Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dirt is the new prozac

reading my favourite newsletter from the permablitz folk, i have now been enlightened as to why it gardening gives me such a buzz. it appears that the humble Mycobacterium vaccae, found in garden soil, give off serotonin - which is one of the mood-altering brain chemicals commonly used in anti-depressants.
well, all i can say is that getting down and dirty in the garden sure beats popping pills. and that's what i plan to do tomorrow, when i head off to my very first permablitz experience out in the wilds of Noble Park, where Gavin and Ileana are waiting for us to transform their backyard into a permy paradise.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

matt and angela in Thailand

i have been following Matt and Angela's adventures in Thailand. seems like they're having a great time. funny how durian can be so cheap and plentiful when the media is so full of woe about dwindling rice supplies and rising food prices.

can you imagine, walmart is rationing rice. this is happening in the US. could be that the world's population may start to get healthier when large quantities of cooked food no longer become an affordable option. however it is not nice to think of people starving because they cannot afford to buy food.

but on the positive side, in cuba the health of the population improved to match and almost exceed that of the US population after 10 or so years of oil embargoes. this forced the country to change it's agricultural practices and now, more than 90% of cuba's food supplies are produced by organic farming methods. the percentage of fresh fruit and vegetables consumed has increased, and much of the urban food supply is grown within the city centres.

feisty food

what a provocative title for this article in the Blue Mountains Gazette this week. yes, the meeting last Thursday attracted a record number of members. it was a challenging experience yet i felt significant movement was made towards resolution. the discourse was highly emotive at times, yet thanks to Will's expert facilitation skills, a space was created in which members' voices could be heard. it may be some time before we see the light at the end of the zucchini. as of writing this, we are awaiting word on whether the incumbent directors will act on the motion that was carried at the meeting and call a second general meeting in 5 weeks time to vote in a new Board. mention is made in this article of the discussion paper that i prepared and that Di tabled at the meeting.
earlier in the year, the Gazette published this article. It makes reference to an "
“an unauthorised Save Our Co-op campaign.”

what a find!

tucked away down a nondescript sidestreet in south melbourne, a stone's throw from busy clarendon street is this haven. it must be melbourne's best kept secret, but thanks to a tip-off i knew to look for it here. St Ali is a coffee house in the finest tradition.
not a coffee drinker any more, i can still enjoy the vibe of this magnificent converted warehouse. the space breathes, and the attention to detail goes right down to the chair seats re-upholstered in hessian coffee bags. this cafe is a model for the type of place i'm seeking for my next project. its tucked away but clearly the locals have no trouble finding it. seating for at least 30 with singles, mums and suits mingling, i felt quite at home despite the lack of raw food. They did however have OJ on the menu.
Ali was a sufi mystic from the late 14th century, a kind of patron saint of coffee, according to St Ali's website. it's places like these that make melbourne the foodie capital of australia.

food and caravan parks

Had lunch with my dear friend Dallas today. I so enjoy the time we have together, and always there there are those little gems in our conversations. a former associate - and good friend of Dallas, has recently been investing in caravan parks. there is method in her quirky choice of investment property it seems. Sad but true, an increasing number of people in Australia are turning to caravan parks as an alternative to going homeless. i don't see the situation improving in the near term as housing affordability spirals and living costs increase.
Living in caravan parks has been common in the US for some time, and i recently watched Conversations With God, an inspiring story about a man who has no choice but to live in a caravan park after being out of work, unable to pay the rent and consequently being evicted from his home. This is no longer just something that happens to other people, not us.
The story of homelessness is underlined by the growing global food crisis. This year food prices internationally have risen 45%. It is astonishing to hear that even Walmart in the US is rationing rice purchases. First there was climate change. Now we are coming to terms with peak oil, and if that wasn't enough, here comes a food crisis unlike anything we have seen globally before. All the more reason to start learning how to grow our own vegetables.

Monday, May 12, 2008

digging it in south melbourne

saw this in the local newspaper today. it is heartening to see so many people getting into growing their own food. those raised garden beds look like fun. sounds like a good setup with both individual and community plots. will make a note-to-self to return to this garden in a year's time to see how it has grown. the Park Towers are a South Melbourne landmark. yes, they do tower above just about every other building in the suburb. and i used to live just round the corner.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

guerilla gardening

i read about it in this month's permablitz newsletter. wow. this is greenie activism with a different slant. these guys look set to take over the world, one fruit tree at a time.

guerilla gardeners claim to wage war against the neglect of public spaces, according to this UK blog. sure beats sitting at home on a saturday night. and yes, there's even a chapter sprouting up in sydney. and here are some useful tips for getting started.

Monday, May 5, 2008

the great soy debate

How much of this discussion is substantiated by research? Or is it just viewpoints and opinions of the eaters.? At any rate, i didn't think soy was raw. don't they pasteurise it before it goes into containers?
So sure enough, i googled it and discovered that not only is soy boiled during the preparation process to inactivate the soybean trypsin inhibitor, but there are also differences in the Chinese and Japanese methods for preparing soy milk. These differences amount to whether the boiling occurs before or after filtration.
Give me almond milk anytime. My recipe, adapted from Alissa Cohen's recipe for almond milk.

Almond Milk
Soak 1 cup of almonds for every 3 cups of water. In the blender add soaked almonds, water, and a dash of agave nectar to taste. Blend it. Then enjoy the drink. That's it.