Embracing Organic and Sustainable Living and a Free Range Piglet or Two

I have been away from my garden for a day or two because I went to Penguin in Tasmania’s beautiful and fertile north west for the Organic and Sustainable Living Festival and it was great. Six hundred people turned out to enjoy the talks,

The popular Penguin Organic Festival

The popular Penguin Organic and Sustainable Living Festival

demos, music and stalls. It is really fantastic that so many people want to grow their own vegetables and are keen to find out how to do so or how to support people who are producing food ethically and sustainably.

The day began with Graeme Stevenson and David Stephen rejoicing about how far the movement has come since they first started it in Tas in 1972. They laughed about old times and new as Graeme had poked himself in the eye with a mulberry tree

Graeme Stevenson and David Stephen

Graeme Stevenson and David Stephen

they were handing over to the next generation and had to go off to the hospital once he had finished speaking but I can report it all ended well. The North West Environment Centre deserves a big pat on the back for taking on the organisation of the fair.

Jonah Gouldthorpe gave an excellent lesson in how to grow vegetables in pots and Matthew Evans stole the show with his behind the scenes tales of the Gourmet Farmer SBS TV series.

Jonah Gouldthorpe talks about growing vegetables in pots

Jonah Gouldthorpe talks about growing vegetables in pots

Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans talks about his popular TV series

Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans talks about his popular TV series

I also caught up briefly with Bill Mollison who is so well known overseas but hardly recognised here… a prophet in his own land…and reminded him that he had taught me first year psychology at Tas Uni. I took the opportunity to buy the thyme that I had gone to Salamanca to buy a few weeks ago when I cam home with an iris instead. I now have four

Some beautiful silky bantams

Some beautiful silky bantams

varieties to plant as ground covers over the Easter period. I also took a moment to check out a silky bantam for sale. My grandmother had silky bantams and I used to love them and always wanted one but Mum refused to have them amongst our good laying stock. I tried again thinking she might relent forty years on but she still refuses to have one, so we left without a silky bantam, or a puppy or muscovy ducks.

There were also two delightful Wessex saddleback piglets entertaining the crowd. We used to have saddlebacks on the farm at Wesley Vale when we sold cream to the butter factory and used the skim milk for the pigs. After we shifted to selling bulk milk all that changed and we stopped raising pigs. They are wonderfully intelligent social animals and I am very pleased that there is growing community concern about their welfare. Make sure when you buy pork, if you do so, that you buy Free Range Pork and not just Bred Free Range. Free Range pigs are born free and are not constrained by cages, or stalls or crates as they develop whereas Bred Free Range are born free but once weaned are constrained.

Rare breed beauties. Fantastic Wessex saddle-back pigs.

Rare breed beauties. Fantastic Wessex saddleback pigs.

10 thoughts on “Embracing Organic and Sustainable Living and a Free Range Piglet or Two

  1. thanks for the tip about “Bred Free Range” pork products, Christine. I’d stopped buying pork years ago because of the cruelty of the intensive farming practices, but when I saw the “Bred Free Range” bacon in the supermarket, and heard from some friends that it was ethically okay, I was happy to think I could treat myself to a bacon and eggs breakfast again.

    So I’m a bit sad to miss out on my favourite breakfast menu again… but much sadder for the poor pigs that are made to endure such miserable existences by the uncaring farmers.

    Maybe we’ll get a true free range pork producer here in the Great Southern of WA sometime soon.

  2. Thanks so much for coming along to the festival Christine – it really was a spectacular day in every way and so encouraging to see so many people from all walks of life enthusiastically lapping up all things organic and sustainable! By the way, we have done a tally and it looks like we may have had around 1000 people there on the day!!!!!WOW!!
    Anyone who would like to be part of the Festival next year can contact the North West Environment Centre.

  3. Fantastic to see 1000 people went to the sustainable living festival at Penguin last weekend. These festivals are popping up everywhere and people/ families are enjoying growing their own food. Two nights ago my neighbours left tomatoes and spring onions on the doorstep and I was able to reciprocate with potatoes and lettuce. The spirit in our street has definately flourished. I am in the middle of suburbia, we share what food we grow and if we need to buy other things we support the local grocer, who in turn also buys local Tasmanian as much as possible.

    I am off to Clarence Point on Good Friday morning where there will be a market on the theme of “Bringing in the Harvest”, locally grown food and produce, with the added bonus of the festivities associated with the start of the Three Peaks Race.

    Cheers Diane

  4. Pingback: Organic & Sustainable Living Festival « Produce to the People Tasmania

  5. Hi Chris,
    So good to see so many people growing their own and working towards sustainable living. We have always lived in the country so fresh vegetables, eggs and meat were always home grown. Even now as we have moved to the outskirts of Launceston there is nothing more satisfying than collecting fresh from the garden to the table.

    I am lucky to have a lemon tree which produces year round ( I have marmalade on my toast each day) and at present we have plenty of rhubarb so I am looking forward to trying out that rhubarb wine recipe. We used to make it years ago.

    We have just moved into our new house having always lived in very old houses and I have to say that the double glazing is great and with such large windows, our garden seems to have become part of the great indoors.

    We christened the new kitchen with a concerted effort of bottling fresh pears and making lots of relish. It was fun and the new pantry is looking very healthy.

    If I knew how to upload some images I would.


    • Bottling pears and relish and a full pantry sounds so wholesome. Your new house with its indoor outdoor connections must be such a joy. I don’t know how you have managed to leave behind beautiful gardens and start again but it does mean others get to benefit from your labours. If you email me a photo I will put it up. The plants you gave me are flourishing and I have particularly enjoyed the small iris. Keep on feasting on the marmalade and we must enjoy a rhubarb champagne sometime. Cheers Christine

  6. Hi Christine,

    Just writing to let you know that the next festival is going to be held on Sunday the 27th February 2011. We hope that it is as successful as last year.

    If anybody would like to be involved in the organisation and running of the day they are more than welcome(send me an email). It was very rewarding for volunteers last year.

    Secondly it would be great to show you our free range rare breed pig farm at some stage. We are just up the road from the sustainable living centre.

    Cheers Guy

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