Growing Connections Through Art, Food & Soil

01 February 2024

At the time of writing, it really is properly winter outside: chilly and bright.  But the snowdrops are bursting through the banks outside our office and the daffodils are not far behind.   

A Taste of Home 

We were delighted to work in partnership with Holyrood Academy in Chard to produce A Taste of Home on Friday 12th January 2024. This was part of our growing relationship to use arts and food activity to help support the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Policy within the school and wider community.   

The event was attended by 80+ people, including students, parents and other community members.  Families from different cultural backgrounds (including Ukranian, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese) provided food and shared stories about where the food came from and the recipes they used. Everyone was also invited to contribute to some artwork to represent the taste of the food with paint! 

We all enjoyed local apple juice and cider from North Perrott Farm Shop and Harry’s Cider at Littlefield Farm, Long Sutton. As the event happened in mid-January, it provided the ideal opportunity to introduce people to the traditions around Wassailing; Trevor Lloyd Jones and a couple of friends shared tales and music, encouraging us all to join in a rousing chorus of the Somerset Wassail song! 

Sewing Seeds of Gladness 

The current phase of this project is drawing to a close with all the stitched pieces nearly completed.  Over the next few months, they will be assembled to produce a large, embroidered Parish Map of South Petherton. The sewn map will be completed by autumn 2024. It promises to be something truly spectacular, with contributions from well over 150 people. 

The project is supported with funding from South Petherton Parish Council and South Petherton Community Enhancement Fund and engaging with groups such as South Petherton Youth Council, local schools, the WI and community from the village. 

Soil Story 

We’re soon to start a new, six-month Cultivate project in February. Called Soil Story, it is co-created in partnership with ARK at Egwood and Rama Life in Merriott. 

SOIL STORY is an intergenerational, land-based project for socially-isolated adults with additional needs and home educated young people, that uses arts and food-related activity to transform our relationship with soil, each other and our communities.  

Although soil is the source of all life, literally and metaphorically, it is something that many people take for granted and know little about. Yet it helps produce 95% of our food and is home to 25% of the earth’s species. So we thought it merited a project to get our hands dirty and explore the ‘soil’ community as well as recognising that we are also part of that same community. All living beings depend on the soil, the soil relies on us to take care of it, and we need each other for our communities to thrive. 

We’re still to add more detail to the proposed activity, but plans include practical workshops to explore the ‘literal’ value of healthy soil and arts activity to explore the ‘metaphorical’ value of healthy soil and its relationship to resilient, diverse communities. 

All in all, we’re looking forward to a productive spring season. 

Team Cultivate