Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Local, free-range, organic... roadkill

Principle 12: Creatively use and respond to change

**WARNING - SOME PEOPLE MAY FIND IMAGES IN THIS POST DISTRESSING AS IT CONTAINS IMAGES OF THE BUTCHERING OF A KANGAROO**

It's never good to see local wildlife struck by a vehicle on the side of the road. What's worse is seeing (and smelling) it rotting, breeding flies and fouling the water supply, not to mention the disrespect shown to the animal. I believe that, where possible and appropriate, road-kill should be butchered and eaten, roadkill cuisine as it is called. So, I called up a friend with the same values (previously a vegetarian for 13 years) and we went about the gruesome task of butchering the freshly killed kangaroo that I discovered just a couple of kilometers away.
It's one thing to believe that 'if you are going to eat meat then you should be able to butcher it yourself' and then another actually doing it. I've been part of the process a number of times now and still don't feel that I could take on the job (of a large animal) myself. Yet, I am becoming more comfortable with the process, and I feel good about being aware and involved. I also think that it's great that my son Kai knows that meat comes not from a packet, but from an animal. He's not comfortable about eating meat most of the time, and I think that's because he knows what's involved. He finds the process itself is curiously interesting though...
Kangaroo meat is seen as a more environmetally friendly alternative (in Australia) to eating beef or lamb, but eating our national icon may be unappealing to some, especially when it's picked up from the side of the road. It is however, a lean, highly nutritious meat that is high in quality protein and other important vitamins and minerals.


Butchering up road-kill kangaroo while Kai watches on
We roughly divied up the meat, with suitable scraps separated for my friends dog and the unused portions being composted. Once processed I got 4.5kg of meat which I packaged in single serving sizes for freezing in our tiny bar fridge. We cooked up the bones straight away and made a delicious roo and local grown vegie soup, which will last us a couple of days. The job took about half a day, the meat would be worth about A$50 (mince and chunks) if you bought it from a supermarket (but you can't buy bones / ribs there). I imagine that the meat will last us 2-3 months.

Kangaroo meat - 650g of bones for soup, 1kg of ribs for the bar-b-que, 2.3kg of meat pieces and 550g of lean minced roo.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Black Market

Principle 10: Use and value diversity

Impressed by the diversity and quality of home made / grown and small scale commercial produce and products, we decided to get involved with this local community initiative by hosting a 'Black Market' ourselves. This informal gathering is held once a month at various properties around the region.
'The Black Market is a monthly local informal food exchange and "open garden". You can bring your own home-grown excess veggies, fruit, etc to swap or sell, or produce you've made yourself such as preserves, bread, jam, pickles, etc. If you don't grow or make your own, you can come to the Black Market and buy from those who do. The Black Market is also open to local people who grow commercial produce (e.g. olives, nuts) on a small scale.'
Grant family home grown produce: Honey, eggs, goat cheese, preserves and seasonal vegies

Treats for guests: Wild cherry plum cordial, steamed carrot cakes, broad bean pesto and beetroot dips

Other contributions included: citrus, vegies, tomatoes, olive oil, olives, soap, herbs, hand spun wool, eggs and cakes

The semi-shade of the carport reached capacity at the markets peak, around 40 or so guests

A tour of the house and garden, sharing ideas of low impact living with local people

We found that the market was a good way to meet like minded local people, opening a dialogue about growing and making your own. It's an informal way to discuss relocalisation with people who are open to change and alternatives to our modern way of life. From the feedback that we got it seemed like people loved the atmosphere and had a great time.

Some more history of the Black Market:
The Black Market was originally set up in October 2007 by Candi Westney and artist Leone Gabrielle as a very informal low-food miles food swap market and a way for people who are interested in home growing and organic food in the district (ie. the Highlands area) to meet socially. For the first two years it was held monthly at Rocky Passes Estate vineyard, in Whitehead's Creek, the home of Candi and her partner Vitto Oles. Often someone would give a cooking demonstration. 
In November 2009 it began to be held at other properties, a different place each month, so that people could see how others grew their veggies and fruit. In May 2010 Paul Macgregor took over the organising and promoting of it bringing the Black Market to Yea and Seymour as well as in the Highlands. 
It's currently a swap or sell market, a social gathering, an "open garden" scheme and sometimes there are food-gardening related talks and demonstrations, such as Brian Bowering's fruit tree grafting workshop. There are about 60 people on the email list at the moment, and about 20+ people attend every month.


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