Food for Thought

Changing our Festival Content for Farm Suppers

Our Farm Suppers usually take place each Thursday evening during the Spring Festival season. They take the form of a three course supper prepared by renowned Suffolk chef Peter Harrison ( served in the farmhouse Dining Rooms at handmade oak refectory tables with woodstove lit. Teas / coffee / tisanes are served after the meals with BYO beer / wine.

Our programme for 2020 included the following Farm Suppers :

30th April : From the Farm and Gardens ~ a vegetarian evening.

7th May : From Field, River & Sea ~ seasonal foods including fish.

14th May : A Spring Cornucopia ~ a plant-based vegan evening.

21st May : Wildwood Supper ~ foraged & wild foods including venison from the farm

Due to the present situation we have cancelled all Farm Suppers.

Our thoughts – and deepest prayers for continued health and safety – are instead focused on all who are on the frontlines of the current viral epidemic – both victims and carers;  the emergency services and all our other public services; indeed to everyone – for we are all one part of another.

At Home but not Alone

The present emergency leaves many of us isolated and at home. We thought the Farm Suppers page might best be repurposed as a place to find out about home deliveries, home cooking and places that are setting themselves up as local community hubs.

Food for the Body : Local Food Supplies

In East Suffolk @wildsuffolk #suffolkfoodopen provides information about businesses that are open and supplying food locally. The East Anglian Daily Times has published a list of 71 food businesses  that are offering home deliveries. And the Alde and Ore partnership has a shorter list of coastal food businesses still open for deliveries / supplies near the Suffolk Coast.

We work with over 400 local businesses in 28 towns and villages in Suffolk who very kindly display and promote our publicity cards. We have commissioned some research and have a short checklist of farm shops and delis that are open for safe shopping and / or home deliveries in East Suffolk.

If you are on the list and our information is wrong or if you are a local food business who can safely supply or deliver foods in the Alde Valley area, please contact the Festival’s Green Shoots researchers.

With thanks to Sarah Butters for research.

Food for Thought : A Festival Reading List

Covers of books on nature

Reading is an important part of preparing for each year’s Alde Valley Spring Festival. Ideas around a new theme usually begin to stir a year before and the winter months ahead of the opening are a time of research and. Meetings with artists, makers, gardeners, writers and other sources of knowledge and creative inspiration then follow.

Books are vital to this process. They become way-markers and treasure troves of information. Below is a shortlist of some favourite reads from the winter and early spring of this year, all leading up to the Festival Exhibition “On a Turning Wing : A Celebration of Birds, Flight & Migration”.

The starting point for all of these was a poem Swallows by the Irish poet Paddy Bushe – from his collection of poems On a Turning Wing. This poem was the rock upon which the Festival plans were built – it is a remarkable piece of writing. You can listen to the poem Swallows below.

Paddy was invited to be lead writer in residence for 2020. We were both delighted and honoured to welcome Sean Lysaght, Naoko Abe and Kin’d & Kin’d [Kay Syrad and Clare Whistler]. Other invitees included Benedict Macdonald and Edward Posnett, recipient of a previous writing residency.

Alde Valley Spring Festival 2020 : Reading List

On a Turning Wing. Paddy Bushe. Daedalus Press, 2016.
Selected Poems. Sean Lysaght. Gallery Books, 2010.
The Seabird’s Cry. Adam Nicolson. William Collins, 2017.
‘Cherry’ Ingram. Naoko Abe. Chatto and Windus, 2019.
Rebirding. Benedict Macdonald. Pelagic Publishing, 2019
Harvest. Edward Posnett. Bodley Head, 2019.
Waiting for the Albino Dunnock. Rosamond Richardson. Weidenfield & Nicolson, 2017/18.
God’s of the Morning. John Lister-Kaye. Canongate Books, 2018.
The Edge of Extinction. Jules Pretty. Cornell University Press, 2014

Time & Concord. Jenni Wake-Walker [Ed]. 1997.
John Nash. John Lewis. Potter Books, 1978.
Field & Farm. Richard Jefferies. Phoenix House, 1957.
World Within. Tom Harrison. Oxford University Press, 1984.
Japanese Gardens. Monty Don & Derry Moore. Two Roads, 2020.
Fruits of the Forest. Sue Style. Pavilion Books, 1995.
The Writer’s Garden. Jackie Bennett. Frances Lincoln, 2014.
Forest School Adventure. Naomi Walmsley & Dan Westall. Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications, 2018.
Miraculous Abundance. Perrine & Charles Herve-Gruyer, Eliot Coleman. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017.

To order copies to be delivered or posted to your home, we suggest using excellent local bookstores including Browsers ( ) in Woodbridge and The Aldeburgh Bookshop ( ) to name just two among many in Suffolk and nationally.

Food for the Soul : Some Morsels of Poetry

Paddy Bushe On a turning wing

Each year we run the Writing at Great Glemham residency programme alongside the Spring Festival. We invite guest writers to stay at the farm for week-long residencies whilst the Festival Exhibition, Open Studios, Shop and Tea Rooms are all open to the public. Past writers in residence have included Hugh Thomson, Tishani Doshi, Lavinia Greenlaw, Edward Posnett, Alistair Carr, Paddy Bushe and Kin’d & Kin’d.

For the past two years the Festival has also worked with Poetry in Aldeburgh and the Poetry Trust. In the absence of the Farm Suppers, we thought we would invite past and present poets in residence to share some of their own favourite poems and books, bearing in mind the Festival theme On a Turning Wing : A Celebration of Bird, Flight & Migration.

Poems from Paddy Bushe

Paddy has offered two beautiful poems in response to the Festival theme – Two Poems of Birth and Birds and Swallows. His third offering Corona Sculpture is a poem written in response to the coronavirus – describing a circle of white rocks left arranged around a large boulder in the bay by Waterville in Kerry, Eire – below a long, soft, eroding cliffline.

Poems by Sean Lysaght
from Selected Poems

You’ll have seen me pointing to a bird
among gannets on a cliff
and heard me say guillemot,
in the guise of a maker.

I want you to have that name
for the first time,
to say it again
if our love stays unbroken.

If we part
it will have been a word
between two boats at sea
after their oarsmen have spoken.

While the valley is filled with rain
I recall the lip of the wren’s nest,
how its fine wattle of brittle stalks
couched and housed my forefinger.

I imagine shelter from deserted fields
sad clocks and dripping cables.
My streaming windows wait –
until the sun cleaves to glinting hedges

and a child in wellies splashes at the gateway
where the frost once shattered underfoot.
That was Stephen’s Day
and the King of the Birds was dead.

Now his song explodes in a briar bush.

Meadow Pipit
Or reafog, as my father said,
when the small bird on the sward
ran away with its splayed
wing twitching,

not in pain
but to divert us
from the brood
in the core of a tuft.

And we left,
this much the wiser:
that the little ones
needed us gone.

Now my plane flies in
from where they call them
and splays both wings to stop.

Away from the airport,
I stalk back
to low pleadings
at the end of earshot.

Selected Poems chosen by kin’d & kin’d

Karen Smith’s ‘Journey to the map’ from Poemish of the Wildland

Journey to the map

before you cast out
to the place of not-knowing,
let the map find its way.

say goodbye to light,
unplug your eyes,
scrunch up ideas of pilgrimage

and throw them over
your shoulder, like salt.
lick a finger for the wind

for the page, for luck.
lay to rest the hummingbird
of your heart, the desire for

nights lit with birdsong.
study the growing crease
on your palm, where it meets

the ford in your elbow and tapers
to the inside, where your nose
can’t follow. trace back to

the source, the mouth, to what
you swear you hadn’t heard, or said,
except perhaps in the darkest time

where there was no star, no north,
no azimuth. a photograph appears
in your hand. it could be a clue to

the way forward, or back. lose a plot,
a hachure, a plat via the underside,
the backshore, where there are

no maps except the one you
can make, to get in or out
where you never meant to be

but you’re crossing the border now
where the cartographer is dead
and no land-lines have ever been

wrung from her wrist
and all the moves must be deducted
in advance, backwards from the centre

you’re steering on water to avoid,
engines in full reverse, watching from
the bridge. the trouble is

you can’t stop, especially
when you want to find yourself
abandoning yourself, and everything

is under water, even the map,
and all that you can do now is climb
and write it, write it, write it.

Recording by Karen Smith.

The loss of birds by Nan Craig

Of all the losses I think the loss of birds
has been the hardest. Strangest.
Whole days pass, now, as
I struggle to explain them to you.

I begin: they were very light.
Light as lizards made of
wire and buttons. But
covered in tiny leaves,
leaves softer than the softest fur.
Shinier. Sleeker.
Suspiciously, you say: Fur-leaves?

Exactly, I say. Their legs
were little sticks. Snapped twigs.
The small ones anyway. The biggest ones
had feet like grappling hooks.
Their arms were half-furled
umbrellas. Elbows on backwards.
Stretching, they became sails
snapping in high winds.
Covered in those silky scales –
fur-leaves, you repeat – yes, I say – which
lay flat like scales but ruffled
sometimes in the breeze, like fur.

Fur but not, I say, again and again.

Their bones were hollow and they moved
from ground to
air to sky to speck
faster than thought. They could not
be caught, I lie: they moved too fast
for human hands
or animals.

They listened carefully to everything,
but had no ears. (what?
I really start to lose you here)
Their heads were round knobs
and one angry claw stuck out
the middle of their heads
for a mouth
and they ate through the claw.
Sometimes a yellow claw. Sometimes black.
Thinking of ducks, I add: Sometimes the claw was blunt
like a thumb. It could be blue. Or red. Also,
they birthed these little stones with goo
and flesh inside, that you could crack and eat.

You listen to me but I understand
you don’t believe me,
can’t believe me. How can you, I am raving,
nothing I say makes any sense.

They were everywhere, I insist. Everywhere.
You smile politely and begin to drift away.
WAIT! I shout. They also sang!

They sang.

At that point, I go silent,
seeing as by now
I don’t even believe myself.

For more information about Nan Craig and her poetry, including recent publications, please visit :

River Adur, Knepp Wildland, 31 July 11.25 am – by kin’d & kin’d

bird hide above the young green reeds
skim slip un-deep water-shell

swans coming into land
swans bucketing and spread

screech of Canada geese
goose swan goose swan
honks gurgles peals barks getches
——a parliament

drawn-out sighs
no time for breath in
cluck throat hatched
——(can air be thrown?)

making water path
gather-noises bird-tribes
shallow waders
tuft duck black
stay small

(who companions
who wriggles by
who crosses species)

heron stands
wing dips the shallows

becoming water-bird – one,
another, we go, we go – sense-forward
——through long water

Published in Coast to Coast to Coast, Poetry in Aldeburgh 2019.
Recorded by kin’d & kin’d

kin’d & kin’d Anthologies

These include three collections of course participants’ eco-poetry :

Poemish & Other Languages (2019);
Poemish of the Wildland (2019);
fabric-ation: slip back to source, a journey of materials (2020)

All published by Elephant Press.

Kay Syrad’s latest publications include :
t/here: a poetic glossary of human and non-human migration (East Port, 2019);
a collection of poetry, Inland (Cinnamon Press, 2018);
an art-text work with artist Chris Drury, Exchange (Little Toller, 2015).
Facebook kay.syrad
Twitter @kaysyrad

Clare Whistler has recently published :
Invasive (Elephant Press, 2019)
Wetland Eco-Body, poems written in response to a group walk and wander on the Pevensey Levels, East Sussex (forthcoming Elephant Press, 2020).

kin’d & kin’d Poetry Reading List

Wretched Strangers: Borders Movement Homes. Eds. Ágnes Lehóczky & J.T. Welsch, Boiler House Press 2018.
Too Raucous for a Chorus. Erica Van Horn & Laurie Clark. Coracle Press 2018.
Poems and Prose. Gerard Manley Hopkins. Penguin, various editions.
Nature Poems Old & New. May Swenson. First Mariner Books 2000.
Braided Creek – A conversation in Poetry. Jim Harrison and Ted Looser. Copper Canyon Press 2003.
Air and Dreams: An essay On the Imagination of Movement. Gaston Bachelard. The Dallas Institute Publications Original publication 1943/2011 edition

News from kin’d & kin’d

kin’d & kin’d  is a composite eco-poet, the creation of Kay Syrad and Clare Whistler. The Spring Festival was delighted to welcome them to the farm for a residency in autumn 2019 as part of Poetry in Aldeburgh.

Kay and Clare have been collaborating on a range of art-text projects and eco-poetry courses for several years. Kay also writes fiction and is Poetry Editor of Envoi. Collaborative artist Clare works as a dancer, choreographer and director and co-runs WaterWeek, an award-winning, annual multi-faceted event.

Unable to run their usual courses, kin’d & kin’d have designed a 12-week correspondence course, connections while solituding, which is linked to Knepp Wildland. The course explores both the idea of connection and material connections between Knepp and wherever participants find themselves, drawing on the poetry of Emily Dickinson and letterpoems across history.

kin’d & kin’d have collaborative poems published in Coast to Coast to Coast, Poetry in Aldeburgh 2019, and forthcoming in Finished Creatures 3 and Magma 78. In 2019 they were poets-in-residence at Knepp Wildland and White House Farm, Great Glemham.

We are also delighted to be able to offer the following link for an online version of H/EDGE that was created by kin’d & kin’d for the 2020 Alde Valley Spring Festival : – Designed by Raphael Whittle

This fascinating collection of word explorations emerged from a Hedge Hut Residency awarded to kin’d & kin’d as part of Poetry in Aldeburgh 2019.

Healthy Home Cooking

At times of challenge, words aren’t always enough. These are some of our favourite places to find good recipes for healthy, boosting foods.

Daphne Lambert at Lewes Food Market and The Green Cuisine Trust.

For a big selection of kitchen cupboard recipes : The New York Times

For more information about Home Growing please see our Green Shoots page.

For information about visual arts and artisan makers please go to Festival Exhibition and Open Studios.

If you would like to explore the farm’s beautiful little Woodland Nature Walk, Bluebell Walk and Meadow Walk, or the Festival’s Rebirding Projects, you can find photo-trails and video recordings on the Festival’s Instagram account.

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