Events and Publications

March 2021, Nature and Place
Story Bank from Mothers Who Make 
“How Healthy is my Soil?” How to perform a DIY Slake Test with Chris Maughan 

March - April 2021, Moss and Lichen 
Moss and Lichen publications by Nellie Cole

March - April 2021, Air and the Edible 
Prayers for the Ungodly, film series and prayercards by Alex Hackett 

April 2021, Rewilding
Rewilding the Food Plot with Mark Spencer

Nature Story Bank 

Mothers Who Make
March 2021

This is a story-bank of original nature themed audio tales for children.

Artists, makers, writers, who are also mothers, Geeta Sarcar, Lindsay Jane Hunter, Chloe Morgan, Izzie Grove, Sinéad Patching and Adele Mary Reed who are all regulars to the Coventry Mothers Who Make peer support network all contributed to the project. The stories are featured here for anyone to listen and share with their families.

More about Mothers Who Make Coventry can be found on: https://motherswhomake.org/coventry

“How Healthy is my Soil?” 

or how to perform a DIY Slake Test
Chris Maughan 
March 2021

This recording created as part of underGROWTH by Dr. Chris Maughan, from the Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience, will guide you through an easy and accessible field-based soil test. The test is designed to be repeated regularly in order to track the improvement (or degradation!) of your soils. The test is called a ‘slake test’ and it is designed to assess the stability of soil aggregates in water. Stable aggregates are essential for the soil's capacity to resist erosion, hold water, provide habitat for microorganisms, and prevent nutrient leaching. Samples can be scored and compared to estimate the health of (and organic matter in) your soils. 

Results can be inputed onto this spreadsheet as a way of building a soil quality archive of Coventry and beyond. 

STEP 1 - Choose your sample locations. This can be from two or more locations in your garden, but for best results choose locations with contrasting soil management histories - e.g. woodland soil and soil which has been repeatedly cultivated (dug over or plowed) for many years.
STEP 2 - Take your soil samples. Be sure to take your samples on a day when the soil is not waterlogged or has recently been dug over. Use a trowel to dig down to a depth of around 20cm and remove about a fist sized amount of soil. Put your samples in a bag, making sure to note where each sample came from.
STEP 3 - Dry your soil samples. When you get home put each of your samples on a small tray and leave for at least 24 hours in a well ventilated area.
STEP 4 - Gather equipment to perform the test. You’ll need a jug, cold water, a bowl, a sieve, and stopwatch.
STEP 5 - Record your results.  

This test is most revealing if done routinely to monitor the effectiveness of any soil remediation strategies you are using, so be sure to remember where you do this for ease of access next time. 

Moss and Lichen 

Nellie Cole 
March - April 2021 

sample of Nellie’s illustrations for her upcoming zine
Sometimes, it’s all about taking a new perspective. Mosses and lichens exist in the boundary layer, in the sheltered micro-climate just above the surface of a substrate. Getting down on their level, and looking through their leaves and stalks as if it were a full-size forest, can create a unique snapshot. Sometimes, these organisms grow where you wouldn’t otherwise think to look: on the underside of logs, on the water-level of a riverbank, or on a rocky overhang above your head. Looking closer doesn’t always mean looking straight forward.”

extract from Nellie Cole’s blog posts about her underGROWTH residency. The full posts can be found on her website. 

Nellie will be producing a zine from her residency as well as a map of lichen and moss sightings for Coventry. 

More of Nellie Cole’s work can be viewed on https://nelliecole.com/

Prayers for the Ungodly

Alex Hackett
March - April 2021

tools for the incorporation of air

Three sculpted tools, made of scavenged materials from both the foreshore and the scrapheap, are unashamedly handled whilst being described to the viewer. The tools’ main purpose is to incorporate air into food: that which we collectively breathe yet now holds mistrust and suspicion when taken into the body. In traditional preparation practices, incorporating air into food provided heightened sustenance and rituals around food created a camaraderie with the unknown. In times of skin hunger, the rituals of food preparation behave as small acts of prayer, enacting careful touch and tenderness. 

Alex Hackett’s work can be found on  www.alexhackett.net/

Rewilding the Food Plot

Mark Spencer 
April 2021