Spring Programme at St. Raph's

We've had loads of activities going on in St. Raphael's Edible Garden over the past few months. From learning about microbiomes and superfoods to fermentation and crafty recycling, there was much to be discovered and many delicious things consumed.

Spring Programme

We delivered a series of one-off workshops that were repeated 3 times over the course of the Spring. The workshops were targeted at adults and children to learn and gain knowledge in the following areas: foraging, growing micro-greens, baking a nettle cake, making seed paper and fermentation. The workshops helped participants gain confidence in growing superfoods, how to harvest and cook with fresh produce from the garden, how to prevent food from going to waste by turning it into fermented food, and how to eat seasonally by foraging locally. Participants also shared how the workshops had been beneficial for their wellbeing and connecting with others. Over 119 people took part in our garden workshops.

Nettle Cake

Jade taught us how to make bright green cupcakes using one of the most nutritious plants on the planet. Top tip is to use young, fresh, spring nettles (harvested between March and early May) and freeze them to make summer treats, or teas and soups in the winter.


Nikos taught us how to recycle takeaway trays to grow microgreens. Eat some food, grow some food, circle of life and all that. They don't need much sunlight so you can grow them indoors on your windowsill on kitchen counter.


Lisa taught us the age old practice of fermenting - food that kept our ancestors healthy and thriving for centuries! Participants learned the correct ratios of salt to cabbage for prime fermentation and how to mix in spices and herbs, creating delicious flavours!


Whilst walking around St. Raphael's Estate, Michael explained the differences between the poisonous hemlock plant compared to tasty abundant cow parsley and showed us how to identify wild edible weeds, that you can use in your salads. We also learnt that birch sap can be collected and used to make vegan honey!

Making Seed Paper

Vladanka taught us how to recycle used paper and soft cardboard to make new craft paper! We also learnt how to add seeds into the paper that can be used as beautiful plantable cards. Top tip: you can also press dried flowers and add to your seed paper to make greeting cards. Once placed on the soil and watered, it will germinate and sprout seedlings. Eventually the paper will decompose and leave the seedlings to grow into mature plants.

"I have learnt that free food is all around us to eat and drink." - Workshop Participant

Bush Craft Activities

This year we facilitated a Bush Craft Club for 26 children. The children learned how to build, light, maintain and cook their own lunch over a fire and developed knowledge and understanding of how to survive and thrive in the natural environment. They also learned how to make herbal teas and the benefits of how to safely forage in the community garden, looking for plants such as wild garlic, nettles, blackberries and elderflower.

"My daughter came home and told us all about the different properties surrounding herbs and why you need to be careful when feeding birds. She gained a big interest." - Parent of Bush Craft Club participant

Circle of Soup

We also ran a 5-week AQA-accredited cooking course in the garden ran by Jane. Cook together in our 5 X 2.5 hour workshops, using inexpensive plant-rich ingredients and simple cooking techniques to create colourful, nourishing and delicious bowls of food. Each week will build your cooking confidence & flavouring know-how as you learn why eating a diversity of plants is not only good for you, but good for the planet and your budget.

  • Week 1 - We made a Mediterranean-inspired bean soup and learned about The Microbiome
  • Week 2 - We made a South Asian lentil dhal and learned about the connection between the Microbiome and ill-health
  • Week 3 - We made a bean & chilli stew inspired by The Americas and learned how Ultra Processed Food affects us
  • Week 4 - We made a East/SE Asian inspired Diversity Bowl and learned how fermented foods support our health
  • Week 5 - We made a North African/Middle Eastern inspired tomato and egg Shakshuka, while learning about how sugar affects us.

"Circle of Soup has freed me up and made me worry less. I feel like I can now conjure something up with whatever is to hand, as well as asking people to join in and help me." - Course Participant


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