Support your community while saving on organic food at farmers markets

Farmers marketsWherever you live in Australia, you’re bound to be close to a farmers’ market. These are the vibrant community spaces where everyone from local producers to backyard amateurs get the chance to sell their (mostly) organic produce. There is usually entertainment, events for kids, great coffee, and of course many, many food stalls (depending on the size of the market). It’s an event that brings the community together. Just as importantly though, it’s a great place to save money on organic food. Continue reading “Support your community while saving on organic food at farmers markets”

Dig dandelions for a scrumptious roasted brew

Margaret Paton harvesting dandelions
Margaret Paton harvesting dandelions

The definition of a weed is an unwanted plant competing with other, more desired plants such as vegetables, flowers or grass. But what if you could turn it into something useful (and tasty)?

Margaret Paton, a freelance writer from the Central West of NSW, permaculture enthusiast, forager extraordinaire and organic foods fan shows how — with a touch of ingenuity and a bit of effort — you can turn a block of dandelion weeds into a delicious, nutritious and heartwarming tea. All while doing your bit for community service by clearing the land!
Continue reading “Dig dandelions for a scrumptious roasted brew”

Smallholdings: the future for organic food production!

A quick look at the beginnings of the Organic Movement gives a clue to price differential. Back in the day, the 1960s and 1970s, the only two forms of organic production were a return to the High Farming of the 19th century or current conventional chemical agriculture with the chemicals removed.

Taking the latter system first, removing the chemicals did nothing to remove the conditions which led to the need for pesticides and herbicides. That being the case the weeds and insects still arrived on cue to decimate crops. Those that survived were, in a supply/demand situation, worth more to consumers.

The return to High Farming in the second half of the twentieth century was not a viable option given the difference on relative wages between the 18th and 20th centuries. High Farming was a system of rotations across the landscape which integrated animals and plant crops. The manures from the animals were Continue reading “Smallholdings: the future for organic food production!”

Sourcing organic food in the country

picklesOne of the benefits of living in my small country town is the local food tradition. Sheep, beef, canola and wheat farms dominate the skyline as you approach and the town has a rich tradition of homegrown and homemade food that comes with a close connection with the land.

While it’s true that the local supermarket does excellent business, it’s not hard to find exceptional organic food from townsfolk if you search carefully. For example, getting a packet of fresh, delicious and very affordable eggs from free range chickens is just a matter of following the signs at the farm or local street, asking a neighbour or (more usually) checking the local social media pages. Backyards are bigger here than those postage stamp-sized versions in the city and the extra space well suited for chickens, ducks and a veggie patch. Continue reading “Sourcing organic food in the country”

Is the Mediterranean diet good for mental health?

dieta_mediterranea_italiaCan the Mediterranean diet boost mental as well as physical health? A new study would suggest so.

It’s a familiar story. You are confronted with a range of diets when you seek information on how to improve your health by changing your eating habits.  Some have scientific backing, others don’t. Some are based on the sensible consumption of wholefoods, others just concentrate on a fad “new” ingredient. Many of these are touted as the “next big thing” in wellness and weight loss, though most are eventually discredited as scientific studies reveal how lacking they really are. It’s more than annoying, as the hype that surrounds the false, money-spinning diets obscures the effectiveness of those that do work. Continue reading “Is the Mediterranean diet good for mental health?”