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  • Writer's pictureMUD

Growing, Together

Hello! This is the official newsletter of MUD (Manchester Urban Diggers).



After nearly two years of being stuck inside we are all now having to relearn how to connect with people and the environments we are living in. The global pandemic has had huge effects on every single one of our lives and studies show that our physical and mental wellbeing as a nation have taken a massive toll. It is more important now than ever, for our mental and physical health, to get involved in our communities and be outdoors in nature in order to reconnect and find a balance in our lives again.


We are looking forward to connecting with you through this newsletter and we hope that it offers you an insight into what we do here at MUD and opportunities to get involved with.


 

Contents

 


Happy New Year!


I think we should be given an official cut off date of being allowed to wish someone a happy new year because I really don't know when to stop, at this rate I'll be going 'til June... Although, my thinking is that if I keep saying it throughout January that gives me an excuse to keep putting off starting my New Years resolutions until at least February, right?


Anyway, a BIG Happy New Year to you all! We hope your year has got off to a great start. After a really successful few months with our Winter Garden Markets and other projects at the end of 2021, we are really excited to be back in full swing in our gardens.


Things you can expect to read about in this newsletter are events and projects that we have going on throughout the year, tasty recipes, workshops and gardening tips and tricks.


This year we also want to start promoting other projects, businesses and places that are working towards our shared goals of sustainability. Therefore, we will be doing monthly round-ups of things, places and people in our local area that we think are doing cool, green and ethical things that we think you should check out. Get in touch with us if you see or hear of anything you might want to promote in our newsletter!


We are so excited for the year ahead! And we look forward to welcoming you back to our gardens, friends old and new!

 

Project Announcement - TEMA - The East Manchester Academy

We are super excited to announce our latest project, TEMA.


Currently, we are in phase 1 of 3 of this exciting project. We have designed a brand new space in Beswick in partnership with The East Manchester Academy, that we intend to build over the next three months.


The project will allow the school students to have access to the garden throughout the week. We will be hosting gardening workshops with the students which aim to educate and empower the younger generation to have an understanding of the importance of organic farming for both health and environmental reasons. We believe that food sovereignty and education has never been more important for building resilient communities and tackling health inequality. And as with all education, the earlier this begins the better.


The community garden will also be available for the wider public to use, it will be a centre of learning and community cohesion using food as a catalyst for all of it's activites.

 

Weekends at Platt Fields Market Garden (PFMG)


Throughout January and February, our Platt Fields Market Garden will be open Saturdays and Sundays 9am-3pm.


We will be cooking up some incredibly tasty meals from our very own MUD Kitchen, served up by Meg and Iman, our two incredible in-house chefs. We will be posting the weekly menu's on our PFMG Instagram page (@plattfields_marketgarden), so make sure to give us a follow so you don't miss out on our tasty food inspo.




We are delighted to welcome back our resident hot drinks truck, Grounded Coffee (@groundedmcr), who kept us warm throughout the Winter Markets and who will be returning with their delicious selection of hot beverages throughout the rest of the cold winter months. They will also be serving artisanal, hand-made desserts from Paradiso Authentic Italian (@paradisoauthentic), a small business driven by the passion for quality italian food which is a tradition of founder, Mattia Paradiso's, home country of Italy. They produce artisanal, hand-made desserts such as Tiramisú and Cannoli in different flavours including vegetarian, vegan, halal and Gluten Free options. They believe Tiramisú should be for everyone!



Let's Get Muddy! - Kids Workshops For All Ages

We will be hosting free outdoor workshops on Saturday mornings for kids of all ages throughout January and February to get your little ones interested in exploring the outdoors.


Annie (she/her) will be hosting the weekly workshops. Annie is a theatre maker, facilitator and professional big kid. She has over 10 years experience working with children of all ages and abilities.


Join us as we explore the magical world of Platt Fields Market Garden, creating stories and playing games that will allow your little one's to get silly and MUDDY in the outdoors!


Please get in touch at annie@wearemud.org to get involved and let us know of any access needs as we are happy to accommodate.


 

Vegan Beet Pasta Recipe by @SophOnToast


This month we are introducing Sophie of @SophOnToast who has chosen to showcase her Vegan Beetroot pasta recipe. This beautiful, earthy dish is made with vegetables grown in our gardens. Give her a follow on Instagram for more recipes.


A message from the chef:


Hi im Sophie and I run Soph On Toast, a blog 100% focused on food! I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember - with my earliest memory of pulling out the draws in the kitchen to reach the microwave.


A lot of my cooking is taken from two sources of inspiration; the first is my love of South-Eastern Asian flavours and cooking methods, and the second is planet friendly food - what’s sustainable and local as well as what can be reused.


Recipe

Ingredients:


Beet Puree

- 2 medium Beetroot

- 1 Lemon

- 100g Almonds

- 3 tablespoons Olive oil

- 2 clove Garlic


Pasta

- 5 balls of Tagliatelle

- Red onion

- Leek


‘Cheesy’ Crumb

- Handful of Breadcrumbs

- 1 tablespoon Cashews

- 1 teaspoon Nutritional yeast


Optional

- Handful Parsley

- Dollop Vegan Cream Cheese



Method:

  1. Start by boiling your clean beets with the skin on for 45 mins until soft. Pick out the beets and submerge them into cold water.

  2. No waste tip: keep the beet water for pickling- it brings a lovely earthy flavour as well as an amazing colour. Can also be used for dye. Aren’t beets just amazing!!

  3. To take the skin off the beets simply rub your thumbs across and the skin should easily peel back. Cut and put into a food processor along with all the other puree ingredients listed above and blitz until a smooth paste.

  4. Next, cook the pasta in boiling water as per the cooking instructions on the packet. At the same time fry off an onion and leek (or any other greens you have lying around).

  5. Once the onions and greens have fried down add 3 tablespoons of your beet puree. Add a cup full of pasta water to help the sauce emulsify and simmer for 2 mins until at the consistency you desire. Then add the pasta and stir.

  6. To make the ‘cheesy crumb’ add all ingredients to a pestle and mortar and crush and serve over the top.

  7. I like to serve mine with parsley and a dollop of vegan cheese.

  8. For the leftover beet puree, I simply rebrand, call it pate, and spread it over toast!


Other recipes from our Community Cookbook can be found here.


 

Get Involved - Volunteering and Opportunities


Volunteering with MUD has started back slowly in January but we have a lot of exciting opportunities on the horizon. Building on the successes of last year's programmes, we are hoping to increase our offering across all of our projects. We are currently working on the new Volunteer Handbook and updating all of our policies and garden Welcome Packs, which will be available on the website when completed.


For now, please join our website Gardening Groups for regular updates about the projects: https://www.wearemud.org/volunteer


An easy-to-follow sign up tutorial video can be found here:



Volunteering


Here is a quick look at what’s coming up and information on how to get involved:


Platt Fields Market Garden

Open volunteering will be taking place every Friday, 10am-4pm, where you can come and get a taste of what goes on at MUD. It’s a relaxed session with a range of gardening opportunities. The sessions are mainly coordinated by Dan but sometimes Nerissa or Mike. Lunch will be provided by Meg in the MUD Kitchen.


Plot To Plate

We’re launching our Plot to Plate program to establish a Kurdish Community veg garden at PFMG. We’re recruiting volunteers to assist our Coordinator Nerissa with the running of the program and to support participants. Please email nerissa@wearemud.org with an expression of interest if you’re interested in volunteering on this program. This program will be running on Tuesdays from 8th March.


Community Compost

Our new Community Compost scheme starts this Spring and we’re looking to recruit some volunteers as Compost Champions. If you are interested in volunteering for this program please see the flier below and contact mike@wearemud.org with an expression of interest if you would like to help out with construction of the system and running composting workshops as well as regular maintenance of the system. Induction days TBC.


Nature for Health

Our second Nature for Health program will be running from April this year. We’re looking for volunteers to assist with sessions and support participants on the program. If you have any background in mental health work or are interested in experience in green prescribing this is the perfect role for you. If you are interested in volunteering for this program please email mike@wearemud.org.


Mona Street

Open Volunteering at Mona Street near Salford Precinct is on every Thursday, 1-3pm. The session is coordinated by Sam.


Pankhurst Plot

Open Volunteering at Pankhurst Plot, Chorlton Park is every Monday and Thursday, 10am-4pm. The sessions are coordinated by Lulu.


The Landing

Open Volunteering at The Landing, Stockport is every Friday, 10am-4pm. The sessions are coordinated by the Head Grower, Nick. Please text Mike on 07538860488 to be added to The Landing WhatsApp group that Nick updates weekly with session details.


Cinderwood Market Garden

We have an exciting opportunity for 5 volunteers to take part in a 12 week practical volunteering course at Cinderwood Market Garden in Cheshire. Volunteers will be provided with transport to the site, lunch and hands-on experience at a commercial market garden providing produce to some of the best restaurants in the North West. Participants must commit to the full 12 weeks. Start date and days TBC but likely to be one day a week, midweek starting in March. Please email mike@wearemud.org.


We're Hiring!


We are looking for a Marketing and Communications Consultant / Freelancer to join us as the newest member of the MUD_cic team.


We want someone who can help us to come up with strategies that will promote our business and all the great things we are doing to fix our broken food systems. Including creating gardens for people to grow their own food and promoting community values.


Could this be you?


For more information click here


To apply, get in touch at jobs@wearemud.org


 

Dishin' The Dirt


We want to showcase some of the incredible things that are going on around Greater Manchester that are good for our health, the environment and our minds. Dishin' The Dirt will serve you some of the sustainable things happening around the city that are working towards our shared goal of healthy mind, body and planet.



Grounded Coffee



Grounded MCR was founded as a social enterprise in June 2021. They sell specialty coffee, hot drinks, boozy brews, toasties and cakes all from a yellow and pink trike. They employ those who are deemed vulnerable – people on long term Universal Credit, those with depression/anxiety and people displaced by Covid. They have built a social enterprise that is as much known for its great drinks and treats, as its commitment to help those with anxiety, into work.


Grounded MCR have had a phenomenal response from the community. They have found that people are stopping by for coffee and snacks, but they stay for a chat, a laugh and to meet others in the community.


They have helped lonely and isolated people forge new connections, built communities with people from all different age and socio-economic backgrounds, acted as counsellors, and made lots of new friends.


In 2021, Grounded MCR won British Street Food Award’s 2021 Most Sustainable Trader Award, for their commitment to Sustainability.


This year, their focus is on converting a big yellow school bus (which they won last year) into a cafe, event space and allotment. The bus will be a community space for locals to host support groups, supper clubs, crafting clubs and other spaces for people to meet and connect with new people in the area.


Follow @groundedmcr on Instagram to find out more.




ANDYSMANCLUB



In mid-2016, nine men met in a small room in the archetypal Yorkshire town of Halifax with a simple aim of talking through their issues and helping each other deal with their mental health. All in attendance agreed there was a magic in that room that had to be shared. This was the start of a movement that has grown faster than anyone first involved could have ever imagined. Fast forward 5 years and ANDYSMANCLUB now has groups at over 75 locations across three constituent countries of the United Kingdom. ANDYSMANCLUB takes its name from Andrew Roberts, a man who sadly took his own life aged 23 in early 2016. Andy’s family had no inkling that he was suffering or struggling to the extent that he would do this, and as a result looked deeper into male suicide and men’s mental health. They soon discovered that male suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, with Male Mental Health surrounded by well-ingrained cultural stigma in the UK. Elaine Roberts and Luke Ambler are Andy’s Mum and Brother-in-Law, together they came up with the idea of ANDYSMANCLUB, a group where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgement-free, non-clinical environment. Groups now operate nationwide and are completely volunteer-led, with the vast majority of group facilitators having first interacted with ANDYSMANCLUB when they came through the door as a service user. With their service used on a weekly basis by over 1,500 men, and an army of over 400 volunteers on board, the movement is continuing to grow on a week by week basis.

To find out more about this incredible organisation or to use their services and get involved, click here. #ANDYSMANCLUB #ITSOKAYTOTALK

If you need urgent support please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.





A Year To Delight - A Recipe Zine in support of Trussle Trust




A year to delight is a thirty-two page, A5 sized zine curated by food writer Bre Graham, (@breaudreygraham). It will feature one dish for each month of the year, each highlighting the best ingredients of that season. Recipes include the Smoked Chilli and Vodka Rigatoni, Roasted Rhubarb and Cardamom Custard Tart, Brown Butter and Strawberry Buckle Cake and more. All proceeds will be donated to @trusselltrust, a charity working to stop the need for food banks in the UK.


You can find out more and get yours by clicking here.


Designed by one of our volunteers, the brilliant @hollytem.


 

Thank You


One of our objectives as a Community Interest Company (CIC) is to become a sustainable business that can provide free services to those who need it most. To achieve this, we have a diverse range of income that includes the sale of produce and services as well as receiving funding from a variety of organisations. We are always looking for donations to help sustain and improve our projects, at the same time re-using and recycling. We'll take kitchen waste and coffee grounds to feed our compost, unwanted seeds and plants, cuttings from your garden or tools you no longer use. We'll even take cold hard cash. Eventually, we would like to create a business that can support itself, but so far our funders and contributors have been a lifeline and we could not provide the valuable community work we do without them. Recently we have recieved funding from the following:


As always, we’re incredibly grateful to our funders for supporting our work. We’ve recently secured grants from:


- The National Lottery’s Places Called Home fund, to develop a community composting scheme and improve PFMG’s Compost Alley

- Hubbub: In Our Nature to develop a Kurdish Community veg plot at PFMG

- One Manchester to run a 32-week Gardening Club to reduce social isolation in our local community

- Patagonia, to improve the accessibility of PFMG

- New Makers Yard, to support sessions at Mona Street Community Garden in Salford



We don’t receive core funding, so these project grants are essential for us to continue delivering our work promoting wellbeing in the community. Speaking of which, we always welcome donations of any amount!


We also have a Patreon Fundraiser where you can claim rewards for your donations, including MUD Merchandise and Membership Cards which give you great discounts in our shop.







 

We look forward to seeing you all back in our gardens this year!





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