Wednesday 28 December 2011

Let's Hear it for the Plants in 2012!

Food, textiles, medicine. Capturers of carbon, oxygen providers, soil stabilisers. Source of nectar for pollinators, inspiration and materials for artists, farmers, permaculturists and ale-brewers. Companions, healers. The presence of plants on this planet, from the humblest goosefoot to the grandest oak, makes everything about our lives possible. And beautiful.

Seriously. Where would we be without the plant world?

Reconnection with Nature continues to be the most frequently used tag by Transition Norwich bloggers. As we head into a 2012 of continued planetary degradation with no conventional political will to stop it, becoming aware of ourselves within the living systems takes on a more urgent and meaningful tenor. It also makes economic sense as the present financial system collapses, whether you grow more of your own food at home or join a local veg box scheme.

Many of the posts I write on This Low Carbon Life are about plant-human relationships. From the tricks (and trickiness!) of gardening, to the joy of discovering wild herbs and wasteland flowers, to the bounty of beetroot, which put in a major star turn in 2011. Plants really do inspire conversations between people which otherwise might not happen. Carrying around John's enormous beetroot (did I say humble goosefoot earlier?!?) at the Transition Norwich party in November, I found myself talking with several people I hadn't met before. "Where did you get that?" they asked me. "It's so BIG!"

Plants as ice-breakers. Terra firma.

So what am I doing to help everyone reconnect with nature in 2012, in Transition Norwich, Sustainable Bungay and within the wider Transition movement?

I’ll continue with the Low Carbon Cookbook project, now ready to be written up after 15 months of sharing and storing recipes, experiences, facts and figures along with low carbon growing, cooking, eating and buying tips. The LCC group will also be showcasing ancient and modern superfood plants at Grapes Hill Community Garden – which I’ll write about later in the year.

I’ll also keep writing for This Low Carbon Life and the Transition Network Social Reporters project. And I intend to do more transitional speaking in public after a guest slot on Stroud FM’s Transition Show earlier this month speaking about Transition Norwich and Sustainable Bungay. It was nerve-wracking and fun at the same time. [Note to self for future speaking: reduce stuttering and stumbling to a minimum. Breathe and let go, hence reduce overwhelm by all the things you COULD say but can’t get out. That’ll come with practice.]

Oh, and talking of practice, I've made a deal with Rob Hopkins to perform "What Goes On" (Velvet Underground) at the Transition Conference 2012 together.

But my biggest Transition project this year is with Sustainable Bungay. I’ll be heading up the Plant Medicine Bed 2012 at the Library Community Garden, growing and showcasing plants-for-medicine and hosting monthly talks, walks and workshops with fellow plant people on everything from Medicine Roots to Spring Tonics to Wild Plant Oils to Adopt a Herb (part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival). The first three events take place at 3pm on Sundays 15th January, 18th February and 19th March. Everyone is welcome from Bungay, Norwich and the hinterland. Keep an eye on the Sustainable Bungay and Transition Norwich News websites where I’ll post all the details as well as write-ups here on This Low Carbon Life. NB: There is no charge for these sessions but donations appreciated.

For details of the Plant Medicine bed and related talks, walks and workshops throughout 2012 in Bungay and elsewhere contact me, Mark Watson, on or 01502 722419

And to all fellow plant people, bloggers and transitioners everywhere, may 2012 be a fruitful year, the year where growth is of the healthy, organic, wild and cultivated plant kind. Keep pushing through!

Pics: Me at Winter Solstice 2011 under Great Oak (CDC); Feel the Beet TN Bloggers Visiting Card; Transition Norwich party Nov 2011; St. Johns Wort, Ribwort Plantain at Lowestoft Station Summer 2010; Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) Bungay, July 2011

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