Posts Tagged ‘sustainable eating’

Stalls at the Maker Festival, Photo – Peter Storer

Samford Village is located in semi-rural Queensland northwest of Brisbane, Australia. It is adjacent to state forests and close to the North and South Pine Rivers. Several majestic mountains of the D’Aguilar Range enclose the surrounding valley, creating a place of great natural beauty.

Within the village community, the Samford Commons is emerging as a world class, innovative and exciting showcase for sustainable living. Under the direction of its skilled and committed Board, this not-for-profit, community owned company works with local entities and government agencies. These include creative artists, writers, photographers, schools and environmentalists. The fundamental mission of the Samford Commons is to create a place where new possibilities are nurtured that enable its residents to build a sustainable and resilient future. Multiple focus groups form innovative projects that showcase sustainable living, and one fine example is Millen Farm.

Community farmers at work on Millen Farm, Photo – Peter Storer

Since the appointment of farmer, Arran Heideman, Millen Farm provides a vehicle for urban farming education through workshops in permaculture, aquaponics, organic farming, poultry and bee keeping. As Mr Heideman commented, “Farming is becoming a thing of the past whereas it should be a thing of the future. Millen Farm will contribute to this future; demonstrate a better way of producing local food; educate the community on sustainable farming practices, and act as a training ground for young farmers. It is a way of re-establishing the worth of the farmer in our society.” An adjacent community garden is also in the pipeline. Samford Village members meet here to garden, to yarn about their patch or the season, swap their produce, or do some shopping at the weekly farmer’s market.

The Samford Commons unique School of Sustainability has become its classroom without boundaries. The ESTEAM programs: Entrepreneurs, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, lie at the core of its offerings. In addition, Millen Farm, learning trails, an arts precinct, festivals and the new Community Library all feed into this. Local schools are participating and are now part of a consortium of community members, business people and organizations.

A quiet nook at the Community Library

The recently opened stage one of the Community Library is available for sharing donated resources in a comfortable space for study and reading. Staffed by local volunteers, it occupies several rooms in the Blue Hut and has space for small group meetings and discussions. The Samford Writers’ Group meets here for its monthly meetings while folks gather to swap or borrow books, have a chat, or listen to story time.

Many interesting topics have yet to be explored so a visit to the Samford Commons home page on the web will provide further information. Across the top are a row of tabs and of special interest are the Education Topics featured under the Learn and Grow tab. Peter Storer has beautifully photographed a gallery of flora and fauna found throughout the Samford Valley. With all these local opportunities available to the residents of Samford Village, our community has become a great place in which to live.



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Food is such an important part of our lives. It provides the fuel to drive our energy systems and its preparation and enjoyment, particularly in the presence of family and friends, can be elevated to an art form. The dishes we recall from our childhood provide warm and comforting memories. And when we choose to eat ‘close to the earth,’ we actually acknowledge the true impact food can have on our lives.

Freshly prepared food purchased directly from a farmer’s market or obtained from roadside stalls at the farm gate, will offer a taste that is very different from foods that have been marketed and stacked on most supermarket shelves. Recently picked fresh, raw food contains more life force energy (chi) and holds a greater amount of nutrients.

 The effect of globalization is readily available when we buy our own food. Now that the sources of food are often identified with some compulsory signage, during my weekly shopping I was surprised to notice the following: pears from China, oranges and grapes from the USA, rice and cashews from India, fish fillets from Vietnam and smoked cod from South Africa. Nearly all of this food is grown or can be processed right here. And one must also question whether the food production standards in some of these countries are well maintained?

How much precious fossil fuel is being wasted by carting food back and forth across our oceans? How long has this food remained in storage before shipping or air freighting actually began?  Is there a solution to this dilemma?


Grow and harvest a small backyard vegetable garden. Begin to eat ‘close to the earth,’ by shopping at a local farmer’s market. As this form of shopping offers lower prices for fresh food, we might even be tempted to bypass tinned or frozen foods altogether. We would spend less money by buying in season and then cooking these foods in interesting new ways. We would be supporting our farmers in the local region and we would also connect to our immediate eco-system. We may even get to know the individuals who grow our food as we help to preserve the healthy culinary traditions that have existed for centuries.

 All food labels should be checked to insure the product is grown locally and is GM free. All fresh food should be washed before any use as even the cleanest and greenest of our local growers and producers must use some chemicals in the food production. This said, any eating close to the earth will contribute to a healthier diet for ourselves and for our families. 



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