A recess from recession from the antechamber of austerity.
I want to suggest a way for you & yours to fuel the way through some very difficult waters ahead; a realisation has arisen by means of a pitfall that I fell into as a self employed entrepreneur last year; the pithy pursuit of protein is the case in point.
Part of the solution involves eating an ancestral food known to many as seaweed; and like most subsistence living ideas probably will not catch on until it becomes absolutely necessary.
The Revolution will not be processed…
As I write, The World Health Organisation is on the radio saying processed meat causes cancer. Critics from the industry and common sense pundits are arguing saying things like: ‘it’s not fair’ & ‘Vegetables too are so full of nitrites and other crap that cause cancer too’. There we are then.
This is the state we are in, this is what the state is supporting. Food is killing you, killing your family and killing the life systems that support it. Some people can’t even afford to buy this crap. Unless you dramatically change your habits you are only enabling it.
Meanwhile, the UK government are opening the doors to the unfettered shipping in of shite in their final stages of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Feeling peckish?
So here’s the ridiculous truth: For those of us living on the atlantic archipelago; there’s a community garden full of free organic food hiding just below the surface of awareness… aye; If you can somehow convince yourself that good nutrition is not the unattainable province of the middle classes. Heritage food is our inheritance and we the people deserve superfood with our supernoodles.
Take the health benefits of just ONE of the freely available sea vegetables..
‘Prevention and treatment of anemia. Recommended for looking after your eyesight, especially night vision. To nourish and protect your skin and mucous glands. Recommended for those who need high quality proteins: pregnant women, growing children, teenagers, and sportspersons. It helps in the fight against bacterial infection and is an excellent food for lowering cholesterol levels and preventing arteriosclerosis, thanks to it’s unsaturated fatty acids and taurine aminoacid. Eating a small amount of nori aids digestion and helps eliminate accumulated fat. It is a good remineralising complex and helps prevent deficiencies’
(Question: Do you know of anyone down your street that might benefit from a nibble?)
A Frond in need…
On advertising a family orientated course last year I was strongly challenged, via social media, on the price of the course being ‘too exclusive’. What emerged on entering into dialogue was that the lady in question was involved on the frontlines of poverty, many of her community were literally on the breadline; she was stressed… venting online after volunteering at one of the many foodbanks in Glasgow.
She maintained in vociferous terms, that education should be free to all to receive it; and that I was one of the middle class bastards complicit in the system that was keeping her friends in poverty. I was pretty rocked by the proposition, after all, her judgement could have be laudable, so I gave it some thought; didn’t I?
Self-employment in the outdoor learning game has kept a roof, albeit turf or canvas covered; above my and my partners head. Leading a subsistence lifestyle has given me the privilege of not having to earn a conventional living wage or lean on the state to stay afloat. My ‘occasions’ then, have been of part necessity, part service & part passion. I did apply for tax credits recently, but it seems earning under 4K a year is not deemed possible by the powers that be. In a way, I sidestepped the economic & ergonomic confines of class; for a bit.
When a seven day full-board family camp, with tuition in permaculture and diversionary activities for kids at the low end rate of 150 quid is inconceivably expensive for an interested working class family to sign up, even when I & most of the facilitators weren’t drawing a wage from the endeavor; then I had to question what on earth I was thinking. Permanent-culture as a common wealth within the status quo? The lassie from Glasgow was right in many ways; it’s a fecking joke. I could be a cockleman round the doors with a sideline in sea-veg; like the cocklewoman of Penclawdd in my nan’s day & effect more change.
Swimming against the tide or pissing in the Wind?
I’ve realized that unless many of the things I’ve tried to offer as ‘services’ are scaled up and become part of public policy, then the amount of people you actually facilitate change for is fractional to the society as a whole. There was an interesting expression I read in a thesis about this the other day; the concept of liminality.
There are forms of cultural heritage that lurk in little islands of safety within a wider society that does not express the same values. It’s true, we can have as many genius ideas for courses as we like; but does it actually matter? Perhaps; but only for the small few that can benefit within our sphere of influence.
My reflection: the incentive for signing up to any course (that isn’t motivated by fear) has to be the perception that there’s at least a possibility of transfer of learning. How can signing up for an experience doing *this/that/the other* be used and transferred back to the family unit and, if we’re lucky enough to have our heads above water; to the communities in which we live in? If we can’t change the society, how can we influence the culture; this intangible pool that we swim in everyday?
Heritage Nutrition ends cultural attrition!
Atlantic nori has traditionally been consumed in the northern Celtic countries. It is still used today in a lovingly prepared dish known as laver bread. The Welsh miners are (were) known to eat a lot of nori- as much as 200 dried tons a year.
As Neil Knight would say: ‘Let me tell you something for nothing”…. The nation didn’t eat 200 tons of laverbread a year because it tasted nice; that’s for sure.
Let’s get some of that in the foodbanks & give our hero(ines) strength for the struggle.
‘Shoreline not the Breadline’.
2016 & Protein is expensive; and becoming more so all the time. Good quality protein is hard to find in commercial human food chains, & certainly not in chain supermarkets.
Non-organic nuggets are processed for profit & palette, greased palm-oil products, shipped on pallets; kills the foundation that we stack our human stories on.
Bruce Dickinson had it wrong when he said you can hide from neocolonialism or hop hegemony by “running to the hills”. Without a wolf in sight, objectively the glens are FULL of antlered protein out of control eating the prospect of future fruit & nut forests. The subjective reality is though, the bow & arrow is banned within mountains & if your not recreating for big cash money & you take a hind or a stag for your family & get caught; then your going to jail.
So for Christ sake, if you want to take the land, your bodies & minds back into the power & prospect of earth’s providence … do as our ancestors did and get the kids on the sea vegetables. In this here laverbread revolution, it’s live fully or die trying.
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So as i wave ‘ta ta for now’ to self employment, here’s a course i’m not offering next year. It’s arranged according to the Natural Learning cycle i mentioned in a previous blog. It’s so vital I’m going anyway, get in touch if you wanna come along for nowt; or just do it yourself.
Premise: A foraging holiday for 10 people Spring time somewhere on the West coast of the Atlantic Archipelago of Scotland. The emphasis is on Self reliance in food on a limited budget. Participants will gather enough sea vegetables for their family unit for the remaining year.
Meet, greet, opening circle; night in B & B. Shot fillum/presentation on sea vegetables.
Set up Camp, Introduction to Sea vegetables; taste test, introduction to gathering, snorkelling and knife work.
Low Tide: 2 Groups: 1)Harvesting in wet suits.
2) Prepare meals, share recipes & tips; keep fire going.
High Tide: 1) Bagging up, drying above the shoreline.
2) Prepare meals, share recipes & tips; keep fire going.
Repeat for two working days.
Thai Yoga Massage. Optional afternoon dip & dine in Crerar hotel spa. (10 quid.)
Return to camp. Storytelling and evening party.
Ancestor stories . Theme: seaweed, seashore & subsistence.
Internalisation- Sit spot; identifying blocks; one on one reflection session.
Action Planning. Drying & storing at home, Menu’s.
Gratitude, Partings; Song.