China and bees


This morning I got up at the crack of dawn (for me that’s 7am … ha ha ha … obviously only a pretend farmer) … as I was saying, this morning I got up quite early and started picking rhubarb, herbs, nasturtium blossoms and tomatoes for the community market we’ve started at the school. Brian and Wayne dropped in the most beautiful basket of tomatoes they’d grown organically – heritage tomatoes, including black ones, that you’ll never see in the supermarket;

Mrs Crowther, the boys’ teacher, gave us her honey in 3 varieties: Yellow box, Angophora & Paterson’s Curse – I spent the entire market talking to people about the dire situation with bees worldwide and the need to support small beekeepers; the boys gathered together all the toys they were willing to sell in order to buy themselves “new” toys.

Being a mother, the hardest thing about global warming and all the changes we need to make is the impact on our children. We at least want them to have a life as good as we had and certainly don’t want them to be the ones to pay for our past (and present) extravagances. How then do you cope with them wanting new toys? We seem to have hit on it with this market. My boys, I know, have actually started to factor the market into their thinking. They know they need to choose old toys each month to sell and that if they earn themselves money from selling them they’ll be able to buy “new” toys, or whatever else they really want, from someone else at the market. No Chinese families have to suffer to keep them happy No toys have to go into landfill. Instead the children barter between themselves and have a great time with their community doing so. Maxie even gave a recital on the school piano and had the joy of everyone in the market applauding him – that wouldn’t have happened at KMart!

Everything at our market is local – genuinely local – within 20km of Blackheath. People are now coming up to me telling me that they’ve planted peas or broadbeans or herbs, or that they have eggs which they’ll bring along next market. The market is an inspiration and a monthly get together for the community. And no one is harmed by what we’re doing. We’re recycling, relocalizing and rethinking the way we go about contemporary life. We’re teaching our children to barter, swap and share and to value their local community and, in the meantime, we’re having a ball. There’s live music, laughter and bargains. I came home with placemats, a beautiful ceramic baking dish, a punchbowl with glass cups, a bush tucker tree and a book on the history of knitting for a grand total of $14. I made a lot more selling my old stuff and veges.

The markets were my political action today. They were about making a stand for a different source of food production, for a different way of operating in the world and for teaching our children to be connected to their community. As my personal action I made a commitment to no longer use teabags. I’ve been working towards this because of the absurdity of putting packaging on a single teaspoon of leaves. I even had another marital eco-fight over it when Ian didn’t read my mind and came home with a new box of teabags. Despite them being there I won’t use them – they can be his. For the first time in my life I’m starting to use teapots and the freetrade box of tea I bought at World Environment Day last year. I’m tossing around Nada’s idea of planting Camellia Sinensis in order to grow my own tea but, in the meantime, I’m also really enjoying using my herbs to explore how they can make delicately coloured and scented teas …


lemon verbena


lemon balm