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Spring has Sprung!!!

Finally the winter has come and gone.  I have noticed on my way to and from work that the native flora is flowering.  Living in a relatively arid part of the country it is absolutely amazing how colourful the landscape can be.  I’ve also noticed many emus out and about.  In fact on average at the moment I would see double, sometimes triple the number of emus to kangaroos.  Although I am petrified if emus get up too close to me, I can’t help but admire their beauty (at a distance).

As promised, I am putting up a few photos that I have taken since living in Morgan.  The first is a visual marker that you see coming in from Renmark on the Goyder Highway.  For those who have missed his guest appearances, Diesel says g’day as well.

Diesel says g'day as well
Welcome to Morgan and Diesel says g’day as well

One thing I have really enjoyed while living in Morgan is for some reason we seem to get the most stunning rainbows.  Here is a photo of one I took from our back door…

Another Stunning Rainbow
Another Stunning Rainbow

I’ve actually enjoyed partaking in a little photography since living here.  I’ve always enjoyed photography but up this way you are never short of subjects.  I have even taken part in the ABC Open “Snapped” Project.  My first photo has been published and is titled “Two Circles in the Sky“.  I plan on contributing to more projects in the future.

So back to the first day of spring!  Our first day of spring up here in the Riverland has seen the temperature drop and rain.  No one up here though dare complains about getting rain.

I always think of spring being synonymous with spring cleaning.  I have allowed my house to get a little cluttered since moving.  I know we are living in a smaller house but it has made me think whether we really need all this extra stuff.  Some of the stuff hasn’t seen the light of day since we moved and that has been well over six months now.  So in saying that I have decided to take the 30 Day De-Clutter Challenge and what a better day to start than the first day of spring.  Now I have to be strong!!!

I got a bit of a head start yesterday with the fridge.  Bin collection day today and a funky science experiment breeding meant a clean out was not optional.  However I think the freezers will need a little TLC.  Wonder what will be discovered???


Sorry I’ve fell off radar…

So sorry to my readers that it has been essentially six months since my last post.  Life has been a little crazy and I think in hindsight that perhaps I should have made time to write.  Writing for me has always been a good form of therapy and it’s free.

So a quick update on everything.  Firstly I was successful in rallying the troops and getting Riverland Fresh to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to Morgan.  With that they also deliver to Cadell and Taylorville.  The best bit is they have recently announced they will soon be delivering meat, seafood and dairy.

I have become involved with the community through the Morgan Primary School Governing Council and the Morgan Community Development and Tourism Committee.  Two reasons I have put my hand up for these committees, firstly it gives me a chance to get to know some of the locals and secondly I believe my skills can be of benefit to the community.

With my skills I have also set up a page on Facebook called Sustainable Morgan.  This page has been established to promote activities, business and groups in the township of Morgan, while creating a sense of community and belonging.  It has been set up for just over a month now.  One of the local teachers has joined on as an admin of the page, which helps with a little time management on my part.

This town we have come to call home has so much potential and I would really love to have a role in getting the town and its community to realise that potential.  Hopefully my enthusiasm is contagious.

Signing off for now but I will be back shortly with some great articles, links and general updates xx

Forget the “Sea Change” we’re undertaking a “River Change”

So a lot has happened since my last entry.  My husband and I decided to move to the River Murray or otherwise affectionately referred to as the River.  The little township we have moved to has a population of less than 500 people and the children’s school has around 50 students.

We are still getting use to things.  Organisation is something we are trying to master as we have found that unless it is planned it can create issues.  An example of this is shopping.  Yesterday I had to do some shopping for school/work lunches and tea.  The closest big supermarket is a half hour drive.  Our local little “general store” is great for an emergency but it is better to do your shopping at a bigger town.  Plus I’m travelling an hour each way to work and by the time I get home the store is closed.   So if it is not on the shopping list the chances are you won’t get it.

My new workplace is fantastic and one of the employees organises a fruit and veg order once a week.  Unfortunately they don’t deliver to the town I live in but they deliver it to my work.  The company, Riverland Fresh, is a family run business that sources the majority of their produce from local companies and suppliers.  This also keeps the cost down and the produce that I have ordered has been great to date.  Looking forward to placing my order tomorrow.

In regard to fresh produce we are also getting to know where the best roadside fruit stalls are located in the area.  One grower not far from us sells melons that don’t make the cut with fussy supermarkets.  We picked up a whole watermelon for $1!  Dried apricot signs are now starting to pop up now so I may have to try some of them.

I am hoping to get some produce of my own growing.  However we are renting at this point in time so we are not wanting to invest too much.  Especially into permanent structures eg raised beds.  I did plant a rosemary plant on the weekend as that is a herb I cannot live without and I am sure the next tenant will appreciate (hopefully).

I have joined our local library, along with the children.  It is a small library (I have already found plenty of reading material, which I will update you on at a later date) but the great thing is the library is part of the “one card” system in South Australia.  So what that means if another library has the book you require they will get it in for you (simply it is libraries borrowing off each other).

Well I will sign off now but as I am settling into this new life I will keep up to date with my adventures.

Whole Planet Foundation: Giving back around the World

Would like to see these guys come to Australia.


Whole Foods Market began as a small natural grocery store in Austin, Texas with a mission to sell meat and poultry free of growth hormones and antibiotics, unprocessed grains and cereals, and a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables. Over time, Whole Foods Market expanded into other states and countries with its unique approach to offering whole foods while promoting environmental sustainability, local and international community service, and supporting employee happiness and excellence. Over the years, Whole Foods Market has grown into an international chain of natural food supermarkets operating over 340 stores in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Scotland.

Whole Foods Market just so happens to be one of my favorite places to grocery shop as it offers many organic and “real” foods, not all the processed garbage that has become a huge part of the American diet. Through the work I do as a social…

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Waste not want not…

I came across this article yesterday Do Australians waste $8 billion worth of edible food each year?

The title of the artcle was enough to disturb me little lone the content of the article.  So how many of us are guilty of wasting food?  I’ll be honest I’ve done it myself.  So why do we do it?  Quite often people don’t check the pantry or fridge before they go shopping,  we have lost the art of using leftovers, we cook too much food, we buy a take-away instead of using what we have at home or we mistakenly throw out food before the use-by/best-before date.

A couple of months ago, along with other waste management/sustainability officers, I met Jon Dee.

Jon Dee

Jon Dee (black suit) is located in the centre and I’m  on the side (in red)

Jon Dee known in my profession for being one of the co-founders of Planet Ark and has now put his energies into Do Something!. This is an organisation that empowers people to make social and environmental changes.  Jon Dee spoke of a new campaign ‘FoodWise‘.

‘FoodWise’ is DoSomething’s national campaign to reduce the environmental impact of Australia’s food consumption. The main ethos behind it is for Australians to become more educated and informed about the food that they eat.

Did you know?…

  • Australians discard up to 20% of the food they purchase.
  • Up to 40% of the average household bin is food.
  • For the average Australian household $1036 of food is thrown away per year.

The website that has been created for this website is great and is very informative.  One of my favourite aspects of the site is the Recipe Finder.  This is where you enter the ingerdients that you have in your fridge or pantry and it will give recipes that will use some or all of the ingredients that you have entered.

Food Security and Food Waste is certainly  a hot topic of discussion within my professional circle at the moment.  I do believe the more we educate the more aware people will become.  For some it is just a matter of changing bad habits for others it might be learning about using leftovers.  However we need to keep this topic out there.   Dealing with food scraps left on a plate I believe is a total different conversation.  We need to stop the waste before that stage!

Long Weekend = Geocaching

Well I had to share my wonderful weekend with my family and a very dear old friend and her family.  It was fantastic and very much needed.  One aspect of the trip I want to share with my readers.

On our journey to Morgan we decided to do some geocaching.  This is something I introduced my step children (and my fiancé) about 12 months ago.  They love it!  It is relatively easy to start up and the only real cost to start is purchasing a GPS.  You can do it without one but you may prove to be more successful with one.

With our newly registered geocache name (we have registered as a family unit) I put together a little booklet of some geocaches we might find over the weekend.  We managed to find seven.  One beat us this time around but we will head back sometime to find it.

The fantastic thing I find about this “game” is the low cost, it’s fun for all the family and it teaches you so much about areas that may have never noticed and are literally within your neighbourhood.

In the next day or so I will share some photos of our glorious weekend.

Back In My Day…

"Food is a Weapon - Don't Waste it" ...
“Food is a Weapon – Don’t Waste it” – NARA – 513830 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have noticed and even been involved of late with this new “revolution” to try and educate people on food waste, how it can be avoided in the first place and if you do have food waste how can it be responsibly recycled.  In the last couple of weeks through various meetings and workshops I have realised this is certainly not a new “revolution”.  I guess I take it for granted because I have always been quite mindful of waste and things like food scraps I have always placed in my kerbside organics collection, composted, placed in the worm farm or even given to our animals.  What I have come across and would like to share are the most gorgeous vintage posters.

These posters were around during the period of WWI and WWII, when rationing was a part of everyday life.  Hence the title of this blog “Back In My Day…”.  I can just hear my grandparents saying this now as we take on this issue as if it has never been addressed before.  It just goes to show we can learn a lot from our elders.

If you would like to see the many posters that were designed around this time just Google “vintage food waste posters”.  Although they had a serious message some are quite funny in this day and age (in the sense of the roles that men and women had in society at the time).

Think Glocal!

Last Wednesday (31st June) I was very fortunate to be involved in a workshop with Professor Paul Clarke, the co-founder of the Pop-Up-Foundation.

“Pop-Up-Foundation addresses one of the central challenges of our time: decoupling human progress from resource use and environmental decline.  Bringing sustainable living to people in a simple, accessible form, focused on results, Pop-Up-Foundation encourages eveyone to participate in the changes and create and share solutions.  In this way, all these small changes can connect, consolidate and have a bigger compound effect.  This is how Pop-Up-Foundation uses its local perspective to address global ecological challenge – how to live our lives sustainably.”

During this workshop we did an interesting exercise.  At our tables we had a packet of Carmen’s Muesli Bars and another muesli/breakfast bar.  This exercise required us to examine the packaging and look for information on the following…

  • Packaging (recyclable?)
  • Evidence of certification/soil association etc?
  • What is it claiming/saying about itself?
  • Can we identify where it is from?
  • Fair Trade/ direct/ ethical trade?
  • Other?

It was quite eye opening from the perspective of what is not on the packaging.  In particular, where are the ingredients sourced from?  There is nothing on packaging that identifies who the farmers are (and yes I realise there is limited space on packaging but you will find the majority of companies do not even have that information available on their websites).  Another point that was made,  for something to be labelled “Fair Trade”, only 1% of the ingredients have to be sourced as fair trade.  Astounding!!!  Well actually it’s a joke to be honest.

Another point of discussion was on one of the many projects that have been undertaken by the Pop-Up-Foundation.  The “Happy Bean Coffee Company” is a fantastic project and really does embrace the concept of “Think Glocal” – Think globally and act locally.  I believe this concept is a more realistic way of understanding concepts of food security, food miles and buying or acting locally in a world that is more connected than ever.

Further Reading…

Education for Sustainability: Becoming Naturally Smart

Top 5 Urban Apps (Revisited)

eplanning…love the concept.

JOC Consulting

In March, I wrote an article for PIA New Planner magazine and looked at 6 urban apps to add to your digital library. These apps included Blockbrief, Monocle and the Sydney Foodtrucks app. As we move closer to an ever connected world, based on smarter cities and eplanning, I wrote about 6 more apps making waves in and outside of Sydney for the June issue.

Download the article here > 37220_PIA_New Planner June 2013web vFA 13(1).

And also check out Run That Town, a great app by the ABS that I’ll be discussing in more depth in the September issue of New Planner magazine.

John O'Callaghan PIA New Planner June


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