Burdock & Burnout

Scrap Kitchen 10

The tenth Scrap Kitchen is here and mid-April is upon us. As if all at once. Over a quarter of 2021 under our belts, over a year of a pandemic. I’m not going to ask anyone what they have achieved. The fact that you’ve made it this far is achievement enough.

What I will ask everyone is how they have personally shown up for the Black community over the past few weeks, months, years? How have you educated yourselves and others on the systemic racism ingrained in our society? Where are you spending your time, energy and money? What does abolition look like for you? What would you do to achieve it? What support have you provided, benefited from, transformed? These are not empty questions. If you want to talk more about them hmu in the comments. If you don’t understand how land access, food security and racism entwine check out Land in our Names, this report from the Land Stewardship Project, or these resources from Soul Fire Farm.

This weeks Tarot card, and newsletter title for that matter, may not seem to fit with the above statements and questions. But they complement each other more than expected. The Four of Cups symbolises contemplation, possible apathy and pausing to realign. To me, this card speaks of someone checking their privileged, of taking a moment to see what they are offered and really questioning if this is how they want to continue. It also smacks of despondency, at the way things are done, the taking on of more than you can alone. It’s a complex card and whenever it appears it seems to be time to re-evaluate. Ask yourself: What can you say no to? What does being content look like to you? How has this changed? What opportunities are you missing? How can you re-light your fire (lol)? How do you reach out?

The phrase “self-care” comes to mind with this card, checking in with what feels right and taking a moment. But self-care centres the individual, it puts the onus on fixing your problems only on one single person. Community care is often what is needed where self-care is prescribed. No amount of bubble baths, tech-detoxes, drinking water, going to bed early, gratitude journals or whatever product is supposed to support mindfulness will help you survive late-stage capitalism. In most ways, the numerous “buy this for self-care” posts/blogs/adverts are just enforcing the capitalist system. Community care, be it direct action, mutual aid, support networks, land reclamation and strengthening non-financial bonds, all of it, is vital in carrying people through this crisis (and those to come).

Don’t get me wrong, burnout is real. As someone still dealing with the effects of long-covid, rest is a requirement. Even without a pandemic and its after-effects, it’s a requirement. According to the Nap Ministry, rest is a form of resistance. Reminding myself to actually slow down, to properly recuperate is not easy but it is essential. But within this, there are also chances to ask where I am spending my energy the rest of the time. As Britain opens back up, emerging from its third Lockdown (way too early), I have had several friend talk of the good exhaustion the comes with socialising in person again after so long. The chance to spend time with people, to be in their physical presence, seems to have boosted moods at least. What we need to remember when the exhaustion sets in is that we are all still healing. We can’t fully recover while in the midst of a traumatic event. Re-establishing friendships, boundaries and patterns take time. Making sure we put our energy into the things that truly matter. What I’m saying is to do as little of your 9-5 as possible, conserve your energy, seize the means and redistribute.

Burdock is coming into season. My aunt actually sent me some of the seeds but I sadly left them on a different continent. Its roots can be harvested in the spring or autumn, as a bi-annual it produces flowers and seeds in its second year. I would suggest only digging it up if there seems to be an abundance, but thankfully it is a weed in most places so this shouldn’t be a problem. The roots are carrot-shaped, and parsnip/nut flavoured. They can be made into all manner of things, roasted, candied, stir-fried, tinctured, and at certain times the stems to are edible.

As for seasonal eating, spinach is coming into its own. So consider growing your own in a window box (for later in the year). With its general abundance and ease of access, we forget that even plants like spinach have seasons. While it is incredibly cold hardy, and ideal for early spring plantings, I have recently been informed it is somewhat of a bitch to harvest. Consider growing other greens such as chard or beets that can be cut and will grow back as a less intensive alternative. Spinach recipes abound, I have my eyes on these pretzels, these wilted spinach saving potato balls, vegan saag paneer and these badass savoury muffins. I’m sure you’re sick of me saying citrus are in season but I’ll just leave this candied chocolate orange peel recipe here.

This week’s podcast is about embodying abolition, a fascinating discussion between Venus Roots and adrienne maree brown (author of Pleasure Activism).

Anyways this turned out longer than expected, so I’ll be signing off for some #recouperation. Before I go, I would love it if you would leave a comment, like or tirade. Let me know how best you balance community and self-care, how you use burdock or just straight up tell me to stop talking about citrus.

Until next week, stay scrappy.

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Image Credit: Lucas Ludwig, Kasturi Laxmi Mohit, Ellie Burgin,

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If you missed last weeks’ update, Read it here.