Us Seed Sistas have dedicated our life’s work to help self-sustaining communities. Our aim has always been to educate folx about harvesting and utilising plant medicine so that we are able to spread this revolutionary healing system globally. Starting with our Northaw Community Orchard, our goal has been to connect people to their local plants and empower them to treat their minor ailments and nourish themselves with the gifts of our beautiful earth. Plants and humans have co-evolved since the dawn of human evolution and we have simply lost touch with and respect for our herbaceous cousins.
We know only too well how much time effort, energy and capital it can take to get a community growing project off the ground and in the continued running, that is why we set up our very own Seed SistAs Grant. Donations and profits from sales of our books and remedies get directed into this pot.
One such grant was given to PACT and this is their story:
PACT (Parents and Communities Together) is a community project in South London. PACT was set up as a result of listening to local families with early years children and understanding what is important them during this stage of parenthood in order to reducing social isolation of families. Maternal mental health is at the centre of everything we do, and we support this in many ways from creating community and peer-support spaces to campaigning for better access to mental health services. With many families in our community experiencing overcrowding and various housing challenges, we know how important it is that we have an accessible outdoor space to share. The plots on the allotment are for our families to use whenever, whether that is for growing things, playing with the kids, or just being outside with nature.
This year we really wanted to engage more parents in the garden and promote the well-being advantages it has to offer. The Seed Sistas grant supported us in doing this. We used some of the funding towards kicking off the growing season with an Open Day Event, attended by over 25 families, getting involved in a range of activities including mini-beast hunts, seed sowing and herb foraging. We asked parents and little ones to write down what they wanted to grow so we could get those seeds.
As mentioned, well being is central to our activities and PACT and enjoying good food and hot drinks is a big part of that. We wanted to bring that to the garden, so we invested in a portable thermos. Parents and kids have been enjoying the process of making fresh herbal teas, by identifying the herbs, washing them and steeping them in hot water. The kids loved it, and one parent mentioned they have continued the practice at home. For parents, the teas have allowed them to try herbs they have not used before, like a sage tea or lemon balm.
Inviting these new experiences also opens up the conversation to the already existing community knowledge around herbal uses. For example, sage is a good ‘drying’ herb, which is good when you have a phlegmy chest. Or fennel is great is digestion, ah that smells like anise, we use that for cooking back home. And so the exchange of ideas goes on. It also allows everyone to be bit more present, smelling, touching, tasting the things around us means we be more mindful, connect with nature and learn new things. We are now looking forward to the growth and harvest of many of things we have grown together from seed like basil, coriander, raspberry and borage.
You can follow our garden sessions and other PACT activities on our Instagram page here: @PACTSouthwark