Thursday, October 3, 2013

Herbal remedies from Sue Godfrey Nature Park at Deptford Lounge

The Bureau of Urban Wilds is an art project by Rebecca Beinart that was launched by Up Projects in July as part of their Secret Garden Project.

Rebecca held workshops that included making herbal remedies from the wild plants and flowers growing in the Sue Godfrey Nature Park right next to Crossfields Estate. Although we unfortunately missed the workshops, we caught up with her over the weekend in the Nature Park, and her "bureau" is now on show in the Deptford Lounge till the end of this week (Sunday).

The bureau is the culmination of the work she did in the park and at Creekside Centre, and you can find pots of remedies made in the workshops, along with a map of a walk she led around Deptford's green spaces, and other informative bits and pieces. Rebecca will be producing a recipe book of remedies gathered from Deptford residents and is inviting people to contribute via the bureau. If you have some favourite recipes (perhaps passed down through your family) why not pass them on?

When we found her in the park on Sunday, we learned how to make a remedy from the Hawthorn berry (good for regulating the heart) and Rosehips (a great source of Vitamin C), both of which are growing in abundance in the park right now. We tasted a lovely relish made of hawthorn berries, a gorgeous tasting Rosehip syrup, and had a tot of elderberry vodka (good for warding off colds) from elderberries harvested in the park over summer.

All you need is a little knowledge on how to recognise the edible (and free) seasonal ingredients that can be found in the nature park (it's berry time), plus some recipes and some patience, a mesh strainer, and honey, vinegar, water or alcohol to make either teas or delicious syrups and foodstuffs. Perfect for these austere times – and all on your doorstep.

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