July 14, 2014

Connections + strings of sausages

Yesterday was one of my favourite sort of days. A drive in the country, to a stunning property in the hills, to spend the day with inspiring people and learn new skills.

A day of nurturing connections between people - and between people and the land that provides our food.

Just the day before heading to Boonderoo Farm, I read this article by Dan Barber, who talks about how a bucket of flour led him on a path of realisation that everything on our planet in interconnected and that we really need to give more thought to the foods that we choose to eat.

In his words, "We think we've done enough by choosing the coveted items if they're local, if they're organic, and if we can shake the hand of the farmers that grew them - but that's not enough".

Dan points out that the way we eat in rich countries with a relatively short history of agriculture, such as America and Australia, has no connection with ecological reality. Most of the population eat a very small range of foods, often out of season, that does not reflect the variety of agricultural produce that comes from a sustainable farming system.

A farmer cannot simply grow endless crops of the one coveted item of produce. It simply doesn't work that way. To maintain a healthy agricultural system - to avoid soil depletion and outbreaks of pests and pathogens - the farmer must nurture a complex network of relationships. There needs to be an understanding of the ecology of the underlying natural system.

"The techniques used in our industrial food system can be characterized by disconnection, a systematic unhitching. Everything is relegated to its own silo: vegetables over here, and animals there, and grain somewhere else. All the component parts are kept apart. And because they’re unhitched from each other, unsurprisingly, they're unhitched from any kind of food culture."

Australians and Americans have never not yet been forced to develop a cuisine that supports sustainable food production systems. 

This is what I'm passionate about. Reversing that disconnection from ecological reality. I want people to really understand that humans are just another species of the earth's biodiversity.

We need to nurture connections.
To learn from each other.
To appreciate where the food on our plate came from, what was required to grow it and how it ended up in our shopping basket.
To know who made the clothes on our back, how the fibre was grown and the fabric manufactured.
To always, always consider the complex ecology of the natural world that provides us with clean air, water and food.

And that is why I headed to Boonderoo Farm...

I met a bunch of great people and together we learned how to make sausages. Beautiful, gourmet, preservative-free sausages with goat meat from an animal raised right here on the farm and venison from a deer shot on the next-door neighbour's property.

A lot of work and passion went into these sausages. It feels good to eat food like this. It's the same reason I make my own bread, grow my own veggies, am perfectly happy to eat no tomatoes and lots of kale in winter, preserve the summer abundance, don't eat meat every day, and buy whole animal carcasses not just the prime cuts.

50kg of beautiful sausages.

Thank-you Thomas, Gabi and Felix for an excellent day. Looking forward to attending the next workshop...


  1. Beautiful post Amber, great to hear from you. I love these community days...they do not happen often enough in my opinion. I have not eaten goat or venison sausages before, I can imagine they were delicious...great colours! Long may this day/tradition continue!

    I love your words about eating tomatoes in summer, kale in winter and so on. I couldn't agree more. We recently held a similar day making bread and cheese, it was rewarding in so many ways!

    1. Hi Jane! I was just catching up on the last few months at your place and reading about your recent flour & fire day - it sounded wonderful! I love these sorts of days too. I'm just in the process of organising a local crafty community event, after attending The Craft Sessions last year, which was just so wonderful.

      I've been on a bit of break from the blog world (too much else going on) but I've just spent most of the afternoon catching up on my favourite blogs! ;)

  2. Looks like a great day. I too agree with your comments re food and what we eat and how it is grown!!! I look forward to more farmers putting it into practice. I hope you keep a few sausages in the freezer!!

    1. You'd better not stay away too long then Barb! ;)

  3. Like Jane said, those community days are the best. The absolute best! I've never done any meat workshops, but would love to.


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