Sunday, 3 July 2016

Sustainable Living session - notes

Living Sustainably
Saturday June 18th, 2016
Su Dennett & Patrick Jones - Hepburn Relocalisation Network
Welshmans Reef WInery

Apologies: Dave Stratton and Meg Ulman unwell.
Attendance : 16

Su Dennett & Patrick Jones (partner of Meg Ulman) both members of Hepburn Relocalisation Network shared what the people over the mountain and down the road are doing to promote sustainable living and community building.

Patrick Jones has not stepped inside a major supermarket for 6 years. On a recent bicycle ride he visited Newstead supermarket & general store and was impressed with the range and variety in stock - Meredith cheese, local wines, Sprout  bread - “both shops are locally owned and need to be supported by all”, he said.
Local jobs, not just hospitality work, can create real worth within the community. Buying local food, having  things made locally - might not be cheaper than products from China but does assist in building a future for the local community.  By employing a local person you ensure the money stays in the community.  

Why Not To Shop in Supermarkets?
Many supermarkets hold only 2-3 days of stock, much of what is stocked in these supermarkets is processed, nutrition depleted. A recent power outage meant that the Daylesford Coles was closed, the electric doors wouldn’t open, cash registers couldn’t work. Crowds soon built up outside, unable to enter the store - mild panic set in. What if there is a fuel shortage? Trucking strikes? We need to wean ourselves off reliance on the duopoly. Going away from major supermarkets strengthens community.

Patrick Jones & Meg Ulman are authors of The Art of Free Travel - A Frugal Family Adventure
“they set off on an epic 6,000km year-long cycling journey along Australia’s east coast, from Daylesford to Cape York and back. Their aim was to live as cheaply as possible − guerrilla camping, hunting, foraging and bartering their permaculture skills, and living on a diet of free food, and bush tucker.”
Meg Ulman & Patrick Jones lived the busy life in the city, working to pay a mortgage, the typical 2 car household. Then they decided it was time to grow food  and a change of lifestyle. They live without supermarkets or cars, saving the $15,000 dollars it cost to own and run 2 cars. Patrick, a builder, has apprentices who stay and learn how to build “small houses” which can be used for guests. Their stated aim is to escape the grip of the monetary economy and provide a future for their family.

Shopping & Trading Locally.
The growth economy can’t continue indefinitely, but it is possible at the household level to grow and to feel socially and physically nurtured. Behaviour change is easier at the personal, household, local level. Focus on what we don’t need. Less money, more freedom and a lot less anxiety. Any community activity needs to be inclusive of all ages. Everyone needs to do well in the community, not just some of us.
It is important to gain sovereignty over our food. Swapping at the household level outside the monetary economy, establishing food co-ops, and vege box schemes encourages healthy eating in season and supports local food producers.
Always buy Australian grown coffee, in preference to Fair Trade. At least we know workers have not been exploited and are paid a fair wage. We cannot know the impact on the people and local economy and environment when we purchase exported Fair Trade products. Is that land depriving farmers of their own food crops in favour of an exported monoculture cash crop?
Always buy local wood rather than imported timber. People are exporting commodities and not growing their own locally grown food.

Su’s tips on healthy eating.
Grinding her own grains from Powletthill
to make flour might be labour intensive, but the nutrients are kept intact. Heritage grains are preferred - kamut, spelt, rye easier to digest, less interfered with.
Patrick has been harvesting acorns to make into flour. He is quite an expert on foraging, fermentation, with a knowledge of what foods are available seasonally from local forests and roadsides.
Good and poor seasons for fruits and vegetables may be nature’s way of varying our diet, just as many traditional societies have a period of fasting.
Su reads the Newstead Echo online, keeps in touch, loves to read what goes on here. Newstead is to be commended for this community run newspaper, something that Hepburn lacks.

Uncertain Future
We all need to embrace uncertainty.
We need to learn the fundamentals - how to feed and clothe ourselves.
We need to prepare for a life of uncertainty. Cash might not be the answer.
It is Important to teach and prepare our kids, to learn skills for survival.
Many volunteers experience burnout, giving too much of themselves. There needs to be a balance between giving and receiving. Relationships that support and nurture are essential.
Our priority is to take care of ourselves and look after our own needs, if we don’t, then others will have to. We are then better able to participate in the wider community, and  have more time.

Su & Patrick brought along delicious refreshments they had prepared including Su’s freshly baked sourdough bread, crackers made from vegetable juice pulp, fresh cheeses, pickles, relishes, chutneys, sauces, cakes & preserved fruits. Lively discussions continued along with book signings.

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