Food for Thought

On a Turning Wing

A Celebration of Birds, Flight & Migration

The Tea Rooms

This part of the website is usually home to our Hedge Quarters Tea Rooms. These pop up seasonally in the front Dining Rooms of the farmhouse. The rooms are fitted with three beautiful refectory tables made at the farm using oak from trees that died naturally in the woods. A woodstove is usually ‘on’ – with a few logs burning quietly inside. There are books and poetry to read on the tables and the menu is made almost entirely from ingredients grown or farmed, sourced locally or foraged from the landscape nearby. As far as possible, we work with local cooks and chefs, some established and others just starting out on new career paths : but all with a passion for fresh, seasonal, local ingredients – with a few exotic ingredients for spice.

Being Rooted

This sense of place – of being rooted – is an anchor for much of the Spring Festival’s growing progamme of seasonal events. In times of change, this feels more and more important. Being rooted seems to mean knowing the following : where you are; how you came to be there; what you are doing; and why. These are all questions that we have lurking in our lives, but which we often walk by or suppress. But they are good ones to ask – and they come to the fore during difficult or challenging times. Then it is becomes much more apparent that they are important and also powerful things to know and understand.

The ‘lockdown’ for the coronavirus came at a time when the Spring Festival was just approaching its busiest period of preparation. Pre-launch publicity and marketing campaigns were already launched : 15,000 flyers and cards were either in distribution or about to be released; 2,500 invitations were going out to our immediate mailing lists; over 34,000 copies of local and regional magazines and other publications had features or copy about the coming programme of events. All this stopped in mid-March. All aspects of the physical programme were cancelled and we had to decide what to do. It was time to ask those questions !

A Time to Celebrate

At the heart of the Spring Festival is the spirit of welcome and celebration. This is the starting point from which all our activities germinate, take root and grow, be they in the UK or abroad. The key aspects of life that the Spring Festival seeks to celebrate (its basket of eggs) are : the arts, food, farming and local landscapes, which provide a setting for all of these things. In planning events, the Festival works with its own in-house Set of Seven Sustainability Criteria. These have been devised for use here and abroad : a compact tool box of ideas that are designed to work in any setting where there is an opportunity for low-impact, community-based development linked to cultural heritage, local foods and a local landscape identity.

The Festivals’ Sustainability Criteria

We have used these in the UK to support, steer and nurture new festivals, in particular The Alde Valley Spring Festival and Pesta Nukenen in Sarawak, Malaysia. A range of residency projects, R&D and eco/socio / cultural enrichment projects are attached to both festivals. It seems an important time to share useful information. These are the planning and development criteria we have used here in the UK and internationally – we are sharing them in the hope that they will help guide other project managers and decision-makers, be they in domestic / community / business settings, towards outcomes that are genuinely enriching and sustainable.

Proportionality and Sensitivity to Setting
Developments which are integrated with their social, economic and environmental surroundings, demonstrating sensitivity to local needs, landscape settings and local built heritage, are likely to bring greater long term social and economic gain.

Protection of Natural/Heritage/Landscape Assets
Quiet, clean and relatively undisturbed land and water systems are gaining premium value, due to their increasing rarity. In many situations they can be an area’s primary asset. Developments should enhance the quietness, cleanliness and quality of local landscapes and water systems.

Distributed Ownership of [New] Technologies
Ownership of [new] technologies, production processes and processing businesses, when widely distributed, can have a transforming effect upon local, regional and national economies.

Provision of Local Social, Economic and Environmental Enrichment
If this rule is applied universally, a blanket effect of distributed gain and improvement can be achieved.

Provision of [Skilled] Local Employment and Resource Use
Developments which provide for ongoing local employment and resource use bring economic gain directly back into the local community and local economy.

Equitable [Re]Distribution of Income
[Re]Distribution of income from local resource use brings social and economic gain back to local communities. This is particularly applicable to the arts, renewable energy technologies, ICTs and local foods.

Provision of Significant Local Ecological Gain
Ecological improvement and enrichment should be a target for all developments and practices, leading to systems restoration and habitat recreation on a large scale.

spring tree blossom

Green Shoots Initiative

In cancelling the Festival’s physical programme and moving the Festival Exhibition, Open Studios and Festival Events online, there has been time to look at positive ways forward, not just for the Festival but also more generally. In celebrating the arts, food, farming and landscape at a time of change, it felt important to commission research into ways in which we can re-integrate ourselves in our local settings : ways in which we can enrich local community life, support re-localised agriculture and food production; and – tribute to this year’s Festival theme of “On a Turning Wing” – how we can also support wildlife and bird conservation in particular. Some of the results of this research are below.

More information is provided through links. Please share and let us know about other ideas and projects :

With thanks to Bethany Sarginson Batley for research.

On a Turning Wing : Local Bird Watching Groups

Suffolk Bird Group
www.suffolkbirdgroup.orgFacebook –

Waveney Bird Club
www.waveneybirdclub.comFacebookTwitter –  Contact Jane Watkins (Membership) at or Rebecca Bedwell (Secretary) at

Lowestoft Bird Club: The Lounge Lizard

Great Yarmouth Bird Club

RSPB: Ipswich Local Group – Monthly meetings September to April at St Andrews Church Hall, The Street, Rushmere, Ipswich, IP5 1DH

RSPB: Lowestoft Local Group  – Meetings the first Friday of each month at 7:15 at St. Mark’s Church Centre, Bridge Road, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 9JX

RSPB : Woodbridge Local Group the first Thursday of the month, October to May at Woodbridge Community Hall, Station Road, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4AU

RSPB: Norwich Local Group at Hellesdon Community Centre (Off Wood View Road), Middletons Lane, Norwich, NR6 5QB

Landguard Bird Observatory 673782 – An observatory whose primary function is to study and record the wildlife of the entire Landguard peninsula. Membership is open to anyone interested in the aims and objectives of the observatory.

For a larger list of bird groups conservation charities please go to : On a Turning Wing

Growing Food and Re-localised Farming

The following are all useful sources of information and advice. For a larger list you can go to : Get Growing 

Home Growing

The Royal Horticultural Society ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest ~ YouTube

Allotment Veg ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Garden Organic ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ YouTube


Permaculture Women’s Guild ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Pinterest

Permaculture Research Institute ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ YouTube

Organic and Biodynamic Farming

Organic Research Centre ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ YouTube

Biodynamic Association ~ ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram

Seed Suppliers (Organic/Biodynamic/Ethical)

The Seed Cooperative  ~ ~ contact at or  01775 840592

Real Seeds ~

Sea Spring Seeds ~ ~ contact at 01308 897898

Harris Seeds ~ ~ contact at 800 5447938

The Organic Gardening Catalogue ~ ~ contact at or  0333 240 0776

For more information about food policy :

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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