This month on Online Insights we encounter a homegrown charity, a homegrown food writer, a homegrown fatalist, and a job that seems potentially fatal. Hope you enjoy the ride.
Lamb’s Ears and Honey
I have spent the weekend at a public tasting of beer, wine and coffee (my Baristador Coffee actually) at Homestyle Solutions, a boutique furniture and glassware boutique in Malvern, and one of the visitors was a local food blogger, Amanda McInerney.
She was in heaven at our little tasting and told us a little about her blog, Lamb’s Ears and Honey, in which she writes about good food, where it comes from, and how it gets to us.
Her style is to showcase small, South Australian food producers and celebrate what they do while illuminating the back story for those of us who care about what we consume!
To give you an example of her work, there is a very interesting and alarming article on apples in which Amanda takes us into the details of dangers facing our apple and pear industry AND our health as our markets open to Chinese imports. For years we have deflected moves to bring New Zealand apples to Australia due to fairly stringent regulations to protect our industry from Fire Blight – a bacterial disease which can wipe out “an entire orchard in one season”. Scary stuff. However, what is scarier is Amanda’s claim that all fresh produce imported into Australia is treated with a known carcinogen, methyl bromide, in stark contrast to Australia’s own regulations which carefully restrict our producers from using additives that make food unsafe.
Ironically, our love of small, family-run producers is the heart of the problem with Chinese imports. Amanda argues that there will be so many small family farms contributing produce to imports, some only an acre in size, that it is highly unlikely that the agencies monitoring our bio-security will inspect the all.
Local producers say the big problem is that retailers are particularly poor at letting us know which produce is Australian and which is imported, so it makes grocery shopping a game of Russian roulette, if you take poisons in your food seriously.
Amanda’s blog is a great read and worth following.
I’ve Got Ball
Monique Bowley is an interesting person. Apart from working behind the scenes on Amanda Blair’s program here on Radio FIVEaa, she has a blog documenting how she uses an iPhone app to guide her life decision making.
She says: I am a relatively smart, put together 28 year old. I’m mature. I know what I want…sort of. You see, I’m completely incapable of making decisions. From choosing a meal off the menu, to dealing with family and friends, I just can’t decide. So, I’ve surrendered it all to Fortune Ball; the Magic 8 Ball app on my iphone. It makes the decisions for me.
Basically, when Monique has a decision to make she asks the ball and is committed to whatever its answer is.
One of her recent entries was deciding to start her summer diet, packing good food to the day then turning up to the office to find a large slice of chocolate cake on her desk. What do do? Fortune Ball said “very doubtful”. Her response, ask again tomorrow :-).
In another episode of “war and peace” dimensions, she catalogues the aftereffects of some work at the gym that ended up causing a whole lot of pain in various systems throughout her body. Drugs and bedrest followed and she wondered whether or not to call an ambulance. Fortuneball said, my reply is no. Luckily, she got better the next day. Phew.
One final example. She was suffering from overload in her intray and inbox and asked fortuneball if she could delete and shred everything. The answer, don’t count on it. How sad.
You can follow the story on Monique’s blog.
Australia HOPE International
Have you ever read, heard about, seen or experienced suffering in the world on a crushing scale and felt too helpless to respond?
Well, Bill and Norma Osborne from Nairne went to Uganda in 2000 with their daughter to support the work and help offer teaching to 120 orphans in an orphanage. As fate would have it, a young girl particularly caught their attention and tragically died shortly after they had returned home. That incident spawned the creation of the Australia/Africa HOPE Project, which was a project of the Hills Family Church.
Today, Australia HOPE International has now been established as a purely humanitarian project, run by a team of volunteers in the Adelaide Hills.
I met Norma at a workshop I was running in Strathalbyn and her passion for this project is as strong as ever, a decade after it began. Intriguingly, it was the beads Norma was wearing that started the conversation. The beads are made from paper, although you would never tell because of the beautiful glazed finish, and are part of a business run by women in Uganda who have survived atrocities, genocide, rape and displacement. Norma tells me these women are fired by a passion to help their children have a better quality of life – one with education, nutrition and healthcare. I even saw the beads for sale in a cafe in Strathalbyn, so Hills and Fleurieu people are certainly leading the way.
HOPE stands for Helping Others Possess Empowerment and you can read the full story on their website. One of the things I like most is that they encourage you to communicate with people in communities you are supporting and actually visit if you can.
Don’t look down
This incredible video captures the view and experience faced by workers who need to service the tallest radio tower in the world.
The tower climb we get to see from the bird’s eye view of the climber is 1768 feet high.
It is absolutely nerve wracking just watching the video.