It’s not every day you meet a witch. The American pagan peace activist and writer Starhawk was giving a workshop on a nearby farm. We all bought a vegetarian offering for the shared lunch (see above).
Food brings people together and if everyone brings a dish, it’s not hard work to feed 30. The tastes may be pot luck but they miraculously get on well.
Starhawk shared with us some magical methods for keeping our spirits up while saving the world. She said, try to be in nature every day for fifteen minutes. Take time to wonder at how that leaf falls or green shoots burst out of a cracked pavement, and use your physical senses to ground you.
Radford Mill Farm was the perfect setting. We closed our eyes and heard the wind in the trees and the birds, calling. We opened them and walked barefoot on the wet grass. We felt the sun on our backs and saw the sky. I felt like a cooped-up chicken allowed to go free range.
Green activists live with the doom-reality of an impending environmental crisis but they are remarkably upbeat, probably because they are doing something to make the world a better place.
Starhawk’s talk was organised by Sarah Pugh, the Transition Bristol maven. Transition Culture is about getting self-sufficient so when supermarket shelves are empty and petrol pumps are dry, we have by this time learnt to grow our own veg (and guard our allotments from the marauding hordes?).
Our vegetables will have to be organic when oil is scarce. Non-organic farming relies on oil to make chemical fertiliser in factories. As oil prices rise, so does the cost of food. Organic farming has no need for gallons of oil. It makes its fertiliser on the farm, courtesy of the sun.
Radford Mill Farm is converting to organic and is set on making it a community affair. The official term is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA for those in the know). Originally from the US, it’s about sharing a farm’s responsibilities – and rewards. You commit in advance, with cash or in kind, and in return get a share of the harvest.
When the going gets tough, we will need our family farms more than ever. Adopt one now!
Below is a picture of Starhawk listening to Siobhan, a co-founder of Tribe of Doris, the UK’s most prestigious cultural festival. Here’s a tip for keeping cheerful: if you want to learn to dance or play music and can live under canvas for a convivial few days over the Bank Holiday weekend, then that’s the festival for you. (And don’t forget Climate Camp next week).