may meeting at bellbrae hall

what a great venue! although a little loud with screaming pre-schoolers, it’s certainly a cosy little hall with all you need to make a cuppa and that nice bellbrae vibe. anyway, we’re all experienced at adjusting our hearing to discern normal speaking from the particular frequency possessed by an under 5 year old.

welcome to newcomers fi, sue and deb. we hope you enjoy being a part of greenmums!

thanks also to sue who has lent us copies of ‘the healthy home’ (see website here) – described as a guide containing ‘simple truths to protect your family from hidden household dangers’. we’ll be getting a report from chloe and deb next month (!)

food issues dominated this week. i had come across many things over the past few weeks – all related to food, what’s in food (and shouldn’t really be there), how food is produced and how to eat healthily but cheaply as well. so this month, the main theme will be food and food-related issues.

chemical maze i-phone app – kerryn told us about an i-phone app for the chemical maze. can be downloaded via i-tunes for $7.99. gives references for food additives and their related numbers (which may be benign or not), potential reactions from a food allergy point of view and much more. worth a look and certainly handy if you have one of the ubiquitous apple phones.

true food campaign: genetically modified foods and labelling lawscheck it out, along with the link to the right from a talk given by robyn o’neill, food activist in the united states. a great guide and listing of food and labels to buy and avoid in relation to gm contamination.

best advice of the day – came from sue: when in doubt, go for the product with the least number of ingredients. there’s also the sagely advice of “if your grandma wouldn’t recognise it as a food, don’t eat it/buy it.”

grow it! – check out the link here for latest info on expert installation of garden beds at subsidised cost – available throughout the surf coast. you also get some pretty awesome courses from composting to organic pest control as part of the package.

excursions – our first excursion of the year will be to diggers club garden of st erth at blackwood on thursday 23 june. in addition to the nursery and beautiful gardens, there’s a cafe and apparently some nice walks through the bush nearby. maybe we can shoot for a rendevous at st erth at 11am? we can discuss at the next meeting.

bee sustainable brunswick – chloe mentioned this new shop in melbs to assist in making the move to self sustainability in an urban context. maybe a day trip for those interested?

frugavore, the book – a great book, another fantastic find. check out the link here to see more about “how to grow your own, buy local, waste nothing and eat well”.

a greenmums library – after we talked about the frugavore book, and buying it from the good life bookclub, i was thinking maybe we can start a greenmums library. i know between a few of us we have quite a selection. i will add a new tab to the blog ‘library’, which will list all the books available. if you have a book that you’d like to share with other greenmums, let me know. check out the new tab/menu above. i will buy a copy of frugavore for the library. if you want your own copy, you can buy direct from the author at the frugavore link above.

it always pays to read between the lines – i have read conflicting debates about food availability (in terms of our dire need to produce more and more in the face of a growing global population) and food waste (westerners chuck out a ridiculous amount of food which creates a problem in itself), and have been often left wondering why? why do we need all this genetically-modified, highly industrialised, faceless version of food production? which apparently has very little nutritional value and is also linked to the increase in allergies/diabetes/obesity rates? it’s funny how farmers get wheeled out by politicians or the big-business interests as the ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ in the food production debate at about the same rate as indigenous or traditional owners in the mining one (sorry, still a bit mad about the whole kimberley thing). i recently read a fantastic article in the griffith review #27 (food chain – in the greenmums library) by cameron muir called ‘feeding the world’. it clarified a lot of things for me, and spoke from the perspective of the food aspect of food production and consumption – which highlighted how this element is almost always left out of discussions about food production when these discussions come from politicians and lobbyists. here’s a short quote to give you an idea of the article: “why have rural lobbyists talked about feeding the world when it is clear that australian agriculture makes a very minor contribution to world food production (less that 2%), and hence has no significant role in food production, and hence has no significant role in nourishing the world’s poor? because, throughout the history of settler australia, we have valued the social function of agriculture over its utilitarian function. we have cared more about the culture, character and work of agricultural production that the actual food and fibre it produces. that social function is being reassessed, and the role of agriculture in australia might change – again.”  so, next time you hear someone saying that doesn’t jibe about organic food production – that alternatives to industrialised food production can never work in terms of feeding us all – just read between the lines and ask – why not?

quote of the month – “When we eat from the industrial food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases. This state of affairs appears all the more absurd when you recall that every calorie we eat is ultimately the product of photosynthesis – a process based on making energy from sunshine.” – American food write Michael Pollan in his open letter to president-elect Barack Obama in the NY Times in October 2008.

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