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Issue 55: May 2023

Deepening with the Earth



Dear friend,

May brings us astonishing beauty and growth in Nature, contrasting with the growing uncertainties of the human world. Deepening our roots with the Earth, understanding food supplies and growing more of our own, can help us stay steady, and this issue offers ways to do this.

You'll also find an update on my Natural Happiness book, and an invitation to work with me as a Natural Happiness Advocate.

Enjoy your Spring!

With blessings,


Feature blog: Deepening with the Earth

Aiding our wellbeing through Nature contact has become a truism, but as life keeps getting more uncertain and demanding, we truly need to deepen with the Earth, for both emotional and physical health. That's what this blog explores. Read more.

Britain's fragile food security: insights from Tim Lang

Tim is a Professor of Food Policy at City University London, and one of the most clear-thinking analysts of Britain's tangled food systems. His 2020 book, Feeding Britain, is a great overview, but a heavy read at 567 pages. Here's a blog about the book, written for Bridport Food Matters by Caroline Walker.

Project profile: Bridport Food Matters
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Alan writes:

Every month brings fresh news of crop failures, food shortages, and price rises. It's clear that the UK Government's strategy of 'leave it to the markets' is failing: so what can local communities do to grow their own food security? I started the Bridport Food Matters project to explore this, and this blog shares what has worked, and what hasn't, hoping that others can learn from our experience. Read more here.

Regenerative Agriculture

As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we need to find new ways of farming that are more sustainable and regenerative. That’s where regenerative agriculture comes in – a way of farming that focuses on improving the health of the soil, increasing biodiversity, and creating a more resilient and sustainable food system. Read more.

Food security: more perspectives

In his Deep Adaptation approach to climate change, Jem Bendell has consistently highlighted food shortages as a major driver of the societal disruption he foresees in the next few years. Now for the first time he has issued a well-researched, detailed 24-page report on the food security outlook. To download it, click here

And if you're wondering where the UK Government is in all this, here is a clue: the official scrutineer of Government actions on the environment is The Office for Environmental Protection. They reviewed twenty-three measures where the Government had committed to take action, and reported demonstrable progress on none. You could try writing to your MP...

Become a Natural Happiness Advocate

To support the launch of his new book, Alan would like to train and work with a few Advocates: your main roles would be to deliver short workshops and talks on the Natural Happiness approach, in person or online, and outreach to find groups to work with. This is paid work, with training provided: see more details here.

Events update

Facilitated Workshops for Professionals

The Natural Happiness model is highly relevant for professionals of many kinds, including managers, coaches, hospital doctors, and consultants. Alan can deliver sessions from half a day to 2 days, tailored to your needs. Read more.

The Sufi Garden

The Sufi Garden is a monthly online meditation/singing group co-led by Alan Heeks and Karim Hadden. The sessions offer meditation, chants, poetry, and simple movement practices known as Dances of Universal Peace, drawing on the Sufi, Buddhist, Christian and other traditions. No previous experience needed, open to all. Free of charge.

Next sessions: Wednesday June 7 and July 5, 7.30-9.00pm. To reserve a place or for more info, email [email protected].

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Natural Happiness Online:

Small groups and coaching

Alan Heeks writes: linked to the upcoming publication of my Natural Happiness book, I am offering two formats for online groups (or in person in Dorset):

Small groups: a mini-workshop of 1-2 hours, using Natural Happiness approaches, tailored to the group's wishes.

Coaching: one-to-one sessions of 1.5 hours, drawing on Natural Happiness processes.

All sessions will be experiential and highly participative. Timings and cost negotiable. If you're interested, contact Alan: [email protected].

Alan's new book update

The book cover has been agreed, and publication is due in March 2024. Read more.

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Book blog: At Work in the Ruins

Dougald Hine

This is a very helpful, illuminating book, though not in the ways I hoped. The idea of ‘solutions’ to the climate crisis is long gone for me, but I am thirsty for guidance on practical adaptation in local communities. Dougald’s book only hints at this, but it has excellent insights on how habitual assumptions and ways of seeing limit us.

At Work in the Ruins is very perceptive about the overly dominant voice of science in the climate crisis, and how the pandemic has reinforced this. The whole book is peppered with wise quotes, like this one from Paul Kingsnorth: “Science is an ideology posing as a method.” He usefully chronicles the climate movements which emerged in 2018 (Greta, XR, Deep Adaptation), and sees them compounding the dominant voice of science by pinning their campaigns around it. Read more.

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