An hour before midday, after registering their arrival at Spitalfields City Farm, the eager looking, fresh-faced participants took part in a hands-on practical coordinated by the energetic Naomi Glass. Myself and Wasi also joined in.
One group concentrated energies on the meditative task of careful seed-sowing. Another group flexed their muscles to dig some manure into the earth.
Having developed a team-spirit through these joint efforts, we all reached for the delicious soup that Naomi had prepared only a few moments earlier using mostly ingredients from the farm itself. As we sipped and let the warmth down, we began to talk philosophy, food and much else.
After eating, and following an optional midday contemplative prayers (zuhr), it was time for the workshops. We gently touched down on a couple of introductory ice-breakers elegantly facilitated by Wasi, and then explored food, community, decision making through consultation (shura), and some of our own stories - what we bring to give a few examples. As a co-facilitator, I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic group of people. Some of the exercises were done as whole group, others in sub-groups. We had put quite alot of thought into how we would frame the workshop exercises - what would enable new participants to experientially and collectively get a sense of the idea of an Islamic community food project, whilst giving them space to think creatively and to be empowered? We felt our work paid off, and was supported by the creativity and humility that the participants brought.
One subgroup explored some of the qualities and types of activities associated with 'community'. The flip chart on the left captures some of their ideas. Another subgroup reflected on some key principles or values expressed through Islam around food. The photo on the right captures some of their ideas. (Clicking on the photos should enlarge them).
The final session of the day involved considering possibilities for our next steps. Where might we go next? Some ideas began to emerge, whilst others were yet to evolve into a more tangible form, a process that will be supported by time and further reflection.
The exciting journey we are travelling on together continues, and we look forward to welcoming newcomers who feel called to join us at follow-up events.
You may also like to read a personal perspective of the first event by participants, Saira Khan, and Ali Ajaz.
All Photos © Wisdom In Nature