Award-winning inventive singer, folksong collector, conservationist and founder/director of The Nest Collective Sam Lee sings a special show of folksongs inspired by nature and for the Oxford Real Farming Conference.
Singing songs from his repertoire of ancient traditional British folk songs, this concert will dig deep into the numerous stunning songs that connected our forbearers to the land. For 15 years Sam has collected songs from across the UK and Ireland mostly recording the last songs of our indigenous tradition bearers notably from the Irish & Scots Traveller and English Gypsy communities. This oral tradition tells the legacy of our relationship to the natural world and how folk songs have served as devotional means to revere and adore our land and species living on it. Behind every song is a story of how that song carries an ancient wisdom or even a foreknowing of how the land and changes in society have effected the natural order and what that bird or landscape meant to our ancestors.
At this time of multiple pandemics, of police violence, coronavirus, climate chaos, and unprecedented economic crisis, we are being called to put our food and land sovereignty dreams into deeper practice. Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous community farm in New York that raises vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs and poultry for people living under food apartheid, and is part of a growing movement to uphold everyone’s right to land, honor the people who grow our food, and support farmers of colour.
Combining visual storytelling and poetry, Naima Penniman will share Soul Fire Farm's pandemic-response strategies, including provision gardening in urban centers, a reparations map, and solidarity sharing the harvest through mutual aid networks. She will also uplift other Black-Indigenous-People-of-Colour led organisations and movements, past and present, that are working in collaboration with land for food security, climate resilience, and the health of our ecosystems. Join us to learn how you too can help build a food system based on justice, dignity, and abundance for all members of our community.
Indigenous food systems, both in pre-Columbian times and now, are poorly understood by the Western world. Over the millenia, Indigenous food scientists have generated a wealth of biodiversity within the global food system, with 70% of the world's variety of foods come from the Americas. Indigenous peoples perfected–in hundreds of types of bioregions and ecotones)–low energy input-high energy output land management practices. For example, the Haíɫzaqv (ˈheɪltsək) Nation of British Columbia, Canada hand plant massive kelp forests along the shoreline to generate more surface area/spawning ground for herring fish. Their eggs/roe provide a massive caloric foundation for the entire island system, ultimately feeding sea lions, whales, salmon, wolves, birds, humans and more. Indigenous food systems are about life. Reinvigorating systems that give health and vitality not only to human beings but to all lifeforms, who are not seen as resources, but as relatives who we must relate to on a nation to nation basis.
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Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.
Gather follows Nephi Craig, a chef from the White Mountain Apache Nation (Arizona), opening an indigenous café as a nutritional recovery clinic; Elsie Dubray, a young scientist from the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation (South Dakota), conducting landmark studies on bison; and the Ancestral Guard, a group of environmental activists from the Yurok Nation (Northern California), trying to save the Klamath river.
Do we even have a right to be hopeful? With political and ecological fires raging all around, is it irresponsible to imagine a future world radically better than our own? A world of healed ecosystems? Of food sovereignty and equal access to land? A world where governments fear the people instead of the other way around?
These are questions that Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey wrestled with when they conceived of a sequel to last year's Emmy-nominated short, "A Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez." The first film, co-written by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple, was set in a can-do future: one in which bold, progressive politicians joined with grassroots movements to launch the "Decade of the Green New Deal," battling poverty, injustice, and climate disruption all at the same time. The film touched a nerve and ended up being viewed more than 12 million times, convincing our little team of the need for more art that departs from well-worn apocalyptic scripts. Then Covid-19 hit.
Join globally-known activists, Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey, as they show us the eight-minute sequel to Message from the Future, discuss the lessons we can learn from this extraordinary time and what a better and more hopeful future might look like.
Please join the ORFC Global team and UK folksinger, Sam Lee, for a brief closing plenary (15 minutes)
For those who would like to sing along with the final song here are the lyrics.
One May morning early I chanced for to roam
And strolled through the field by the side of the grove.
It was there I did hear the harmless birds sing,
And you never heard so sweet,
and you never heard so sweet,
you never heard so sweet
as the birds in the spring.
At the end of the grove I sat myself down
And the song of the nightingale echoed all round,
Their song was so charming their notes were so clear
No music no songster,
no music no songster,
No music no songster
can with them compare.
All you that come here the small birds to hear,
I'll have you pay attention so pray all draw near.
And when you're growing old you will have this to say,
That you never heard so sweet,
you never heard so sweet,
You never heard so sweet
as the birds on the spray!