Cultivating Justice: Episode 2

Cultivating Justice: Episode 2 150 150 Farmerama Radio

Welcome to Cultivating Justice! Our 6-part series in collaboration with Land In Our Names (LION) and Out on the Land (OOTL, part of The Landworker’s Alliance) which weaves together interviews, conversations, music and reflections from Black people, people of colour, trans people, queer people and women, on their relationships with land, growing, and identity.

Episode 2 is hosted by Assistant Producer Nadia Mehdi and Farmerama’s Abby Rose. Woven throughout we are taken to the fields, pots and allotments of the chorus of land-based practitioners. We hear from Maymana Arefin, a community gardener, spoken-word poet, and artist. They talk to us about their cultural connections to growing, as well as speaking about a series of foraging walks that they help run as part of Misery Party – a mental health and harm reduction collective – called “Misery Medicine, Plant Magic”, which focus on healing for Black people, and people of colour.

We dip into a clip from a performance by Turner Prize nominated artist Sin Wai Kin (this is the first of a few clips we will hear from them across the series). It was commissioned by the Queer Ecologies collective as part of their Microbe Disco. The piece mixes Sin Wai Kin’s original sounds and poetry with music from the Butterfly Lovers violin concerto, and recordings from oceans and compost piles. We also hear a field recording by Amu Gibbo, taken by a canal in London.

Sam Siva of Land In Our Names (LION) digs into the experiences and wisdom of community gardener, beekeeper and proud South Londoner Carole Wright. We tune into their conversation at Carole’s community garden where they chat about liberation through healing, building resilient communities, and the ways that access to land and the living world are key to this.

The Cultivating Justice podcast series is made by Sam Siva, Katie Revell, Hester Russell, Dora Taylor, Abby Rose and Nadia Mehdi. This episode featured conversations with Maymana Arefin and Carole Wright; reflections from our chorus of voices – Tinisha Williams, Sasha, a.k.a. MindYourOwnPlants, Dani Foster, Dav Singh, Anna Barrett, and Nancy Winfield, along with Maymana Arefin; clips from a performance by Sin Wai Ki mixed for the Microbe Disco and field recordings by Amu Gibbo. Our series music is by Taha Hassan. Our artwork is by @Blkmoodyboi.

Thank you to our funders, Farming the Future and the Roddick Foundation. And a big thank you to everyone who’s contributed in any way!

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Full Episode Transcript:

Tinisha: I guess, being outside in nature to me, especially in the last two years, has become a bit of a necessity – a very, very concrete part of my day to day rituals. I now cannot imagine a day where I don’t go outside in some capacity, be that in urban landscapes or rural landscapes. It’s something that I have found very grounding and very transient to be in, especially during lockdown and just having the time and space to just go outside and exist in nature.
Abby: Cultivating Justice: episode 2
Sasha: Growing, watering, cleaning my plants. Like any activity that just allows me to connect with nature and disconnect from the world. Even medicinally, like there’s so much joy in nature.
 Dani: Like, maybe on a bigger scale, I’ve always been into hiking, and I really liked to climb and I like to swim. I guess being in nature has always been a place where I felt at ease and excited and have like a lot of joy.
Maymana: For a lot of my life we didn’t kind of have a garden, but my aunt did have a garden, and a lot of the time we kind of grew vegetables at hers, and we had a kind of small balcony when I was growing up and it would be covered in plants. So I feel like my parents have always been very enthusiastic about nature, whatever that means. Whether that would just be going for really nice long walks, and kind of just spending time just being still in the trees, or yeah, I’ve always loved climbing trees as well, actually! My parents kind of having a running joke about that, that if I just go missing for a bit it’s probably just ‘cause I’m in a tree somewhere!
Dav: Growing up in Sheffield, I didn’t really do many outsidey nature things with my family. But I was super lucky to live next door to the sweetest family who were very kind of pro nature, radical guys. I love them to bits. They’re still there. They still live next door to my mum and I’m really close to them. And they saw something in me this early interest in the natural world. And they took me all over the place to all these nature reserves, they taught me birdwatching and really kind of honed my knowledge and open my eyes to what was going on beyond, you know, suburban Sheffield and I’m forever grateful for that.
And so my early kind of interactions with non-human beings was with birds – bird watching. And that gave me so much joy as a child. And it still does today. You know, I can be on my allotment and do literally nothing for a number of hours, except for sitting on my little chair, listening to the birds with a cup of tea. And it’s the best thing in the world.
I’m Abby Rose, and I’m Nadia Mehdi…
Welcome to Cultivating Justice!
Abby: Before we start, a heads-up that this episode includes discussion of racism, colonialism and class-based discrimination. Please take care as you listen.
Nadia: I’m Nadia Mehdi, and I’m the assistant producer on this podcast. I’m also a keen allotment-er, and forager, and just general lover of nature. 
Abby: and I’m Abby Rose, an executive producer on this series, and co-creator of Farmerama. Soil advocate, deeply immersed in the agro-ecological farming world.


Nadia: Cultivating Justice is a collaboration between Land in Our Names, Out on the Land, and Farmerama.
We’re working together to share and celebrate the stories of people who are marginalised in mainstream landwork. That includes women, people of colour, trans and queer people, and neurodivergent people.
Abby: Cultivating Justice aims to build lasting joy and justice for these communities as we resist and reimagine colonial, patriarchal and imperialist food and farming systems.
Nadia: In this episode, we’ll hear about a series of foraging walks for Black people and people of colour…
Abby: and a conversation about how urban gardens can be sanctuaries, healing spaces and sites of solidarity.
Nadia: Maymana Arefin is a London-based community gardener, spoken-word poet, and artist…
Maymana: But my main kind of interest is in the world of fungi and also in plants. So I do a lot of kind of herbalism and nature-related activities with people.
Nadia: Maymana has a particular interest in the connections between fungi, social justice and mutual aid. And they’re also part of Misery Party. Misery Party is a mental health and harm reduction collective. Their activities focus on healing for queer trans and non-binary Black people, and people of colour. It started off as a sober club night in London…
Maymana: Aisha, who is now also a really lovely and cherished friend of mine as well, set up Misery in, I think 2019, so just before the pandemic. We wanted to offer a space to people which could still be fun and still be joyful and loving and all of these things, but also provide people with a space where they could actually show up for themselves and by showing up for themselves, also be able to show up for their community as well. I really do feel strongly about like having to focus inwardly and focus on your own mental health before you can offer healing for a community or for other people and extend that outwards. 
There’s obviously so much grief and hardship and trauma ultimately in this community, but that does not in any way take away from their ability to show up for each other. And that just feels so, so special and like powerful for me as well.
Abby: Since 2019, Misery Party’s expanded beyond its beginnings as a sober club night, and they’re now running other activities, too. One of them is a series of foraging walks for Black people and people of colour. The walks go by the name “Misery medicine: plant magic”.
Maymana: They’re basically a series of once a month walks specifically for queer and trans people of color and Black people. Aisha Mirza, who’s the founder of Misery Party was the person that kind of conjured up in their mind first of all, and then asked me and Rasheeqa Ahmad, who’s known as Hedge Herbs on Instagram. And yeah, we kind of just really wanted it to be a space for people to explore and whatever their relationship with nature was before that we were kind of welcoming people who were beginning that journey or people who are much more sort of well-acquainted and knowledgeable about nature already.
And we wanted to kind of draw metaphors between what the natural world is doing at a particular time or particular season and what kind of emotion that evokes in us. And it’s just like naming that so we can all reflect on how we actually do feel in that month. And it may be sometimes different to the theme, but we kind of want to hold space for that, as well.
So the first theme was “rise” and that kind of felt really powerful, kind of reminds me of the Maya Angelou poem, “Still I Rise”. And so in trees during this time in kind of early spring, the sap is kind of rising inside of them. I think it was Rasheeqa that suggested that word and it immediately resonated just because it kind of also speaks to the power of being able to arise after a lot of grief and a lot of loss, but also after winter, which is kind of when people feel a little bit more like they need to hibernate and kind of turn inwards.
So rising felt like it was the right way to summarize – people being able to show up and kind of all come together in the way that I feel really lucky that actually did happen because it felt quite abstract when we were planning it. It feels really joyous for me to kind of be seeing all of the new growth and, and blossoms and kind of colors start to emerge at this time, in April and May. Just to really allow people to check in with their bodies and themselves, and then relate that to kind of where we are, because each month we’re in a different green space in London. So it’s kind of like an exploration of ourselves and also a space, a physical space in the world.
The first walk we held in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, which I would really, really recommend. We kind of were just walking around in these carpets of sweet violets and then also lots of wild garlic, which people listening might be familiar with. It’s kind of quite thick blades of grass that smell very strongly. So we foraged a bit of that.
Foraging recording: It’s a foragers delight just now in the early part of spring, in woodland places, big carpets and swathes of woodlands. And once you get closer up it’s quite a wide blade, wider than any other types of grass or plants in the environment, and it’s quite a flat leaf as well, and it feels quite smooth. It has some parallel lines on it. 
Maymana: What we’ll be doing going forward as well as a bit of a kind of group gathering at the beginning to set some intentions and kind of speak about foraging and foraging respectfully. It’s really lovely to be able to explore freely, but also how can we do that in a way that’s respectful with the plants in our surroundings and how can we meet them with gratitude and, and not take too much, and kind of not perpetuate the idea of kind of extracting too much from nature for ourselves.
The importance of having kind of plant medicine exchanges is just to help people to feel that sense of belonging and help people to feel that ownership over actually what they do know and how they do relate to the world and, and honoring that and not feeling like actually we have to use, you know, the Latin names or kind of like know all of the different plants around us immediately by those names.
I think it’s, it’s really just being able to meet plants and kind of recognize them or build relationships with them. It was really nice last time, I just kind of asked people to, to have a look around them and then people were kind of bringing me different leaves that they’d found and asking if I could identify them, which was really nice. But I guess the idea is just to allow people to have that free space to kind of be playful and inquisitive and not necessarily like lectured or taught in any way by me or Rasheeqa.
There is so much knowledge within this community in the first place. And it’s just about being able to share that amongst each other and whether that’s kind of intergenerationally or in terms of people who have more experience in horticulture, which is quite a difficult industry to get into as a Black person or a person of color in general. We just wanted to make that space available for those conversations to happen, really – to come into a group setting and just learn from each other and be able to share a lot of the sort of knowledge within our community.
Foraging recording: So what we always do is I ask everyone to be silent while we taste the tea, and it’s really a way of connecting with meeting this plant or plants that are in the tea, and feeling what the energy of the plant is in your body. It’s something that I studied, and what we’ve all been doing in our practice in herbal medicine – it’s encouraged to meet this plant as another living being, meet it almost as if it’s a new person that you’re making friends with. We always go through this process of – what’s the smell, and then what’s the taste, and then hold it in your mouth for a little bit – and see what that feels like – the texture. And then once you drink it where does it go in your body, do you feel it in any particular part – does it have a physical effect that you can feel. 
Maymana: I think even as a relatively privileged brown woman in London, I still feel like it can be quite difficult to kind of actually find spaces where you feel not only welcome, but also like actually free to explore your interests within gardening and not kind of be pushed into a more mainstream, white-centered narrative around what horticulture means or like what gardening is or what our relationships to land should look like.
I do have knowledge from my sort of Bangladeshi heritage and from my grandparents and my mum and my dad are both really keen growers and they always have been, and that’s something that’s been passed down to me. And I just feel like it’s actually quite rare that you are able to share that knowledge with other people who also come from a history of kind of erasure or kind of like that estrangement that people sometimes have with their own heritage because of colonialism.
It’s been a real, like, amazing process for me as well. I think a lot of people have this sort of private connection with nature and a lot of knowledge that they don’t necessarily get an opportunity to share with others. Throughout the day, I just had like some really lovely interactions with people who were kind of like very early in their journey of meeting different plants or learning about their properties in herbalism.
And yeah, I just felt really really honoured to kind of be part of that process. Even talking about it now, I still feel quite overwhelmed honestly, and I think every month I’m just going to be really like, emotionally overwhelmed by how kind of nice it all feels and how, yeah, how grateful I am to be part of such a loving community.
Abby: What I really get from Maymana’s description and the plant magic walks, what I really get is this sense of belonging and connectedness. I really like how they talk about meeting plants, and I also really enjoyed from Maymana on not having to say the latin names, and just really looking inside yourself and seeing what experiential knowledge do you have that you can bring to this plant based experience, or this plant based interaction and meeting that doesn’t have to be contextualised within the constraints of a white, colonial interaction with the plant – and how freeing that is. And the sense of belonging that they talk about that comes along with that. That for me felt so exciting, inspiring and magical – it really is magic! Being able to connect on that level. 
Nadia: It definitely did resonate with me too. I started my foraging journey perhaps four years ago now, and it was completely amazing to see everything around me in nature in a completely different light, there were plants that I’d got to know, plants that I was still to get to know. They weren’t just weeds surrounding me on the pavement or country lanes, they were things I knew I could use, or that could be used by other animals. And that were of benefit to a diverse biology. Not just me but to everything. 

Abby: Totally, and I now get really excited by things like plantain – you know it’s such a common ‘weed’ – but now it’s my favourite plant, because I really love the structure of it, and I know that it has a really deep tap route, and it’s able to spurt up anywhere and start to be drought resistant and… plants are so magical, and meeting them – I think Maymana says it so well – it’s meeting them, and it opens up a whole treasure chest of experience.

Nadia: I love to introduce people, and again that’s the meeting – I love to introduce one friend to another – to pineapple weed – out on walks – and watch their mind be blown by this little yellow ball that tastes so tropical. Yeah, everything’s turning up where you don’t expect it to, and I think that’s kind of cool. 
Sin Wai Kin: Springing from something; dissolving to something; transforming together. Never consenting to being one thing, beginnings and endings, go on reversing. Into… out of… into… out of… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… outside… inside… inside… outside…
Abby: That was a clip from a performance by artist Sin Wai Kin. It was commissioned by the Queer Ecologies collective as part of their Microbe Disco, in August 2020. The piece mixes Sin Wai Kin’s original sounds and poetry with music from the Butterfly Lovers violin concerto, and recordings from oceans and compost piles…
Nadia: … and what you’re hearing right now is a field recording by Amu Gibbo, taken by a canal in London.
Abby: I feel completely mesmerised by Sin Wai Kin’s artwork, recordings, expressions – I really am grateful to Sin Wai Kin for creating that and sharing it – it’s like somehow Sin Wai Kin captures the dissolving of binary gender in the world, and when I’m immersed in their work, I can experience the world without those boundaries in it. I’ve never had that experience from a piece of audio before.

Next, we’re going to hear a conversation about claiming and creating urban gardens as sanctuaries, healing spaces and sites of solidarity…
Nadia: Sam Siva is a grower, a writer and an organiser with Land In Our Names, or LION. They’re interested in liberation through healing and building resilient communities, and the ways that access to land and to nature are key to this.
Abby: Carole Wright is a project manager, community gardener, beekeeper, and proud South Londoner. Carole grew up in Brixton, but she now lives in Southwark. She’s a passionate and talented gardener – at the moment, she manages two community gardens in South London.
Carole also founded the annual Blak Outside Festival. It’s a grassroots, intergenerational event that supports working-class social housing residents as well as the queer, trans, intersex, Black and people of colour communities.
Nadia: Sam met Carole at the community garden on Carole’s home estate, Peabody Blackfriars. The two of them chatted about the links between growing in the city, community organising, and anti-racism…
Sam: Could you introduce yourself and yeah, in whatever way you want.
Carole: Ramblin’ on, people. All right. So I’m Carole Wright and we’re here in Peabody Blackfriars Community Garden. I set this up with the residents about nine years ago. It’s the third community garden that I supported residents to set up on housing estates in Southwark. 
Setting up these gardens is a form of nurturing and sanctuary. Even though, you know, local authority, housing association call them community gardens, they are to me healing spaces, because once you step in, you just shut off from everything. It just comes on you that just quiet, the contemplation, you can just sit here all day. It feels really connected to the land and considering it’s Zone 1 London, you would never understand the power of that. And to just know that you’ve created a space, that people can feel comfortable and relaxed and protected in, you know? And very rare for Black people to be afforded that.
Sam: You were talking a bit about like the land and like, something I think about a lot is with London and with Britain, it’s like the history of this land and how it’s such a like violent place in a lot of ways. And like healing the land and like that sort of like relationship. So that was one thing I wondered if maybe you want to talk a bit about.
Carole: Because to me,  this land that this is on and that this whole estate, and on much of this part of London, it’s full of violence. And poison – this land is poisoned land because there were so many tin factories and tanneries and people just dying through poverty. How is it that you can have in a five minute walk from Blackfriars Road, whichever direction you go, you would have had how many different prisons. So the violence is always there, and even the first garden, Brookwood, that’s built on a bombsite. So we do have to do things to not only treat the soil, but treat the spirit of this land round here. And I feel it, I feel it on here. I feel it when I walk on this estate and this patriarchal housing association and it doesn’t change, it just has a different face.
And you think, do you know who was here before? You know, it’s people who had to say sorry, and then you build these housing associations. 100-150 years ago. And you have to be good. There’s something about being made to say, “sorry” and “thank you”, when you’ve impoverished people. And then of course, how did those people get the money to build the properties? And of course we have to look to Caribbean, Asia and Africa, of course. It’s connected to our ancestors. So as we make our way through this land, I can just hear the voices. So I look at this very differently when I’m doing these projects here or just relaxing about, because you can still feel the violence in how we’re treated, because it’s so embedded, and it’s engrained in the soil and this land. You know, nobody in their right mind thinks that tarmac had a good thing to put on the floor for people to walk on. But yeah, it’s okay. Because them working class people live there and they’re not entitled, to touching the soil and being part of decisions about the land and who gets the land. And to me, this is the statement with these community gardens. It’s important to stand up there and go, “I’m standing here”.
Sam: Um, something else I wanted to ask you about was you talked a little bit about being like a Black woman, and like how that is seen in these spaces. Do you want to just talk a bit more about that?
Carole: Yeah. It’s one of those things where first you’re seen as difficult. You’re see as difficult if you are not seen to comply. There’s ways that people try to make you feel your voice shouldn’t be heard. We can go in the shed, you know.
Sam: Oh, let’s… yeah.
Carole: Come, let’s go in the shed, because now it’s raining. You’ll have all that rain tip-tip-tip.
Sam: Yeah, I could actually hear it. Thank you. Do you want your bag? 
Carole: It’s nice in the shed. The shed’ll be happy. Yeah, we got like tables and chairs in that back end. The foxes live underneath.
Sam: Of course. Local wildlife.
Carole: Yeah, yeah, they come there. There we go. A little sanctuary. I told you, it’s quiet. Yeah. So being a Black woman in these spaces. To me, doing these projects is about holding space and saying, yes, I have a right to be here in this community garden, helping people to set up these spaces. And I know that worries those who consider themselves to be in charge because it’s like, why are you holding space? Why are you doing this? Why are you doing that? And I want to be involved and you have to listen to me. And it’s like, no. What we’re doing is we have to meet to understand that we’re alive, we’re living and not just existing in these spaces.

And it’s exciting. I get excited by: what can this space be? Who wants to come and get involved in this space? What type of music or creativity amongst the plants can we get up to in this space? So we’ve had acoustic music, head massage, films. It’s like anything’s possible. And I think that that, apart from being informed by my, you know, Caribbean, African heritage, it’s informed by squat culture, DIY ethic. That’s how I grew up. It was painting murals on the squat, or – that was a six weeks holiday activity. That would be your childminders. So whatever we have in here, we share. It’s not about pulling in the money. We can do things, because when we have cinema, the squatters came out of a local pub with the bedsheets and popcorn. And that to me is cool. This is what it’s about. So people “Oh, I don’t want to go mingle with the squatters. Oh, Fleabags” all of this. It’s like just behave yourself, you hear? Because what you have to understand is possession is nine tenths of the law, because you have to look about land rights. Don’t matter that we’re here in Zone 1 Londonn. You have to look at land rights, because you see all those laws against the squatters. What is that? All these acts of violence. So it’s okay to die on the streets, through hypothermia then and hunger? That’s okay. And all these buildings laying empty. And so we have to occupy this space.
It just touches my heart. It reminds me of growing up. If we had food in our house, we’d share it with the neighbours. Because my mum worked in catering in the city – she was a pastry chef. Come a Friday, she would come home with free bags of food. And we knew our neighbours never had no food. So the neighbours would come on a Friday night and that would be our house full and people would get fed. And that just reminded me of growing up. Like in Caribbean culture, like the pardner where you share the money, you pool the resources, and then who needs pulls out that resource. And, and to me that’s important and it’s setting up those networks, and that’s what I hope happens with these community gardens is that we pool resources and that we understand DIY culture and radicalism, because it is radical to say, I’m going to look after myself and I’m going to encourage people to come and stand beside me and hold space. So what I’m about, since going to Jamaica, because I went to Jamaica recently, is that understanding of the land and that family connection, which isn’t just about your physical family, your blood family, but the families you make, whether that’s queer, whoever. And it doesn’t matter. All the yatter yatter after Black Lives Matter. ‘Cause a lot of chat chat, but at the end of the day, we want real proof of movement, not one or two things. Because we deserve to be in these spaces and hold space and cultivate the land because that’s what keeps us whole, is the food we eat, the people who are with us, who nurture us. And that’s what these spaces mean to me as a Black woman.
Sam: And maybe related to this, actually, I don’t know how, what you think about like care and how that intersects, because I think sometimes, you know, in activism, you’re like feeling like you’re always fighting against something. And I feel like so much of what you’ve talked about and what you’ve been doing is about –  it’s not about fighting against, it’s more about creating something for, and creating spaces where we can learn to care for things like nurturing, right? So I don’t know if you can like talk a bit about care?
Carole: Yeah, I think, um, that self-care is so important because yes, burnout is a very real thing, because if you think that you’re fighting, fighting all the time, what are you actually getting done? You’re getting yourself medical attention. That is what you’re getting yourself, so you really have to look after yourself in these spaces. Look after each other.

There’s power in walking away and telling people, “no” – I do know that this year. Some very disappointed people. I’m very happy to be looking after myself much better and I think it’s going and seeing my family and understanding and having more direction in, in where I need to spend what energy I have. But particularly BPOC people have to understand that we are always targeted. You could just be standing to still and people’s looking the argument. So any time I look about community programs in this garden or elsewhere, it’s always got to have a very strong self-care element.

I never say, oh, I’m a garden designer or landscape architect.No, I’m here to do something creative, which uses greenery as its base. And then we take off from there. But the main thing is self-care. Always, first and foremost, you know?
Sam: Well, brilliant. Thank you so much.
Abby: What I got from Carole was the importance of saying: I’m standing here, claiming your space on the land. Carole specifically talks about greenery as a starting point, and claiming space within that living greenery world, and just how powerful that is. Especially within an inner city context, and the fact that so many people in that inner city context are: black people, people of colour – it’s a real act of solidarity with oneself, and with your community and where you come from, and where you’re going to – it’s a very nourishing wholesome experience. I thought that was very powerful – again, very moving! People keep moving me a lot in this.

Nadia: Yeah I think the part about being in the city resonated with me as well – it doesn’t matter where you are, like land access and greenery is so important, and it should be available to everyone and everyone should be able to be within that. 
Abby: I really also appreciated Carole talking about the family connection, and land. And she’s very clear that family isn’t necessarily blood family, but it’s the family that’s created through the nourishing on the land, and with the land and in connection with this experience of the green spaces and just that word – like that’s what keeps us whole, it’s the food we eat, the people who are with us who nurture us. And just the idea that so many people don’t have access to experiencing that wholeness, that seems like a very depleted offering that the city gives to many.

Nadia: It’s about just knowing what you deserve, just because you’re alive, you’re here – it’s not really based on much more than that, that access isn’t what we deserve and isn’t dolled out equally – but it should be. 
Anna: I suppose it’s a reciprocal thing, really, for me. I work as a market gardener, so I’m in it all the time and lucky enough to live in it too. It’s just quite simply a nurturing space for me. I nurture it, you know, whether that’s weeding, watering, or just encouraging it to be there, not getting rid of it, not weeding it out too much. And then it nurtures me, I guess, in the sense that it rewards observation. Sort of takes me out of my head, puts me right in my body, which is really, really important. You know, being in the elements, doing a physical job. I don’t see as mundane, but you know, monotonous work, but you have to concentrate on it.
You really have to concentrate. So your mind can’t wander. It really occupies you and sort of puts you into a place where you, you know, you heard the birds sing or you notice stuff around you like that. I think that’s just amazing.
Dani: That is exactly like where I’ve found confirmation in myself or like kind of switch off this noise in my head of like, you know, am I this enough or am I that or like where do I belong? And like, when I tap into kind of like interacting with growing, which is something that I’m learning more about, it’s something that I haven’t done so much independently, but it’s just a space that I feel makes sense. Like it’s just a space that’s still and like grounding and yeah, rooting, I guess.
Nancy: The day after that I was diagnosed with cancer, I went for a walk in my local park and I experienced the most intense joy I’d ever felt before. Just looking and being with the plants and trees and flowers that I saw there, and that was 26 years ago. And ever since then, I’ve drawn great strength from being out in nature and knowing and feeling that I’m a part of this just amazing world.
Sasha: I do find joy in just observing nature all year round, looking at the moon, the stars, seeing the effects, like just cycles. I think being observant outside allows me to ground myself but in the grounding of myself I also can find clarity in the things that I’m feeling.
Dani: I learned to climb outdoors. And it’s something that I think doing something physical that like moves your body. Again with hiking, that’s kind of strenuous on your body, but like feeling the solidity of like a rock or like a path or something like that, the woods. Yeah. It makes me feel super connected to, to something. Even when I was walking here, like just being in the rain or just like anything, I think I like the physical, the physical feeling of being in nature a lot. 
Tinisha: I guess what has brought me joy from those outside landscapes is like being the observer of how the natural world ticks over and how it functions without human interaction, even though there is probably some kind of human interaction, but just watching that very kind of natural, basic turning of the seasons and those milestones of when, like now where the daffodils are coming out and I’m starting to see bees flying around and watching the bare trees become more populated with greenery and dense foliage and to just be able to walk along that and observe it and be present in it, it has like really bought me quite a lot of joy, I think, cause it kind of reaffirmed my place within nature and made me realise that I am a small human on this planet, essentially.
The Cultivating Justice podcast series is made by Sam Siva, Hester Russell, Abby Rose, Dora Taylor, Katie Revell, and me Nadia Mehdi.This episode featured conversations with Maymana Arefin and Carole Wright.
Reflections from our chorus of voices – Tinisha Williams, Sasha, a.k.a. MindYourOwnPlants, Dani Foster, Dav Singh, Anna Barrett, and Nancy Winfield, along with Maymana Arefin. Clips from a performance by Sin Wai Kin, and field recordings by Amu Gibbo. Our series music is by Taha Hassan.

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