protruding out is now there, everybody uses different things but Robert used a zucchini end. What a moment!
Heddas and Annas baking is legendary in Suderbyn, fantastic pancakes every Sunday, Fika cakes, and fresh bread! Pesto, nettle soup, bean burgers, Indian food, tofu rolls, Indian food, fresh home made oat milk, kombucha, and the list goes on.
I guess you will have to come and visit to find out!
- Menakshi Malik
There’s a lot to be sceptical of when it comes to awards. It almost always feels nice to be recognised for something, but it’s important to remember what being recognised, or getting an award can really mean.
Some people win awards that, looking back, perhaps shouldn’t have. Did you know Hitler won TIME’s person of the year in 1938? His economic policies were benefitting the German economy, and his populism was bringing (particular) demographics together. The anti-Jewish rhetoric? Oh, everyone’s a little bit racist and no one’s perfect!
Milton Friedman was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his advocacy and government consultation of free market economics. Our globalised, privatised economic system with its unfathomable wealth disparity and ecological-limit breaking ruthless focus on growth (neo-liberalism) can be argued to have stemmed directly from Friedman and the influence of his Chicago School. We may have given our civilisation’s most prized awards to one of it’s forerunning horsemen.
Hell, there might come a point when we look at Obama’s Nobel Peace prize and go, “wait, didn’t that guy deport more immigrants than all previous presidents, as well as Trump, AND intensify drone warfare in the Middle East which killed, like, a heck-ton of civillians, destroyed families and further increased resentment, hatred and distrust towards Western hegemony rather than doing anything to actually end the conflict and restabilise the region?” …
I mean… That point might come. Just sayin’.
There are fantastic projects and people who will never be recognised by an official body because they’re unlucky, or because their work isn’t economically viable, or is ahead of the zeitgeist. It’s just like in life: we don’t always get what we want. We’re not always seen or understood. Housework can go unnoticed, emotional labour unappreciated, the cleaners, care givers, bin collectors and farmers of our societies will not be recognised for their essential contributions to our lives, health and functioning of our societies.
No, we’re not always seen or understood, but should we even aim to be?
Some forms of recognition can be entirely disingenuous and self serving. Get your recognition, now you’re done, you’ve made it! You can stop now! This is often seen in corporate or governmental awards where recognition of meagre “green” activities are a way to maintain public image for the next quarter. On an individual level, I think of the winners of TV talent shows. They get recognised for their tear-jerking story and people pleasing performance, release an album that gets the Christmas no. 1 before being quickly and quietly sacrificed to the fickle elder Gods of rapidly shifting public opinion.
Even deserved and seemingly well intentioned awards can often be a way to defuse the radical nature of the work. For this one I think about Gretha Tunberg’s attitude towards awards. It’s either, “Alright, give me the money, this is going to people who need it”, or an outright rejection, “I need a future, not an award. Ecological collapse hasn’t gone away just because of this feelgood cabal of self-congratulation.”
Perhaps an award should never be seen as an expression of finality but rather exactly what it is: A subjective recognition that might provide social/economic benefit, bestowed by a small group of people whose authority on any particular subject might be less authoritative, or less genuine, than we might initially think. So what is this award to Suderbyn?
A hollow gesture made by green growthers?
A cynical attempt by an organisation to promote their agenda?
A psy-op campaign designed to incorporate Suderbyn into the “institution” in order to disarm any of its radical change making potential!?
I don’t really believe in any of them in this case. What I am certain of however is that whilst it’s nice to be recognised for our work it is far more important to recognise how much work there still is to do.
- Evelyn Carr
We even made a video to commemorate the occasion. It doesn't necessarily connect with why we won the award but hey. Check it out!
This one was actually sown as a green manure that we were planning to turn in to improve the soil... And well, when you forget to turn in a green manure, it just continues its life and grows to its full potential and eventually gives seeds! (This is probably the only existing case of productive procrastination.)
Food wise, rye is often ignored or limited to crackers and dark bread, which is a shame since it is a very nutritious cereal and healthier than wheat in many regards.
Actually, the grain is not the only yield here. The straw - the dried stem of the plant - is also an excellent source of food...for the soil! Straw contains proportionally more carbon than hay, which is dried grass or legumes. Straw is therefore a perfect ingredient for soil building as a mulch or in compost, especially when combined with more nitrogen rich elements such as urine, grass clippings, certain manures, food waste etc.
Returning homegrown straw to the soil is an essential part of the the simple and balanced cycle created by the farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. He understood more than everyone that growing food implies giving back to the Earth after taking from her. Indeed, even though the grain took some nutrients from the soil, most of its food came from the sun and the air, unlimited and renewable sources. At the end, it's a net gain for the soil, especially when all the nutrients are kept in the loop, with compost toilets and straw back to the land.
Recent cultivars of grain are very often shorter which results in faster harvests and easier processing, but also less straw, which is not regarded as an essential biproduct anymore. (Our rye on this picture reaches up to 175 cm!).
This perspective illustrates the contemporary misunderstanding of the needs of our soils. Synthetic fertilizers, mineral powders, diluted juices and far-imported fertility, intended to feed the plants directly, cannot replace local whole foods such as straw, hay, compost or manure when it comes to feeding the soil on the long term. The narrowly scientific, productivity oriented approach cannot match the holistic perspective that encourages a constant flow of nutrients and energy from soil to plants, from plants to humans and animals, and back to the soil.
After threshing the grain out of the huls and off the straw, we will take back this small sheaf to our soil, and "the cycle won't be broken!"
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