Friday, 30 October 2015

PAINTED PUMPKINS






It has been a little while since we got the paintbrushes out, and so Halloween seemed the perfect time. We bought a bunch of small pumpkins that the children could paint, and we all had fun creating our own designs. School boy wanted to create an Aboriginal dot painting inspired design while the preschooler went for something more colourful. 

It was a fun way to create focus towards Halloween while spending time together talking and painting at the kitchen table. 

And now we have something to display on our table, which helps create a sense of occasion for the impending big day.

images the indigo crew

Thursday, 29 October 2015

HALLOWEEN PAPER CHAINS








One of the decorations we added to our Halloween craft cache this year was paper chains. We made them out of a bat and spider. They were quite impromptu so just using some black tissue paper that we had in our craft cupboard. Depending on the size and intricacy of the decoration, they are an easy one for children to make who can either fold the paper as required and/or cut along the lines.

YOU WILL NEED
White paper (to create template)
Pencil
Strips of black paper (we used tissue paper to get the desired length)
Scissors
Tape or pins to hang

1. Draw your design on a folded piece of white paper. It needs to be symmetrical.
2. Fold your paper in a concertina style.
3. Use your template to cut required shape.
4. Open up and hang using tape or pins. If you want to join in a longer line tape two or more strips together.

images the indigo crew 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

DOTTY SPRINKLES BY EMMA QUAY + ANNA WALKER








There are two books that I am reading every night to the two-year-old at the moment, and this is one of them. Dotty Sprinkles by Emma Quay and Anna Walker was a gift to my son many years ago, and all three of our children have enjoyed it. It's such a simple book, but I think that's the appeal to little ones. The illustrations are sweet and engaging, and the act of "dipping" holds lots of appeal, as do all of those hundreds and thousands sprinkles.

I'll share her other favourite book next week.

images the indigo crew

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

10 QUESTIONS... WITH KAROLINA CARR OF BETWEEN BLUE AND PURPLE



“This is my favourite space in my house because this is where my family live. We talk, we laugh, we cry, we dance, we jump, we rest, we get dizzy, we play, we learn and we love. This is the absolute heart of my home; this is where all the magic happens.”

Karolina Carr’s story can be divided into three distinct chapters - with a detour to the UK. She lived most of her childhood in Adelaide, South Australia, after her parents arrived in Australia from Poland 32 years ago as refugees. Karolina’s mother was seven months pregnant when she landed on foreign soil. At five-months-old Karolina’s parents separated and her mother raised her alone while working full time. “We are very close, and I love her dearly,” Karolina says. When she was 15, her mother decided to take the two of them to the UK for a two-year adventure. “The move was one of my most treasured experiences,” Karolina says. “I travelled, experienced a different life and made beautiful and strong friendships. I was intentionally taken out of my comfort zone and given the chance to live something new and I made the most of it.” When she returned to Australia, she completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication, Media and Culture at the University of South Australia.
Afterwards she travelled around Europe on her own and then moved to Perth with her boyfriend Josh, who was her highschool sweetheart and is now her husband. During her time in Western Australia, Karolina enrolled in a music industry course at TAFE and worked at a wallpaper and home styling shop. “I loved that job,” she says. “I was in my element - styling and being creative.” After their time in Perth, Karolina and Josh explored as much of the world as time would allow. They stayed in a range of places from Marrakech to Tuscany and Champagne, where he proposed. “My time in Perth was where I found complete freedom, I explored many of my interests such as writing, drawing, music and sewing. I took a lot of classes - I still do - most recently I worked on my pottery skills,” she says. “I did so much on my own; I learnt a lot about myself this way.
Four years after arriving in Perth, the couple moved back to Karolina’s hometown of Adelaide. She is now the mother of daughter Violet, aged two, and Jude, eight weeks old, and documents their lives together on Between Blue and Purple. “They are my heart, my life and my treasures,” she says. “I adore them both beyond measure.” Recently they moved into a beautiful old house with their very own “secret garden” in the Adelaide Hills and are slowly renovating it, being as hands-on as possible. 
Karolina is on maternity leave from working as a case manager for a not-for-profit organisation, helping to create opportunities for children through positive role models and enriching experiences. “I work with children who experience social isolation, economic and other complex forms of disadvantage, and match them with volunteer respite carers who willingly give their time, care and support,” she says. “My role is extremely fulfilling, yet also emotionally draining. Before I had children I was able to better cope with my work, but since returning I have been challenged, because now, my heart beats differently and my eyes see differently.”
Karolina says, “I care wholeheartedly and always want to help everyone. I am creative and love beautiful things. I am also an extremely organised person, who likes things a certain way, everything has a place, and I love a list. I am a free, but grounded. I am social, but am also comfortable in my own company. But most importantly I am happy.”

1 As a child I used to wear… dresses, overalls, knee-high socks and anything the 80s had to offer. My mum handmade a lot of beautiful clothes for me; they were always my favourites. She does the same for my daughter; they are always my favourites.

2 My bedroom was… my special space, a space which I always shared with friends, which I decorated with enthusiasm. I put a serious amount of energy into it to make it mine, and reflect who I was at that particular time. I was always decorating, styling and... cleaning it - yes, I was that teenager. It was always a work in progress and would change as I did. I cherished my bedroom, I feel the same about my home now, as I did my bedroom then.

3 When I was a teenager I used to… spend every single waking hour with my friends. I was a mischief maker of the lightest degree.

4 After high school I wanted to be… well, I wasn’t exactly sure. All I knew was that I was excited to start my journey wherever that was going. I knew I wanted to go to university - so picked something - and knew I wanted to travel, so… well, that’s what I did; anything beyond that was unknown.

5 A seminal moment was…  a six-month period a few years ago where I learnt, first-hand, about life and death. I watched my mother-in-law, a devoted mum and Nanna pass away and then six months later I had my first child, my daughter, sweet Violet. Both experiences changed me, they opened my eyes and my heart and altered my perspective. New life helped heal the heartbreaking loss, while loss gave me appreciation for the sweet new miraculous life. 

6 I never thought I would… run a marathon. Yes, in 2011 I ran - and finished - the New York City Marathon. I am not an incredibly sporty girl - yoga and walks are more my thing, but suddenly I got the idea into my head, so my husband and I just did it. I still find it hard to believe what I’m saying. Often when I tell people, I go into a state of disbelief and then I realise I’m actually being serious. So let me just shout it from the roof top - because, again, I’m finding it hard to believe - I ran the New York City Marathon! Wait! What?

7 I’ve learnt to… I’m learning to let things go and trust that doing my best is actually enough. I’ve learnt that my children are here to teach me - that, and about 784 other lessons I have yet to learn. They are my life, my adorable beloved teachers. I trust them and I want to be sure to follow their lead.

8 I know… I am exactly where I need to be right now. I’m doing absolutely what I should be.

9 I share because… that’s what I do, I always have and always will, it’s my nature. I share because I want to be generous always and with everything - except my food, unless I’ve made enough. That is something I’m working on, it’s an only child thing. I share to connect. I share because there is no point, for me not to, and it makes me happy.

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would… if I was feeling particularly energetic - like I could get out of my PJs, I would start the day with a yoga class, otherwise I would start the day by getting something tasty from the local patisserie, maybe while still in my PJs - I have been known to do this, when necessary. I would then probably relax with a cup of tea, and said yummy pastry, in my garden weather-permitting or by the fire - if I ever learn to light it - but I’d at least light a candle in lieu of fire. And finally I would catch up on all the magazine subscriptions I never find time to read, but continue to buy in the hope that one day I will have a “morning to myself” - hallelujah!


image courtesy of karolina carr

Monday, 26 October 2015

HALLOWEEN SPIRIT



As the Halloween festivities are starting to get into full swing, I still stop every now and then to think about the rise in popularity of this American cultural tradition in Australia. It seems every year over the past five years or so its popularity has doubled, at least. Now there are stores dedicated to selling all sorts of related merchandise and the supermarkets have also caught on and are selling Halloween produce and wares.

Yes, the commercialisation of this festivity gripes a little but there's a lot of good that comes from it too. I enjoy creating traditions with my family and finding a way to celebrate Halloween that fits in with our lifestyle and interests. Not surprisingly, a lot of our focus relates to craft and decorating our home. Baking, too. We usually try to make biscuits or something that's not overloaded with sugar - and, again, is about not buying into the celebration, but creating our own activities related to the day. I also want to create these great fruit treats this year.

Most of our crafts are paper-based and recyclable - as in get used for a few years in a row. A little like Christmas decorations. We made the bats and spiders last year using chalk on black paper. More recently we created these spiderwebs, and will share a few more of our projects this week.

It's also lovely walking around the neighbourhood with our children and getting to meet and talk to some neighbours that we don't always see that often. And, of course, there's a great atmosphere of celebration on the streets with all the children walking around dressed up in their costumes. As I said, it's not all bad at all. 

How do you and your family celebrate Halloween? 

image the indigo crew






Thursday, 22 October 2015

HAPPY DISCOVERY






This little one loves dresses. As in, doesn't want to wear anything else. And generally they have to be spinning dresses. It has meant that often she doesn't wear at least half of her wardrobe. She's not interested in skirts or dresses that don't spin, and forget about playsuits. Until... she received a tutu as a birthday present. It spins - tick, from her. And she needs to wear something with it - ideally a playsuit as it's see-through.

Now, the beautiful playsuits from her wardrobe are getting lots of use. Big tick, from me.

Playsuit Mabo Kids
Tutu Hubble + Duke

images the indigo crew

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

SHHH! LITTLE MOUSE BY PAMELA ALLEN







When my son was given this book - Shhh! Little Mouse by Pamela Allen - as a gift many years ago neither he nor myself particularly enjoyed it. I couldn't understand how you could engage a child with a series of pages with just images and virtually no text. However, some time later a school teacher friend was talking about how she engages pupils when reading. It's an obvious technique in many ways, but something I didn't think about as a first-time mum seven years ago. 

My friend teaches high school English students and when they read a text in class, she always stops at random points to check in that they are paying attention by asking them questions about the book and storyline. 

So when it came time for my eldest daughter to read this book, I tried out my friend's teaching technique. When we read this book, I would ask her simple questions such as, "What is the mouse eating now?" And for an 18-month-old this was quite a fun exercise. She loved the book, and my youngest does too. And now I enjoy reading it - because it's about our interaction together over the text. 

I also use this technique when reading to my son. I check in to see if he's following the storyline, and his thoughts on what might happen. When we read words that I'm not sure if he knows the meaning, I'll ask him about those too. 

If you have any reading techniques that you'd like to share, please do.

images the indigo crew

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

10 QUESTIONS WITH NICOLE YOUNG



Buddhism has featured quite prominently in the life of Nicole Young, an Australian expat living in London. After studying marketing at Swinburne University in Melbourne and working in management at fashion retailer Witchery, she changed careers and worked for a florist, managing big clients for large-scale events. The owner and her family were practising Buddhists and Nicole became so involved with the religion that she almost become a Buddhist nun. About a year later the florist asked Nicole if she wanted to buy her out, but her daughters asked for time to consider their options first. “I thought this would be a good time to fulfil my dream of travelling independently around Europe whilst plans fell into place,” she says.
Nicole travelled around Europe for about a year on $50 a day, ending up in Morocco, where she decided to fly to London and get a working holiday visa. After a short stint as a PA, she was asked to run corporate events. “For six years I ended up, amongst other things, organising events for a 1000 guests at the National Portrait Gallery and spending an almost obscene amount of time at Claridges, running client events there on behalf of my company,” Nicole says. “I had a fantastic time, really living the London life - parties, events, chef’s tables, premieres…”
Two weeks before she was due to return to Australia - via Dharamsala, to meet the Dalai Lama - she met her husband. After getting married and becoming pregnant with their son, Joseph, Nicole stopped working. “It was not part of my plan at all,” she says. “But I just wanted to be with him, and in the end it was absolutely the right decision for us as a family for me to stay at home. Joseph had serious hearing and speech issues - all since resolved - which I just couldn’t have given my full attention to had I been working the hours required in event management.”
Nicole has now been living in London for 16 years, and is based in North London with her family of four, including daughter Amalia, four. Joseph is now seven. “I still haven’t climbed Everest,” Nicole says. “Or met the Dalai Lama!”

1 As a child I used to wear… a lot of corduroy! I’m not sure I ever had a choice about what I wore. I had two older brothers and four cousins, all boys, so there were a lot of hand-me-downs. I grew up on a small farm of sorts, and I was a bit of a tomboy so I’m not sure I really cared very much about what I was wearing until I got older. However, both my grandmother and my mother were quite handy with a sewing machine and I remember having some beautiful dresses made for me. Even now, I’m always drawn to anything smocked.

2 My bedroom was… all white. I suppose what was special about it to me was that it was my own, whereas my brothers had to share. I remember using my wardrobe doors as classroom chalkboards to play teacher when I was little, and just a few weeks ago I found my daughter doing the same, all her teddies lined up as if in class, which made me smile.

3 When I was a teenager I used to… be the good girl. I was always up for having a good time and, yes, rules were broken but I was never particularly rebellious. I suppose I was just always somewhere in the middle.

4 After high school I wanted to be… in my head, I thought I’d be some high-flying PR exec, but in my heart I wanted to be either a marine biologist or an interpreter, which probably shows either just how na├»ve I was, or how desperate I was to go see the world. Now that I’m a mother I’m determined to encourage my children to seek each and every opportunity to follow their hearts, to choose a path that truly interests them, one that fills them with a sense of wonder about the world and where they might fit into it, rather than doing the thing that everyone else is doing, or a job that is merely seen as being “sensible”.

5 A seminal moment was… I suppose I should say having my children or meeting my husband and in a round-about way, these were key moments. However, I remember flying into Rome, my first ever overseas experience, not speaking a word of Italian - and suddenly realising that not everyone spoke English - sitting in a tiny hotel room with my backpack and a Lonely Planet, wondering what on earth I had done. I was overcome with fear, I was completely on my own and a very long way from home. I told myself that I at least had to go see the Colosseum and having done that I would head straight back to the airport and fly home. So as I walked the streets of Rome,  eating gelato I knew then and there that there was no way I was going home until I’d seen every single thing that I had come so far to see. And I’ve always felt that that moment, sat in the shadows of the Colosseum, was the moment that led me on to the rest of my life.

6 I never thought I would… be asked to be a part of something like this. I never thought I would be a mother, and a stay-at-home mum at that, or marry an English guy or live in a cold climate. Shows how little I know.

7 I’ve learnt to… make really good risotto. I’ve learnt that I, nor anything I do, need be perfect and - to quote - “that the sun will go down without any help from me”. 

8 I know… how important it is to have great and true friends in life but that it’s even more important to be a loyal friend myself. I know that we’re all much stronger than we think we are. And I know exactly who I am and that perhaps she’s not so bad after all.

9 I share because… I love the connections it has brought me. And I’d feel mean to not share when so many share with me. I’m just very curious about other people and their lives, and I love seeing other people’s feeds. I’ve literally watched children grow up before my eyes in these little squares and, quite simply, it makes me happy. If my photos and little stories can make someone smile, then that’s a good thing, right? It also turns out that I just really enjoy taking photos and having a little gallery of my own to curate.

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would… take a very long walk through Regent's Park with my dog but the truth is that I’d probably spend the whole morning procrastinating over my options and then my time would be up before I’d done anything at all.


image courtesy of nicole young

Monday, 19 October 2015

DINNER-TIME QUESTIONS



About a year or so ago a friend recommended a conversation jar for dinner time. It seemed like a good idea. They had found a list of questions on the Internet and shared them with us. We've adapted some, and added others. And while it's not something we use every night, we do use it from time to time - sometimes when the conversation is a little slow, otherwise when the children are getting restless and need a change in focus.

Because we don't use it every night, it seems to hold more weight when it is pulled out. And the children get excited about it all over again.

Here are some of the questions from our jar:


What made you laugh today?
What is your favourite game to play?
Describe your perfect day.
What is your favourite animal?  Why?
What did you dream last night?
What is your favourite season and why?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Who in your class seems sad?
If you could only keep one toy which one would you keep?
If you could only keep one book which one would you keep?
What is your favorite time of day?  Why?
If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
What would you like to learn to do?
What should we do more of as a family?
What do you enjoy doing with your family?
When was the last time you were sad? Why?
What is your favourite food?
What makes you happy?
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Who is the funniest person you know?
What is your favourite part of the house?  Why?
If you could be any vegetable, what would you be?
What is your favourite thing to do with your mum?
What is your favourite thing to do with your dad?
What is your favourite thing to do you with your brother/sister?
If you could have any animal for a pet which one would you choose?
If you could play any instrument, which would you choose and why?
What is the best thing that happened to you last year?

images the indigo crew 

Friday, 16 October 2015

EASY PIZZA TARTS


Pizza always goes down well in our house, but we've fallen out of preparing the dough itself. So the other day I decided to use puff pastry as a base. We've been using it for cooking quite a bit recently as the kids seem to enjoy it - and it's always fast and easy to use.

I used to do this years ago and forgot that sometimes it's worthwhile blind baking the pastry to prevent a soggy base. They all turned out pretty well - but one or two were a little soft - probably due to the amount of "wet" tomato sauce on top - but the children certainly didn't notice. Next time I'm also going to prick the pastry base with a fork to see if that helps.

INGREDIENTS


Pizza 1
Puff pastry, frozen base
Pesto
Bacon
Tomato
Mozzarella


Pizza 2
Puff pastry, frozen base
Pesto
Asparagus
Parmesan, shavings
Black pepper, grinned
Sea salt, grinded
Olive oil


Pizza 3
Puff pastry, frozen base
Tomato passata (or tinned tomatoes)
Salami, chopped
Mushrooms
Mozzarella


Pizza 4
Puff pastry, frozen base
Tomato passata (or tinned tomatoes)
Salami, whole slices
Mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 180-degrees-C. Spray baking tray with olive oil and sprinkle with semolina or line with baking paper.
2. Place puff pastry on tray and pin prick all over. Add ingredients.
3. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until golden.


Sides
Because not everyone likes rocket or olives we often put these in separate bowls and add according to taste.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

HALLOWEEN SPIDER CRAFT






The other day we were on a little bit of a halloween crafting frenzy. And as we were talking about spiders it struck me that we might be able to make spiders from handprints. The girls always love drawing around their hands so it seemed like a fun little activity. 

We folded a piece of black paper in half and drew an outline in chalk and cut them to out to create a spider shape with eight legs.

But then school boy said that we were missing the two parts on the top. After a little research we learnt that these apendages are called pedipalps and used for eating. So the next batch of spiders had eight legs and two pedipalps.

Simple and fun - and we learnt something too.

images the indigo crew

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

LOST AND FOUND BY OLIVER JEFFERS







Children's books are always something of a surprise. You can never really know which way they are going to go. Some books are beautifully written or illustrated but just don't connect to a particular child. Others can seem overly simplistic and yet are a hit. Although that is probably part of the appeal.

And then there are some books that you are secretly pleased that they love. Recently the two-year-old has started to enjoy the Once There Was a Boy Series by Oliver Jeffers. Her old brother received the box set which contains The Way Back Home, Lost and Found and How to Catch a Star about six years ago, and now it is her turn to enjoy them. Although I have to say her older sister never really connected with them.

The funny thing is that I think the youngest enjoys them because she has a pair of red and white stripy pjs and they match the clothes the boy is wearing. She gets excited every time she sees his outfit. She also enjoys finding the penguin on the page in Lost and Found.

It's probably the sweetest story out of the three. Her next favourite is How to Catch a Star followed by The Way Back Home - she doesn't seem as interested as interested in rockets as her brother was at her age - well, not yet.

Interestingly, How to Catch a Star was published in 2004 - so it's now 11 years old and while the illustrations are perhaps slightly dated, they still look beautiful. And the text is wonderful to read - quite playful but not too long or contrived.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

10 QUESTIONS WITH ASHLEY JENNETT OF THE STORK AND THE BEANSTALK



“The kitchen table is the quintessential area where it all goes down. Because my husband works from home, we spend many mornings together as a family eating breakfast, and later dinner. The record player and our record collection is directly behind the table and we all enjoy listening to music during this time as well - that is when the TV doesn’t win that battle because we all know the value a few moments of peace. We have a view of the ocean from our kitchen table as well and it’s nice to look out the window and see the sun setting... though you have to ignore the rush of cars travelling on the freeway, which is practically in our backyard, but the record player does a good - enough - job of that.”

Ashley Jennett of The Stork and the Beanstalk admits that she often stumbles when filling out forms requiring her to list her occupation. She works part-time as a hospital nurse to meet the practical needs of her life, but she also dedicates a lot of time to photographing families and weddings. The images she creates are moody and timeless, and imbued with beautiful light. “My heart resides with my photography,” Ashley says.

Last year she also opened a clothing shop The Bee & The Fox with her husband selling what has quickly turned into an iconic t-shirt. While the business has grown quickly, so too has the work for it, Ashley says. “Each job gives me a little something different and while I struggled for a long time about not being able to give 100 per cent to any one thing, I now appreciate each position for what it provides and view them collectively as having a symbiotic relationship, where each one is made better because the other exists,” she says. 

Ashley was born in Van Nuys, California, which is part of “The Valley” and the where the term “Valley Girl” was coined - thanks in part to Marilyn Monroe, who hung out in the Valley often. While Ashely has spent most of my life in Southern California, she spent five years “living independently and making a lot of mistakes” in San Francisco in her 20s. She’s now based in a small beach town called San Clemente, south of Los Angeles and north of San Diego. Ashley lives there with her husband, their two boys, a boxer dog, and a growing baby in her belly. 

“Like most, the path Ive traveled is not without its bumps and detours,” she says. “A huge part to any success I’ve encountered is the support I’ve received from my husband as well as a philosophy I’ve adopted in life to simply go with it and learn along the way. Some of my biggest mistakes and biggest heartaches have turned out to be the source of strength behind my biggest leaps forward.” 

1 As a child I used to wear... white cowboy boots. With everything. Including my girl scout uniform. 

2 My bedroom was... covered with posters my mom gave me from the 60s and beaded curtains. I’d also cut things out from magazines and tape them all over my walls. 

3 When I was a teenager I used to... think I knew it all. I was a bitch to my mom. Sorry, mom. I developed late and was all around pretty immature.

4 After high school I wanted to... know what it is what I wanted to do because the reality is I didn’t have a clue. 

5 A seminal moment was... having my heart broken by a guy who didn’t deserve me. I travelled the world shortly after that relationship ended and it was during that time I built the foundation of who I am today.

6 I never thought I would... be a mother to a girl. And so far, I’m not. We don’t know the gender of the baby in my belly and are hoping to hold off on finding out.

7 I’ve learnt to... eat leftover pizza. And the truth is, I now love it even better the next day.

8 I know... what I do and I don’t know what I don’t know.

9 I share because... it makes the world feel like a smaller place and I like the conversation and community aspect of it. 

10 If I had an unexpected morning to myself I would... sleep in. Then I’d like to think I’d have the energy to get up and clean... because a clean house is where it’s at. 


image courtesy of ashely jennett

Monday, 12 October 2015

IS ORGANIC FOOD REALLY BETTER?



When we can we head down our local farmers market and buy fresh flowers and produce. It's a short walk from our home, and while we would like to do it more often, for various reasons it doesn't always happen. But sometimes that gnaws at me.

When we had one child, we always shopped at what was then Macro Wholefoods in Bondi Junction. It was moderately more expensive but we enjoyed the food on offer, supporting a small business, and being conscious consumers.

However, when we moved out of the area, it was more difficult to head to About Life, which is now our nearest wholefoods store. Instead, we shop at a national grocer, and it bugs me. But it's really convenient - mainly related to time. And more recently we have gone back to online shopping. Again, it's a convenience issue, although I struggle with the fact that all the groceries are delivered in plastic bags not boxes, as was the case years ago (when we used to shop this way). And while the delivery driver will take the bags back to recycle, I always think it's better not to use plastic in the first place.

Notwithstanding where we shop, we have started to add more organic items into our shopping cart. When the children were younger we always bought organic milk but when they went to preschool and were eating and drinking non-organic foods, I questioned if it made any difference given they were receiving a mixed diet. And it was so much cheaper to buy non-organic milk. We go through about 12 litres a week. (That's more than $600 a year - just on milk! In comparison, it costs more than $1500 a year to buy organic milk.)

Recently I was talking to someone who is not faddish when it comes to these issues and they said they always bought organic milk after learning about farming practices in Australia. Now, one of the reasons I stopped buying organic milk and meat was because I always bought Australian made and was led to believe that we have high food standards.

What I was told more recently was that farmers allow their cattle to graze on land that has often been sprayed. This was reported in a reputable news program. When I heard about this, I didn't want to touch non-organic dairy-related products again. 

At about the same time, I watched this video. It was quite a revelation.

But this brings me back to the farmers market. It's not an organic farmer's market. It is buying directly from the producer, and that feels good. It's not food that has been cold stored or shipped across continents either. And the fruit - such as apples and mandarins - taste a million times better than anything in a supermarket. So I don't feel bad buying from the farmers - even if they're not organic.

I spoke to a farmer in Italy and she said to be classified organic means you have to go through a lot of paperwork and it's a lot of rigmarole - something that's not always easy for a small-scale hands-on producer. But her farm was completely chemical free. Sometimes labels can be deceptive.

What changed my mind originally on the topic of eating organically was The Ethics of What We Eat by Dr Peter Singer. It's a book that really altered my view of the world. It wasn't just about the nutritional benefits of eating organically, but about the farm practices that you're helping to encourage or discourage, whatever the case may be. It's important to me to support producers who want to farm keeping in mind the health of the animals and earth as much as their profits.

However, I do struggle with organic food that is excessively packaged - as seems to be the case when bought from supermarkets. It it such a contradiction. And given the choice of buying food from Australia that's non-organic versus something that's been shipped from another country and is organic, I will tend to go for local (due to the carbon cost). Also, a few years ago I ate food from a Wholefoods store in the USA and the food tasted highly processed. I don't know what regulations are in place State-side but it seems no matter what you eat or where you buy your food, you need to check the labels.

Here are some interesting articles on the topic:
Body + Soul includes interviews with chemical-free farmers and their viewpoints on organic farming,
Huffington Post sites a study and the benefits of organic food.
Better Health on the facts about how to recognise organic food and the nutritional benefits.

Do you eat organic food? Exclusively? What is the basis for this? Can you recommend any reputable studies, websites or books? Why is organic food consumption an issue - or not - for you and your family?

image the indigo crew