Friday, April 26, 2013

Daniele Mazet Delpeuch

I have just listened to an interview with this wonderful woman. Down to earth and hailing from her ancestors’ country home in the Perigord she still cooks on an open fire one day, with her grandmother's pots and pans, and in top kitchens the next. Always her food reflects the seasons, the markets and her love for excellent ingredients, cooked simply.

She spent 2 years cooking for the French President and another year cooking for scientists in Antarctica. She uses cooking as an avenue to adventure. There is now a movie about her, called Haute Cuisine. I can’t wait to see it but it could not be better than this interview with the real woman.

Do listen here; its a real treat. Thanks Theresa for the link.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Seeds - Seeds Blong Yu,mi

I can watch this hour long video over and over. It gives me such joy to see the joy it gives others, from near and far and even further, to be in charge of their seeds, the seeds of life and culture.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sharon and Scott’s Garden

Our April SeedSaveUs get together was like being in a dream, where the setting and the food gardens combined to produce a paradise that a dozen or so avid gardeners drooled over and investigated, right down to the last worm.

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It seems to me that this fruit and veg garden is powered not only by enthusiasm and knowledge but by alpaca poo too. How convenient that alpacas poo in neat piles so collecting it in a wheelbarrow, to make a new compost heap, is a breeze.

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Sharon dyed some of the alpaca wool, using totally natural dyes made from  various native plants, after it had been spun and turned into skeins. These are for sale, so if you’d like her to send you some, leave a comment below and I will put you in touch.

 

Scott runs the compost zone and makes enough rich compost to feed the 800 sq. m. garden, plus he uses Steve Solomon’s recipe to make a COF mixture (complete, organic fertiliser) and the system is obviously working.

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Sharon’s favourite tomato from the Botanic Gardens selection was Aunt Gertie’s Gold, an enormous and very flavoursome tomato which is still producing its bountiful crop.

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As usual the table was laden with goodies brought and shared by the members, including magnificent cakes, a delicious garden veg frittata, fresh sourdough bread and olives, South African rusk (a kind of spiced biscuit, with a texture a bit like violet crumble), apples freshly juiced that morning, a beautiful quiche and more…..

We shared seeds, plants and produce, all of which I forgot to photograph in my excitement to look through them all and hear the stories about them!

A family new to Tasmania joined us today and I look forward to getting to know them better and helping them get started on their adventures in food growing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The day when chips aint chips

Peak oil means more expensive food for those who can least afford it. The family farms of rural India, Africa, South America and even Tasmania are being taken over by multinational agri-businesses, in the name of providing food for the world. However, the International Year of the Family Farm 2014 has ideas on how to retain food production in every local community, doing away with expensive methods of agriculture and the cancer of food miles.

Imagine a food system which exposes energy usage at every stage of production, taxing or raising costs depending on energy used to produce the food.

So, growing your own food, lets say potatoes, in your own community, using local resources, would become the cheapest food. In your own home and local take-aways and restaurants this potato may be turned into chips for very little extra cost.

Processed, packaged food would incur extra costs for every potato grown in oil and chemical laden agricultural systems, every food mile travelled from producer of the raw potato to processing factory, every energy unit used to process the potato into, for example, a bag of frozen chips, including the production of the plastic bag and its own transport and energy costs and every energy unit used to then transport, store and display it in the supermarket.

Suddenly the true cost of chips is revealed.

I can imagine a system in Australia which stamps every item with an energy rating, such as that currently used for washing machines, fridges and cars etc. Affluent Australian supermarket shoppers often want to do something positive for the earth and the farmers but do not have the information or are not prepared to put in the time to explore all the issues. This energy rating system would be a clear and uniform way to compare foods.

The insidious creep of huge, energy-guzzling agri-business into the farthest corners of the globe’s farming areas is tearing the earth and communities apart and removing the ability of people to provide good, clean, traditional foods for themselves.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rajlakshmi Organic Cotton

Conventional cotton cultivation uses almost 60% of all toxic chemicals produced in India.

When a whole village of farmers turns organic the benefits help everyone. It started with cotton and then food. Then the movement spread to 132 villages and 5,000 farmers!! 

To support these people you can buy organic cotton goods from New Internationalist. On the website you can read about all the stages of production and manufacture of all the clothes, linen and other cotton products sold by New Internationalist.

Farmers picking cotton from the fields. Photo: Special Arrangement

Rajlakshmi - India  (Click to enlarge then move cursor to right of image to see if there are more images.)

………“The transformation towards organic started sometime during 2007 when initially 39 farmers took to the sustainable practice. It took two more years for all the farmers to shift to organic. In 2001 American bollworm infestation was very high and even 15 sprays of toxic chemical pesticides wouldn’t help.

“Today, this village does not worry about pests on cotton. They use their simple, naturally made bio-pesticides to control any pest problems,” says Mr. Ananthoo, co- convener of ASHA —Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture — and coordinator of Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu and an organisation called Restore in Chennai.

This was made possible by committed effort and intense dialogue with and amongst farmers by an organisation called Chetna organic. Based in Hyderabad, the organisation started a dialogue with the farmers and initiated the shift towards organic cultivation. Chetna Organic works with farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.

In Odisha alone, the company functions in five districts, having five co-operatives, operating in 132 villages, impacting more than 5,000 farmers who in turn are organized into 411 SHGs (self help groups).

While initially the focus was on cotton, today, all crops are cultivated only through organic methods….

Chetna Organic brought in much more than just sustainable agriculture. While mixed cropping, integrated approach, crop rotation, sustainable and biological practices and self-consumption-first were the focus, they also brought in very valuable principles like natural resources management, food and nutrition security, seed sovereignty, child welfare & education. Thus the whole idea of improving livelihoods with sustainable agriculture was approached in a holistic fashion,” says Mr. Ananthoo.