Whole Larder Love » Grow. Gather. Hunt. Cook.

The evening air hung thick and warm. Summer was in full swing at Elkhorn. During the daylight hours the shade of ancient trees offered some respite from the sting of summer sunlight. When the sun fell from view and fireflies danced in the still air, it was the lake that sang to me. In the cover of darkness we swam, lazy and slow. Floating with bodies parts poking out of the wetness. Our faces looked into the night sky, mesmerised by the moment.

The lake was surprisingly warm, it was also full of lake weed that tickled feet as we wriggled about. It was a refreshing momentary break from the draining heat of a Wisconsin summer. Our bodies where confused as we’d just travelled from a cold winter back home, I’m sure they experienced some sort of shock from the extreme contrast in weather. Only a few weeks ago I was standing in snow, now I was on the other side of the planet, sweating it out in summer.

I’d made my way to Camp Wandawega to run my first American workshop in ‘practiculture’. The idea was to share my skills with whoever wanted to learn them. From skinning a rabbit to making sourdough bread and everything in between. I don’t have much these days, be it money or possessions, but I do have a handful of learned skills that I’m keen to share. That’s my commodity.

That was the idea of this workshop. To share skills. That did happen, and people seemed pretty happy walking away with techniques like how to smoke pork loin or how to butterfly a trout. But something happened to me at this workshop that I did not envisage.

I’ve come away asking myself a lot of questions. About my purpose. About what I want to achieve.

When I was a kid, Mum used to call me an idealist. She spotted it early on, and she was dead right. I am an idealist. Ideally I’d like to see more people embrace a certain way of living. I’d like to see people source food that’s not going to make them sick or make the environment worse off. But the reality is this just isn’t going to happen. I don’t have the reach, I don’t have the media presence and I definitely don’t have the money to make that happen.

I’ve now travelled the world trying to peddle the idea of ‘sustainable’ living. I get on stages all over the place and share my story and talk about how making certain changes in ones life can in turn provide massive positive benefits for the individual, their family and our environment. I’ve spoken to thousands of people on this topic but I know that I’m not even scratching the surface.

When I sit in a plane, on that slow approach to land on a runway, I look down at the massive cities. The network of roads, buildings, the built human environment. These places are massive machines. The are too big to be altered. The massive companies that are manufacturing the shit food have budgets, of endless supplies of money to keep the machine going.

The ‘people’ don’t want to hear the news that the cheap food they eat will make them sick. The people don’t want to hear that man made chemicals have negative impact in all areas from our health to the health of the natural world. There are just too many distractions that divert peoples attention form the reality. The sad part is that a lot of our modern world woes are cause and effect i.e. If we stopped eating bad food our hospitals would be quieter.

Ideally I’d love to see little changes made that can reduce our impact on environment. I shouldn’t have to spell out exactly what those changes are, it’s up to the individual to figure that out. We don’t need to be hand fed anymore. We’re adults. Let’s figure things out for ourselves. See there’s me being idealistic again.

The workshop went well by all accounts. It was a stunning venue at Camp Wandawega. That place is something special. The people there where amazing, the students where amazing and the sharing of ideas and skills was a productive two way street. It’s just that I’ve come away asking myself so many questions that, at the moment I just don’t have the answers for.

People keep telling me that I’m doing this or that the wrong way. That I’m not putting enough science behind my message or that I’m wearing the wrong hat. I’m realising now, after being on this path for a few years now that it’s easy to become a target. I know now that if you put out a message your going to get shot down at times. Acceptance is part of the role.

I have one conclusion from this experience. And I’ve turned to my outlaw country hero Willie Nelson for my answer. See, he did his time in Nashville in the 1960′s trying to become a country music star. He tried to play the industry game, was clean shaven and well dressed and tried to write clean songs. But it wasn’t the real Willie. Then he started to do things his own way. He was more honest and became real Willie. Branded an outlaw from the Nashvillie scene, because he ideally wanted to be himself because thats something he could believe in.

Now I know I’m not Willie, I’m not comparing myself to Willie, but it’s the metaphor that lies within the story that I’m interested in. I can’t walk the streets of the worlds great cities telling everybody that they’re living it all wrong. No one will want to be told, and who the hell do I think I am saying that the modern world is slowly but surely killing the health of the natural world and us humans. I can however be myself. I can live my way and record it here, on this old blog. Here I can be the real Rohan. I can continue my journey of discovering real food, and living a more mindful and purpose driven existence. This is not an idealistic notion. This is practical and achievable.

Big thanks to everyone that helped out to make the Camp Wandawega workshop a success.
David and Tereasa for all you’re help getting the event off the ground. Thanks to Max Wastler, Kate Berry, Dillion, Dale, Jacky, Joe, LL Bean, Sweet Paul, Karen and Bob, Ruby Roasters, Underground Porky Jonny and all the students that came, learnt and swam in the lake with me.

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  • September 1, 2014 - 2:38 am

    Georgie - Thanks for another great post Rohan. Keep up the great work – I really appreciate what you are doing. Over the years your blogs have provided me with a few minutes of indulgent respite away from the corporate desk based job I have been doing for 6 years (shudder). This Thursday I finish and vow never to return.

    I want to live holistically and sustainably in the country and I just can’t keep doing the exact opposite any longer.

    Thank you for being so inspirational.ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 2:39 am

    emma - Giving from your heart, not your bank account, because you love what you do & you live the life that you teach others about – that’s how to give a real message to the world. If people lived their own lives in a truly heartfelt & meaningful way, not by what society dictates to them & the rest of the Joneses… well, everyone would be a lot better off in a way that money can’t buy. If folks are giving you advice about your trucker caps, they’re missing the bigger picture & not clearly listening to the sustainable message you’re trying to share with the world. The world always needs idealists, dreamers, optimists & activists even if we are a minority. A small difference in the world is better than no difference at all. Peace xReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 2:49 am

    Ceilidh - Rohan, your words are eloquent as always.

    This post speaks to me of a longing in you to “find your tribe”. The connections you are making through your work is just that; finding your tribe, your place to belong. I think the world is changing but it’s a matter of convenience. Most people won’t change until they have no other option because it’s inconvenient for them to do so at the present time

    That doesn’t mean that your skills aren’t appreciated by some people already!


  • September 1, 2014 - 3:25 am

    Justin - Couldn’t agree more with what you’ve written in this post, Ro. My mum still tells me I’m too idealistic, and I’ve been called a rebel more than a couple of times as well. I’ve had family ask (not directly) when I’m going to get a real job and lost friendships because I was too honest. Whatever. The older I get the more willing I am to say “who cares”. We become our best selves when we become authentic. Keep striving for real!ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 3:36 am

    Padaek - Hi Rohan,

    Great post! Such a beautiful painting and photo of the lake! I agree with you that ‘the modern world is slowly but surely killing the health of the natural world and us humans’, but unfortunately I am a part of it, although ideally I’m looking forward to making a change. I enjoy reading and following your blog and stumbled on it by accident. It’s a rare find/perspective. Your message is strong and needed and when the time is right, people like I did will find you and learn what they need/want to. Great message re. Willie Nelson. Keeping it real to oneself is undoubtedly the best way to go. I too am experiencing this. I guess some criticism from people is a sign that your message is getting out there. Thanks for sharing such a fascinating and inspiring life and blog. Best wishes mate! :) ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 5:42 am

    Ami Hillege - Rohan,

    It is impossible to change the world. But what you’re doing is giving those who are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle a glimpse of what can be achieved.

    Write on.. We’re reading and enjoying your blog posts. And not just your writing, but your photography. You have a great eye and it would be a shame not to share your talents!

    Otway Fields

  • September 1, 2014 - 6:17 am

    Emilia - For what it’s worth Rohan, this is what I think and a bit about why…

    My grandmother grew up in the 1930s in Bulgaria in a peasant family, her parents making their living and feeding their family entirely from what they produced on a few acres. They made cheese and yoghurt from goats and sheep every day, they made their own wine and spirits, they kept chickens, ducks and geese and pigs for meat and they grew and sold all of their own friut and vegetables…. they worked like dogs all summer in order to have food for the winter. It was this way for most of the people in Bulgaria.

    The industrial revolution only reached rural Bulgaria after WW2 when Socialism arrived. My grandmother explained that when she was a child before DDT most people had bed bugs and lice that were almost impossible to get rid of.. with this reality in mind and also the fact that chemicals of all kinds were massive labour savers, it’s easy to imagine why as modern farming methods have arrived, bit by bit all over the world they’ve been embraced. Slowly the poor peasants of bulgaria moved to cities to work and now very few people of my generation in Bulgaria know the skills the earlier generations lived by… it has been a source of sorrow for me as I’ve seen my grandmother’s generation die out and my mother’s and my own generations lose their ability and inclination to live off the land.

    You and I are the same in that we have a romantic notion of moving back to a more simple, nourishing, seasonal existence, but it’s only possible to really feel and know the value of that when you’ve lived it somehow, seen it and believe it to be genuinely better. You are one person providing a service to people who want to learn…. you can never convert people to your way of thinking, but you can be here online, on your beautiful blog, writing about your beautiful life with your family. When people all over the world arrive at a moment the way you did where they want to change their way of living, they will come looking for you… In order to sustain yourself emotionally to keep being here, you need to look after yourself.

    Much love from my family to yours, I admire your tenacity and your willingness to take a hit in the line of trying to make a difference… you are making a difference. Keep doing what you can, and please take care.

  • September 1, 2014 - 8:57 am

    graham - It’s a good life you’re living, and a good path we’re on. There’s a lot of talk about the “1%”, they exist, and they drive the existing status quo. There are a lot of sheep in cities. I like to think that we’re the other 2 or 3%. What you are doing is of value, you are preaching to, and mobilising the converted. If we can be solid, we can make real change. Keep it up.ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Fraser - Yes! You got it.ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 9:54 am

    Tara - Thanks for another great post. I can’t help but think you are becoming a bit disheartened. I want you to know that you (and Kate) have inspired me to make a huge shift that I never thought possible to do. I have been frantically planning my spring/Summer harvest for weeks now. I moved my 2 girls and myself from St Kilda to a semi rural suburb on the river so that I can attempt to live a more sustainable life and show them, the next generation, some “tricks of the trade” Together Kate and yourself have inspired me to make small changes gradually and make my life a lot simpler and easier. What you have shown me is invaluable and Thankyou just seems like an understatement. Baby steps I say and keep em coming!ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 11:23 am

    Alacoque - Some decisions can’t be rationalised or explained to others, they just have to be lived and when they see you living contently they will understand that your decision was the right one. There are many people challenging the status quo in their own little ways and these mini revolutions quietly inspire those around them, or at worst provoke questioning of blinding following a mainstream lifestyle. I may not be able to change the world but I can change MY world, and that of my family, by living authentically.ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 11:28 am

    Helen - I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, and every post inspires me to try and live more sustainably and mindfully. I hope that some of the small changes I make will inspire those around me to do the same… and so it goes…

    Being able to follow your thoughts and journey through the magic of the internet has been a privilege and a pleasure.

    Keep fighting the good fight!ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 11:35 am

    emmy - We’re listening, Rohan! We are helping you spread the message! Keep going, and definitely be yourself. We are too, sticking with what we know and what we care about. We love you, your style and your message.
    Keep at it!

  • September 1, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    Michelle - Rohan a big, big thankyou. So grateful for the words you write here. You have inspired me to live so differently. I am well and strong and happy. I didn’t know how unwell was before I took on your advise about a better way to live, big love to you xReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    brenda - “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later” – Og Mandino

    and you will harvest a full bounty RoReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 2:10 pm

    Sandy - Wonderful post. :) There’s a purity in just being yourself and learning, and sharing. It’s probably way less headache than being someone’s ‘guru’. Thank you for sharing this.ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 2:34 pm

    Jacki - But everything has to start with small change, one person tells two people who tells three. Scratching the surface magnifies the itch so it has to be scratched more.
    It is hard to not end up in a negative cycle of cynicism and depression when confronted with food corporations and their stronghold on the ‘people’. It is hard to educate in a world where we have been taught to only believe ‘scientifically proven’ facts. But it’s no reason to stop doing and promoting what you believe will make the world a better place.
    There is no argument that can support drinking soda and eating crap food. There is no argument that can support mass overconsumption and the use of chemicals in food. The people who are arguing against sustainable, seasonal, mindful eating for us as people and a community are the ones who need to keep hearing and reading your message – and the hate mail means the message is at least being heard!
    You can not fight food corporations on your own, but there are many other like minded people out there trying hard to do their bit too. It’s just tough not to become jaded and pessimistic visiting the great US of A and even harder to turn that pessimism into motivation to live more mindfully, better educated and aware of the footprint we as individuals leave on this world.
    It’s always good to reassess, question purpose, grow and learn from our experiences. For example we learnt that night swimming in a lake is delicious, but you should rinse your clothes out afterwards because four days later they will be stinking out the whole van. You would think as adults that lesson would have been learnt by now, but sadly no. Small steps ;) ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 2:41 pm

    Rob Wilmot - What, no photos of the lake swimming? But those New Zealand whites look tasty. You can always pick a serious sustainable person – they raise rabbits. Keep preaching the message Rohan, this crazy world needs it!ReplyCancel

  • September 1, 2014 - 9:23 pm

    Alistair - Rohan, great post and congratulations on the camp.

    Actions speak louder than words. Live your life the way you want to live it. Your health, happiness and continued success are proof that you are onto something. You will never change everyone’s minds, nor make everyone happy. You can however show them that there is an alternative and slowly arm them with the skills to make a positive change in their lives.

    To me this is what the blog and book do exceedingly well. I don’t agree with everything you say but you have some damn good ideas and you share it with us in a format that is not too technical or scientific, but just right to light the spark of inspiration.

    Look at all you have already achieved, keep fighting the good fight dude!



They’re back. The dead paddocks.

Only a few weeks ago they where still green. Lush and green. Now they’re turning grey, they’re dying off. We see them dotted around the country when we drive to town. It’s hard not to notice them.

It’s not from natural causes. It’s not a result of some rare agricultural disease, nor has it anything to do with severe weather. No, these paddocks, the very paddocks from farms surrounding our home have been turned grey because somebody chose to make it that way. It’s another example of human intervention, of meddling with nature, trying to get better yields, trying to make more money.

It’s the annual spring preparation by farmers to prepare paddocks for growing summer crops. So how do the paddocks turn grey? They’re boom spayed with a broad spectrum herbicide, the active constituent is Glyphosate (aka Roundup). It’s a non selective herbicide that’s used to kill all the ‘weeds’ so the oncoming crop has little or no competition (and thus the yield is improved). So popular is the chemical that companies now sell, ’round-up ready’ crops which are genetically modified seeds that are not susceptible to the effects of glyphosate. Mmmmm tasty GM.

There is mixed science about the toxicity of glyphosate. Some people say it’s so safe you can eat it. For those that have attempted to test this theory they have subsequently died from toxic poisoning, so I’m not rushing to pour it on my cornflakes. Well I don’t actually eat cornflakes, or any breakfast cereal for that matter. Do you know what’s in that stuff?

I just wanted to share this with you because the food you buy at the supermarket or at the take away drive through most likely doesn’t have a warning on it stating that synthetic chemicals where used in the production of this ‘food’. See no food company has to legally tell you that the food is certified ‘non-organic’. It’s only the other way around. So everything that you eat that isn’t certified organic most likely has been treated with either a pesticide, herbicide or agricultural antibiotic.

(NB: There are some great producers out there that don’t use chemicals but also don’t believe in the ‘pay to be certified organic’ arrangement…..so keep that in mind, and please don’t write to me telling me your issues with organics or non-organis, I’m simply not interested in the conversation. We can talk about fishing instead.

My parents eat this food. My neighbours eat this food. The townsfolk eat this food. Most of ‘us’ eat this food.
Most of us are also getting sick. We now have an unending list of modern medical aliments from alzheimer’s to IBS, asthma to hyper tension. We’re more sick than we were pre-war, before food started to be produced in this manner.

I’m sharing this because I want people, I want anyone out there to think not just about this dead paddocks story, but to be mindful of all the other chemicals that are added to crops that eventually make our food. Think about the chemicals added to food during processing, added to food to extend it’s shelf life. I’d love to see more people hungry to know how our food is made and what it’s doing to our health.

This is one of the big reasons why I changed my life. My personal health was in tatters and I was concerned about the future health of my daughters. I’m not saying what I’m doing is perfect, hell I ate a burger last week (I WAS IN AMERICA!!!). I’m just saying it’s something we all should be aware of. For my everyday food, I’m glad the majority of it comes from my garden and it’s no longer coming from the dead paddocks.

NB: When I lived in a city house I grew vegetables just like this. I also worked six days a week.
Growing food is really easy. Too easy.
Anything is possible, if you want it bad enough.

Peasant Beans on home made sourdough.
A meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Home grown almost all the way.
Scarlet Runner Beans, Home made Passata, Onion, Garlic, Carrots, Kale, jalapeño, Parsley and home cured prosciutto.
Home made sourdough made from Powlett Hill Rye and whole wheat.
Side of Harrisa made from, yep you guessed it, home grown Jalapeño and garlic.

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  • August 19, 2014 - 7:58 am

    Trish - Ro,
    My good friend Michael who lives nearby in Portland just passed on the terrible news two days ago that all four of his once flourishing bee hives are now devoid of life. They were well and fine when he last checked 7 days ago and now it’s a scene of total devastation. All of his thousands of thriving, working bees from a week ago are dead. He believes that a farmer (who is his neighbour) has recently sprayed his paddocks with pesticides and this was an unfortunate side result. Bees can forage up to 5K’s from their home base so unless you place their hive smack dab in the middle of at least five acres (which you own and control) they are and will always be susceptible to whatever someone else poisons their neighboring property with.
    A very sad but sobering fact.
    We all need bees – every farmer included. And yet, bees are doing it very hard these days; case in point. Michael has said he will try to rebuild his hives at a great personal and emotional expense to himself. But what will the future hold for his next hives? Any new bees will be equally susceptible to the same pesticides in the area, what can an natural beekeeping apiarist do??
    We are all together living on this one, fragile planet. I believe what we do as individuals does and will affect us all.ReplyCancel

    • August 19, 2014 - 11:21 pm

      Alacoque - That’s heartbreaking! It’s funny how we have laws stipulating how we can/can’t affect our neighbours in the city (e.g. noise pollution etc) yet in the bush they’re subject to whatever their neighbours decide to do upstream/upwind.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Lyndsey - Hi Rohan,

    This is a brilliant piece. I’ll be sharing it with our FoodTrade network.

    You have the rare ability to be utterly passionate and tell the cold hard truth, without ever sounding patronising or preaching. I’m a big fan.

    Best wishes,


  • August 19, 2014 - 10:37 am

    Robin - I’ve been saying for years that the “food” most of us (not me) eat is partially to blame for our huge spike in autism in the US. I was dismissed because there are many other explanations until a few months ago when someone “official” suggested it.

    “Food.” Putting something in your mouth, chewing and swallowing does not make something food. It makes it edible. Many things are edible (margarine, red dye) but not food.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    Patty - I had to laugh (I’m American) because I read this and I thought, ‘Whats a paddock…a plant?” So I googled “Paddock images” and all I came up with was corrals. The I googled “Paddock plants that live in Australia”. That got me no where. Then I looked up the word and found out that it has duel meaning….pasture in your neck of the woods and corral in mine! Thank you for teaching me a new word!
    PS. I totally get your concern for the nasty Roundup….I avoid it like the plague too.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Claes Öberg - Once again..spot on!thank you!ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    Cle-ann - Thanks Rohan! Makes me feel good growing what I can, and being more aware – thanks to you.ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2014 - 11:20 pm

    Serenity Hill - Here is peer reviewed evidence of link between Round-up and cancer AND other modern diseases.
    Samsel, A.; Seneff, S. Glyphosate’s Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy 2013, 15, 1416-1463.

    And commentary:

  • August 20, 2014 - 1:22 am

    Evan - You’re awesome and what you’re doing rocks! Keep on rockin’ it!ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2014 - 11:47 pm

    Emma - I love that you’re writing about this. It is so scary its crazy that people are not informed.

    More important is that Round-Up is killing the bees. Yes, bees that pollinate 1 in 3 of the fruit and veg we eat.

    Imagine if we lost that?ReplyCancel

  • August 22, 2014 - 11:01 am

    Lizzy - This is a beautiful post. So well said. I’m in the UK, and expanding my veggie patch every year, and learning loads. I want a big organic garden one day. And for the insane pollution of our food supply to stop. And I’m hopeful that it will. xReplyCancel

  • August 24, 2014 - 7:26 pm

    Ajonjoli - And that’s not all. They also use it in the gardens where our kids play, and in the highways to prevent weeds to grow. Here at the Canary islands we are trying to have it banned (al least it is forbidden to plant GMOs), but so far the Government is not listening.
    We work 5 days per week, more than 40 hours, but still we manage to have our garden and eat the vegetables we plant, and we even have enough to can and share. As you say, when you want to do something the matter is only how hard you try.ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2014 - 5:20 am

    lemmiwinks - Swings and roundabouts dude. While I abhor the overuse of herbicides (Roundup resistance is growing (no pun intended) at an exponential rate BTW), it’s for zero till cropping. Ploughing has it’s downsides too – loss of subsoil moisture, disturbing soil biota, creating a hard pan, consumption of diesel. Some years it’s cheaper for my mate to spray than plough, what’s a small farmer to do?ReplyCancel

  • August 31, 2014 - 9:01 am

    Links with love im August | Chestnut & Sage - […] Eine Brandschrift. Sehr kompromisslos. Mit viel Emotion. […]ReplyCancel

From the kitchen she yelled loud with excitement “It’s snowing!”

All of sudden it came down hard and fast, just like the waves of long grass in a windy paddock. Covered up in a warm jacket and wide brim, I let the flakes land delicately over me. How often do we get to really stop and enjoy these moments? Even though this is our five spell of snow here, each time it’s still special. Her giddy smile and childish excitement and my boyish playfulness, all brought about by gently falling flakes of frozen water. Amazing what the weather can do to an adult.

Snow bellowed in like dust storm, the ground was soon covered in white. Everything from discarded kids toys to stacked firewood, all disappeared under the white. The dogs ran about confused while we tried our best to capture the moment for our absent kids. But it was a futile task. Nothing could capture this moment but our ‘memory cams’. We held each other, hoping to hold onto the the moment as long as possible, before we realised we where getting cold. Love was impractical in this blizzard.

After a spell, we headed across the paddocks to return to the old farm house. I stood looking back at our home. Everything was hidden. Everything all looked the same. The white of snow had hidden everything from view.


These last few days since the snow fall, I’ve had a burning question in my mind. Why is so much hidden from us? I came up with what might be a silly question. But I’m going to ask it anyway.

My kids go to primary school. Each year they have excursions to places like Science Works the museum or zoo. Great experiences for young minds. Here they learn about history, animals and science stuff. And that’s all good. On these days out the kids are asked to take lunches which is standard practice I believe. In these lunches you’re sure to find the odd ham sandwich, some chicken rolls, I’ve even heard of chicken nuggets and party pies. Now answer me this. If it’s ok for the kids to eat meat that’s come from intensive factory farm, then why don’t we take the kids on an excursion to go visit these farms? Wouldn’t they learn something new there? It’s not like the farms have anything to hide right?

Nah. Lets cover everything in white snow. It looks better.

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  • August 4, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Marcia - When I was a kid, my family lived on a dairy farm in Northern Victoria (near Echuca). I have an older sister & older brother, when they were in years 5 & 6 our primary school participated in a student exchange. “City kids” from Collingwood came up to our country school & spent a weekend with some “farm kids” families.

    We showed them where milk, eggs, beef, lamb & chicken came from.
    It’s something I’ve always taken for granted, knowing the life cycle of our animals & the foods they produce, at the age I was back then (about 8) I just couldn’t believe that these kids didn’t know about those kinds of things.

    In turn, my family got to hear about what it was like to live in a big city, what they ate, what they did for fun & what their families were like. One of the city kids (Coung) was a Vietnamese refugee,(what we would now call boat people)living with his father in a one roomed apartment, while saving their money to bring out the rest of their family.

    We were young and very naive, never really having been exposed to anything like that before it was a real eye opener for both sides. What grew from that experience was a new friend for my brother. Coung went on to join us for many summer holidays, his father always sending a beautiful big tray of fresh mangoes, his way of saying thank-you. Many years have passed & while I am unsure of what happened to Coung, I am so very grateful my family got to experience that cultural exchange.ReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 11:11 am

    Robin - Imagine how the factory “farms” would scream if kids were exposed to the reality of how their food was raised. They’d never allow it here in the US and I think most of the parents would keep their kids home from school that day.

    I do have a little good news. My daughter is leading the Youth Conservation Corps program at our national wildlife refuge this summer. She has six high school students in her program. They’re bringing healthy lunches and snacks to work with them *every* day. These are young people who have grown up with our Farm To School program through elementary school. They were taught from the start that locally grown is good and healthy, and they’ve stuck with it. It’s good to see change happening.ReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 3:46 pm

    alan - In the US, a teacher would be prohibited from even photographing over a fence, these industrial “meat” plants – ask me how I know. But I do agree that we will never change the way people eat if they are legally prohibited from learning the truth. In the US most urban people are horrified by us country hunters, but never think about the food factories that even give their kill a fair chance.ReplyCancel

  • August 4, 2014 - 10:52 pm

    Jessie - We saw the snow here too. Given I have a 6, 4 and 3yo, NONE of whom were interested in the snow falling, I had to stay inside and make sure they didn’t destry the joint rather than enjoying being snowed on. Cold? Yep but it makes you value coming inside to toast ones back up against the wood fire. :)

    We home educate and our kids have also seen all but the ill stroke when we’ve processed our roosters. The lambs we kept them back a bit but our eldest is only 6 after all. They did see the carcasses once they were hanging though and our eldest even helped with the butchering, cutting surpluss fat from some of the cuts. The 4 and 6 year olds both helped with sausage making and watched whilst I rendered down the fat and then made tallow soap too. :) it’s real food for real weather. :) ReplyCancel

  • August 5, 2014 - 10:03 am

    Sue from the Sunshine Coast - Wow, great picture. Beautiful. Isn’t it great to stop,look and feel the might of all things nature tosses our way. To be a part of such weather shifts reminds us we are alive. We were caught up in ex tropical cyclone Oswald here on the sunny coast on Aus Day 2012. We hid under the dining room table, mobile phone without reception in one hand and a glass of red for comfort in the other while 150klm winds bent the gums dangerously close to the house and thrashed rain sideways against the glass. It was terrifying (hence the red) and yet we knew in that 36 hours that we were truly alive. Was it fear or was it invigorating? Probably both. But in those hours we connected with the small tasks of grafting out food and water and repairing our broken camp stove. The small things became huge and after the storm came the calm and sleep. I love snow and rain and wind and storm, it’s hypnotic. thanks for the reminder.ReplyCancel

  • August 6, 2014 - 2:37 am

    Alina - Years ago I had the idea to compare, in a ‘bad foodie’ ‘zine, the recipes and machinery required for butter and margarine. I still think that idea has legs.ReplyCancel

  • August 8, 2014 - 12:13 pm

    Kirti - oh lord don’t get me started….ReplyCancel

  • August 12, 2014 - 5:58 am

    Richard davy - From a fellow farmboy and writer, I love the concept you’ve come up with and the style of commentary you provide. You put the point across well. Keep up the good work. RReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2014 - 9:35 pm

    Selby - Snow is some kinda special magic isn’t it?!:)

    I agree if we want to eat meat then part of the responsibility of that is to understand the process & true cost of that decision & as part of that we need to make sure our kids understand too at an age appropriate level of explanation & experience.ReplyCancel