Stone Soup in the sunshine


The Rye Community and Wildlife Garden (RCWG) put on an open day on Saturday, August 13 from 12pm – 2pm where visitors were welcome to enjoy a workshop on composting and savour delicious, freshly-made Stone Soup.

The ingredients are prepared

After the regular Saturday morning work session (10am – 12pm), volunteers set about preparing the soup. Attendees brought ingredients from their own gardens or store cupboard including herbs, vegetables, and aromatic pepper. We also used produce from the garden which is currently full of courgettes and tomatoes. We had saved some previously-harvested onions and potatoes for this occasion. Soon, a delicious soup was bubbling away.

Some of the businesses who have been kindly donating coffee grounds to support our composting project also gave us food for the lunch: sausage rolls from the Cornish Bakery and a big lemon cake from Café des Fleurs.

Graham Ellis talks about composting

Before lunch, Graham Ellis—who launched a composting project at the garden last December—explained how his experience of living in a sustainable community in Hawaii (where soil is very scarce) has informed his knowledge of how to compost. Before Graham took over the responsibility, the composting bins at the garden were neglected and full of weeds. Now, with the help of others who have donated pallets, time, and commitment, we have an incredible resource which has already proved very useful in terms of providing fertile soil for the recently installed greenhouse and external raised beds.

Much fun, and even games, were had, including a set of Portuguese horseshoes, which Graham recently made from recycled materials and brought from home.

Dena Smith Ellis and Martin Wimbush enjoy the shade

Graham’s wife, Dena Smith Ellis, who helped coordinate the event, then read aloud the fable of Stone Soup. This metaphorical story illustrates the power of sustainable community development and of how nourishing cooperation can be. As a board-certified health and wellness coach, mentor, and educator, she also informed us of the benefits of wild-harvest stinging nettle tea, which she also prepared on-site for sampling and savouring.

The RCWG plans to organise more open days and other events in the future. Feel free to come along on a Saturday morning between 10am and noon to join in, meet up for a cuppa and a natter, and/or determine whether it might be suitable for your events. Although we currently do not have running water there, we do have another vital resource – a composting toilet. The RCWG is located at the end of Love Lane adjacent to the Love Lane allotments.

Visit us online to follow our progress and events.

Image Credits: Seana Lanigan .

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