Saturday, 22 March 2014

Looking for Local and what it means to Me

In The Beginning:

Life threw a few curve balls at me and I made the choice to bring healing into and simplify my life, but what should that, could that mean?

Village life, coastal living, local people, environment, neighbours and self invested projects became a life's focus for me and I make daily effort to be in my moment and in my own choices.

Challenges abound! But that adds to the flavour of all things about living, Meeting the challenge, rising to it and doing my best is a recipe for success, not just to overcome, but to learn, grow, experience and move forward.

Challenge 1: Grow our own food

What a joy it is to have fresh home grown foods right here in our own garden. In 2 years we have changed a neglect blasted barren waste into a productive Eden. 43m2 has been unearthed from under building rubble, fibreglass and rusting hulks and raised up into vegetable beds of bounty. A food forest of similar dimensions has been established with perennial potential and permaculturesque leanings. A herb spiral and henge is verdant and giving as well as a small olive grove and an acid garden for those acid lovers like blueberries. We just this year fulfilled our dream of chickens and a duck and our plans include an aquaculture garden.

Challenge 2: Forage and utilise local wild offerings

Any coastal region will have it's own bounty of wild foods and our location is abundant. We have fished, foraged, scampered and snorkelled our way to amazing foods such as flathead, cockles, abalone, sea urchin and cod with promise and potential scope for blue swimmer crabs, crayfish, scallops, mussels, prawns, mud crabs and more varieties of fish.

We also have foraged for seaweed for the benefit of the garden for the riches of micro minerals and nutrients as well as shell grit for the poultry.

Our acid garden will benefit from pine needles and Autumn is mushroom time! I have also spied on common and vacant land blackberries, loquats and other edibles so our area is full of possibilities

Challenge 3: Spend what little money we have with local owner operated businesses with locally sourced produce

Yes this means asking the hard questions of our shop keepers, but I find the topic a very good one for creating happy relationships with providores. I know a few of the local suppliers and it makes me happy to have my money in their pocket. These salt of the Earth, real and genuine people know and love their produce and their live stock, they treat their life's work with respect and value what they put in as well as what they get out .... how can I not respect their efforts and products and support them? I choose to keep as much as possible local for all these reasons

Challenge 4: Reduce food miles

It's not just enough to grow it or get it from as close as possible, but to also scrutinise the extras that go into the market trolley. Getting the extras from Australian grown or manufactured so that the amount of travel for each component is seen. The cheapest product from a labour devalued country just simply costs too much for me to pay that price.

Challenge 5: Creative food from scratch

To me it's not enough to just cook food. I want to challenge my food to be gourmet offerings at my hands. Involve myself in the process of bringing flavours together to tantalise and amaze my audience of family and friends. I am not happy to just use tried and true food combinations but to mix up tradition with avante guarde and allow my harvests to come together as unique flavour filled feasts.

Being held to gastronomy that is only limited by my harvests and my imagination is it's own challenge and joy.

Challenge 6: Self invest in all I do

Back to basics does not mean limitations so to celebrate this we have taught ourselves and with the help of friends and the internet we have had successes in many self invested projects such as making cheese, soap, pasta, sausages, port, beer, yoghurt, icecream, curry pastes, chutneys, sauces and preserves and allow ourselves few limitations in our creativity.

Together we have built dry stone walls, raised garden beds, chicken layer boxes, chicken run, roosting shed and gates. We have rebuilt a trailer and I have learnt to drive. There is nothing we won't try to pursue our locavore dreams and our self sufficiency endeavours.

Challenge 7: Care for the environment

Our foraging and scampering, our every foray into the great outdoors to me carries with it an inherent duty as custodian of even my small portion of it. Looking after the beauty and cleanliness of the beaches and forest and the wilds is paramount in all we do. We take as little as we need, leave nothing but footprints and remove the detritus of mankind as we go so that even though we use and enjoy it .. it benefits from our passage. We tread as lightly as we can.

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