In the new year, we welcomed fresh new faces to the Skip Garden. The Junior Chef Club invited young people to join us on an exciting culinary journey - from the garden, to India, Japan and so much more! We delivered sessions on a variety of topics to enable participants to develop their cooking and social skills and connect with nature as well as their local community. The programme also included a visit to the impressive Rotunda restaurant where the Junior Chefs were able to learn from the chefs and get a tour James Pike, the General Manager of Green & Fortune.
With new beginnings, it’s always a good time to explore some of the deeper questions and consider our choices in life. Together, and through the act of harvesting, cooking, feasting and composting, we held a space to explore where our food comes from and why it’s important to even consider that question. On some days, we examined more closely how our plates reflect our landscapes and our interconnectedness, what eating seasonally means, and how different dishes and ingredients emerged across the world. Throughout the whole programme, we also challenged ourselves to bring ritual and respect for our food and our bodies into the programme.
When so much of our food is grown in mono-cultures, sprayed, processed, and eaten on-the-go, asking these questions can be revolutionary. Food connects us to our environment, breaks down those clearly defined boundaries between that which is outside and that which is within us. Each and every bite is a bridge which reminds us of the precious relationship that our existence depends upon and each and every meal is an opportunity to celebrate that connection by opening up a space to respect and celebrate the magic that gifts our nourishment. From the worms that make the soil hospitable to the bees that pollinate the flowers.
To be given the chance to explore these questions with young people is one of the reasons I feel truly fortunate to be involved in this work at the Skip Garden. I never consider myself a ‘teacher’, as I am aware that I’m on the same journey, learning with others. Instead, I want young people to realise we should never cease to be students, and never cease to look upon the world around us with curiosity and wonder. Through harvesting chard, learning about the importance of the soya bean in Japanese cuisine, exploring the role and journey of spices across the world, discussing the significance of preservation as an age old tradition rooted in the need to respect and conserve rather than waste and consume, I too have felt that this enquiry has been revived within me.