Eating as a Sacred Act: Living in Harmony with our Food System

Nessie Reid & Petersham Nurseries

42ACRES, 66 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4LW | TUESDAY 26 JUNE, 7.30pm

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Join us for our fifth evening celebration of the Wild within and without as we explore Eating as A Sacred Act, and how the principles of Spiritual Ecology can bring us into harmony with our Food System. After the talk and Q&A by Nessie Reid we will sit together to share a delicious vegan banquet prepared by Michelin star Petersham Nurseries. All hosted in the magical space of 42ACRES in Shoreditch.

In a time of ecological unravelling and conflict, spiritual values have the potential to provide the foundation from which to respond, rebuild and reconcile our relationship with the earth, our common home. Spiritual Ecology is an emerging field that joins ecology and environmentalism with a deeper awareness of the spirit, sacredness or divinity within all creation.

In this talk, Nessie Reid will be sharing how we can apply the five core values of spiritual ecology: interconnectedness, reverence for nature, compassion, service and stewardship - to the ways in which we produce and consume the food we eat. Nessie will also be bringing her insights from creating The Milking Parlour: a performance based public exhibition which explored the values we hold towards our food and farming systems in which Nessie lived with two pure-bred Guernsey cows in Bristol City Centre for 5 days and 4 nights. She constructed a temporary milking parlour which was free and open to all throughout the 5 days and held daily discussions between farmers vegans, philosophers, academics and who else wanted to join! 



1915 Doors Open

1930 Talk by Nessie Reid: Eating as a Sacred Act: How the Principles of Spiritual Ecology Can Bring us into Harmony with our Food System

2030 Vegan Banquet by Petersham Nurseries

2200 End

What is Spiritual Ecology?

Spiritual Ecology is a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis. It is a developing field that joins ecology and environmentalism with the awareness of the sacred within creation. It calls for responses to environmental issues that include spiritual awareness and/or practice. The principles of spiritual ecology are simple: In order to resolve such environmental issues as depletion of species, global warming, and over-consumption, humanity must examine and reassess our underlying attitudes and beliefs about the earth, and our spiritual as well as physical responsibilities toward the planet. Thus, ecological renewal and sustainability necessarily depends upon spiritual awareness and an attitude of responsibility.

Central to Spiritual Ecology is an understanding of the interdependence and living unity of the ecosystem. Real sustainability refers to the sustainability of the whole ecosystem rather than our energy-intensive, consumer-driven culture. This will require a re-evaluation of the central aspects of our materialistic culture as we move towards a way of life that is in harmony with the earth as a living whole, a culture that cares for the soul as well as the soil. Spiritual Ecology is not based upon any single religion or spiritual path, rather the primary recognition of the sacred nature of all of creation.

Wendell Berry is one of the forefathers of Spiritual Ecology. He is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, a prolific author and very importantly, a farmer also! This is Berry speaking on some elements of farming and spirituality. -

Suggested film to watch: Cry of the Earth short film (approx. 3 mins) -

Suggested film to watch: Overview film - (approx. 19 minutes) -

Cry of the Earth short film (approx. 3 mins)


Overview short film (approx. 19 minutes)

Nessie Reid


Nessie Reid is a Spiritual Ecologist, yoga teacher, part-time farmer and a Performance Artist with a research focus on agroecology, food sovereignty, health and food values within both the UK and abroad.

She has worked in Indonesia, India, Japan and Europe on local and indigenous communities’ rights to land and food growing, as well as the preservation of traditional artistic and cultural practices. Her interest in the link between agriculture, ecocide and climate change emerged during field research in West Kalimantan where she witnessed the catastrophic ecological damage caused by large scale intensive agriculture – principally palm oil – and the displacement of local and indigenous communities as a result.

She is creator of The Milking Parlour: an ongoing artistic discourse and series of interactive events and workshops exploring our human, spiritual relationship to food and agriculture and its impact on biodiversity and climate change. She believes farming can be a sacred act, if done properly and with respect, and continues to advocate for this. Her work uses the principles of spiritual ecology - interconnectedness, reverence for nature, compassion, service and stewardship - to re-wild our relationship to the food we eat, the land it is grown in and the natural world.

Nessie is manager of the Oxford Real Farming Conference: one of the main organic and agroecological farming conferences in the UK and is a research fellow at St. Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.

Some background about the Spiritual Ecology fellowship that Nessie part of can be found here:

Petersham Nurseries


Head chef, Damian Clisby, previously head chef at HIX Soho and Cotswold House works alongside Lucy Boyd, gardener, food writer and cook, who has worked at the Nurseries for most of the last decade. Lucy's exceptional produce knowledge, culinary background and lifelong affection for Italian flavours, combine perfectly with Damian's technical skills and shared passion for ingredient-led cooking. Together they create an evolving menu inspired by what is growing in the garden, the changing seasons, and our connection to the environment.

Petersham’s sourcing ethos revolves around respect of the produce they work with, appreciating its exceptional quality and taste. In turn the small farmers and artisan producers who grow or produce these ingredients benefit from their support – a virtuous circle best espoused by the international Slow Food movement.

42ACRES, Shoreditch


42ACRES, Shoreditch is a pioneering retreat and conscious co-working space intentionally designed for individuals and organisations to realise, nurture and grow their true purpose. A total reimagining of how we all live, work and play, it’s a welcoming sanctuary for open-minded city dwellers who want to reconnect to the world feeling re-energised, more confident, and purposeful.