Steam rose from my hot coffee, fumbling a sip between straight patches of country road while another cup of coffee sat precariously between my legs (probably a little too close for comfort). The second coffee was for my boss, Mr Hatton. I’ve been working as his ‘mud boy’. This entails slinging loads of sand and cement into the mixer, and laying sandstone rocks to create beautiful walls. We’ve been constructing a grand farm entrance out in the hills north of Daylesford.

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Since I left my previous life, I’ve really enjoyed working on practical everyday projects that reward me with a tangible end product. I’ve found that working towards a visible goal is so much rewarding than my old world of spreadsheets, digital mapping and graphic design. Here I work physically hard, get great exercise, learn a new practical skill and work outside, in the wind, rain, sun and mist. The only downside to this work is that I’ve discovered someone more cynical about the worlds problems than I am. In someways is depressing. Poor Mr Hatton, he doesn’t stand a chance.

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He thanks me for the coffee and sets me to work mixing cement and laying stones. The wall is coming along nicely. It started with simple foundations, dug deep into the soil. Then one stone at a time, a wall began to appear. Along the way Mr Hatton taught me how to keep straight lines, maintain the levels, and how to respond with the appropriate amount of cynicism to leftist talk back radio. It’s been a interesting apprenticeship.

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Most days working on our wall, I’d cook us a lunch over a quickly prepared fire. The evening before each day of work, I’d make a stew, soup, paella or anything that I’d be able to warm up over hot coals. Mt Hatton commented that he might continue to hire me, not for my stone laying abilities but more so for my cooking skills. I think he liked the idea of a mobile cook at his service. I was pretty happy with the idea too. Although I must remember to feed him less bean meals. I don’t think it was just that we were working on a hill as the reason for the frequent wind.

The wall is now complete. It took us a few weeks of hard yet enjoyable slog. Soon a grand steal gate will be hung, and the project will be complete. I can see all the effort we put into that wall. I can touch it, I can even lean on it. It will be there for many decades, and we built it tough so theres a good chance it will last over a few hundred years. Just the very thought of that wall still standing strong in a few hundred years time. It’s got me thinking about another building that hopefully will be evident in a few hundred years. And thats changing the way we treat food.

I’m happy to admit that I am part of a growing (building) movement of change. There is enough information out there that tells us that processed foods are not good for us, nor is it good for the health of the environment or the long term health of our communities. I feel like a broken record saying the same thing over and over again. I present talks to blank faces, sometimes bewildered looking people that are probably thinking that I’m a crack pot with my crazy ideas about food and lifestyle. And I completely understand their way of thinking. I would have totally dismissed ‘me’ seven years ago. I would have thought I was just another food ‘evangelist’ complaining about processed foods. If I didn’t get sick from eating crappy food all those years ago, then I’d still be a skeptic of ‘me’. So in a way I have processed foods to thank for showing me what type of a consumer I don’t want to be.

This weekend on a stage in Hampton Queensland I presented a talk on my ‘food philosophy’ and used a few examples of processed foods, I held up bottled lemon Juice, a cheese and crackers snack pack and some oven fries. I read out loud the ingredients of the processed foods and stated that if I don’t know what the ingredients are, and I don’t know what that ‘food’ will do to my health, then I won’t eat it. At one point I saw some heads shaking at me, I’m not sure what their internal reaction was to what I was saying, but it’s a message that has to be shared. This crappy message that no one wants to be told, HAS to be told because it’s clearly changed the health of the western world. No food corporation will ever tell you this, it’s not a smart business move to say “our product will make you sick”. And when I talk about corporations, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m just sharing a shitty truth.

Walk through the supermarket, pick up any random item of processed food, look over the ingredients and ask the food “what are you made of, what will you do to my body?” I do not know what the ingredients of most of the processed food on the supermarket shelves, but I do know that they made me sick. For years I was eating food labelled ‘low fat’ only to be consuming food with loads of hidden sugar that my body hurriedly converted to fat. I ate food with preservatives, then struggled to breathe for a few hours as a reaction. I got obese, I got hypertension from consuming too much salt and I suffered that most popular of modern diseases, anxiety and depression.

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Now I eat real food. Food that I grow, or hunt or source from organic producers. I now know that food that starts from the ingredients that nature provides are ingredients our bodies have evolved to process. Plant matter, meat and diary. Humans have been eating food made from these basic natural ingredients since the get to and that’s what I strive to consume in my home kitchen. As a result I don’t suffer AT ALL from those above mentioned illness’s.

I’m home from Queensland now and feeling invigorated. I feel a ground swell building. There is change coming. It’s a market driven consumer change. People are sick and tired of being sick. We can no longer expect any changes or improvements in processed foods. We need to take back the control of our food, we need to start from basics. I’m prepared to be a facilitator of that change. I’m here to teach what I can and share the skills I’ve picked up of the last however many years I’ve been on my journey. This Saturday I’m running GROW with RO, sharing skills about setting up your winter vegetable garden. On Sunday I’m running a wild edible mushroom workshop. I hope that if I continue to share skills, continue to connect with people face to face and talk about our food then I’ll inadvertently be part of building the movement for change. We need it.

 

 

 

 

The work hours are flexible, the work conditions are tolerable

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1.  I am not SELF SUFFICIENT and I’ve never claimed to be. I don’t believe anyone can truly be self sufficient. My aim in life is to remove myself as much as I possibly can from the very broken conventional food system.

2. SUSTAINABILITY is a load of rubbish. It’s a term that had good intentions but has now been used and abused just like our natural resources. Beware when you see this term used.

3. There is a lot of bullshit in the food industry and in our food system. The deeper I go the more I have to wade through the rubbish. Real food starts with real ingredients. I can no longer rely on the integrity of supermarket and conventional food so where I can, I will source my own, either by growing it, hunting it or picking it out in the bush. Beware the hip element of  ’nutritionally balanced’ food.

  • Beware the take away juice bar claiming to be a healthier take away option that is using fruit and vegetables that have been treated with pesticides and herbicides.
  • Beware the hip restaurant in Melbourne that offers you wild mushrooms that have been ‘foraged’ from a NSW forest.
  • Beware the low fat sub made from intensively farmed poultry and chemical covered salad
  • Beware the use of hip retro type face on food packaging and blackboard menus. There’s a good chance the food is the same old rubbish, it’s just been rebranded.
  • Be aware that what ever the latest nutritional super food is, be it coconuts or ChooChoo Berries that it probably doesn’t grow anywhere near your house. It may have traveled a great distance. So for weigh up the supposed health benefits with your carbon road miles legacy you’re adding to your account.
  • Anything that has ‘Artisan’ labeled on it doesn’t necessarily mean its a better product. It might be, it might not be.

4. Modern food is truly having an impact on our health. Never before have we as westerners been so well off and affluent. But we’re the sickest we’ve ever been. I was caught up in this. Because of the food I ate I became sick, nothing major but enough to make me want to change my life. I often had allergic reactions to foods with the preservatives sulphites, (in the form of breathing difficulties – respiratory inflammation), I had extremely high blood pressure and suffered from debilitating anxiety and depression. I was also obese. I changed my lifestyle to eating whole foods I grew myself and my health has dramatically improved. It didn’t happen over night and it took a lot of hard work to change my habits. But it worked. I am living evidence of how broken the system is. If not just for myself.

5. The conventional food system is damaging our planet. In order to provide for an over populated planet we are relying on a system that is resource hungry. We end up producing more food than we can consume and much of it gets thrown away. The cost is high. All large scale food production relies heavily on fossil fuels. A global market means food is transported all over the world. We cannot stop this, but we can reduce it. Local and organic makes sense.

This website chronicles what I do.  Take it or leave it. It’s not right nor wrong. It’s not advice, it’s not gospel. It’s my story.

No bullshit here. Modern food is plain rubbish. Processed food, the stuff that’s easy to prepare at home that you can buy from supermarkets. It’s not good for us. The rubber burgers, subs, fried chicken and pizza from the chains, it’s all shit. This ‘food’ is a product, driven by the desire to make a great deal of money for a company and it’s shareholders. It’s designed to extract money from your pocket. It’s not designed to keep you healthy no matter what it tells you on the packet.

Humans have survived for a long time by eating real food. I’m not talking about pre-historic food, I’m talking about cooking with real vegetables, meat, cheese, diary, herbs and spices.

Some of the longest living people in the world live on a diet of pasta, rice, beans, fish and wine. Food they’ve been happily eating for centuries.

Most of what you’re told by the media is rubbish. All of us should know that by now.

You don’t need to drink ‘good bacteria’ drinks.

You don’t need multi vitamins.

You don’t need to eat food labelled, ‘low fat’ low sugar’ ‘low salt’…..instead eat food with no labels.

Humans have lived healthy lives without these modern products for centuries.

These pages are about eating real food. The stuff that I can grow in the soil. The stuff I can hunt and harvest from the fields and the bush.

This is my answer. It may not be the answer for you as I don’t have all the answers.

This is simply my answer for me and my gang.

 

Disclaimer:

I make no apologies for my truck, guns, nor my love of fine outlaw and country music. 

And if it makes you feel good, you can call me a hipster, hillbilly, redneck or bogan. You can call me what ever you like. 

I am also aware that I can only control the food at my home. When I am away from home I may eat a Kebab.

RohanAnderson-(3-of-7)

Image: justin bovington

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Saturday mornings start at 5:30am, the alarm shocks me out of a deep slumber, I grind some coffee and murder a pot of coffee. With sleep in my eyes I drive a white van to a farm, pick up produce that farmer Rod has grown, and I drive it to Melbourne. I spend the day handing over heavy boxes of organic vegetables and fruit to punters in the city that want real food to cook with. It’s very rewarding, simply talking to people about real food is enjoyable in itself. By afternoon I’ve returned to Ballarat where I drop off the hire van, stumble into my car and head home for a spell of chilling out. Last night though, I went home via the forest. About a week ago we got a little touch of rain, and I gambled that the rain was enough for some mushrooms to sprout.

Taking the backwoods road home from town is often a chosen route. There are two ways home, one on the paved country roads past rolling green hills of grazing sheep, cows or pastures of chemical laden potatoes, maize, canola or wheat or barely. The other route is bush. Unmade roads that weave in mesmerising fashion through moody eucalyptus forest and neatly planted pine plantation.

By the time I reached my chosen spot, the grey clouds had covered the late sun, it was now dusk, late dusk. Rain was falling sideways, filling my glasses with tiny droplets, rendering them unless. With my glasses off I walked bent over like an ancient man scanning the forest floor for pine mushrooms. After a few minutes I discovered a the first few buried under needles. I pulled out my pocket knife and gently cut the stem, and another, then another. In one hand I held a growing pile of mushrooms, in the other my knife. I was running out of hands. Off came my hat, which often ends up as an impromptu carrying device. In went the mushrooms, one after another until it was over flowing. Enough food for two good meals.

Walking back to the car I looked back along the path I had just traversed. It was almost dark, the rain continued falling sideways. A thick mist had developed high in the canopy of the pines, which by now sat darkly contrasted against the pale sky. I thought to myself “what idiot does this?” In fairly horrible conditions, after a big day of hauling boxes here I am, picking mushrooms on a dismal day for a meal I’m not even cooking for dinner because, well I couldn’t be stuffed. (I was planning for a mushy breakfast the following day.) I clambered into the drivers seat and drove those muddy roads home. I thought about the life I have chosen, the deliberate actions I take. It’s definitely not the answer for everyone, but I like it for me.

In the morning I cooked mushrooms with home cured Jamon, home grown garlic, home grown thyme, and served it on home made sourdough bread. Home made. I am pleased with my choices.

Once upon a time I decided that most of the food I ate was shit. So I thought that maybe if I took care of making it myself, then I might improve the ‘goodness’ of the food, and thus improve my inner ‘goodness’. Seems to be doing the trick.

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