As naturalist John Muir reflected in 1911, we believe that “when we try to pick up anything by itself in nature, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”.
Following this holistic view, OmVed Gardens was born in 2017 to rewild a piece of land and with it, our ways to relate to it, to food and to our human and non-human kin.
Om is a sacred sound considered by many ancient philosophical texts to be the sound of the universe, and Ved means knowledge. Our name is therefore an expression of our desire to listen and pay more attention to the sound of the universe, balance old and new wisdom and share knowledge.
We approach this mission by focussing on Ecology through Food and Creativity, elements that are key to human and planet wellbeing.
In the current context of climate emergency, restoring nature is crucial, especially in urban settings. A survey undertaken whilst the site was still a tarmacked hillside, found nothing of ecological value to record, so our immediate task was to create a habitat and invite in nature.
Since then, Omved Gardens has been transformed by landscape architect Paul Gazerwitz into a lush meandering journey that encourages us to pause, observe and reconsider our relationship with the environment. We welcome you to wander through the wild and native plants of our flower meadow, smell the scents of lavender, rosemary and sage, relax under the embracing fronds of our willow tree, explore what’s growing in our organic kitchen garden or in the warmth of the dome, and find a comforting space to unwind and contemplate by the pond, listening to the buzzing bees that come to bath on its fresh waters.
Alongside our efforts to restore natural habitats, we collaborate with communities of artists, chefs, scientists and musicians to rethink how we relate to the environment in more mindful and creative ways. We currently have three key strategic partnerships: we regularly co-host events and initiatives with the UN World Food Programme - awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 - and The Chefs’ Manifesto, and we publish the quarterly magazine Where The Leaves Fall. We have also self-initiated a number of projects to activate communities around growing, seed saving, composting, preserving and creating with nature. As our project is in continuous evolution, new partnerships and initiatives will soon follow.
In his poem “The Garden”, Andrew Marvell, who lived in Highgate, paid homage to the fair quiet he found in it, and how stumbling upon ripe apples and vines and smelling the scent of the flowers, he fell on the grass and his mind found happiness. We hope you can find quiet and joy at OmVed too, and our activities bring you closer to the elemental things in life.
To regenerate our relationship with the land, with food and with our human and non-human kin and to share what we are learning on the process, encouraging everyone to join our journey in different ways.
To increase biodiversity at all levels (food, seed, species, participation) and to use the garden, or the act of growing or tending the wild to advance towards the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We are a growing team of people passionate about ecological transformation, contributing to OmVed alongside other work. Here is a bit about our role at OmVed and how nature influences the work we do: