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!
Visit landworkersalliance.org.uk/cultivating-justice/ to find out more.
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.