Foraging Walk with John the Poacher. Hackney Marshes, Sun 1st March. 11am
Meet The Man Foraging For Fresh Ingredients up and down the Lea Valley and Hackney Marshes. John the Poacher supplies ingredients to some of east London's hippest bars and breweries, cafés and restaurants — all of it foraged from local land.
Jonathan Cook, spends his days foraging in east London for herbs and salad leaves, mushrooms, fruits and flowers, or fishing, or hunting for wood pigeon and rabbit, before trading his spoils with local pubs, restaurants and food companies for meals and pints of dark beer. Though man spent millennia living off the land, John's life is now at odds with the globalised society, but at one with nature.
John has been for sometime now showing people where and how to identify edible foods that grow on our lands and in our cities. Why take a trip to a supermarket when you can forage for it and be out in nature and in the open air, walking and making a deeper connection to earth. I found it, liberating as well as picking fresh, tasting, learning and eating as we go your'll get to take a harvest home.
John started snaring, then met somebody ferreting and that piqued my interest. The rest I taught myself. I trained as a chef and a gardener but I prefer to be out here picking things.”
“Here” is the sprawling marshes of East London. Hackney Marsh sits in a loop between two snaking branches of the Lea as it heads south towards the Olympic Park. There’s greenery all round – further north are Walthamstow and Tottenham Marshes, while less wild patches sit just off the towpath: Springfield Park, Markfield Park; Millfields Park.
There are rules. “It’s about being respectful,” he explains. “Don’t take everything. And always take from the centre, not the edge. The plants on the edge will drop bulbs and the patch will spread.”
In London, there’s barely a patch of soil that doesn’t support something edible. Plumes of rocket thrive in rusting metal brackets that line the canal, chicken-of-the-wood mushroom sprout on an old rotting sluice gate in the middle of the Lea, an apple tree is marooned on the opposite bank.
Join John for this guided walk of discovery.
Meeting at Aho Studio, 13 Prince Edward Rd, E9 5LX. Hackney Wick, 10.30-11am.
Investment £35 Rsvp and payment via www.aho.community website or £40 on the day.
Not to be missed.
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