Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Herby Event: Feast on the Bridge

Living Medicine is running a Herb Tea stall on the Feast on the Bridge event this Saturday 12th September.

This is a wonderful event on Southwark Bridge, part of the Thames Festival which is celebrating local food, foraging, school children growing food in reclaimed supermarket trolleys, preparing and eating good food including the sacred mayonnaise!, and a host of other activities for children and parents.

At the Living Medicine stall, which is on the north side of the bridge, medical herbalists and some generous volunteers will be serving various herb teas, free to all, to taste and take away. People can find out both how simple and delicious fresh and dried herb teas can be, as well as discover more about their many medicinal uses.

Herby Event: Distinguished Ethnobotanist Lecture 2009

Bringing the food back home: indigenous foodways, nutrition and biodiversity in western Canada

Nancy J. Turner, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., CANADA

Nancy J. Turner says:
Indigenous peoples of northwestern North America are identified by anthropologists mainly as fishers and hunters. Yet, their traditional food systems include many, diverse plant species, as well as some marine algae, lichens and fungi. Plant foods include roots and other underground parts, green leaves and stems, many fruits, inner bark of trees, and a range of beverage teas. These foods collectively provide essential nutrients and have been part of a healthy Indigenous diet over thousands of years. The knowledge required to use these nutritional resources effectively and sustainably is part of an overall system of knowledge that incorporates ecological understanding, taxonomic, and biogeographical expertise, specialized practices of harvesting, processing, and maintaining resource populations, and belief systems that guide their use and management. Women have been the holders and practitioners of much of this plant-based knowledge.

In recent years, for a variety of reasons, many of these important Indigenous foods have been declining in use, a dietary trend known as the nutrition transition, that is occurring with local and Indigenous Peoples' food systems worldwide. People who once gathered and prepared healthy local food are turning towards more processed and marketed foods many of which are high in unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates. The result is increased risk of diabetes and heart disease and other health problems. Today, Indigenous communities are using a range of strategies to maintain and strengthen their use of their original foods, and have found partners in universities, NGOs, and government agencies to support this endeavor.

In this presentation, I will describe some of the diverse Indigenous wild foods of the Cascadia Region, including Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, and some Algae, Lichens and Fungi, and discuss the ways in which Indigenous Peoples have maintained and enhanced these resources, what has happened to these food species, and how they are now being reclaimed and re-incorporated into Indigenous Peoples' foodways.

Admission is free but must be prebooked - visit the website.

The Jodrell Laboratory is accessed via the Jodrell Gate on Kew Road, more or less halfway between the Main Gate (Kew Green) and the Victoria Gate. The Jodrell Gate is 10 minutes walk from Kew Gardens and Kew Bridge stations. Please be sure to arrive in good time - any seats unoccupied at 16.50 may be redistributed to the wait list. After the talk, audience members are welcome to join the speaker in "The Botanist" pub on Kew Green.

This talk is sponsored by the Global Diversity Foundation and the Centre for Economic Botany at Kew