Organisational work and curated projects
A sound installation and photography project inspired by World War I conscientious objectors. Created by Fiona Kam Meadley, Dominic Thomas and Ruth Davey. Echo Chamber was presented and the the Friends Meeting House London August 2016 and at the Stroud Book Festival.
Workshops about the philosophy and practice of sustainable mushroom cultivation. Part of Shift Bristol’s Practical Sustainability and Urban Permaculture course. 2016 ongoing
Co-produced pilot project developed with Artlift and the Cultural Commissioning Programme and men with chronic pain. The project set up an open-ended workshop for men who where referred from the Gloucestershire NHS Chronic Pain Service. Here participants could explore creativity in art, craft, cookery or any other activity that they where interested in. Participants could learn new skills or share existing skills, or just chat in a supportive environment with others who understand the issues of living with chronic pain.
Workshops for primary schools delivered as part of the Stroud Festival of Nature.
Gloucestershire’s first urban mushroom micro farm opened in March 2015.
Fungusloci mushroom farm has been diverting tons of commercial waste from landfill, using the coffee grounds from local cafes as the growing medium for producing highly prized nutritious oyster mushrooms. Over a 100kg of coffee grounds has been collected each week and turned into up to 20kg of mushrooms.
These healthy and delicious mushrooms are sold via local food retailers (including the Farmer’s Market and StroudCo) and to local cafes and restaurants who are all keen to add locally grown gourmet mushrooms to their menus and produce lists.
At the heart of this town centre enterprise is a sustainable system of production and distribution that’s has very low environmental impact. Not only is material diverted from the commercial waste stream, very little energy or water, and no chemicals are used in the production process. Raw materials (coffee) are collected, and local sales are delivered, on foot -ie zero food miles! Not only is a healthy food produced from what once was waste, but at the end of the growing process the coffee grounds become a top quality compost, that can go back into the ground and help produce other local foodstuffs.
Working with Creative Sustainability CIC to deliver workshops as part of Greening Days in secondary and primary schools 2013 -16. Dominic has led workshops in low-tech cooking and rocket stove design, low-tech sustainable design and willow dome construction.
Greening Days offer a carousel of activities based on issues around sustainability and principles of Education for Sustainable Development over a whole school day, provided by specialist local social enterprises, experts and organisations.
Students learn practical skills and increase related confidences and develop knowledge and understanding of the issues around sustainability. A great first step and introduction towards developing sustainability for campus, curriculum and community, including energy measures, education policy and community engagement.
A series of hands on DIY workshops, demonstrations and talks lead by some of Strouds most cultured producers that explore the skills and techniques needed to work with wild and cultivated yeasts, fungi, bacteria and microbes in the home. The BioDomestic workshops were part of the Museum of Contemporary Cultures event at Fungusloci micro-farm.
Workshops included: Fungi and Microbes in the Garden – soil, compost, compost tea making, fungi and mushrooms in the garden. With Adam Ormes Court of SoilHack Lesley Green of Bisley Community Composting Scheme. Make your own Tempeh, with Imogen Shaw and Kefir production with Rupert Howe
Fungusloci, Strouds one and only urban mushroom farm, celebrated its first anniversary by hosting an exhibition and events programme that explored the art of inter-species collaboration: humans and microbiology working together in the production of food, drink and other artifacts.
The temporary museum included a wide range of produce from the world of brewing, fermentation and culturing. It contained well-known culinary items such as breads, beers, wine, vinegar, cheese, yoghurt and chocolate as well as less familiar cultured produce from around the world like Tempeh, kefir, kombucha tea, kimchee, and some home furnishings.
The BioDomestic Workshops was a series of hands on DIY workshops, demonstrations and talks lead by some of Strouds most cultured producers that explored the skills and techniques needed to work with wild and cultivated yeasts, fungi, bacteria and microbes in the home.
Initiated and leads series of camps for disabled & non-disabled young people. 2011 – ongoing
Series of articles and photography produced for Adhoc magazine of the Convent club, Woodchester.
In early January I visit the garden again and although it’s early afternoon the sun is already dipping below the hills behind the Covent. Ragged clouds are chased across a pale sky and there is a hint of snow in the air.
At first you might imagine there’s not much to see at this time of year. Except for a few hardy rocket plants, the kitchen garden’s raised beds are all but bare. And the skeletal branches of ash and sycamore are grey and leafless.
But despite the dormant nature of this season there is plenty of greenery in the Covent gardens. This is due to the many evergreens planted throughout the grounds. Venerable specimens of yew, box and bay lend both colour and volume to the winter scene.
Here the box – more usually encountered as a well-behaved hedge – is tree like at over twenty feet high. A Sweet Bay is an even more impressive size, its glossy aromatic leaves and pale flower buds stretching out a good thirty five feet wide and high.
There are a number yew trees throughout the grounds, all of a good age. A British native, preferring alkaline limestone soils, yew is a common sight in wild Cotswolds woodland. Planted yew trees are often associated with religious sites, churchyards in particular – such as the 99 yew trees at St. Mary’s, Painswick. So it’s no surprise that yews were planted around the Convent.
There have been many theories about the relationship between the Yew the Christian church. Some say that they were planted in newly consecrated churches as a kind of green advertising billboard, or that they offered shelter to the early Christian missionaries before the Churches were built. A more likely explanation relates to the fact the yews were considered sacred trees throughout pre-Christian Europe. Churches were often built on Pagan sites and the trees subsequently co-opted into the new faith.
Another theory relates to the fact that the deep red resilient yew wood was the material of choice for longbows. Enclosed churchyards where one of the few places where it could be grown for this purpose without fear of its toxic leaves being eaten by roaming livestock.
As I’m leaving the garden I spot, in amongst what appear to be a collection of dwarf cypresses – a juniper bush, its spiky arms waving drunkenly skyward. Juniper is another British native of chalk and limestone and it can be found on the commons around Stroud. It’s also another plant with a magical and pagan heritage. The ancient Egyptians used juniper oil to ease ones passage into the afterlife and in medieval times the boughs were burned to ward off evil.
The dark blue-purple berries of juniper take two years to ripen and one or two could still be seen amongst the pale green of young flower buds. Crushing a berry between my fingers and inhaling it spicy scent, the position of this specimen, just beyond the windows of the Convent bar seemed particularly appropriate – the berries of the juniper being one of the key ingredients of good old English gin.