Wednesday, 16 March 2011

1968 Worldly Goods and Bads

Its hard to focus on local issues when the tragic upheavals around the world keep escalating at such speed as in the last couple of months. At times like these I like to hide in a good book.
I was re-visiting Mark Kurlansky’s book ‘1968’ The Year that Rocked the world. The same MK of Cod A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World and Salt A World History [seems to be a worldly theme here], when I could not help drawing a long bow speculating that perhaps 2011 was shaping up to be another monumental year like 1968. The theme of 1968 is revolution and change. Highly recommended.
As opposed to 1968 in 2011 the level of dissent [at least in our small microcosm of food related issues] is well and truly underground. [try this The usual sermons of ethical, sustainable, local, clean, green and such mantras as still being politely chanted by the cognoscenti but now in 2011 the guerrilla tactics are coming from the supermarkets and not the radicals as in 68. In 2011 Green is Good [business]. Now we have Curtis Stone spruiking hormone free meat, while at the other end of the big store the milk price is being used to suck out the independence and profitability of our dairy farmers and consequently the livelihoods of many other producers/growers who show any sign of sustainable green traction.
I cannot help questioning some of the heavy handed green marketing messages coming from all directions. Like cafes that will run their power from waste cooking oil while locating themselves inside big corporate department stores. In 1968 and well into the seventies I seem to recall a lot more critical scrutiny coming from the mainstream as well as the alternative press. But what is the alternative now?
We are on 30 acres and most of the land has been agisted to a local farmer for a long time who has used it to breed dairy cows. This year he has pulled back production and this left us thinking of what other means we might explore to manage the land. As the rains have left us with full dams it might be time to try to grow a small crop of cereals? I immediately thought of spelt, but commercial quantities of seed seems to be very hard to find as most producers run a ‘closed shop enterprise’ and only supply those that are in their own marketing groups. If spelt proves too difficult to source then it may be a combination of other grains or legumes?
Meanwhile I will have a lookout for Kurlansky’s other book The Basque History of the World while seeking temporary literary refuge from the real world.


steve said...

Hi George,really enjoyed Salt and Cod from Kurlansky and his Choice cuts of assorted food writing from around the world.
'May you live in interesting times' Indeed. I am also feeling that all this greenwashing is starting to fatigue me to the point where i think its in jeopardy of losing its currency, much the same way as the word 'sustainable' has been neutered of any meaning.
I rekon quinoa could be a crop worth investigating? There's a mob here in Tas that are growing it and I buy it of them.
Either that or go the whole hog and become a market gardener with a farm gate, I'd bet people would drive for miles (by horse and cart when big oil runs out!)to get some real fruit and vege.

steve said...

BTW your post was the kernal of an idea that prompted my latest article on the blog, one that had been swirling around for a while but manifested, shaped by commenting on your blog

Jeremy said...

Great writer, great subjects! The Basque one is fantastic, as I have a bit of Basque blood in me...O negative to be precise, common in Basques...My maternal grandmaman was Basque!
He also wrote about Oysters too...

I always point out how 68 was so pivotal, as most of the generation here and around the globe, are now the Baby boomers, who became conservative and money makers...where did all the flowers go?

Always love your blog and keep up the good work my friend!


Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

Hi Jeremy

Another great book is Nik Cohn's The
Heart of the World which I read every other year but would rather walk the length of the great white way...

Maybe nest year.

Jeremy said...

Hey George, always learn something good on your site...must head down under, going through a divorce! Sucks!


Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

we are always here spare beds etc.

hang in there mate.