Visits elsewhere

ONLINE: Visiting Projects We Love

4 April – 31 August 2020

Once a month, we would usually be heading out to local creative projects, gardens, growing spaces or food producers to see what other people are up to. This is always a chance to get inspired, share ideas, or simply enjoy the outing.... While we can't leave the house, we thought we'd bring you online activity from projects we love, to keep you inspired during the lockdown.

WEEK 8 : MONDAY 18TH MAY : A MOMENT OF CALM

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Farming Goes On: Maynards Fruit Farm, Farmerama Podcast, Growing Communities

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Images: Maynards Fruit Farm link / Farmerama Podcast link / Growing Communities link

Those who have come picking with us before will be familiar with Maynards Fruit Farm. We love our Spring and Summer visits to spend a day in this beautiful part of the world; picking strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants (and whatever else is fresh that day!). Spring is well and truly here and the farm is gearing up for picking. We strongly recommend visiting their Instagram page for regular updates while we can’t currantly be there in person….

If you haven’t already, check out the Farmerama Podcast: an award-winning monthly podcast “sharing the voices of smaller-scale farmers in the UK and beyond”, which currently features a great ‘CerealBonus Episode on baking: “uncovering the hidden truths behind our bread and the people who are building a new grains movement”….

We also really enjoyed reading this blog from Growing CommunitiesFarming Through a Pandemic: Dagenham Connections. Big congratulations to Alice, Shelagh and the team for continuing growing through these difficult times. It’s been really inspiring to hear about the great work being done with Better Food Shed; bringing fresh produce to local families in need; we can’t wait to be able to come back to the farm to see how its been growing.

  • Please get in touch if you hear of a story you’d love to share with the community

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WEEK 3 : TUESDAY 28th APRIL : HELPFUL HERBS AND FLOWERS

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The Mobile Apothecary

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The Mobile Apothecary is a collaboration between Phytology, Rasheeqa Ahmad [aka Hedge Herbs], and a growing network of talented volunteers; spanning the areas of arts, herbalism, and horticulture/growing. Since April 2019, they have been bringing people together to collectively learn about medicinal plants and create herbal medicine for distribution to fellow community members facing barriers to health, food, and shelter.
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They run monthly pay-it-forward harvesting and medicine-making workshops at the Phytology Medicinal Garden, and distribution sessions outside of the Bethnal Green Underground Station, alongside Refugee Community Kitchen, and distributing in partnership with the Street Kitchen outside the Hackney Town Hall and Dalston Overground Station.
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The Mobile Apothecary project facilitates:

  • Habitat & local urban environment connection.
  • Collective ethical & sustainable growing, stewarding, and harvesting of plants.
  • The making of medicines for some of the most vulnerable people within the community, with local resources and local hands.

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They believe:

  • Healthcare, encompassing physical and psychological health, is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all people.
  • People have the right to basic knowledge and skills in herbal medicine and medicine-making.
  • Human health and planetary health are intertwined.

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Over the last 2 weeks at our base in Barking Park [adhering to physical distancing and other risk mitigation measures], they have been creating packages of flu support remedies from their remaining herb stock for people to collect alongside Refugee Community Kitchen food packages. These contain a very special range of herbal products….

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Immune Boost

This tonic is based on Elderberry and Apple Cider Vinegar, both of which have antimicrobial properties. Elderberry has traditionally been used to help reduce severity and length of cold or flu. Several studies have provided evidence supporting this effect, and in vitro studies have shown that it works by inhibiting viral entry into and replication in human cells (6, 7). Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for thousands of years for its multifaceted healing properties, and recent studies have shown its effectiveness against specific pathogenic bacteria and fungi (8).

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Decongestant Chest Rub

This chest rub is based on the following antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and soothing herbs, some of which are also aromatic, helping to alleviate congestion both through both the skin and inhalation: Bay, Marshmallow Leaf, Ribwort Plantain, Menthol, Eucalyptus, Rosemary (9-15).

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Hand Sanitiser

This sanitiser is a simple, effective, and gentle botanical formula featuring Calendula Tincture, accompanied by a subtle blend of Tea Tree and Lavender Essential Oils. We use a 90% Calendula flower (alcohol) tincture for the resin which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and reinforces the antibacterial action of alcohol (16). Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils, both known to be effective against specific microbial pathogens, further boost the antimicrobial action, and Lavender also provides a calming fragrance (17, 18).

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Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park 

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Our regular volunteers are BIG fans of the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, who have been running Nature & Us: a project bringing the local community together through nature. During the Covid-19 crisis they are running a jam-packed programme of online events and sending out really great newsletters with information about birds, wildflowers, bees and trees.
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We recommend subscribing to the Nature & Us newsletter for regular nature updates, and also checking out their online programme of talks. Tickets are FREE but you can make a donation to support the Friends of Tower Hamlets Survival Fund to cover their costs for looking after the nature and heritage of the Park through the Covid-19 cancellations of events and funding.

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WEEK 2 : TUESDAY 20 th APRIL : BE MORE SUNFLOWER

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International Day of Peasants’ Struggle with La Via Campesina

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Last Friday, 17 April 2020, millions of food producers around the world – among them peasants, small and medium-scale farmers, indigenous people, migrant workers, farm labourers, pastoralists, fisherfolk – commemorated the International Day of Peasants’ Struggle.

La Via Campesina marked this day by releasing an illustrated version of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP).

If you’ve enjoyed our Digesting Politics Lunches and hearing from guest speakers such as Sean Roy Parker, Esiah Levy, Deirdre Woods, Fozia Ismail and Toni Lötter, we stronglyrecommend you check out this online publication. The beautiful  illustrations take you step by step through what is, now more than ever, an essential read about the people who are growing and feeding our world. You can either view it online or using the QR Code above.

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Write On Magazine EXTRA Online Issues

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We also highly recommend checking out Pen to Print’s Write On Magazine: Extra. With weekly literary treats on themes such as Monday Memoirs, Thursday Connectors and Write On! Interviews…. Find all the latest posts on their website.

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WEEK 1 : FRIDAY 7th APRIL : FAMILIES’ EASTER SPECIAL

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Eco Brick making with Edible London

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When they’re not delivering healthy surplus produce to residents in need in Haringey, Edible London are sharing great, simple activities you can do, to re-use and re-think about waste….  Visit their Instagram page and find their step-by step guide on How to Make an Eco-Brick. If you don’t use yours, bring it to the Company Drinks Garden in a few months, and we’ll send them to the Edible team, who will make use of them at their growing spaces.

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Dandelion Fritters with Hackney Herbal

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Hackney Herbal is an excellent organisation, growing and using herbs to improve people’s health and wellbeing. This week they’ve shared a simple recipe for Dandelion Fritters (we know, right?) via their Instagram. Foraging for flowers is great fun for all ages, and surely Dandelion Fritters are something you’ll want to try at least once?

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Family Fitness with BDYD

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Our friends at BDYD are making sure you’re keeping moving while staying put. This Saturday at 1pm, they’ll be sharing a Family Fitness Session with Redfox. It’ll be for all the family, all ages and abilities welcome! If you’re on instagram, tune in via the @B.D.Y.D instagram live story.

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Get creative with Down, Up, Down, Up

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DOWN, UP, DOWN, UP is a social social-distance art school which provides creative learning tasks for the duration of school closures during covid-19. We LOVE their Full Scale Self Portrait activity, and you can do this with scraps of paper and stationary you find round the house. Find this and more on their instagram posts.

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Axel Scheffler’s guide to Social Distancing…

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Artist Axel Scheffler has drawn a great illustration showing the Gruffalo practising Social Distancing, which we love, and encourage you to share with your younger family members… see below.

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Do you need any help or support?

The council, in partnership with BD Collective, have launched a Citizens Alliance Network (CAN), to support vulnerable people during these difficult times. If you, or anyone you know, needs help or support, you can find out more on the CAN website.

Please contact us via email if you have any questions about our activities or concerns about the situation and how it might be affecting you in Barking & Dagenham.

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References (if you want to be a plant medicine geek)

1) Deters, A., Zippel, J., Hellenbrand, N., Pappai, D., Possemeyer, C., & Hensel, A. (2010). Aqueous extracts and polysaccharides from Marshmallow roots (Althea officinalis L.): Cellular internalisation and stimulation of cell physiology of human epithelial cells in vitro. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 127(1), 62-69.

2) Benbassat, N., Kostova, B., Nikolova, I., & Rachev, D. (2013). Development and evaluation of novel lozenges containing marshmallow root extract. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 26, 1103-1107.  Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net

3) Zarei, B., Saifi, T., Fazeli, A., Khodadadi, E., & Namavar, A. (2013). Evaluation of Antibacterial effects of marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) on four strains of bacteria. International Journal of Agriculture and Crop Sciences, 5(14), 1571. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net

4) Kemmerich, B. (2007). Evaluation of efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of dry extracts of thyme herb and primrose root in adults suffering from acute bronchitis with productive cough. A prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre clinical trial. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 57, 607-15.

5) Saeidnia, S., Gohari, A., Mokhber-Dezfuli, N., & Kiuchi, F. (2011). A review on phytochemistry and medicinal properties of the genus Achillea. Daru: Journal of Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 19(3), 173–186. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

6) Barak, V., Halperin, T., Kalickman, I. (2001) The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. European Cytokine Network, 12(2), 290-6 . Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

7) Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T., Wadstein. (2004) Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. Journal of International Medical Research, 32(2), 132-40. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net

8) Yagnik, D., Serafin, V., & J Shah, A. (2018). Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific reports, 8(1), 1732. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

9) Algabri, S. O., Doro B. M., Abadi, A. M., Shiba, M. A., Salem, A. H. (2018) Bay Leaves have Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities. J Pathogen Res 1(1), 3. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net

10) Batool, S., Rasheed, A. K., Muhammad, A. H., Muhammad, A. A. (2020). Bay Leaf. In M. A. Hanif, H. Nawaz, M.M. Khan, H.J. Byrne (Eds), Medicinal Plants of South Asia – Novel sources for drug discovery. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com

11) Ali Shah, S., Naveed, A., Akram, M., Shah, P., Saeed, T., Ahmad, K., Asif, M. (2011). Pharmacological activity of Althaea officinalis L. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research, 5, 5662-5666. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net

12) Muhammad, B. A., Muhammad, T., Muhammad, F. A., Mohamad, S.A., Muhammad, B.A.K, Mohd, S., Pinaki, S., Deny, S. (2017). Chemical constituents and medical benefits of Plantago major. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 96348-360.

13) Kamatou, G. P. P., Alvaro, I. V., Viljoen, M., Lawrence, M. B. (2013). Menthol: A simple monoterpene with remarkable biological properties. Phytochemistry 96, 15-25. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com

14) Bachir, R. (2017). Antimicrobial activity of Eucalyptus globulus oils. In A. Méndez-Vilas (Ed), Antimicrobial research: Novel bioknowledge and educational programs. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net

15) Nieto, G., Ros, G., & Castillo, J. (2018). Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, L.): A Review. Medicines (Basel, Switzerland), 5(3), 98. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

16) Efstratiou, E., Hussain, A.I., Nigam, P. S., Moore, J.E., Ayub, M. A., Rao, J. R. (2012). Antimicrobial activity of Calendula officinalis petal extracts against fungi, as well as Gram-negative and Gram-positive clinical pathogens. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 18(3), 173-176. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com

17) Puškárová, A., Bučková, M., Kraková, L. et al. (2017). The antibacterial and antifungal activity of six essential oils and their cyto/genotoxicity to human HEL 12469 cells. Scientific Reports 7, 8211. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com

18) Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 19(1), 50–62. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.

19) Rao, G., & Rowland, K. (2011). Zinc for the common cold–not if, but when. The Journal of family practice, 60(11), 669–671. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov