WHAT’S IN SEASON ON THE LOCAL STAND? SPRING 2013

News

WHAT’S IN SEASON ON THE LOCAL STAND? SPRING 2013
13th October, 2013

It’s spring, greens season and it’s a great time to eat salad! After winter where the garden moves slowly, this burst of warm weather has brought out growers laden with delicious greens to fill our bellies.

Fruit is limited locally at this time of the year, though there are still lemons and grapefruits. Rhubarb is also starting to come into use. But as you can see many fruit trees have just flowered, so the fruit needs time to develop. It’s a great time to enjoy the apple walk down at Katoomba’s Community garden and look forward to the up coming summer and autumn crops.

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THE ANCIENT ART OF CLOTHES SWAPPING
22nd September, 2013

For some people a change of season is a good time to clear out the wardrobe of all the things they don’t wear, that don’t fit or just plain don’t suit them. As the saying goes ‘one person’s trash is someone else’s treasure’, and what better way to share the treasure, save the planet and have an excuse for a tea party than to organise a clothes swap? Get together with a few of your friends or acquaintances that you suspect might have amazing hand-me-downs and let the swapping begin!

For me, swapping clothes for the past eight years or so has created opportunities to connect with a circle of cherished friends, meeting new ones as the circle grows, and a time for sharing or storytelling. Our clothes have stories, some more than we wish: the jumper your grandmother made you but you never wore, the shirt from an ex-lover you can’t bear to wear again, the dress you can’t believe you ever wore. As our clothes move on, these stories move with them and take on a new life.

Clothes Swapping Guidelines (optional – this is how we do it!)

Around ten people are invited to the swap. The venue can be swapped between homes to share it around. An invitation goes out and the date and time are booked in. We allow around three hours for the swap (time for lots of tea, chat and food). Once an invitation is received we reply and then gather the clothes we wish to swap. Naturally we all bring along a plate of food to share! After about half an hour chat time we sit in a circle with our bags of clothes to swap. One person shows their wares at a time. At this point people can express interest in the items – if only one person wants item they get it! If more than one person wants the item it goes in the ‘fight pile.’ If no one wants the item it goes in a bag for charity or is saved for a future swap. Once everyone has swapped their stuff we move on to the fight pile. This is the time when we pull out our ‘blue steel’ (for those familiar with the film Zoolander), strut our best poses and facial expressions to win the desired item. Don’t forget to help the host to clean up! Then just enjoy seeing your friends wearing all your old clothes and looking fabulous!

AMANDA QUINN

THE BAGLADY IS BACK FROM IRELAND WITH A MESSAGE: ASAP.
3rd September, 2013

Long term member Shirley Lewis is a passionate Co-op supporter and wants to spread her own message to our community about sustainable living.

Q:   WHAT DOES ASAP MEAN?

A:   As SUSTAINABLY As Possible…..

Shirley Lewis aka the Baglady has been Living ASAP for 15 years now: 10 of those years in Northern Ireland where she campaigned passionately against plastic bags, packaging, litter, and all forms of waste and for a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.

By midsummer 2011, Baglady Productions had signed thousands of schoolchildren, teachers, parents, and over half the N.Ireland Assembly , to Pledge ASAP:  Give up/cut down one thing, take up/do more of one thing, and to Live ASAP

Now back in Australia, veteran Food Co-opper Shirley is taking a look at: How ASAP can a Baglady live in different communities? Wherever we are, whoever we are, we urgently need to find whatever ways we can, to reduce our impact on our stunning planet home, and return to respect for everyone and everything.

For more Information on Shirley and the projects that she is working on- Listen to

The GLObal TV SHOw/the GLO online on Radio Blue Mountains, 89.1 FM, Monday 10-11am. and also-www.bagladyproductions.org

facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/TheGlObalTvShOw

SHIRLEY LEWIS

SPOTLIGHT ON OUR LOCAL GROWERS: STEVE ALTON
26th August, 2013

Take a compacted gravel car park, a big pile of lucerne hay, some manure and two years of love, passion and an “exuberant amount of time” and you’ll be amazed at what can be grown in Katoomba, just 800m from the Co-op.

Steve Alton has been a passionate gardener for most of his life. He learnt the art from his father, who was a ‘victory gardener’, growing produce in allotments as a necessity during wartime. For Steve, gardening is an essential part of life and he has always had gardens wherever he has lived. Katoomba has been one of the more challenging places to garden due to the poor soil, cold winters and erratic rainfall.

Steve sees his garden as an example of what’s possible in Katoomba, especially when we need to start considering issues such as food miles and food security. Many of you will be familiar with Steve’s bountiful beans, luscious lettuces, superb silverbeet and hearty herbs all tied up in flaxen bundles that he brings in to the Co-op several times a week.  And he still has enough left over to feed himself!

 

So how did he go from having a compacted gravel carpark to an incredibly productive garden in just two years? The first step was to determine the sunniest part of the site. Then he mattocked up the gravel to loosen it and mark it out into rows. Thirty five kilograms of seed potatoes were then laid on top of the gravel, sprinkled with blood and bone and covered with lucerne mulch.  As the potatoes grew, more mulch was added, becoming a rich, deep compost over time. The potato crop served several purposes. Not only did it provide Steve with an ample food source for the following year, the potato roots helped to aerate the soil and gravel base of the garden and the lucerne mulch layers formed the basis for the deep raised beds which now grow a wide variety of vegetables. Elsewhere in the garden fruit trees are already established and bearing fruit, thriving on a rich diet of mulch and manure.

Steve is a great recycler, sourcing windbreaks and wire and netting from council cleanups. An old bathtub and a row of repurposed eskies collect water from the roof of the house to use on the garden and a friend collects old toilet rolls for Steve to use for raising seedlings. That way the plants have a head start before the snails get them and the toilet rolls can be planted straight into the ground to reduce the risk of transplant shock. Steve makes most of his compost in trenches to avoid double handling, but every now and again lashes out and builds a hot compost pile. A forty four gallon drum near the veggie patch contains a pungent brew of liquid manure (a mixture of cow and horse manure in a sack suspended in water) which gets diluted and poured on the garden once a week during the growing season.

Steve is keenly aware of his local ecosystem and his garden is a constant source of wonder. He regards it respectfully as “the microcosm that feeds you.” You may remember his engraved pumpkins from the last couple of years reminding us of the fecundity of the earth, to forgive and not to treat the soil like dirt.

 

HALIN NIEWENHUYSE

BOOK REVIEW: WHERE AM I WEARING?
19th August, 2013

Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People that Make Our Clothes, by Kelsey Timmerman

Journalist and activist Kelsey Timmerman wakes up one day and ponders: where have these clothes come from? Who made them? This sets him on a journey to answer these questions, literally going to the countries and factories where the clothing he is wearing has been made.

The working conditions vary somewhat from country to country, but overall things don’t look so great, to say the least.

What makes the book most interesting is that the author meets with the people who make our clothes and puts a name, a face and a story to them. He tells us what these people sacrifice daily to work in these factories. Timmerman doesn’t simply look at the pay, physical conditions and working hours, he examines the bigger picture of developing countries’ whole way of life and the idea that making cheap items for the west has in many ways become a backbone of survival that comes at great cost both to the people that produce it and to the planet as a whole.

So much is being lost on multiple levels, for the young people who work in the factories who miss out on education, raising their children and being with their families and community.

Tradition and knowledge about the land and local agriculture dwindle as people from rural areas leave to work in the factories based in the city.

Timmerman shows it’s not a simple black and white issue and that the whole industry needs to change. Capitalism and corporations based on self interest and profit rather than fairness have created multibillion dollar brands that in many cases are just that: a brand. The corporation itself is not skilled in making shoes, clothes etc, the corporation is skilled at promoting its product to make large profits for its shareholders.

Timmerman points out almost half of the world’s shoes are made in China. At one point he visits a factory to find out what it’s like for the people that make his Teva sandals. He finds that the people work up to 100 hours a week, have very poor living conditions and in many cases not only are they paid poorly, they are not paid their overtime. They are expected to make the stuff for free!

As consumers we want to know where our food is grown, how it is produced and what’s in it. The same interest should be applied to the clothing and other ‘stuff’ we buy. We have a right to know where our clothing is made, where the materials are sourced to make the product, what the working conditions are like, how the making of that product affects people, animals and the environment, so that we can make an informed choice.

This may sound like a dark topic, but within the book there is hope. Hearing the stories of the people who make clothing for a living is deeply humbling. They are living lives we could hardly imagine yet within this we hear of hope of friendships and dreams they have for the future.

Where am I Wearing, by Kelsey Timmerman, is available from local book stores and also to borrow at Blue Mountains City Library.

AMANDA QUINN


WINTER LOCAL PRODUCE 2013
17th August, 2013

 

Growing can certainly slow down in the chillier months of the year in the Blue Mountains. But don’t forget to keep your eyes on the local shelves for the rare treats.  It’s been a fantastic citrus season. Greens are slow, but still turn up. So what is in season and what has been spotted on the local rack?

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NEW PRODUCTS IN AT THE CO-OP!
7th August, 2013

We’re excited at the Co-op to bring you new products that will help you tread lightly on the Earth not only in what you eat, but also in your home.

 

Keep an eye out in store for these fantastic new products & drop us a line to let us know what you think!

Bamboo toothbrushes

Beautiful brush ware – dish brushes, bottle brushes, veggie brushes

Bags from Apple Green Duck

Handmade olive oil soaps

Bokashi Composting Buckets and Mix

Organic Brown Basmati Rice

Australian Freekeh (green cracked wheat)

Tamarind Syrup

Pomegranate Molasses

Smoked Paprika

Egyptian Dukkah

Black glutinous rice

Rose water

There are also some wonderful products that are locally produced –

Blue M food co. jams and chutneys

Smoked almonds

Straining muslin – for making cheese, nut and soy milks.

Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh

 

 

 

 

ARE YOU LOOKNG TO BUY FRESH LOCALLY PRODUCED MILK?
6th August, 2013

A fresh food enthusiast, Laura Taylor, is considering setting up a dairy cow share herd in the Katoomba area, enabling people to buy shares in cows for access to fresh, local milk. Laura is currently seeking expressions of interest to find out how much local demand there is for this project.

Each cow is ‘divided’ into 100 shares, with each share selling for (approx) $15. Each share then attracts an (approx) $2.50 weekly boarding fee for care of the cow, and the owner of each share is entitled to 1/100th of the milk produced by that cow each week (expected to be 1-1.5L per week).

If you would be interested in purchasing shares, or for more information about the herd, please contact Laura at hopesclimbshareherd@hotmail.com.

OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS RENEWABE ENERGY CO-OPERATIVE.
2nd August, 2013

The long awaited official launch of the Blue Mountains Renewable Energy Co-operative is finally upon us.

So mark Saturday 10th August 2-4pm in your calendar, and head to Lawson Public School Hall to join in the information forum and discussion – chaired by local resident & retired Federal Court judge, Mr Murray Wilcox, a long time advocate on environmental & social justice issues.

Members of BMRenew will give examples of community-owned renewable energy projects in Australia and overseas, explain the environmental, economic & social benefits of generating local renewable energy and outline progress on technology investigations and project planning to date.
A special guest speaker from a similar energy co-operative will share their
community’s experience of building resilience through local renewable
energy projects.

All Blue Mountains residents and businesses will be invited to register their interest in BMRenew’s proposals for local SOLAR PV projects.

Please RSVP by Thurs 8 August to info@bmrenew.org or
phone  0418 292 672 .
Afternoon tea will be provided.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE CO-OP?
1st August, 2013

All members of the Blue Mountains Food Co-op are welcome to attend Board meetings. At Board Meetings you will get to hear about the future direction of the Co-op and ask any questions you may have about the workings of the Co-op.

The next Board Meeting is on Tuesday 20th August at 7.15pm at the Food Co-op HQ in Ha’Penny Lane – just down from the Co-op store.

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