Gaia’s Harvest: Recipes + More!

On Saturday, we donned our raincoats and wellies and headed down to the Old Print Works in Balsall Heath to celebrate Gaia’s Harvest in the rain!

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Over the past six months or so, the community garden has been transformed from a neglected courtyard to a blossoming garden bursting with an abundance of fruit, veggies and useful plants, planted and nurtured by an amazing team of dedicated volunteers since it’s opening back in May.

 

Despite the *very* wet weather on Saturday (it wouldn’t be England if it didn’t chuck it down, would it?!) we had an awesome day celebrating the changing seasons and everything that the team have achieved in the garden, using the home grown produce to create an incredible community feast.

 

On the menu of tasty treats rustled up on the day were pudina pickle potatoes, pea and parsley soup, lentil and marrow bake, vegan pesto pasta bake, and cheese, chive and sweetcorn and muffins, to name just a few, and all washed down with our homemade raspberry and rhubarb squash – yum!

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If you fancy having a go at the delicious dishes we made on Saturday, check out the recipes we followed below!

 

Pudina Pickle Potatoes. – This pickle is a great way to use loads of mint, which grows like wildfire in Gaia’s Garden, and is really great for your digestion. You can use it as a curry paste and cook up meat or fish in it, although we went for some home grown potatoes. To tone down the flavour if it’s too strong for you, add a tin of coconut milk when simmering the curry down. Delicious!

Pea and Parsley Soup – A classic bit of Nigel Slater! Just remember not to let the soup boil – if you heat it more gently you’ll preserve more of the nutrients. Parlsey is high in vitamins A, C and K, and it’s really easy to grow, so get some in your diet!

Lentil and Marrow Bake – We made a veggie version of this, but you can see why bacon would really complement the mild flavour of marrow.

Cheese, Chive and sweetcorn muffins – Using Gaia’s Garden homegrown sweetcorn and chives, these are a yummy savoury breakfast treat, and really easy to make.

 

Amongst the other dishes served up, we threw together a really simple vegan pesto, with rocket and sorrel from the garden, along with olive oil, cashew nuts, salt, pepper and some lemon juice to loosen it up. We combined this with tomatoes, sweetcorn and runner beans, all from the harvest, along with some penne pasta.
And to wash it all down, we also made raspberry and rhubarb squash, simply by simmering loads of these fruits up with sugar to taste, then straining it. Just add water, ice and a cheeky slice of lemon and you are good to go! So refreshing!

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A huge thank you to everyone who came along to visit us on the day, Tessa Lowe for the tea runs, Ria Moeyens for all of the delicious breads and energy bars, and Elaine Ring for the chocolate cornflake cakes! AND, of course, thank you to all of the volunteers who have popped along over the last six months to get your fingers green in Gaia’s Garden! Whether you came by just once or twice or got involved every week – we couldn’t have transformed the garden in to the beautiful, blossoming space without you all!

Old Print Works Open Day

It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend at the Old Print Works! Not only have we got Gaia’s Harvest to look forward to on Saturday 10th September (find out more about that here) but it just so happens to be Old Print Works Open Day, too! Amongst the programme of activity, all of this week MAK! studio have been holding a Makers Workshops to build two new bars for the Old Print Works, and members of the community have got involved to help out! On Saturday, there will be film screenings, live music, DJ’s and street art from 2pm – 10pm, and of course, a delicious homegrown feast courtesy of the green-fingered folk at Gaia’s Garden! Not familiar with the Old Print Works? We asked the team there a few questions to find out more…

-What is the Old Print Works?

The Old Print Works is an old factory on the Moseley Road in Birmingham that used to design and print transfers for branding items from steam engines to tennis rackets as well as many others in Britain’s then large manufacturing industry, instrumental in introducing colour into branding in the UK. The Old Print Works is now a thriving maker and creative community.

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-What is the Old Print Works mission?

We are a diverse and welcoming community that believes in the transformative power of making and creativity. Through mutual skill sharing we are building a resilient, sustainable and cooperative future. The Old Print Works is run by a charitable company, Make It Sustainable, with collaboration from diverse partners.

What sort of events and activities is the Old Print Works home to?

We host makers and artists in studios and workshops; we act as a platform for community-focused groups such as Sundragon Pottery and Ort Gallery. We host the amazing Ort Café and a range of events from music, theatre to art.

How does the Old Print Works benefit and work with the local community?

We host community-focused partners and events, providing opportunities and spaces for collaboration. We have shared makerspaces where local people get the chance to be creative, explore materials and processes and learn new skills.

How does this tie in with Brum Spirit’s theme of We’re In This Together? We share a value of inclusion.  We want to make a difference to our local community.  We believe everyone has something to learn and something to teach.  A sharing community is a stronger, better and more welcoming community.

What other community events has the Old Print Works been involved in?

The Old Print Works is a platform for people to make things happen; an enabler and a safe haven for makers, artists and musicians to engage with the local and wider community.  We have hosted open days, taster sessions, and celebrations and are regularly open to the community for a variety of activities.

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What does the future hold for the Old Print Works?

The Old Print Works is going from strength to strength, in partnership with a strong and growing community of creatives that share our vision.  Purchase of our building will cement our business model and our sustainability largely without grant support.

-Where can we find out more about the Old Print Works?

Take a look at our website www.oldprintworks.org.

Head to their Facebook event page here for more on the Open Day.

Gaia’s Harvest at Old Print Works

The Great British Summer Time is drawing to an end, and to celebrate the changing of season, Gaia’s Garden at the Old Print Works is holding a community harvest – and we’re all invited to join them!

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As many of you know, Gaia’s Garden is a community green space tucked away in the courtyard of the Old Print Works. Over the last six months or so, an amazing group of volunteers and local residents have worked incredibly hard each week to transform the once disused area into a thriving garden, planting, nurturing and tending to a whole host of useful plants, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

 

Gaia’s Harvest, which will take place on Saturday 10th September from 10am-3pm, will see an abundance of organic, homegrown fruit and veg gathered from the garden and prepared into a huge community feast for us all to enjoy! Sounds delicious!

 

As part of the feast, please feel free to bring your own contributions, dishes and ingredients from your backyard or allotment to share…the more the merrier (and yummier!).

 

As well as there being lots of tasty treats on offer, the harvest will be a fantastic opportunity to come together, meet our green fingered community and check out what’s been going on in the space throughout the Summer months.

 

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The team will also be collecting non-perishable goods for Sparkhill Food Bank, so please do bring along any donations that you may have on the day.

 

Everyone is welcome to join the harvest celebration, so come along and join us at Gaia’s Harvest on Saturday 10th September!

 

You can find out more here.

Balsall Heath Forum

Let us paint the picture for you – almost 25 years ago, in the heart of Balsall Heath, a few intrepid locals came together to forge the “Build A Better Balsall Heath” campaign. Passionate about making positive changes and improving the lives of people in their little corner of Birmingham, these volunteers from various subsections of the area’s diverse culture, quickly became the forefront of social change.

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Fastforward to present day, and the Balsall Heath Forum is as strong as ever. Now headed up by a team of dedicated staff and supported by many passionate volunteers, this neighbourhood lead organisation acts as voice for residents and community members. As an organisation, their key focus lies around safety issues, youth culture, and environmental issues – you know, all the important stuff! They bridge that sometimes wide gap between the local people and the authorities, act as link to service providers, improve the image of the area across wider Birmingham, build a strong sense of community. So basically, the benefits of Balsall Heath Forum is endless!

 

We think Birmingham needs more organisations like the Balsall Heath Forum – keep doing what you’re doing!

 

Keep up to date with their amazing work on Facebook here.

 

Save Our Print Works

This year, Brum Spirit celebrates the power of combining forces, to make lasting and positive change on our doorsteps.

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From brightening up grey urban spaces with yummy fruit, veg, useful plants and wild flowers through Gaia’s Garden, to throwing family friendly celebrations in forgotten buildings, we’re all about championing what can be achieved when we’re in this together.
As part of this celebration, we’re championing the Old Print Works Unit Partners, in their campaign to ensure the future of this vibrant creative hub in the heart of Balsall Heath.

This group of very talented craftspeople, arts educators and community activists enliven this 30,000 sq ft ex factory building with industry, activities and events that focus on hand made skills and wellbeing. From ceramics to yoga, metalwork to photography, upcycling to fashion design, there’s a real buzz behind that huge factory frontage, right opposite Moseley Road Baths and next door to Moseley School of Art.

Not forgetting Ort Cafe of course – a welcoming and cozy community space where you can enjoy home made cakes, live music of all kinds, spoken word, neighbourhood meet ups and language classes.

Faced with an uncertain future, the Unit Partners are rallying together, so this Grade 2 listed community arts venue can be restored and maintained for the benefit of Balsall Heath residents and visitors, for years to come.

Things are moving quite quickly, and there will be plenty of ways for you to get involved along the way. Just this week, we heard the awesome news that Arts Council England have granted an amazing £100k to help secure the future of the Old Print Works! You can read more about this latest development here.

Look out for more updates on the Save Our Print Works campaign, and get involved – this place is meant for everyone – we’re in this together!

Balsall Heath WI

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What comes to mind when you think of the Women’s Institute? A group of elderly women having a natter over tea and scones? Well, you’ve clearly never come across the Balsall Heath WI, then! Never mind the tea and scones, this group of Birmingham’s finest ladies meet on the first Sunday of every month to do something awesome.

 

Born only two years ago, over 50 local women came together to celebrate the launch of the Balsall Heath WI. Bringing together the women of Balsall Heath and beyond in sisterhood, these fabulous ladies aim to make our community a better place through friendship, activities, campaigns and shared skills.

 

Amongst their packed programme of activity includes bike maintenance, urban foraging, talks and discussions (admittedly with lots of tea and cake!) and all kinds of music and community events throughout the year, plus more – you name it, they do it. They work hard to help our community become an all round nicer place to live, work and socialise, and it looks like they have a good time doing it, too!

 

Want to get involved? You don’t strictly have to be from Balsall Heath to get involved – many of the members are from surrounding Birmingham suburbs, with the constituency seeing an increasing number of younger women joining – right on, ladies! Come along and see what it’s all about – your first meeting is free, so there’s no excuse!

 

You can find Balsall Heath WI on Facebook here.

 

Moseley Road Baths

Ask any Brummie to list the most beautiful buildings in Birmingham, and chances are the Moseley Road Baths may well be one of them! Opened back in 1907, this amazing Grade II listed building is an undeniably stunning piece of architecture in the city, and is the oldest of only three Grade II listed buildings operating as a swimming pool in Britain – pretty impressive, eh?

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Used by people of all ages and from all walks of life across Balsall Heath and beyond, Moseley Road Baths is a focal point for much of the community, helping local people lead active, healthy lifestyles and providing space for a productive recreational past time.

 

But with the inevitable wear and tear of such a historic building, the future of Moseley Road Baths has come into question over recent years, prompting an outcry from the local people – and rightly so! Various petitions and crowd funding campaigns have fought to keep the building open, demonstrating just how important this building is to the community, the most recent initiative being led by Friends of Moseley Road Baths.

 

Boasting several rare and unique features, including it’s stunning Gothic Renaissance red bricks, steam heated drying racks, and a three-sided spectator gallery, the baths have actually had very few alterations to its original layout, but have unfortunately seen much of the facilities closed owing to concerns over health and safety, which we’re sure you’ll agree is a crying shame!

 

Like many of us here in Birmingham, the team at Friends of MRB believe that the baths can once more have a bright future, both as a fully functioning pool and as a building of historical and architectural importance. They believe that it is essential to invest in this national treasure and fantastic addition to our city, and have campaigned tirelessly over the years to safeguard it’s future.

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But how can YOU help? There are loads of way you can show your support – join the campaign by spreading the word with their promotional leaflets and posters, use your voice and write to your local councillor or newspaper, attend their monthly meeting, and of course, get yourself down to the baths for a swim!

 

However you choose to help, it would be disastrous for our community and area if Moseley Road Baths were to be permanently shut, so get involved! We’re in this together, after all!

 

Find out more about how you can help here.

Some Cities Birmingham

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The arts are a powerful, and often underestimated, positive tool to steer social change – that’s why we love what Some Cities do. This not for profit Community Interest Company focuses on how the arts can unite communities, and specifically the power that photography has to bridge social gaps here in Birmingham.

 

Their vision is to see Birmingham become the UK centre of photography, working with organisations and individuals, regardless of photography skill or personal background, on a variety of exciting projects across the city. With a whole programme of high quality training, seminars, exhibitions and inclusive participatory photographic opportunities on offer, as well as an affordable and easily accessible Dark Room, Some Cities is changing the way the people of Birmingham interact with the arts, each other, and our amazing city.

 

Not only does it allow amateur photographers greater exposure, but it offers a unique insight into our diverse, vibrant city, creating an extensive digital archive of life and culture in the region, and encouraging it’s people to share their untold stories and personal lives. From our urban city streets to stunning panoramic landscapes, the images shared via SomeCities really will change the way you see Birmingham and unleash a whole new level of appreciation and love for our town!

 

SomeCities proves that everyone can get involved with and enjoy the arts opportunities on offer in Birmingham, and that gets a huge thumbs up from us!

 

Check out their incredible work and get involved here.

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Brum Spirit at Moseley School of Art

Last weekend, we flung open the doors of Moseley School of Art and invited you all in for two days of Brum Spirit fun…and what a seriously amazing weekend it was!

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We were (once again) privileged to be able to gather some of the finest artists from around the globe right here in Brum, to join us in exploring and celebrating this year’s theme; “We’re In This Together”.

 

Across the two days, we were wowed by all kinds of arts, including the “We Come In Peace photography exhibition, breakdancing workshops by Break Mission, fab participatory forum theatre by Jungo Arts, and some fascinating screenings by Stickelback Cinema, to name a few.

 

Live music came from homegrown talent Kate Goes, the stunning Polish string quartet String Fantasy, and toe-tapping headliners Panorama Do Choro, all the way from Sao Paolo, whilst the Hi-Lite Arts collective, from Coventry Uni, delivered a series of inspiring and thought-provoking performances throughout the day.

 

Ben Waddington’s Empty Room Tours really was a unique treat, leading us on a fascinating tour of the beautiful Moseley School of Art and giving us a rare glimpse into the history of the incredible, distinguished building!

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On top of all of that, the amazing team at Made Welcome connected communities and highlighted their invaluable work with our city’s refugees, and we devoured the most delicious treats from the Real Junk Food Project Brum!

 

Big shout out to all of the talented artists who performed and exhibited their incredible work across the weekend, and, of course, thank you to all of you beautiful people who came along and celebrated with us – it was awesome to see so many of you come together!

 

Finally, a huge thanks to 144 Media who joined us over the weeekend to capture the whole adventure on film – stay tuned for the video coming soon, and check out our Facebook page here for some wicked photos from the weekend!

 

Remember to stay tuned for more Brum Spirit events coming very soon to our city this summer! We’re in this together!

Cafe Forro at Ort Cafe

After this Saturday’s Brum Spirit celebrations, the party continues next door at Ort Cafe, with live music and Brazilian fun from 9pm at Cafe Forro! We asked the Cafe Forro team a few questions to find out more about to expect…

 

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What is Café Forro?

 

Café Forró is music and dance project based at Ort, the Old Print Works, which celebrates and shares forró, the music and dance style from the North East of Brazil.

Forró has taken Europe by storm in recent years; it’s a very happy style of folk music and forrozeiros (the term for forro fans) dance ‘coladinho’ (very close) meaning that people become quite quickly addicted.

We give weekly dance classes for beginners to intermediates; organise monthly forró parties, usually with our resident band, Forrobamba and sell Brazilian homemade food. This Saturday, the accordionist Junior Dias will be playing with two members of Forrobamba, Guilhermino Ramos (Triangle and Vocals) and Cassio Matheus (Zambumba).

 

What does Café Forro aim to do?

 

Café Forró aims to spread forró culture, music and dance in the West Midlands by bringing people from all backgrounds and walks of life together to have a great time.

 

Why is Café Forro helping to save the Old Print Works?

 

We are attracting new people to the Old Print Works who previously had never been. Many of our forrozeiros come from elsewhere in Birmingham, so this really helps to spread the word about Ort, the Old Print Works and the cause.

 

What does the Old Print Works mean to you?

 

When we think of the Old Print Works, we think of Ort Cafe. It’s a great community hub and we feel privileged to be able to bring forro to such a vibrant, varied and open minded Cafe/Venue. It’s an asset to and reflects its diverse community.

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How does Café Forro tie in with Brum Spirit’s theme of We’re In This Together?

 

One of the great things about forró culture is that it is very inclusive. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your level of dance or social background is – everyone is welcome.

 

Who can get involved with Café Forro?

 

Anyone! (See above)

 

Where can we find out more about Café Forro?

 

Check out the Facebook page here or come along to one of our weekly classes on Tuesdays at Ort, 7:30pm.