Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Clover Experiment:

In search of Soil, Soul and Society

An invite to green fingered diggers and dreamers of the four leaf clover - symbolising -

A spirit of faith, hope and love when diligence can be the mother of good luck.

A very rare opportunity to participate in an experiment in a practical exposition of permaculture principles - care of the earth, care of the people, share the surplus. Goffin Lands, a city farm of 96 acres of meadow and woodland above Beacon Heath has a meadow called Clover which is ear marked for a horticulture and market gardening enterprise.

It's early days at Goffin Lands. The overall project is to create an oasis from the stress of the modern life offering therapeutic, learning and play opportunities to community, fellow travellers and those is need of a helping hand - the Biophilia Project.

For three years, and maybe more, some land is available in a meadow named  Clover and another adjacent field, for growing food in collaborative engagement aimed at creating synergistic opportunity with the overall Biophilia Project.

How to configure such an engagement and 
how to share with whom?  ..... That’s the experiment

For the Clover Experiment the goals are:

1)  To produce an abundance of organic salad and vegetables on the clay rich soil by learning from past masters, ourselves and through individual and collective ingenuity.

2) To explore how we, as nature and healthy local food enthusiasts, can work effectively for a mutually beneficial common purpose.

3) To set of on a journey inspired by Satish Kumar to better understand the connection between soil, soul and society - to nurture a spiritual ambition to transcend ego by embracing eco. 

Please read Satish Kumar: the link between soil, soul and society

4) To embrace Albert Einstein’s advice:  Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow and never stop questioning.

See the links below for information about the Goffin Lands, Satish Kumar's insight and the Four Leaf Clover legend. There will be more info about tree planting, the woodlands and community engagement - all in good time - 

Yours in hope of a brighter future  ............  John Yates (custodian)

1. Address: Church Hill, Exeter , EX4 9JL - Page with plan of land and directions

2. A missive by a permaculture expert which gives a good “feel” for the meadows and woods.

3. Four Leaf Clover - legend:

4. Satish Kumar: the link between soil, soul and society:

Soil - Soul - Society

Satish Kumar: the link between soil, soul and society 

We are losing connection with the soil. Satish Kumar wants us to understand the connection between soil, soul and society and drop ego in favour of eco

Many historical movements in the world have three key words that express their spirit. During the French Revolution the words were "liberté, égalité, fraternité", in the American Declaration of Independence they were "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
The implication of both phrases is very similar. It is human life, human liberty, human equality and human happiness. Even the words adopted by the New Age movement - "mind, body, spirit" - refer to the human mind, human body and human spirit. It's an anthropocentric worldview - the view that human beings are at the centre of the universe.
This worldview is no longer valid - we are utterly dependent on other species and we have to take care of them. We are members of one Earth community and need a new trinity that is holistic and inclusive, that embraces the entire planet and all species upon it. So I propose a new trinity of soil, soul, society. Soil represents the entire natural world. Without soil there is no food and without food there is no life, trees, forests, animals or people.
In our education systems, we have come to think that soil simply means dirt and that dirt means dirty. But dirt is not dirty; it is the source of life. Without it there is no life.
We are related to and dependent on the soil. If somebody grows food, we think: "Oh poor man, peasant, labourer - he is not educated so he has to grow food." If you are educated you don't grow food - you manufacture cars, televisions, computers or work in a bank or office. We sit at our computers and our food comes from somewhere. 
The word peasant itself has become a term of an insult. I want to change that. I want to reinstate a respect for soil. We must touch the soil. How many times do we touch our mobile phone every day? Maybe 100 times. How many times do we touch the soil? Hardly ever. We must give dignity to peasants, farmers and gardeners.
We are all part of this healthy web of life maintained by soil. The Latin word humus means soil. The words human, humility and humus all come from the same root. When humans lose contact with soil, they are no longer humans.
Trees, animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, worms, butterflies, honeybees – all have intrinsic value. They have the right to be as they are. We talk about human rights, and that's fine. But nature also has rights. The trees have a right to exist. We have no right to cut them down without proper purpose. When we recognise the rights of nature, then we have understood the meaning of the word soil.
The second word in my new trinity is soul. Soul is something we cannot see. The human body we can touch, hug, kiss and admire, but in order to touch soul I have to close my eyes. Everything – trees, animals, worms and humans – has a soul. Soil is the outer landscape and soul, the inner landscape.
We need to take care of the soul, as we take care of the soil. But we can only take care of the soul when we slow down. Take time for ourselves. Meditate on the fact that you represent the totality of the universe. There is nothing in the universe that is not in you, and there is nothing in you that is not in the universe. The universe is the macrocosm and you are the microcosm. You are earth, air, fire, water, imagination, creativity, consciousness, time and space – you have all this in your soul, in your genes and in your cells. You are billions of years old.
So if you want to take care of the universe, start with your soul. Care of the soul is for self-realisation. When you are at home within, you are at home in the universe. Taking care of yourself, being at ease with yourself, being happy within yourself, being fulfilled in yourself is a prerequisite, an imperative for self-realisation. Everything you truly need and want is within you. You are capable of solving every problem in the world with your inner wisdom.
If you want power, possessions and clutter, it is because you have lost touch with your soul. Then your soul is hungry or empty. But that emptiness will not be filled by computers, cars or mobile phones. Slow down and take care of your soul. Without spiritual fulfilment there is no happiness. Spiritual poverty is the greatest poverty, greater than any physical poverty. And as we take care of the soil, we take care of the soul. When we take care of both we achieve true wellbeing.
Caring for the soul has nothing to do with individualism or ego. This is why I include the word society in this trinity. We are members of the Earth community and we are also members of the human community.
If I think of myself as Indian then I will see others as Europeans or Africans. If I am a Hindu then I will see others as Christians or Muslims. But if I see myself as a human being, then I see everyone else as human beings. This way I can rise above my narrow identity and identify myself instead with all of human society.
We need to embrace all of society. We need to solve social problems of poverty and wars with imagination, compassion, creativity and forgiveness. All problems can be solved by negotiation, friendship, giving in, letting go of ego and going into eco. Let us make a shift from from self-interest to mutual-interest of whole human society. If we can have a holistic view of soil, soul and society, if we can understand the interdependence of all living beings, and understand that all living creatures – from trees to worms to humans – depend on each other, then we can live in harmony with ourselves, with other people and with nature.
Article from The Guardian
Satish Kumar is the editor-in-chief of Resurgence & Ecologist.
His new book Soil, Soul, Society is published by Leaping Hare Press.

City Farm - Exeter

Permaculture Project

Want to live on the land - grow or hunt your own food in co-operation with others on a common journey towards a brighter future?

All food, shelter, energy and some expenses offered in a collaborative enterprise to germinate seeds that will flourish with the love and care of like minds.

A warm invite to participate in the founding of an oasis in the acrid uncultured desert that is material consumerism. The seeds of the Biophilia Project are being planted on the Goffin Lands - 96 acres of meadow and woodland on hills overlooking Beacon Heath, Exeter City.

A stepping stone and shelter from the dystopian modern world offered possibly this autumn - more likely in Spring 2016, initially on three monthly cycles.

July 2015. Mains water, one bore hole yet to be tested, two barns ordered. Kilometre of tracks laid - hardstanding rolled. Ready to go.

The Biophilia Project: a thought for the future  ......

To build a liberating legacy for enlightening tomorrow's children

An alignment of self with nature on an odyessey of discovery inspired by permaculturist Patrick Whitefield's words:

'Permaculture is not about dogma. It's not about knowing the right answers, but asking the right questions, the answers to which, will be different for each person and each place."

Want to know more?

My name is John Yates. I'm the custodian of Goffin Land's. My plan is to form a trust and maybe a charity to carry me and fellow travellers forward on this odyssey I've launched into. It's early days. I've introduced myself to the land and started the learning process and am trying to ask the right questions as Patrick Whitefield advised.

Germination of the seeds that are being sown will be require passion and commitment to nurture them on to their cycle of life. Passion and commitment for a better world expressed through reflective inquiry into nature, which of course we are part, is as essential as "application". Is it "I think therefore I am" or "I do therefore I am" - as the result of my labour, individually and collectively?

At present barns are ready to be built. Both will have electric power, PV and water. One, a Douglas Fir framed, 20 x 10 metres cherry clad barn, will have toilets, showers, small "agricultural" canteen. It will be well insulated and have a wood burning fire.

I can promise the early days will be an adventure. I have not yet got accommodation sorted out - not for myself or others. "Others" at present are a number of "Goffin Watchers" plus a handfull of locals looking to find the best way to climb onboard.

For this Think Grow Eat post, the first stage is to test response from this invite posted by Cari. Then an evaluation of the next step which I hope would be a gathering.

For more info read the Biophilia blog site. This will become a wordpress site as soon as I have time.

I'm very happy for you to phone - e-mail is to me a barrier to the level of communication I seek - so please do phone if possible, 01363 866414 if not jwhy17 a*t yahoo d*t co d*t uk

This is as much a quest to discover a more synergistic and mutually enriching way to build human relationships as it is about our relationship with the soil. Another Partrick Whitefield quote:

"Every eco-system is composed of a vast web of beneficial relationships. This web of relationships is the fundamental principle which enables natural ecosystems to be highly productive without the destructive inputs of corporate chemicals. This natural web of relationships is also the central idea of permaculture. It can be applied to both food production and a wide range of other human activities."

The late and great Patrick Whitefield 1949 - 2015 [Redacted] 

Four Leaf Clover

From a symbolic point of view, there is an ancient legend that gives a spiritual meaning to the four-leaf clover.

According to this mystical story, the four-leaf clover was a plant that grew in abundance in Paradise where Adam and Eve lived. After being banished from Eden, Eve took a small clover with 4 petals, to help her reveal before her eyes, invisible demons, evil beings that otherwise she was not able to see.

This clover gave her protection and a blessing when facing the terrors of the world. Later in Celtic myth it was given the symbolism  of nature and a  blessing of love and prosperity.

A note from the author, the custodian of Goffin Lands:
The 21st Century has an abundance of terror and some spiritual enlightenment could give us a helping hand. I’ve yet to discover a four leaf clover.  However the intention is to keep questioning how I can nurture the potential that exists with the Goffin Lands for some of the ancient myths to have Earthly reality.

In the spirit of hope for a brighter future   ...  John Yates

The ancient myths - each clover leaf symbolizes some special meaning

* The first is for hope:
Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

* The second is for faith:
With out confidence and trust in our journey there is no hope.

* The third is for love:
A flower doesn’t blossom without sunshine and humans will not bloom without love.

* The fourth is for luck:
Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.