raw: february 2017

feb17

I thought I might start doing a monthly sum up of five things I’ve loved each month. February has been an interesting one – a month of a lot of change but there’s also been so many exciting things going on. I’ve been devouring books, articles, videos, documentaries – anything I can get my hands on. It’s also the beginning of the season where so many events are on, and I’ve already been to a few. 2017 is going to be a tough one but there’s so much to look forward to. Here’s February 2017 – raw.

1.

The book Just Food by James E. McWilliams. It was a book that kept coming up around discussions of organic food, vegetarianism/veganism and sustainable food systems so I took the plunge and bought this book for my Kindle. Although I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the arguments presented, but it’s a great, well-researched book that criticises using a simplistic view of food systems and ‘fixing them’. There’s a particularly interesting look into using low-input hydroponic systems and how fish will be the protein of the future. For anyone that often gets into lengthy debates about food systems, this is a good one to have under your belt. If you have a Kindle and want to borrow it, let me know!

2. 

This article about how women have empowered themselves by forming a network of women to take their food back under their own control and create their own type of democracy. I’d recommend the short read from Yes Magazine.

At root, the problem is one of concentrations of social power so extreme that, from far-flung fields to the global supermarket, people are deprived not only of food, but of dignity and confidence in their own proven capacities.

Farming?

I see now that it happens when we break free of imposed disconnection, find our courage, and combine our creativity. Then democracy is no longer something done “to us” or “for us.” It is our way of life.

3. 

Rob Greenfield. This guy is such an inspiration – absolute radical and extremist, but total badass. He cycles across America, lives off-grid, dumpster dives, only uses water that would go to waste, tries to live off less than $5000 a year (or with nothing), cuts up his driver’s license and has no insurance, had a vasectomy at 25, challenges himself to buy nothing new, and is an incredible environmental activist. Follow him on Facebook for constant inspiration, and to watch someone go to the extremes so you don’t have to. I’ve also read his book but I think his Facebook and website are better resources. What he does is by no means achievable for most people, but his actions are definitely an encouragement to think outside the boxes of what society tells us we should do, and start making small changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle. You can watch his TEDtalk below.

4. 

The Instagram account Mundane Matters. Graphic designer Danling Xiao uses food sculptures as personal meditation but also to inspire others to live sustainably, celebrating the beauty of oddball produce and fighting against food waste. There’s some pretty incredible sculptures in there (I’ll leave you to scroll) and I love that she champions native Australian foods as well! You can read this article about her here.

A garden gnome, sitting under a tree, hugging a cat. 🌺 /// When I picked up a bunch of unbelievably wonky-looking organic carrots from George at the Saturday farmers’ market, George asked me if I was going to make something with them. I looked at the ‘crossed legs’ on the weight, laughed embarrasly and said I may. /// George and his business partner call these ugly creatures ‘juicy carrots’ and possibly mark down the price. They usually chop them into smaller pieces so that there was no longer arms and legs, noses and sometimes penies. 😳 /// It must have helped to sell them better. But whenever there is a box of uncut ‘juicy carrots’ with dancing arms and legs, we often have a good laugh to start a Saturday morning. 😂 #mundanematters #sustainablefarming #uglyfruitandveg

A post shared by Mundane Matters (@mundane_matters) on

5.

Rebecca Sullivan and the Granny Skills Movement. Last week, I attended an event as part of my council’s Smarter Living Program and heard from this super inspiring woman. During her presentation, Rebecca told us about her regret about not learning more from her great-grandmother before she died. She’s harnessed her feelings to ensure no one else suffers the same, creating a ‘Granny Skills Movement’ to encourage the passing down of skills from one generation to the next – whether that be with cooking, knitting, crocheting, stories or just warranting the adjective ‘thrifty’. She shared her vision for Granny and Grandpa skills programs linking school children with retirement villages or nursing homes. I’m not one to get that emotional but it was beyond touching to hear the impact this pilot program had on both the children but (more importantly) also the ‘elders’.

She is also one half of the brains behind Warndu, a company using native Australian foods, traditions, skills and stories of indigenous Australians to produce both beauty and food products to share with and sell to the general public. The knowledge of Aboriginal elders is also disappearing, and Rebecca and her partner Damien are working to save it.

It’s devastating to think already how much knowledge we’ve lost and are continuing to lose. And our fast paced lifestyles aren’t doing us any favours in this regard. So get behind these guys – with the Granny Skills Movement itself, going to one of Rebecca’s classes, purchasing from Warndu, or simply ask someone to teach you something.

Power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it.

 

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