THE POTIMARRON PROJECT - "FRUITS FROM THE HEART"
ABOUT THE POTIMARRON PROJECT
Please let me introduce to you our friend The Potimarron. The name comes from French ‘Potiron’ (Pumpkin) and Marron’ (Chestnut). It tastes of carrots, chestnut, pumpkin all in one delicious fruit veggie. Potimarron, A FRUIT VEGGIE OF THE HEART, BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT, has been like a mascot for the Rainbow Tai-Chi energy for the past 25 years since it began in France in 1984. We practised Tai-Chi Chi Kung and meditation around the Potimarron plants.
Some countries like Japan use the potimarron medicinally. Our long-held vision of it is GROW IT AND SHARE IT around. It can be kept for 6-9 months!! SOUP KITCHENS in your nearest city and AROUND THE WORLD AWAITS YOU, especially when catastrophes create millions of homeless and hungry people, we can grow and store these fruit veggies and send them on.
In December 2008, the United Nations reported that today, there are more than 1 BILLION PEOPLE ARE STARVING IN THE WORLD, what can you do to help?
NOW is the time to sow them.
MASTER CHOY championed the Potimarron – or onion squash – 40 years ago, not only by growing so many in his own gardens every day, but by distributing seeds to all those who want them – for free!
To date, thousands of seeds have been sent worldwide, even as far as South Africa. He has also distributed many fruits to the soup kitchens in nearby towns and cities. And now he has brought them to Spain to feed you!
Ocober 2019, two days before the Malaga floods, Master Choy and his wife Christine came to live at El Chopo – Cortes de la Frontera with a deep rooted vision to reopen their former UK-based Happilization Centre.
With a group of 10 students from all over the world they are exploring a new approach on agriculture through Tai Chi Chi Kung practice and healing.
But before they could even start preparing the gardens, the river came and flooded their property – secretly nurturing their ground and clearing the old away! A blessing in disguise.
Once the damage was cleared, a new heart-felt relationship with the local people and international community from Cortes de la Frontera and Cañada had been built, after having exchanged so much support to each other.
"I HAVE COME TO BUILD A HAPPY HOME JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE." Master Choy
"Some people may query what is my motivation, behind this project. When I read and heard about how many large corporations were dumping wheat and other food into the sea to keep the prices of food up, I was horrified. On one side of the continent, millions of people went to bed suffering from malnutrition and hunger and on another side, they were dumping food.
I even approached farmers and the supermarkets to donate food for the soup kitchens and offered to be a liaison with Charitable Organisations like the Salvation Army and Churches offering soup kitchens, so far the farmers and supermarkets I have contacted have refused.
I also discovered that research shows that on average, supermarkets have a minimum of 5% waste in their fresh produce every single day. I am hopeful that one day some farmers and supermarket managers will make that step. I admit my stubbornness started when I was young.
When I was a teenager helping my father manage a Chinese restaurant, I refused to give good food at the end of the day to pigs and so, I went nearly every night to go and find beggars in the city to feed them with the remaining food of the kitchen. When my mother offered to have a big birthday party for me on my 12th birthday, I said I would consent only if beggars too would be invited. Today, I am realising one of my childhood ambitions, which is to help people who are starving with the Potimarron project.
Master Choy's circular gardens, with over 200 potimarrons growing, have already attracted many curious noses, wondering what these big bright orange fruits are.
“The Potimarron is a mix between a poti (pumpkin) and a marron (chestnut). And to us it is like a mascot, a solution to world hunger and a message from our hearts. At the centre we are not only growing this amazing vegetable that can feed a family with 3-4 children, and can be kept for 12 months. But what if these families also learn to grow them themselves? How many can they grow! The saying is, if you want to feed someone, don’t give them fish, teach them how to fish! But the person needs the fish while he is learning to fish. Hence we distribute Potimarrons and their seeds wherever we can!
The Potimarron project aims to feed hungry and homeless people not just locally but all over the world through the distribution of seeds of this vegetable, so that people can grow their own food. It has an educational function too in connection to the principles of Tai Chi which can be understood through growing the potimarron!”
The Potimarron message is not just saying ‘Hey here is some beautiful nourishing food!’ but also encouraging people to grow and share their creative fruits!
With every fruit Master Choy and his Tai Chi students tune in to see that this fruit/vegetable is going to go to somebody, someone who is going to be attracted to this particular Potimarron because of the design on it which connects maybe to love, to joy or any other quality. This morning he did one called “Ola” for example.
To him, as an artist, who is not only an artist but an educator, a vegetable looking back at you saying “I love you”, sort of throws people… “What?! How can you love me, I am the one that is hungry, that is eating you, I am the one who wants to cut you up, make soup out of you.”
Just for a split second, a split moment, that somebody takes a pause, to change his or her thinking, ‘wow there is this beautiful, radiant being shining back at me’.
Even if it is just one split second, he is happy, that’s the Potimarron Message. And than they can go and cut it up!
HOW TO GROW POTIMARRONS
Potimarron loves rich composted soil
Sow them indoors in early Spring in a tray about an inch deep, water them with love.
Put a cling film over them and put them on top of your cupboard and check on them in three to four days to a week.
And within a week to two weeks (depending on the temperature of your room, transplant them into little pots. Keep the seeds covered about an inch below rich potting compost soil.
After a few weeks, when you see a few leaves shooting up, let them grow to be about 4 leaves.
Then, transplant them into nitrogen rich composted soil. Check on them every day during the first 3 weeks to ensure the slugs are kept away.
Then, you can either let them run around in the garden on the ground or you can string them up. They love to bask in the sun. Some fruits on the ground can be pushed up to meet more sunshine by placing the fruit gently on a flat stone.
Beautiful giant yellow flowers in July and ripens in August and September. When they are small they are yellow and at this stage, it is also possible to make some dotted drawings on the fruit with a nail and the designs grow.
As the fruits ripened, they are orange reddish. The fruits need to be cut carefully at the stem leaving some of the stem to dry. This will help the fruits keep longer. Keep the fruits stored where there is minimum light, eg. On top of cupboards, keep turning the fruits every few days to keep the fruits dry and fresh.
If stored properly, it can keep from 6 months to a year. For cooking, use them with vegetarian recipes. The Rainbow Tai Chi School also have a Vegetarian Cookbook which has many potimarron recipes. Check the ONLINE BOOKS for sale in the website.
HOW CAN YOU JOIN?
Send us a message and we send you a package of seeds.
You yourself will get 60 – 65 seeds from a small potimarron. Share it with neighbours, friends, relatives and s0upkitchens. From one Potimarron, you can have 65 plants, and from these even more. That’s how the multiplication works, that’s the Tai Chi energy – distribution.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND US?
You can visit us at El Chopo in Cañada del Real Tesoro. For more information please contact:
by Aisling King
The potimarron project book has been written by Aisling King in 2019. A beautiful storyline about the inner and outer connections to growing people and growing potimarron.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO ORDER ONE?
Send us a message via below link. Price is 10,- per book excl. shipping costs.
Spanish Neighbours enjoying potimarron soup prepared by the team