Your Ethics Vs My Ethics & Good bye

Ethics are an interesting human phenomenon. Ethics are a learnt thing, they’re personal, often very personal. Years ago I didn’t really have a large suite of ethics, instead I happily went about my business rather content in ignorance. As I aged, I started to see things in my life that compelled me to ask questions. What is this life all about? Why do I behave this way? Why have do I continue this habit? From these questions (and many more) developed an initial set of ethics, which continues to develop as I age (I dare not suggest ‘mature’).  

Across the board in society, food ethics continually evolve. Years ago you’d never hear talk of local, free range, beyond organic or even vegan. I met a few vegetarians way back in the early 90’s but even then, a strict vegetarian was a rarity. These days though, many of us have an established view about the food we consume. Often you can see these views and ethics being passionately communicated via online platforms. One side tells the other side that they shouldn’t be eating meat, another team says meat is ok, but it has to be done ethically, another side won’t even consume any animal products, and then there’s people that just want an ‘In and Out Burger’. Another team even goes out of their way to support monoculture, pesticide and fertiliser based agriculture, stating that it’s the only way to feed the growing population of the world. And although many people would dispute that claim, it’s still the individuals right to hold such a belief. In some scenarios, ethics conflict with the ethics in a fiery storm of contradiction. Recently after posting an image of a hunted wild animal we shot to feed us, someone wrote to me, “wtf, I wish some lion will hunt you and eat you like this. How can you kill those innocent animals”. Deeply imbedded in ethics, lies many a paradox.


Much of the population remain distant of the realities of how the very food that fuels them is produced, be that plant matter and animal product. There is much wasted energy in arguments based on ignorant foundations, which, lets face it has been part and parcel of human civilisation. Wars have been fought over squabbles, racial or economically based motivations. The end result often achieves little, but ultimately costs the lives of many. Surely we have the ability to sort these conflicts out in a more humane manner, maybe I’m wrong and innately humans are prone to conflict, based on a differing set of beliefs. Anyway, I’m off track somewhat.


The point I’m trying to make is that now more than ever we are seeing a conflict of ‘my ethics are better than your ethics’. We spend time arguing with each other, convinced that how we live, the diet and lifestyle choices we make, are far superior than someone elses, and often this is all played out online. I can guarantee, even from this post, that someone will, on some platform still express their views, stating that someone else has it all wrong.


Meanwhile, back in the real world, away from the comments bubble on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and blogs, the majority of the western population is getting fatter, sicker and suffering from a plethora of chronic diseases as a result of diet and lifestyle choices. Thats a reality that none of us can deny, no mater what your persuasion of food ethics is. A reality that cannot be altered by opinion, is that as long as the humans continue to eat the poor food, the humans with continue to have the poor health. It is a simple case of cause an effect, regardless of the grey area reasons as to why it’s happening i.e. social issues, education blah blah blah.


Even more alarming than that is the reality that only a teensy wincy tiny percentage of the population have any understanding at all of what the food they are consuming, is actually doing to them, or secondary, have a care as to how the environment, including soil biota, livestock, atmosphere or the hydro systems are being treated.


One might suggest there is more ignorance than understanding or awareness in regards to our food production and nutrition issues. But it’s not like people aren’t making an effort to communicate about food problems. There is an entire genre of food documentary movies dedicated to these issues. Of which most are super depressing and leave you feeling an extreme sense of hopelessness post viewing, hence my current ban on food movies, thanks to a recent viewing of ’Just Eat it’.


Recently I’ve had a bought of depression and a feeling of utter hopelessness in regards to food woes. And it’s completely my doing. Allow me to explain. I started this site years ago, when I was chronically obese, I was medicated for hypertension, anxiety and depression and had the odd food reaction to the preservative sulphite. I had no idea where my journey was to take me, I just knew I wanted to change. I didn’t know I’d become a hunter, I didn’t know that I’d one day like fermented cabbage and cauliflower, or that I’d be excited about pickled beetroot on my home raised eggs for breakfast. I am happy that I’ve stopped eating frozen chicken nuggets and chips for my weeknight meals and I am glad that I decided to avoid food containing preservatives, agricultural chemicals and so on. Over time I changed from being a McDonalds, Subway, KFC loving consumer to a home grown DIY food producer, all because over the course of time, I  developed a set of ethics driven initially by a will to make change, as a result of health issues and a feeling of guilt about what I was feeding my children. Over the years I’ve poured my heart and soul into communicating this story, even the ugly bits. I’ll admit that sometimes I live so deeply entrenched in the process of making change that I get horribly depressed with the knowledge that this change (which would benefit other peoples lives, as it has mine) is not being embraced by the wider community.



So these are my ethics, they don’t suite everyone. Sure there might be a few people out there that have similar beliefs, but really it’s not everyones cup of tea. As much as I’d love to see change in the western world in regards to the food we consume, the reality is rather bleak. Change will never be made on a large scale. That’s just the way it is. Lets take television for example, it’s still the most popular form of communication out there, even if much if it is rebroadcasted on the internet. You’d be hard pressed to find a hugely popular program that tells the real truth about food production issues and nutrition realities. Instead most of us are distracted by, and I quote my girlfriend here “tits and fast cars”. A Kardashian story will get more interest than an expose on 417 Working visa abuse, and for obvious reasons, her arse is far more entertaining than hearing about some poorly treated Thai students, being over worked and under paid so that production costs remain economically viable to produce cheap supermarket lettuce. Who wants to hear that reality?


So where to from here? Again my partner shares pearls of wisdom with me. “Live the life you want to live, for you and your family, and just focus on that”. I need to stop being frustrated that I can’t reach a wider ‘audience’. I need to stop focusing on trying to communicate how my life story could be beneficial to others. That’s surely a form of arrogance, even if the intentions are driven by the desire to help others and the environment.


For years I’ve gone to great lengths to communicate that what I do, isn’t going to solve the worlds problems, or it’s something everyone should embrace whether they live town or country. It’s what works for me and my family, based on our established ethics.


So with this in mind, I’m taking a hiatus from this site. I have tried for years to be honest in my message, to show the reality that isn’t shown at the supermarket, the fast food outlet or even the fancy restaurant. I’ve reached my goal. I’ve found the lifestyle and the diet that I didn’t initially know I wanted, but I’m living it now and it’s done wonders for me, and I should be content with that.


I thank you all for your support over the years, the conversations, even the arguments (although the ignorant haters can still go fuck themselves for being outright rude). This site, the ‘journey’, the conversation, it’s all helped shape me in some way. I’m still going to write for outlets like the Guardian and a few others that are popping up, but next year all my energy will be focused on setting up the Nursery Project. A place that will provide access for skills learning, for those people that already have the drive to want to make change, not a place for me to try to change people.


Peace. Out. Good bye.

A Year of Practiculture (pre-orders)

My next book 'A Year of Practiculture' is due for release in Australia in August, just before Spring arrives. This book contains the story of a year in my life, beginning in Spring, following the efforts to prepare for the harsh central highlands winter. It's also full of recipes of the food I cooked, stories of factual events, excellent use of witty humour, and my food philosophy snuck in as per usual. If you would like to directly support me, then you can pre-order the book from me and I will even scribble on it for you. ;-) Pre-order here

We decided to release the book in the northern hemisphere at the end of next winter, just as we have in the southern hemisphere, so that the reader can utilise all the information from the book, to prepare for the coming seasons. But if you're USA, Canada or UK based and keen to grab a copy asap, I'm sure  there will be some online book retailers that will post OS.

Thank you everyone for your continued support. I've put all of my passion and love for this lifestyle into this book in the hope that you will find some practical, spiritual or culinary use from reading it.






  Sitting alone around a camp fire while the fella’s took off, looking for rabbit. I stayed put, really didn’t have the inclination for that kind of activity. Let’s face it, I have and endless supply of white tailed beast in my backyard. On this night, I saw no need to look for rabbit, I was on a bird hunt. In any case, I had a mug of Pinot to concentrate on, and a cracking fire to keep me company.


Each autumn for the least three years, I’ve meet up with Nick at a rendezvous point out on his bird hunting turf which he’s been hunting for years. For some reason he invited me to hunt with him years ago and it’s become an annual pilgrimage ever since. Hunting quail is like hunting for morel mushrooms. It’s one of the rare activities where I’m prepared to put in more energy than what’s returned in output. I can spend a day hunting deer and fill my freezer that will feed the family for months, I can spend a day on quail and get one measly meal. It’s the same for trout fishing, it’s all relative I guess. Some tasks just pay off more than others. IMG_2643


In some way, this is my folly. Even though the driving purpose is food acquisition, I’ll admit that it’s a lot of effort with little return. But man cannot live on Rabbits alone, or zucchini, or jalapeño. The point is that I like variety, even if sometimes more effort is required. While the boys were out hunting the evening for rabbits, I sat close to the fire, my back cold from the wind, but my legs and hands comforted by the warmth of burning logs. When the others returned they had a hare, of which the dogs feed greedily on.


Nick lives coastal, and he’s a keen fisherman so dinner consisted of two fish courses, calamari followed by whiting. To remind us what we where there for, he cooked us spatchcocked quail. Everything he cooked was done over the hot coals, and everything tasted amazing. Fresh tasty food that he’d acquired himself. He knew the origin of his food, he knew what he was eating. It’s deliberate food consuming. Nick is part of a growing number of people that’ve started asking questions about the food they’re eating, and the lives they’re been told to live, tired of the commercials suggesting what they should aspire to work hard for. I guess this why we relate. We see many holes in the system.


Nick, Leigh and I hunted most of the following day, in fields of soft grass, over irrigation dams and in across long straight paddocks so full of quail, even the dogs got confused. The pointers pointed, they retrieved and they rand 20kms to our 1. We got some birds, a few good meals worth, but definitely not a freezer filling day. So why do I go back year after year? Well the conversation is good, the value system make sense to me, and it’s a chance to hunt some place other than my surrounding paddocks. And at the end of the hunting day we actually had some food for our families and a new set of memories. All the lands Nick hunts on are privately owned so we don’t have the anti-duck hunting protesters there, which makes the day a lot safer. But what always has me absolutely stumped, is that no one protest us hunting native quail. I can’t grasp the logic of how people are prepared to put themselves in harms way to save a duck, but not do the same for quail, or rabbit, or trout, or yabbie, or deer all of which are sentinel beings yes? What makes one animal more valued than another? It always has me thinking about the poultry factory in South Australia that process 3 million chickens each week. No one human is standing out the front, placard in hand asking why the animals are living in horrid conditions and why so many chickens are consumed in Australia. To me it has contradiction written all over it.


The fact remains that there are more human raised birds forced to live in crappy conditions and killed in their millions, than there are wild birds hunted. But the media loves to focus on the duck hunting issue, the public perception of hunters becomes skewed, subsequently laws get changed, politically motivated to win over the public. There is the law of humans, and then there is the very real law of nature. Years ago, out of complete frustration seeing the flaws in the conventional food system, I picked up a gun and decided that if I was to continue to eat meat I’d have to kill it myself. An extreme reaction, to an extreme problem. I’m not alone. There is building momentum of people taking similar action, and it’s not just hunting. Let’s take Nick for example, he grows loads of food in his backyard, can be found in forests picking mushrooms, and feeds his small family with loads of fish, of which he pulls out of the water himself. Just like me, he wants to know the origin of his food, where it’s come from, how it was produced, what’s been added to it and what impact it has on his health, and the health of the natural world. It has to start somewhere. And it has. More and more I come in contact with people asking the similar questions. For now, it’s grassroots, but it’s building momentum. One day it might even be mainstream to eat organic, maybe even less processed foods. I’m not suggesting we all pick up guns and shoot our dinner, of course that would be madness. But there is always the opportunity for us to ask our food of it’s origin. It has a lot to tell us, and the food we eat tells us a lot about ourselves, what we believe in, what we value. Tonight I’ll cook my family the quail we shot yesterday. What does that say about me? Am I a murderer? Am I ethical? or do I just choose to live closer to natures way?

Hold the Choo Choo Berries

By now we all know the nutritional benefits of Choo Choo Berry products. A few years ago it's like the product never existed, but now you see it at supermarkets, health food stores and gracing the black board menus of cool restaurants and cafes. Come on, who doesn't love a choo choo berry smoothy! And so good for you right! It's almost too good to be true. The Choo Choo (French Polynesian - Chaux Chaux) has been independently proven to cure many aliments from heart disease, obesity, wrinkles, athletes foot and chronic gullibility. Years ago before the choo choo berry entered our lives as the next hot nutritional super food, we had a pretty boring life. Life without choo choo berries? I can't even remember it. I feel great empathy for my forefathers who had a very boring existence in regards to food. Poor buggers. All they had to eat was vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat that where grown close to where they lived because let's face it, food logistics was really in it's infancy. (might I say archaic). Back then, because people where so uneducated in the ways (and obvious benefits) of pesticide use, most people had no choice but to eat organically. No choice! That's just not fair. We don't know what hardship is, but our grandparents sure did. Imagine having to go 9 months out of the year without being able to buy a tomato from the supermarket? It's just unimaginable. They where so hardy back then.


This morning when I was making breakfast I couldn't help but be #grateful for the food I was preparing. I jotted down where the ingredients were from and how they were produced. The potato and onion bread was gifted to me yesterday from a lady I took out bush to teach her about forest mushrooms. The yellow tomatoes and rocket where grown in my garden. The eggs from my hens, and the bacon from my pig loving farmer Tammi.

Because I had an open jar of my home grown pickled jalapeño on the bench, I decided that just for today I'd not have any Choo Choo berry with breakfast. I'm making a stand, a deliberate statement! I've been battling internally knowing that the Choo Choo only grows in the tropical island climate on the French Polynesian Island of  Moorea, and therefore has a huge carbon cost to get to my breakfast plate. I also read somewhere that the working conditions for the labourers on the Choo Choo farms is inhumane so I'm doing it for the underpriveldged Choo Choo berry pickers of the world. I figure if I choose one day of the week to go without Choo Choo berry I can make a real difference. One day less a week has to make a difference right? Anyway, even though my breakfast is now lacking in nutritional value to maintain my perceived health I'll chew away knowing that even just for today, I've made a difference.








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. IMG_2366

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.


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.


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.


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


  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.



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.


Image: justin bovington

Seems to be doing the trick

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.


Log Cabin For Sale!

The Smokehouse from Smith Journal on Vimeo.

Sometimes in life you have to give up something you love to make your dream a reality.

We have a dream to set up The Nursery Project, a place where we can demonstrate how we live our lives, share the skills we have learnt and build a community of mindful thinkers. To make this dream a reality we need cash. Personally I’m not a big fan of the stuff, but it’s a necessity of our society.

Over the last six months we have been working at raising capital for this project and we’ve come a long way, but we are still way off our original mark. So we’ve decided to sell something that we love. Our log cabin.

I built this cabin a few years ago from weed pine trees I felled south of Bunninyong. It’s a functional smokehouse but is also used as a kids playhouse and it’s been known to be used as guest accommodation.

The cabin is movable. We moved it from our last home on a large trailer, but it could easily be loaded onto a larger truck.

This cabin has a great deal of sentimental value to us, so it’s not an easy thing to part with, but we believe its a sacrifice we need to make to realise the dream or The Nursery Project.

If you’re interested drop us a line. Or pass the link onto someone thats looking for a unique cabin retreat, backyard playhouse or functional smoke house.

BID HERE! Thanks guys.

Veg boxes make Nursery Project a reality

It's been another lovely growing season but like all good things it's coming to the end. Autumn weather has definitely arrived, last night the apparent temp was 2.8C, suffice to say we had the fire roaring and blankets on. Untitled-1

The cool weather means that veg growing also begins its slow down. The warm loving plants like tomato, zucchini, corn and pumpkin are all starting to finish off. In a few months we will be relying on winter greens for our meals, and if the hunting season is successful we will pair winter greens with wild meat for some hearty winter tucker. While the veg is still around I suggest that we make the most of it for the remaining weeks it's available.


There is a side benefit to supporting the veg box scheme. Every buck we make in profit we are putting towards buying land to build the Nursery Project. So every box sold helps us make the dream of having a permanent venue to run real food workshops, a place to set up a demonstration veg patch, an established orchard and plenty of space to house useful animals a reality. It's a win win really. You buy a box of organic veg and fruit, we get some more money towards the Nursery Project. So in a a way you are inadvertently financially supporting this project. The Nursery Project is a big financial undertaking, we have come a long way but we need to continue to raise more funds to set this baby up, the win win veg boxes system seems like an ideal approach. Over the last two years selling veg boxes has provided our family with another source of income, just like any other small self owned business. But now I'm saving the money we'd be living off to set up a much bigger dream. Something I see real value and purpose in. Anyway, enough dream talk! Please spread the word on the internet, all of the internets. Tell your mates to buy a veg box and be an investor in something worthwhile.


Oh and for the international people that have asked about buying boxes to be donated, you can do so, and the veg box will be dropped off to the Ballarat Soup Bus which provides meals for people doing it tough on the streets of Ballarat.

So please spread the word. The last two weeks have been very quiet with everyone on easter holidays. But we're all back now, lets eat veg!

Veg boxes, Lamb, Pork and Eggs available here.


Here comes the end/Out of touch

Here comes the end

It's been a dry few months, a shower here or there but nothing worth checking the rain gauge for. A food gardener cannot complain about this warm start to autumn, to them it means an extended season for growing that important food for the family. To a grower it means a few more weeks of summer veg, that by mathematical chance will now linger on vines and bushes a little longer than expected. More red jalapeño than green. More ripe tomatoes for bruschetta. Alas, the seasons are simply playing with us. The unstoppable end always comes, as it does with all facets of nature.


The nights are cooler, the clouds fewer. By late evening the heavens empty, allowing a clear vision of celestial display. The open sky brings cooler nights. Plants feel this cold, they sense the change, either that or they simply run out of energy to grow. Maybe they don't like the cold, whatever the case may be, it's the unavoidable end for them. Leaves discolour, bean pods dry, zucchini become stumps. Growth will halt, all progress ordered to discontinue with the hint of the seasonal shift.

We have had the autumn break, that rain we so desperately long for, but we have noticed the drop in temperature. We've also noticed the roar of wind that signifies the change of season.


Like a day marked on a calendar there is an annual chore that for me is a very significant event. It's when I begin to pull the now fully plump beans from the tangled vines. Once proud, optimistic vines of progress and growth, the bean plant is now tired, worn out and hanging on to its glory days. It's gift to us is the food of its seed. The beans will dry, they will store for many years, and feed us when the garden hibernates come winter.


I pull on the gauntly vines to expose hidden bean pods lurking behind foliage. It's a brutal technique with no shortage of grunting and yanking. There is a violence, a destructive element to the process. There is no other way. It is the end for this plant, it has to be harvested, it has to make way for the next crop. It's a process that never fails to remind me of my own mortality. It reminds me that I too will be pulled out, removed, composted, and no doubt forgotten by nature, a measly blink of the eye in a much larger story of time.

Out of touch

Flames licked the side of the large log, sitting awkwardly in the fire. The warmth from the heater was welcome as I lay motionless, huddled under a cosy woollen blanket. It had been a long day, in fact the week had been packed. There was however still more to be done. An overflowing box of green beans sat in the room, waiting for me to hang. Some beans dry on the vines, whilst others are a bit slow, and are still very fresh and green come harvest time. It's these green beans that I string up, to hang by the fireplace drying for storage. This box is just the beginning. Over the next month I will hang many more beans to dry.

After a few weeks by the fire the beans rattle like a maraca and are ready to be podded and stored. They serve as food, cooked with winter greens like chard, kale and spinach. It's very much a simplistic approach to food, an approach inspired by peasant existence of the old people. It's an approach that relies on a bit of gardening, a willingness to work and knowledge of how to cook with the ingredients you've grown. It's worked for people for thousands of years, and it's a usable approach for any time in human existence, past, present and future.


What works for me doesn't necessarily work for other people. And it's not one persons place to say what is right or wrong for someone else. It's not my place to say this technique is right or better, instead I can simply say, "this is how I do it" it's up to you to take what you will. It's not for any of us to say one way of living is better than another. Instead we can simply take the good elements from what we observe around us and embrace them for our own unique existence.

Scars & Killer Harissa

It was a normal start to the day. My partner got up earlier than me, as she does every weekday. She wakes me up standing by the bed with a mug of hot brewed coffee that steams in the cold bedroom air. She sat on the edge of the bed and we shared that five minutes together before the kids come in, preparation for the school day begins and the morning slips into chaos. This morning was slightly different. I got a happy birthday kiss, a few nice handmade kids cards and a pair of old country records. I'm almost 40, I guess statistically I'm halfway to the end. I don't feel anything like my age, I just feel me. But these past few days I have been contemplating my existence thus far. I liked me as a kid, pre-teenage years. I haven't really liked me since then. I've made a lot of mistakes, there have been plenty of moments where I've been selfish, thoughtless and mean. I'm not a total arsehole but I'm no angel either. I'm sure all of us would be able to say that if we where honest with ourselves. I like be honest with myself, it helps me to introspective and thus make change.


I really didn't like the old version of me, so I've been working on change. I want to be part of something positive, I don't want to be part of the problem. Anyway, a lot of this probably isn't making much sense. I just know I carry some scars of my past, be they physical, mental and emotional. I try not to dwell on them too much, I'd rather try to better myself and move on, which is the harder option. The other option is to load up my truck and disappear forever.

Having a go at it is what keeps me going. For example, last year I built a poly tunnel to grow warm climate veg. I was too late in the season finishing the build, so I failed to get the veg in on time, and thus had a shortened season. The late summer winds also blew the structure down and I had to rebuild one from scratch. I was so devastated about fucking up and not building something strong enough to withstand the weather. But I had another go, built a new one, with stronger steel frames sourced from a generous mate. It has survived summer and now it looks like it may withstand the fierce autumn winds. As a result I have red ripened jalapeño in big numbers for the first time. The red jalapeño makes a nicer Harissa, it makes a nicer smoked chipotle too. Hell red is just sweeter and full of taste. The green ones are ok too, I still have plenty of green jalapeño that will get used in salsa picante and maybe get smoked.


We as humans can be a great support network or we can be emotional obstacles to each other. Over the years I've put myself 'out there' and it's brought about some great positive interaction and also plenty of negative reactions. I'm not trained in public relations, I'm not well versed in how to effectively communicate on social media, instead I'm just a bloke that kind of fell into it. And that has brought about some problems. Somebody told me recently that I ask for too many things, and that I should get off my arse and get a job like everyone else. This hurt me. Just because I no longer have a desk job, I actually work very hard, and I've only ever used social media to ask for help where I can't do it on my own. I guess I'm too idealistic when I think people out there are as passionate about this cause as I am. And I'm sorry for that. I take full responsibility for that mistake. And that's why I've been doing things myself. I'm working towards buying land with my own money to set up this little project I have planned to share my way of living with people that are interested in learning (btw - every veg box I sell allows me to put money towards a deposit for land). Nothing is set in stone with this project, it's going to be a continually evolving concept, just like us humans. We change, even though we carry scars of the past. Things that hurt us, challenge us and generally bring us down. If we only worked together.

We have many problems, us humans. But we also have the potential to work together and make something good from something that's a bit shit. Last year I didn't have red jalapeño Harissa, but with the help of a friend I now have a jar of spicy hot Harissa to enjoy over the next few weeks. In the scheme of things it's rather insignificant, but for some reason I couldn't help but make a note of it as I tightened the lid on my jar of hot red sauce. Sometimes it's those little things that make all the difference.


Happy Meal

Tonights meal was the bomb. I had to share it with you because it's everything I want to achieve in life (in regards to food and life-style etc). It was a simple meal, really nothing flash at all. But it was delicious. It made me happy. It was a happy meal to eat. And best of all, most of it came about from effort on my behalf, i.e. I grew it.

Zucchini grilled, fresh garden rocket, dill leaves, jalapneo and onion all plucked from the backyard garden. It was dressed with home made red wine vinegar and topped with my Jamon lardons which I fried.


This meal if everything to me. It's what I want to share with people when I set up The Nursery Project. I want to make this with complete strangers and get them excited about real food and how to grow and raise it.

I love my back garden, but it's a rental. I won't be here for ever. In fact I've started looking at patches of land where I can set up the Project. Land IS NOT cheap man! And now that I'm buying this land with my measly finances I'm kinda freaking out.

What if no one comes to learn? What if the Nursery Project is a complete dismal flop? I guess I just have to continue on and hope for the best. The main goal is to set up a place to share ideas and knowledge. Worse case scenario, I'm sure I'll cover that goal.

That’s a reality I’d like to see change.

A few weeks ago I cold smoked a bunch of trout that I caught out of my mate Jacks dam. Being fish that live in still water they can taste a bit muddy at times so I opt for the smoking approach, which tends to distract you from the earthy flavour of dam trout. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like smoked trout?

After I dropped the kids off to school this morning, I made myself a fine breakfast, albeit late. The cold smoked trout was the centre piece. I cut off a few slices from a loaf of sourdough I baked last night, scooped out some ripe avocado, lay over some slices of the smoked trout, topped it with grilled jalapeño, added fennel fronds from the garden, and finally crumbled over soft goat feta on top. A season of salt and pepper and breakfast was made. It was delicious.

As I sat on the stool looking out through the kitchen window, munching and enjoy the food, I thought about all the ingredients for my meal. I was content that I knew what was in my food, and how the ingredients came to be on my kitchen bench. Then I thought a lot about a bag of grapes. Yes a bag of grapes. No I wasn't eating the grapes, the grapes I was thinking about where in a bag that was offered to us at a diner we visited after school yesterday. The lovely lady that owns the diner offered my kids the grapes to eat as her son could no longer eat them. She explained that he now has an allergic reaction to them, he comes out in hives. I had a spell of hives when I was a kid once, it’s not cool.


I looked at the packet of fresh looking grapes and noticed in large letters printed on the plastic bag ‘ALLERGY ADVICE, MAY CONTAIN: SULPHUR DIOXIDE’. I pointed this out to the lady at that just offered them and she was amazed that she had not noticed this health warning that was clearly printed in large print. I thanked her for the offer, but wasn’t keen for my kids to eat them so I declined.


I took a photo of the grapes though and loaded it to my instagram account with the caption ‘amazeballs’. Because, well quite frankly I find it amazing that we are offered food that has been treaded with something like sulphur dioxide to keep it ‘fresh’. There are lots of cases where sulphites are used as a preservative in foods, and wine, and they do an amazing job of keep food preserved. They also cause some reactions in our humans bodies too. Hives is one example, but shortness of breath and asthma is another, and there are many more, some I’m sure we will learn about well into the future.

The point I’m making is (and you can call me a hippy here) I just find it amazing that we tamper with our food so much, without 100% categorically knowing the implications and adverse effects it may have on our health. We as consumers buy this stuff, we eat it, and thus we introduce certain chemical compositions into our bodies. We do this happyily trusting that it’s safe. There was a warning on the packet, so that should do the trick right?

It’s a bit of a gamble though. Not all of us have a medical science background. Not all of us have spent a lifetime researching the effects of preservatives in food on humans. Not all of us have lived a full life of consuming such food to see what happens at the end. But we continue to eat it. Fully trusting in government legislation and regulation. That is until something fucks up, like say contracting Hepatitis A from imported frozen berries from China. Now don’t think I’m simply taking this weeks hot food scare story to bolster my message about eating real food, there is so many bad food stories out there that I could write something about it each week, this weeks Hepatitis A food news is not an isolated incident. There is an endless supply of stories about how peoples health is effected by packaged food, processed food or any food that’s been treated with pesticides or preservatives. Then there’s the modern western illness of obesity and it’s long list of health implications. We could go on about it for hours, days, months.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the writings on the wall. It’s been on the wall for a long time. There are many people that will poke fun at this message, and that is to be expected. Poke fun as they may, the principle reality that shit food equates to shit health will still remain.

The reality is that our bodies are natural machines that run well on natural fuels, not tampered food. You don’t even need to be a scientist to comprehend that principle. I like this reality, it’s what I try to live my life by. It’s one of those realities we can’t change, just like the one about nature not needing us, but us needing nature. The planet would survive quite happily without humans, but we desperately need natural resources to keep us alive.

One reality that I find a bit shitty, is that western humans simply will not change. The isles at the supermarkets will continue to be stocked with ‘food’ that is highly processed and that eventually will make us sick. The fast food chains will continue to have millions of robotic customers through their doors, and as a result we will continue to get fatter, sicker and eventually reduce our life expectancy. And you know what? Who gives a shit?

A minority of people give a shit. A minority of people are prepared to make change in their lives, for their health, for the health of their family and for the health of the natural world. It’s not a matter of Us Vs Them. You either think it’s important or you don’t.

I don’t really want to engage in any discussions about this anymore. It’s like flogging a dead horse. It’s becoming a real waste of time arguing with people that seem to be siding with the idea that processed foods are ok, and everything is alright. Well it’s not. And I figure most people are going to continue to remain ignorant, and they can because thats the beauty of personal and free choice. The only problem with this system is that by the time I’m old and needing health care, the medical system will be full of sick people that could have made a change when they where younger. That pressure on the health system will be phenomenal. And that’s a reality I’d like to see change.

Until next time, Eucumbene

The hill climb past Corryong made the old Fairmont's engine moan. With each tight winding corner came another, then another. It seems like a never ending labyrinth of tight corners, steep descents and hill climbs that would challenge Sir Edmund Hillary. Sometimes the drop off to the side of the road is so steep, you lose your stomach peeking over when you drive. Some unlucky bastards made the plunge, their land cruiser looked a little worse for ware, actually it was a right off for sure. I kept my eye on the road, and we where feeling fresh from an over night stay at a friends house on Lake Hume. IMG_1488

Breaking up the drive for this years high country fly fish was a brilliant idea. I think it's a bit safer than making the trip in a single day. A rest can do wonders on such a long haul. Well it's not really that far a drive, all things considered, it's just the terrain. It takes a lot out of a driver, concentrating on the demanding roads. But we're not here to talk about road trips. It's fly fishing that takes me this high up the mountains each year. It's all about the Eucumbene.


It's a river that has definitely entranced me. I will return year after year to fish it's challenging waters. It has provided me with some magnificent memories and some heart breaking fishing moments. What was in stall for us this year, was anyones guess. This year I travelled up with my mate Raynor, as Jeff had decided to fish Tasmania this summer. Raynor's a keen fisherman and was chomping at the bit to fish the majestic river.


We arrived Sunday, headed out on the water in the afternoon. The water was at a good level, not too low as it had been my previous visit. The water is fresh and clean, so clean we drink it straight from the river. There isn't any stock up here, give or take the odd wild Brumby, so the water isn't polluted. It's mostly snow melt, and it's the best tasting river water in Australia. That afternoon I hooked a small brown on one of my favourite runs. Back in to the water he went, and I smiled like a kid, for at least ten minutes non stop. I was back on the river.


The next two days where magic. We fished long days and had reasonable success. Raynor caught all the big ones for our dinner, while I had a talent for catching all the small fry. But who cares really? It's the time on the river, catching fish, any fish. That's the thing that I've learnt with fly fishing over the years. It's about the process and the experience. Honestly I'm not sure why it's great to be out there, it just is. I don't even really want to try to figure out why I love it so much, I just want to keep doing it.





In the late afternoons and into evening I'd prepare the meal while Raynor would build his famous fire teepee. We'd watch the amazing storm cloud of summer role in, and just take in the view, of which we could see for miles around us. We ate well and drank whiskey on ice.

There is no phone reception. No amenities. No real comfort. We lay on the ground in swags, looking up at the stars and fall to sleep, to dream of trout on hooks and bottomless glasses of whiskey. Until next time, Eucumbene.


Big Red

Yesterday while watering the veg patch I noticed that my little crop of beetroot had gone from golf ball size to oversized tennis ball size. As I didn't grow the beets for any sports ball, I decided it was time to pull some out and cook with them. It's pretty amazing this process of growing food in your backyard. And it still blows me away how easy the process it. You see, it was sometime late last year that I raked over a modest patch of soil in my garden, and sprinkled some beetroot seeds in. After a few weeks they germinated, they've been growing all summer long. Now they're big, red and beautiful. It's food man. In my backyard! I can totally dig that (see what I did there?)


The best part about being a grower is that I'm an active protester. This is my voice of protest, it's active and practical. And whilst I may be sticking my finger up at the the crappy food processing mega system of the western world, I'm also feeding my family in the process. That's a practical outcome that makes me boogie.

If you can't grow your own food but want to eat real food like this, then remember that I deliver it to Melbourne. So you too can stick your finger up at the system, and the side benefit is that you're eating nutritional rich organic produce just grown over an hour of the big smoke.


Also if you're on the internet, please show us what your doing with the veg, eggs, meat or my sourdough starter. We love seeing how this real food ends up.


Repeating like a broken record player

Years ago, on a cold winters day, I looked at the tomato I was slicing, and wondered about its origins. Central Highlands winters are remarkably harsh, there is no chance a tomato plant would survive these frigid temperatures. After a little research I found the fruit had either came from a northern grower (QLD) or was sourced from a Victorian hydroponic plantation (artificially fed and heated). It was one of those light bulb moments that set me on a path of asking more questions of my food. In fact, it's what drove me to start growing much of my own food like a 'prepper' gone mad.  

My summer crop growing in my sunlight heated poly tunnel


Out of interest I asked permission to visit a local hydroponic grower where I got a tour of the enormous hot houses that where as hot as a tropical Queensland day. I was amazed by how warm the industrial sized hot houses where, and enquired if it was a result of the sunlight trapped in the hot house. I was told that it was in fact a large heater that was powered by diesel generators. When I asked how much fuel it used, he replied "don't ask". In the hot house, in long tubular rows, grew stunning looking tomatoes, eggplant and basil. In the middle of winter it was a real beautiful site, and the aromatics where mind blowing. Made me desperate for summer.

That farmer was a real nice bloke. Trying to make a living for his family. Providing food for the local community. All those things are admirable and great. The downside of what I witnessed on that day was the reality that the veg was growing in a fertiliser medium (man made and totally inorganic) and the hot house was powered by a carbon emitting generator, adding to our climate woes.

I was intrigued by the paradox of wanting to eat this delicious fresh food, but having an understanding of the underlying reality, that the food may not be that good for my health (grown with a fertiliser solution) and being grown in a carbon emitting hothouse, it was clearly adding to worsening climate health. This experience was just the beginning, from here on in I started asking more questions and researching where my food came from, how it was produced and what was in it. What I learnt was a bit crap.

I know it's really boring hearing the same old bullshit winging story about how todays food is so crap, and the world is fucked blah blah blah. Don't you think I know how annoying that is. It keeps me up most nights, thinking about what to do about it. And you know what? My voice is a tiny wave in the ocean. Insignificance personified. It makes no real substantial difference, and in most cases I think I'm preaching to the converted. Even if I did have a loud global voice I wonder what difference it would make. Personal food and lifestyle choices are very personal. Even if one is presented with the scientific facts, one may still choose a Big Mac.

As long as us westerners continue to produce highly processed foods, we will continue to suffer the medical consequences. We will continue to inflict environmental damage.

That is a reality, whether you agree with me or not, whether you hate me or love me, that reality will remain. It's simply a matter of cause and effect.

In my lifetime I have seen dramatic changes in what we eat, and the subsequent effects it has on our health. I started primary school in 1981, and like many people that I talk to from my generation, I (we) do not recall anyone having any food allergies. There was one kid out of a hundred that was fat (yes no denying it, he was fat) and there was one kid I remember that had an asthma pump. The remainder of my school years was the same, although more kids seemed to suffering from asthma into high school years.

20 years passed with the click of the finger. My generation are now the parents with kids at school, although things are dramatically different than in 1981. My children's school is strictly nut free, to remain safe for the kids with severe food allergies. In fact some parents have to carry around emergency injections just in case an allergic episode occurs. When I pick my kids up from school it's hard not to notice the many chubby kids that seem to be paired with obese parents. I'm not being mean. It's a blatant visual reality. I was, at one time, one of those obese parents too.

What happened? Why are autism rates in children off the charts? Why is it that seemingly every second person suffers from some sort of food intolerance, be it gluten or dairy or something else. Why is that many of my generation suffer from anxiety, depression, hyper tension or diabetes?

I know it's a pain to hear, but the reality that we're eating ourselves to poor health is putting pressure on our already struggling health system. The reality of our preference for packaged processed foods is continuing to have a detrimental impact on our natural world. These are things that should concern us. These are things that should make us angry, concerned, and actively participate in making change for ourselves, our families and our natural world.

I feel myself repeating this message like a broken record player.

I fond myself questioning my approach to communicating this message. Am I being to honest? Do people want to hear this reality? Should I just go away and shut up? But I can't. It's something that has personally effected me and damn it, I want to see some change in my life time.

How long we as a population will we happily eat food, of which we are blissfully unaware of the impact the ingredients have on our health (and the health of our offspring).

How is this chemically tampered food impacting on our gut flora?

Is it damaging our DNA?

It's clearly making us unwell in general.

There is an eerie similarity with this health crisis, to the realisation of health implications from smoking cigarettes. But just like that situation, there is a great deal of money to be lost in living healthy. Imagine how much less money would be spent on prescription medication. Imagine how much less money would be spent at supermarkets and take away chains. There is a lot to be lost, economically speaking.

I saw a packed line that overflowed out the door at a Subway Take away in Ballarat the other day. Even though the food isn't really a perfect healthy option, it's obvious that many people want a to make a healthy choice. Making the choices that are right for us as individuals can only be brought about with education, sharing knowledge and experience. I hope there is a brighter future.

In the meantime I retreat. I'll work in my garden growing food as it should be.

Grown in soil, warmed by the sun and fed by natural fertiliser of chicken poo and compost.


The fruit that helped change my life, growing like mad in my poly tunnel.




A good starting point

It sounds a bit corny but I have been on this 'journey' for a number of years now. I'm not sure exactly where it started. When I look back, it seems like it was a combination of things that set me on my path. Sure I'd always grown a few vegetables in my backyard, but nothing really substantial. I think I only grew a few plants because the adult version of me was trying to hang on to nostalgic memories of the farm house vegetable garden of my childhood. Veg and smoked bacon broth IMG_1015

My lifestyle changes really stepped up a notch at a small inner city house that I renovated. It was a tiny backyard, mostly concrete. I hired a jack hammer and went mad. My flabby sick body wobbled as the hammer smashed through the thick concrete. My body was not in good shape, nether was my mind, and my 'spirit' or whatever you want to call that inner voice we have, he wasn't very happy with me either.

I had a goal. For some reason I'd become fixated on converting that little backyard into an urban food bowl. I had romantic visions of walking out my back door, picking tomatoes from the vine and making a delicious breakfast. Which is a reality for me today. My dream has been achieved.

Like I mentioned, I've been on a journey. A corny journey. I had no idea where this little urban garden would lead to. I just knew that I wanted to do it. Like most gardens it grew, and not just in physical size. It grew so large that the boundaries of an urban fence could no longer contain it, so it moved inside of me. It's taken over my way of thinking. It's taken control of everything I do. It's made me ask questions. It's made my view of the world completely different. It's made me reassess everything I believed in.

No one has all the answers to our world problems. I definitely don't. I do however know that I am privileged in that I can make a choice of lifestyle that involves growing my food, hunting off the land and harvesting what nature provides. That's definitely not the answer for everyone, especially city dwellers. What's needed is a fundamental shift in western consumer habits and a cap on population growth. Two things I fear will never be addressed.

Today the Doomsday clock ticked over to three minutes to midnight. It won't have any impact though. It will not change any of the decisions our leaders of government and industry will make. The machine of human progress and growth is just far too powerful. It has unstoppable momentum now. I used to think that us end consumers could make the change our world needed, but I feel more and more that the behaviorial shift for an individual is far too confronting and intimidating for many to accept, and therefore they remain intrenched in the conventional system, and the machine continues to churn. Depressing right?

But is there hope? I often speak to people that have become 'enlightened'. People that have become aware of the impacts of western consumer culture, people that have learnt about the impacts of western food, lifestyle. People that have taken the time to become aware. When I speak to these people, when I share a meal or a conversation with them I feel some little glimmer of hope. The enthusiasm we share with each other is often a recharge we need. It's draining to see so much around us that we know is not positive, that we know is detrimental for our health as humans and of this earth. We need to support each other, and to continue to share.

A new year has begun, new possibilities will present themselves. I want to share as many meals and conversations with people, to encourage and support, love and nurture.

Today when I sliced through sun warmed tomatoes from my garden, chopped basil and grilled jalapeño then drizzled home made red wine vinegar over it, I stood staring at that bowl of food. If only I could somehow share this with everyone. Share the experience of propagating the seed, raising the plant, watering, feeding then finally harvesting and cooking. Then enjoying all that effort, that sense of accomplishment, and the undeniable nutritional sustenance it provides. Would sharing that experience help open doors for an individual, to make the change our world needs? Is it just a matter of us sitting, eating and sharing conversation the starting point for hope?

We sure need action. We need more people to stop simply talking about it, instead we need to implement the change in our consumer habits. We need to walk the walk.

To share ideas and good conversation over some real food is definetely a good starting point.

I hope this year is a good one.





SUMMER VEG - EGGs - PORK - LAMB boxes are back!

Guys, if you live in Melbourne and want to get a big box of organic veg, eggs, and free range pork and lamb you can. This is our third summer season now supplying Melbourne punters with real food and we're excited the season is back! So what's in the box? Well the veg box is full of about 12-15kg of fresh picked organic veg with a little bit of fruit. The types of veg differ as the growing season progress, which will give you a true indication of whats really seasonal. The type of veg does change over the season but normally you will find, zucchini, tomato, cabbage, carrot, potato, corn, kale, chard, onion, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, chilli, pumpkin, daikon, parsnip, beetroot, basil. Later in the season some apples, pears, walnuts and chestnuts may appear depending on the harvest.

It's no bullshit, real food. It's mostly picked the day before delivery based on your paid order. It's a mixed selection of whats come from Rod's farm.

The Eggs are from Daylesford organics, which we couldn't get last year which disappointed a lot of people because they loved them. But they're back!

The meat is from The Farmers Larder also in Daylesford, but this year they've got lambs for sale, so you can order either a lamb pack, pork pack or a mixed meat pack.

The system remains the same (see here)

You order and pay by each Thursday 9am cut off. (I will be strict this year ;-)) and we deliver on the Saturday.

We deliver at the times stated on the website, and you arrive between these times, and I'll then pass you your food.

If you're new to the system please read over the details for delivery to avoid not arriving and then being disappointed. Remember, if you don't arrive you loose the box, and the payment, as we pick the veg based on your order. It's a degradable commodity. Sorry guys.


Hello beautiful

Technically it's summer, but here on the hill it feels like it's just become spring. Last night I lit the house fire again, which isn't unusual for this time of year. It's the place my 'almost father in law' once said, has the worst weather he's ever experienced. It is pretty challenging weather here, dare I say, at times it's rather shithouse. But with a little perseverance mixed with patience, I still manage to grow food here.


I watch as online friends munch on early spring broccoli, proudly devour broad beans and peas while I'm still eating eggs and kale (insert teenage style moan "boring"). But I laugh in the face of adversity. Ha Ha Ha. Look, I finally ate my broccoli! Ha Ha Ha (more adversity face laughing). In fact I've now been eating it for a week, and it's bloody delicious. I never used to cook or eat broccoli in my former life. But now, every year, its a late Spring treat that sets the ball rolling for a long period of dining on mostly vegetables.

I watered my garden this morning, the warmth of the sun on my back, the chirp and buzz of busy birds and panicked insects filling the air. The pleasant aroma of basil, and tomato in the humid poly-tunnel and the chooks making their pretty noises scratching for food in the chicken pen. It's a bid rad.

When I'm watering the plants I look over them and think about which crops will replace the current, and whether I need to plant more of one plant or harvest some of another. There is so much going on in this small space. It all happens independently yet together. It's a beautiful system. It's really just a micro version of how nature all over the world works. Living organisms growing, surviving and dying. One of the greatest things about being a dude that grows food, is that I can see this system, thus understand the basics of ecology. The biodiversity is right there in front of you, it's as obvious as a bee sting.

Like a well oiled machine. The plants, the animals and the innate elements of soil, water and sunlight. It's not magic, it's nature. And without we're buggered. And this is why I give a shit. This is why I left my previous lifestyle. It hasn't meant leaving society or not contributing, it's just meant that I've become reacquainted with the nature stuff that ultimately keeps us kicking.  

Working with what we have

I love searching through the food stores and finding little gems hidden at the back of shelves, deep in cupboards or stuck at the bottom of the freezer. These little surprises can be the start of a new traditional dish, something that you'll end up cooking over and over again. Sometimes you'll find something too cook with, and you honestly have no idea where it came from or what to do with it. I love that situation. It forces me to be creative. That's one of the joys of cooking from scratch. Don't you think? So I found a vacuum sealed bag in the chest freezer labelled 'stag roll roast'. I remember the day I butchered this deer and I remember being asked by my bagging helper what to write on the bag. I looked at the meat I had just cut and replied 'roll roast'. I obviously had something in mind at the time, but six months later I'd forgotten those culinary intentions and drew a blank. I stood in the old brick larder holding the ice steaming cut of meat, wondering what the bloody hell was I going to do with it.

Roll roast eh? I guessed some bready filling would be in order. Some herbs. A rich gravy and a side of chips. A nice hearty meal for this cool spring spell we're having. I made the stuffing with toasted bread crumbs, sage, thyme, butter and sautéed onions and garlic. Slapped the old mixture over the meat, rolled and tied it then gave it roasting gently for a few hours. I cooked even more onions in the juices from the roast to make a rich gravy and served the venison with a side of crispy roast wedges. I'm not sure if it will become a food tradition I'll make each each year I hunt a deer, but I'll surely have a nice memory to recall.



Has anyone else made a rolled roast from venison?