News: Looking Back
Updated: Oct 7
Since the launch of Seed of the Forest in February 2021, we have been delivering a vibrant mix of online workshops and courses, working with a range of partner organisations dedicated to creating a healthier and fairer world.
It’s been a while since our last newsletter, so we have plenty of exciting things to share with you! Our biggest highlight of the last seven months has been our collaboration with Think Like a Tree. Sam, our course facilitator, has completed the training to deliver Think Like a Tree courses independently, while also delivering courses online with Think Like a Tree founder, Sarah Spencer and co-facilitator Milly Carmichael. Being forced to switch to an online delivery method has allowed us to reach out to new participants from the tip of Scotland to the South of England, to the US, Australia and Japan - where some people have even joined the course at 4am local time! Here the permaculture principle “the problem is the solution” has shown us that there are benefits to be found even in the most difficult situations.
With the easing of restrictions, the Think like a Tree crew were finally able to get together in July 2021 at Timber festival, which coincided nicely with the launch of Sarah and Eva Spencer’s new book Inspired by Trees.
Sarah at Timber festival, with her new book Inspired by Trees
Our name, Seed of the Forest, reflects that we are just one part of a wider movement and that great things can come from small actions. Because of this, we love to collaborate with others. In May, Sam was delighted to join Devena Chouhan and Hindu Climate Action in a Climate Conversation, looking at climate and wildlife-friendly ways of gardening.
Hindu Climate Action's poster
During the lockdown in 2020, Sam converted her newly acquired but neglected urban back garden into a pollinator-friendly food garden, which is now buzzing away happily with bees and butterflies (and the odd slug).
Sam's garden in Leicester
In her day job, working as a project officer for The Conservation Volunteers, Sam has been linking community groups up with available land and nurturing the emergence of new community gardens in Leicester. The Lotus Project run by the amazing Taruna Mistry of Leicester Community Links took over an allotment site in Leicester as soon as Covid restrictions were lifted and the project is now thriving. Sam has had the privilege of working alongside the volunteers and seeing how quickly they have obtained yields of both vegetables and joy!
A stall for The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)
A new “free edibles” project is beginning in our neighbourhood around the car park of St Denys church - what started with a lawn has grown to become a range of soft fruit bushes and herbs, as well as park benches where anyone can come and enjoy the produce or watch the world go by.
Sam joined Friends of the Earth, the Green Guardians and Leicester Ageing Together to continue clearing another formerly abandoned garden on Melbourne Street. Now in community hands, it will provide a much-needed respite space as well as food-growing beds in the heart of the dense red-brick streets of Highfields.
Allotments and Community gardens have been a lifeline to many folks during the pandemic, providing beautiful outdoor spaces to meet up safely. Permaculture teacher, Geoff Lawton famously said, “ You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden “ and we agree, but changing our world requires action at all different levels.
Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire (CALL) ran a fascinating online conference in February called the Climate and Me, which brought together personal stories of people affected by Climate Change. Sam attended the event and delivered two workshops: Think Like a Tree and an Introduction to Permaculture. Sam is also working with other members of CALL on policy responses to Leicester’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, Food Plan and Transport Plan and is hoping to play a key part in developing an Allotment and Community Garden Strategy for the City. Throughout all of our work, we use the permaculture principle of “Integrate don’t Segregate” to bring the wisdom of the garden into the halls of the policy-makers.
Seed of the Forest is proud to have been part of the delivery of a Transition Network Bounce Forward programme. A Transition Principle is “Everyone is Needed”, this is at the heart of all of our workshops and courses, meaning that everyone has a role to play in this time of great and turbulent change as the old order gives way to a world based on ethics over profit and an understanding of ecological limits.
To assist organisations to reach out to wider audiences, we are delivering bespoke Inclusivity workshops. We have a general workshop, developed by Sarah Spencer with input from Sam, which was delivered at the Permaculture Educator’s Conference. We can tailor this to the needs of specific organisations, so please contact us if you would like bespoke facilitation for your organisation.
Inclusivity depends heavily on language and through the Bounce Forward grant, we were able to offer a series of workshops on Compassionate Communication for Groups, delivered by Kate Lucre, a Compassion-based Communication therapist, which was attended by over 30 representatives of groups in the Midlands. We are continuing this work by offering compassionate non-violent communication (NVC) workshops online with Milly Carmichael.
See our blog post on Compassionate Communication for more information.
Seed of the Forest's poster
The Covid pandemic has had a huge impact on all areas of life but the stress of the combined effects of Covid, Climate anxiety and other impacts of the imploding of the old capitalist patriarchy have led to a hidden epidemic around mental health. In May and June, we participated in the Ways to Wellbeing programme run by Lightseekers in collaboration with Quetzal. The programme brings together a range of practitioners interested in supporting individual and community health & wellbeing. Videos of all the sessions will be freely available through Quetzal, you can find the link through our linktree on Instagram.
We have lots more exciting things coming up soon, so make sure you keep a lookout!