Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Monday, July 28, 2008

Highlighting the food trip to the table

Last week, Belinda had a great piece about the truckies' - at that time - forthcoming protest. This post is a wake up call to the way we live and take for granted the food on our plates and the way that food is distributed to us. Below is the beginning of the protest in Brisbane (photo: Brisbane Times)

Meanwhile, over at the major distribution chain - that you might have thought was merely a retailer - called Woolworths they don't appear to be all that bothered. But then one would expect a major corporation to have scenario planning for such events.

As for the protest, it will be interesting to see how long it lasts and what it will achieve. It is a cut-throat world out there in owner-driver land - and my guess is that for every driver that stops to protest there will be two more movin' on and out down the road.

But, as Belinda reminds us, it is well to think how we could live in another way. Human beings have decided to make our food system what it is to-day. Human beings could decide to do it differently and give ourselves a whole different quality of life - and do away with the resource wars of death and destruction fighting for oil and gas (for these read Iraq and Afghanistan).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

In the Winter Garden

I want to take you for a wander through my Winter Garden.
It is a garden of small patches; nooks and crannies;
odd spots and plants in pots.
I am amazed because I haven't gardened in winter before.
I usually hide indoors.
But there are bits and pieces that have survived,
there have been things to be tended,
and there are things that keep on keeping on.
This is the rosemary bush which is really a small tree.
It is blooming profusely and somewhere in there are bees
busy doing what bees do.

But just as there are plants in bloom,

there are others that are dormant.

The fruit trees have been pruned and
now the prunings have to be managed and disposed of.

In Melbourne, we get our rain in winter.

And we have been getting plenty.

The last week however has been like spring - and it's July! The Broad Beans are growing so they are now much higher than in this photo.

The curly parsley was planted last summer and just keeps on.

And this silver beet is huge and spectacular and quite an ornament -

so I haven't touched a leaf!

There are others though which I have used -

and fresh leaves keep coming.

The flat-leaved Italian parsley is branching and spreading.

And the lemons are productive -

and the possums have a taste and leave a half-eaten lemon on the tree

This is the golden marjoram - a relative of the oregano

which I have growing everywhere.

This one below is in a pot but rooted into the ground

right near this lot of garlic

The capsicums of summer struggle

near the wild violets

And this sweet little sugar loaf cabbage is setting a heart

This beetroot is the only survivor planted in summer in a spot that was too shady.

Rocket regrowth.

What we didn't eat or give away was left to bolt and self-seed.

Now we have a winter crop of young greens.

The sage always looks sad in winter but survives. These plants are three seasons old and will come back beautifully.

Lemon balm in a barrow

The Lemon Thyme braves the winter elements (above)

while the common Thyme (below) is undercover.

And FootFoot eyes off the nasturtiums.

Almost no flowers but the leaves are the size of saucers.

So with all this, more seeds have been ordered

as The Trad Pad prepares for Spring.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Photo by Karen at Picasa Web Albums
I'm sorry but these nasturtiums are not mine. My nasturtiums are rampant at the moment but only have one or two flowers - because it is winter in the Land of Oz. I have to tell you though that my nasturtiums leaves are far, far larger than those in Karen's picture. Which, I think, ought to make them excellent ingredients for the Nasturtium Pesto featured on this post at The T-Cozy.

Friday, July 04, 2008

We are what we eat? And our food eats what...?

A new phrase for the vocabulary. CSA - community supported agriculture. Does anyone know of anyone doing this here? Here at The Trad Pad, we are familiar with Aussie Farmers Direct. And great as this is, it doesn't give a personal relationship with the person who produces the food. Do we think it matters if there is a personal relationship? But then if I don't know the farmer, how can I be sure of land practices, etc. And if land practices are an issue - and think salination of the soil in Australia, not to mention erosion and then the land 'development' where we place MacMansions and BogunVillas on prime agricultural land - and there is a personal relationship, a knowledgable and concerned consumer may be able to influence, may be able to exercise valuable decisionmaking at some point in the journey from land to plate. Land degradation can have a direct affect on food security - not only in this rich, developed country but in some of the poorest, underdeveloped nations on earth. Food security is an issue: a slow burn for us in Australia, a fast burn and possibly a big bang for those in poor countries. Figures just released by the FAO, show that there were 50 million more people hungry last year. Not 50 million - but 50 million more, in addition, plus what there was before. Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, has been facing - courtesy of the longest and most extreme drought in living memory - the water issue. The release of the Draft Report of the Garnaut Review on Climate Change now extends our focus to climate. Emissions trading is well and truly on the agenda - and one of the biggest questions is whether agriculture will be included. We have yet to consider how all this might affect our own food security and cause us to question whether we are self-sufficient and secure in our food production.