Many months ago I got a call from a friend about a bunch of piglets free to a good home. This is the second year in a row something like this has happened. Maybe the word has got out the I'm the man to contact to take care of unwanted pigs. And that's alright by me.
Anyway, as it turned out there were a whole bunch of piglets, of which I didn't have the facility to take care of. So the piglets went to another friends farm, where I managed to strike up a deal to house at least one of those piglet's in his porky nursery to be raised to maturity. All I had to do was cover feed cost. Seemed like a good idea to me.
After a fair bit of mucking around (It's been a busy year for me), we finally got that pig to the abattoir. A day later hanging at a mates cool room was our beautiful pig ready for us to break down. I have a few pork gurus/mentors which I'm very stoked about, and this mate, well she guided and trained me in the process of breaking down a pig, just like when Johnny Castle taught Baby how to Dirty Dance. I did this job last year, but with a more commerical butcher who wasn't really interested in teaching me any skills, he just wanted to chop the pig up as quickly as possible. Which is cool. That's what I commissioned him for. But here, my mentor (female Johnny Castle, but with pork) really took me under her teaching wings. I learnt so much in just a few hours. It's a blessing to learn from someone so passionate about what they do. She calls herself an 'ethical omnivore' which I've never heard of before but it makes total sense to me. Maybe I'm one too.
The story here is that the little piglets where housed at a pig farm, a nursery if you will. They grew up with the care from the dedicated pig farmer, and finally matured into a beautiful animal. One step further and they transformed from living animal into a year supply of pork for our family. To finish of the process, the cuts have started to become cured little gems for future cooking like double smoked loin bacon, jamon, chorizo and hot salami.
I've had an idea running in my head for a few years now. In fact for too many years, it's been an idea, just that. But I'm moving into action now. Last week we looked at a piece of land which was in fact an old nursery that raised little plants to maturity for sale to the public. It has all the bones I need for my big idea.
The idea? Imagine a place where we can show how to grow food and raise animals in a pegged out space the size of the average Australian backyard.
Imagine a place where we can cook real food for people, and where every meal served comes a recipe card so you can go home and cook the food yourself.
Imagine a place that could facilitate workshops and sharing of skills and ideas. And because I don't have to rent it I can get the rates affordable so that everyone can attend.
Imagine a place for people to experience, touch, feel, taste a lifestyle so beautiful it makes this bearded grump so very content and happy.
Imagine a place where all people, all races, all religions, all the people can come to experience something beautiful. A mini harmonious nirvana, where it's cool to be a human.
A place where people can buy food staples from producers. Nothing gourmet. Just real bloody food.
I'm working on a crowd funding project for the 'Nursery'. It will be launched in the next few weeks. I will be calling in a million favours from everyone that cares. I have a LOT of money I need to raise. Like A LOT. I have a lot of meetings, brainstorming and favour asking ahead of me.
When I hear the word 'nursery' it evokes a thought of place's where little things are raised and nurtured to grow into big things. I want to turn this old nursery into a place where I can nuture little ideas into big action.
In a time of chaos, fear, hatred and consumerism, we have an opportunity to make something beautiful happen. We have a project of hope. Watch this space.