An excerpt from Fair Food: Stories from a Movement Changing the World (edited by Nick Rose, UQP, 2015)
The honey dripped off my sourdough toast and I licked it off my wrist. The honey is from bees pollinating the fruit trees in the orchard, and the flour is milled from grain from an organic farm, eighteen kilometres away. The bread is baked in an oven f ired with wood from the trees around the property; any leftover scraps go to the chooks, who provide eggs in return. This is closed-loop eating, and it’s all about good permaculture design – having the right things in the right place.
What would happen if we taught our children that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people planted crops, tilled them, irrigated them, stored and preserved surpluses, built houses and sewed their clothes? Would the sky fall in? And why would we teach them such things? Because that’s what the explorers saw.
When we bought our 1.2 hectares in Old Warburton, east of Melbourne, Victoria, our aim was to grow the majority of our vegetables and fruit, enabling us to eat fresh food in season and to preserve our requirements for the rest of the year. In recent years production reached our target. Quality, quantities and food miles were under control, but storage became an issue. We had been using the laundry cupboards, supplemented by recycled cupboards removed from an old house, for storage.