"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

organic, slow foods, fair trade, boycotting supermarket conglomerates.. the list goes on but you can only do what you can do..

the other day, i went to the obstetrician with my daughter who is expecting her 2nd baby in September.. she is pretty much totally organic and has been since she decided to have children.. on our way, we got to talking about trying to live simply & sustainably and I mentioned how I drive myself nuts when I shop. for groceries.

trying to buy fair-trade organic food

trying to boycott Coles supermarkets when they are the only one who stock the water soluble lavender oil that i use in the cleaning of my home and their organic butter is $2 cheaper than the locally owned supermarket.

oh and don't mention Genetically modified foods - sheesh, what a disaster that is.

slow foods. foods with little packaging. foods that are produced in Australia from Australian products so that I can help our country in this economic crisis.

Add all this to being gluten free.. and it becomes a problem trying to find food. I wouldn't eat if I had to shop in the way I think. trying to cover all ethical beliefs that I have. It is impossible... and as well, I must stick within a budget as we all have to do.

so where do I start? I have to decide what is most important for me.. is it organic? or fair-trade?..... I think i have to just do what I can. For me, organic comes first... we don't know what chemicals are used in producing our food. And that scares me.

I shop at our local food co-op.. where I can buy most staples in bulk. They sell organic produce, most of it produced in Australia and if not, then at a least i know it is ethically farmed. I can trust that whatever I buy there has not been treated with a toxic chemical cocktail.

I am in the process of making my vegetable garden bigger. In time for next spring, the dutch husband has started building a cage around one part my vegie garden - to protect it from birds who delight in stealing my tomatoes or beans.. wouldn't mind that at all but they are destructive in doing it. The plan is to grow as much as I possibly can for we build a cage to keep the birds out. I plan to double my crop of potatoes and plant many more tomato plants next year so that I can make my own tomato sauce for pastas.

My chickens are moulting at the moment so not many eggs, it is time to start feeding them the winter mix of porridge and garlic.. along with some apple cider vinegar.. helps to keep them warm inside during the cold winter months. over the past few months some of our chooks have died... so I will need to replace them next spring. I even talked to dutch husband about maybe farming some chickens for meat but I don't think I could bring myself to kill one of my girls, let alone eat her... my chook tribe ends up becoming a home for old lady chooks,without the threat of off with their heads when their egg laying days are over. They live the rest of their life pecking happily at my comfrey..being allowed to be cranky old women, who get annoyed with the younger flock for no reason. Just like we do as we get older. They become the matriarchs of the flock.

this morning as I was doing my little daily ritual of greeting the day.. I heard in my head a voice.. which asked me if I loved my life. and the answer was yes. I do. and then I 'heard': that is all that is needed - to love your life with a passion, whatever it brings. ~I am in love with my life, I know that.. oh yes there are days that I could cry but I have this absolute love for the life I have. It has taken a few years to get here.. and many of you have travelled with me as I struggled.. but here I am. in a good place.

over the past weeks, I have been reading alot about the simple life..I have been knitting dishcloths like a woman possessed. I have been playing house. It's been fun.

(photos in this post were taken at my local co-op in Katoomba.. I love it!)


Fire Byrd said...

I feel that learning to love our lives is an age and wisdom thing. Cause what's not to love about ourselves when we reach a certain age. We have to accept who we are or be destroyed by self hate.
The old cranky chickens have got it just right, they don't care they're cranky, they're just good being themselves pecking away!

Billie Jane said...

that looks just like the kind of shop I would love to spend my money in. I don't go to the supermarket at all, I refuse... but hubby goes instead because we HAVE to eat and farmer's markets are few and far between. But if we all keep trying our best... things will change for the better. And you are so right... it is a good life. :-)

Genie Sea said...

This post was like a restful vacation into paradise. :)

Pam said...

They smell wonderful those organic shops, don't they! Sort of medicinal and foody at the same time. We inherited two ancient chooks that came with the house we once bought. They lived on for another couple of years and I was very attached to them. I left them with the woman next door when we moved to Victoria,with the promise of a continuing gentle retirement.Rumour has it that no sooner were we out the driveway (you know what's next!)...Your garden sounds fun, as does the anticipation of your second grandchild. How wonderful!...and bon apetit with the goodies!

Angela said...

What an absolutely wonderful post. I've been doing as much slow food, farmer's market buying, organic as I can for awhile. But it is a challenge when the budget is very limited. But the mother is so abundant that it's fun to meet that challenge as best I can to help and move with the tide of change back to more sustainable living. I would love to grow vegetables and raise chickens, but my living situation doesn't allow for that right now. But you give me hope for myself. :) Thank you.

amelia said...

We have a co-op where we live and not much else so our options are few. Their produce is nasty at the best of times and it's a rare occasion that they have something fresh and tasty.

This whole organic and fair trade thing is a big problem for people trying to be good to the earth and reducing our footprint. I would have to drive 70 kilometers to find even a small place that sells such goods and then I've defeated my purpose..

Tracy said...

How wonderful for you, Robyn, that you are in a good place. I'm so happy for you! :)

Kathryn Knoll said...

What your heart guides you to do and be is the key to your real happiness, the rest is an illusion that you can enjoy or change, if you don't like it. You are that powerful! It's beginning to show more and more! Hugs

Janet said...

Can I ever relate to this post!! Your health food store looks fabulous with all the bulk bins. I love shopping like that. We're going to try (once again!) to grow a few veggies this summer. I just hope the wind and the heat don't do them in like before. I'm trying a different spot in the yard.

gemma said...

I enjoy eating like that. Good wholesome locally grown produce.
Mmm nothing like it for freshness, taste, and feeling good digesting it. I watch for both free trade especially coffee and organic foods. Of course then we have our convience foods too.

Searching For My Willoughby said...

I know exactly what you mean. I try so hard, but sometimes it is impossible, either to get what I want or there isn't the money for it. We doubled the size of our garden last year, and we have laying hens. Last year we did have some chickens butchered, but we took them to a local meat processor to it. There's' no way I could. I try very hard, do the best I can, and try to be happy with it. And your market looks wonderful. I'm jealous.

Tinker said...

I love reading about your day to day life - no wonder you love your life so passionately! Yes, you're so right- do what we can do, but simplify...and love our lives passionately!

peppylady said...

I had to stop in a comment. Your saying organic is cheaper the non organic.
It sure isn't that way here. We have organic store which is local health store and there prices are very high compare to local food stores.
The regular food stores are getting more and more organic in.
There organic food is way cheaper then the local health food store.

I might of found a local source for organic foods. Fugi Apples are Ninty cents a pound and apple in regular store runs eighty eight cents up to a dollar and half.
Depending on the type and the store.

Coffee is on.

Ruth said...

I've been feeling like that too the last few days, as I've been planting seeds in my own vegetable garden.

Serena said...

I envy you, are obviously situated in an area that makes it easier for you to access organic foods in bulk at a reasonable price. As much as I would LOVE to go organic fully, I just can't afford the higher prices. I always buy free range eggs and I will buy organic if it's a reasonable price. I would dearly love to have my own veggie garden but, being in a rental home, we aren't allowed.

Wonderful pics and your post was beautifully written.

Strawberry Girl said...

In love with life, the best thing to be in love with... plus I hear your pain in trying to sort out what to buy that is organic, and/or fair trade, and GF. I have a Gluten problem myself and I felt lost for a while... but everything eventually got better. As I am sure you've figured out as well. :D

Wendy said...

What to do? What to do? I can relate to the choices we have to make in this life, regarding buying food. It's so complicated sometimes.
Our grocery stores are going to start charging us 5 cents per plastic bag for our groceries. Now, most people have bought fabric grocery bags, but I think the grocery stores are hypocrits. They still use so much plastic in packaging their fruit and veggies, it makes me sick. I don't want my veggies packaged and of course priced way too high because of plastic packaging I will just throw out!! I like buying loose beans, lettuce, spinach,etc. That way I can pick the quantity I want and the good ones!

On a good note - congrats to your daughter! And how wonderful a September baby will be! Congrats to grandma too.