Family, Food and Memories


“Bloody hell, there’s more!” said my brother incredulously, as he handed me yet another piece which I then carefully wrapped in newspaper and put into the box. We had already packed and sealed one box from this collection and were now onto the second large box.

Clearing out the house of our childhood was a hard and emotional task, but for me this particular collection had very special significance. Continue reading

My response to the ACT food policy discussion paper

The Conservation Council are welcoming responses to their discussion paper: Towards an ACT Region Food Policy and Food Plan by 30 June 2015.

If you have an interest in where your food comes from and how it was produced then consider providing your thoughts to As food for thought, below is my response.

The following more detailed feedback is primarily aimed at considerations for developing a shared food vision and the policies / actions required to achieve that vision. Whilst it is influenced by my involvement and membership in Canberra City Farm and Slow Food, the views expressed are my own.


I think it is important to develop a positive vision capable of engaging the entire community and becoming a source of pride and identity. It is important to recognise, discuss and address areas of concern (such as poor nutrition, food insecurity, climate change, etc) but in themselves I am concerned this will not engage the broader community.

To share my own vision (and wax lyrical for a moment), I dream of a capital region that takes pride in regional sustainably grown fair food

  • where food is delicious and has a distinctive character reflective of its origins
  • where food connects us as a community to each other and to the environment on which we depend
  • where food is a vital element in a vibrant, diverse, and creative economy that is resilient and adaptable.

Continue reading

Remembering a very special concert by Archie Roach AM

archie roach charcoal lane

This morning I woke to the news that Archie Roach had been awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour in the Order of Australia category. Following the news the radio played Archie’s iconic song “Took the Children Away” and I was instantly transported back almost twenty years to one of the most exclusive and memorable concerts ever.

The venue: A small street between the two dilapidated old buildings which made up the Gill Memorial Emergency Hostel for Men, or the Gill as we knew it.

The audience: The men who resided at, or near, the Gill – and me,

My role: Organiser (but that might be overstating it) and driver (Archie’s car had broken down so I jumped at the opportunity to drive him to and from the concert, all the while self-indulgently peppering Archie with endless questions – thanks for your patience Archie!).

The concert: After a casual barbecue and a chat, Archie performed around a dozen songs from his first two albums including Took the Children Away, Down City Streets and Charcoal Lane. A young bloke asked if Archie could play Stairway to Heaven – “Sorry I don’t know that one” said Archie “but I’ll check it out and see if I can learn it”. To end Archie sincerely thanked the men for so warmly welcoming him.

The aftermath: 50 or so enraptured men who were able to forget their troubles for an afternoon in the company of a very special singer / song-writer and warrior for social justice.

Thanks so much Archie for your generosity so long ago and congratulations on a very well deserved award. You’re a dead-set legend!

Reflections of an Urban Food garden volunteer at Floriade


UAA Floriade

This afternoon, in brilliant Spring weather, I completed my final volunteer shift at Urban Agriculture Australia‘s display garden at Canberra’s famous Floriade flower festival. What an absolute treat! Here are the five top things I got from the experience: Continue reading

Feel Good Breakfast Mushrooms


Feel good breakfast mushrooms

Over the last few years I have managed to successfully grow some very elegant looking kale. The problem was I didn’t really know what to do with it, and my initial attempts to add steamed kale as a side dish were definitely not appetising. As a result the handsome looking crop benefitted the chooks more than it did us. From such an unpromising beginning, kale has become a regular inclusion in our cooking, including in the recipe below.

Served with beautiful home made sourdough bread and thick, locally produced bacon slices, this is a delicious way to start your Sunday.  And with a mix of healthy greens and herbs straight from the garden you’ll be doing your body a favour! Continue reading