This weekend PeaceMeals gathered with a great group of folks from the Colin Glen Community Garden and Allotments in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In partnership with Groundwork NI, we cooked up a delicious and nourishing brunch with lots of locally-sourced, organic produce. The community at Colin Glen has been building a garden in their neighborhood as a development project that is both practical and beautiful. I was so impressed by the overabundance of rainbow chard, rocket, herbs, rhubarb, potatotes, and gorgeous edible flowers (!), many of which I had never seen before. Never before had a PeaceMeal been so locally-sourced!
As everyone assembled and sipped their green smoothies, we shared stories of memorable meals (steamed fish cooked only once per month because it was so stinky!) and growing up during tough times in this neighborhood. The menu focused on “calming” foods, combining lots of calcium and magnesium, as well as B vitamins and ingredients that help stimulate melatonin (which aid in a good night’s sleep). Everyone “mucked in” (as they say here in Belfast) to cook a hearty menu including: a crustless chard-mushroom-gruyere-wal
We chatted and laughed and made a mess. Some of the guys even broke into song and dance. Though cooking may seem daunting, getting messy in the kitchen is truly the most human of acts as long as we allow ourselves to have fun. All of a sudden, the meal was ready! We sat down at the beautiful spread and marveled at how our hard work had taken us from garden to kitchen to table.
Also, sitting in the community center which was formerly the headquarters of the commanding police officer, we marveled at how far the community had come: from conflict to community gardening to cooking. Total transformation!
I applaud the Colin Glen community for their hard work and determination to transform formerly derelict spaces and relationships into places of life and abundance. And I can’t wait to see what the harvest produces next!