Tuesday, 25 March 2014

hemp harvest

A few weeks ago Scott and I had the pleasure of being part of an industrial hemp harvest. Harvesting involved collecting the stalks, ensuring they were of a certain size, stripping back some of the leaves, piling them together and then collecting three piles together and standing them up like a teepee and tying them together, these are called stokes and are used to dry the crop. This trial plot of industrial hemp was planted as a not-for-profit project to raise awareness and to trial a technique which is suitable to our region. Once stripped the crop will be used to build an on-site educational studio out of the hemp stalks and hempcrete, demonstrating one of the thousands of ways in which hemp can be used. Hempcrete is an absolutely amazing building product, it has great thermal insulating and acoustic properties, buffering temperature and humidity, preventing damp and mould.
I have to say that the day of harvesting warmed by heart and widened my smile, I admit I did romanticise it a bit by creating visions of Amish barn raising in my head, but honestly I did not have to romanticise too much at all, it was a nurturing, sweaty and community building day. I loved that there were all sorts of people helping, from the very young to yes the ones who were older than others. We sweated together, exchanged stories, shared a meal and relished the drops of rain that sometimes stopped to refresh us. It was beautiful and I look forward to seeing how this crop will further wield it's magic on our community (n.b industrial hemp contains no THC, just in case you were curious).

Thursday, 20 March 2014

our market + some of very special talks

Interestingly as I was checking out when I last brought our beautiful Bellopy markets to your attention I realised that it was pretty much a year ago, literally, take a couple of days. So, now it is to be, even though these markets are visited fortnightly I will endeavour to give you annual updates so that you can see how it has grows and evolves.
I love these markets, they are simple and rich and hold the most beautiful of intentions; supporting local farmers that grow food with sustainable, ethical and humane practices. On the 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday of every month these small markets create their own special buzz in town, there is always music, people to meet and fresh and delicious produce to buy. One week we were bombarded (in the best possible way) with an assortment of absolutely stunning eggplants of so many shapes, colours and sizes, the next market the absolutely stunning lychees beheld by heart.
The passion that Susan (who runs the market) has for spray free, ethical and humane produce is contagious, she is passionate about giving farmers a fair price for their beautiful goods (she doesn't charge farmers for having a stall but asks the visitors to contribute a gold coin donation to cover the hire of the space), she gives them a voice and a place where all their hard work is well and truly appreciated.
Susan (along with many other Bellingen folk) recently participated in TEDX Bellingen, you can see her inspiring and yes passionate talk here but please check out all the other talks, they are absolutely inspiring. I would definitely recommend watching Jennie Fenton's talk 'Inclusion, belonging and the Disability Revolution', but be warned you will need tissues and some extra time in your day, as you will be so moved and so inspired you will need to take action straight away, I promise.