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,
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
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.
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
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.