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Midnight Kitchen Manifesto

We believe

  • That many health problems have social problems as their root cause
  • That growing, making and learning together offer multiple pathways to health gain, recovery and solace through achievement, activity and social contact
  • That supporting access to alternative prescribing initiatives will reduce the medicalisation of social problems and enhance wellbeing

Who are we?

We are a collective of health professionals, visual and culinary artists, academics, craftspeople, writers, farmers and food producers who have an interest in the transformative power of journeying through food and story-making.  Our work variously connects us with our local community drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds including many people who are vulnerable and isolated and who are supported by few other services.

Broad aims and vision

  • To use gardening and creativity to develop healthy self management and confidence through skill-building, activity and social contact
  • To provide a safe space for members of our community who find it difficult to access other services
  • To connect growing food with eating and health
  • To improve our resilience to face future challenges together
  • To forge stronger connections with our community

Background, context and influences

The Kings Fund report ‘Gardens and Health’ 2016 sets out the evidence base for how gardens and gardening relate to health across the life-course. It highlights how, at different points in the health and social care system, gardens and gardening can make a major contribution to keeping us well and independent.

Just as the Listening Space Garden was created, we have worked with the guiding principles of the Transition Network, https://transitionnetwork.org/ finding a balance between head, heart and hands:

The head: we act on the basis of the best information and evidence available and apply our collective intelligence to find better ways of living.

The heart: we work with compassion, valuing and paying attention to the emotional psychological, relational and social aspects of the work we do

The hands: we turn our vision and ideas into a tangible reality, initiating practical projects and starting to build a new, healthy economy in the places we live.

Other influences:

Who are we, What have we done?

Jane Myat: GP, Kentish Town North London, Lecturer in Culinary Medicine, Cook, Mother and Maker-of-Many-Things (including spoons J), Founder of the Listening Space: re-membering our connections to each other, the earth and ourselves… and that as clinicians we must remember our oath to cure sometimes, treat often but comfort always.

Bess Frimodig: Printmaker, curator, writer and builder of gardens growing ideas (and herbs) greening the city.  Pushing the edges of printmaking, getting the print off the wall and into the workings of society. Claiming a creative life informed by a cultural and political context shaping stories of loss and resilience, a believer in the democracy of beauty and its power to transform. www.bessfrimodig.com Instagram @bessfrimodig

Jim Jones: Explorer of Hedges and Edges, Practitioner of Rural Skills, Storyteller. Socio-Ecologist based at the University of Waterloo and Mount Wolfe Farm in Ontario. Instagram @TheHedgiejim Twitter @HedgieJim

Simon Lewis: child and adolescent psychiatrist; passionate about the possibilities and developmental opportunities for all young people. Father, family, food and friendships. Photographer, videographer, cycling up mountains. Working to be fully conscious whilst accepting this is not possible!

Jane Riddiford: Storyteller, writer, action researcher unleashing the spirit of the forest in the city through gardens in unlikely places. www.globalgeneration.org.uk

Katharine Zywert: PhD Candidate in social-ecological sustainability working at the intersection of systems change and health; writer; knitter; gardener in training. www.katharinezywert.com

What are we doing together?

  • Providing a space and a forum to share our meals and our stories to create proximity when we are physically distant
  • To share the wonderful work of Bess et al which has led to the production of the Lonely Aubergine Cookbook
  • We will be raising funds to support a community build of a social kitchen and workshop in Kentish Town North London where we can re-member lost cooking and other practical skills as a way back to health. In the process we hope to enrich our community, our relationships, and explore the possibilities for regenerative food systems in an urban environment.
  • We will record our journey as a recipe for sibling projects in other places

Our invitation- to join us for culinary adventuring through the portal into a new world!


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