I’ve just driven 10km along our dusty laneway to collect the mail. Inside the rusty old milk pail is a box containing my long-awaited popcorn seeds. I didn’t just choose them for their names, although perhaps I could be forgiven for it? Strawberry, Mini Italian Blue, and Ontos Oval. 1.
I moved to this farm 11 years ago when I married Andrew. His family have been graziers here for 4 generations, witnessing the displacement of the first Aboriginal tribes; the arrival of wealthy landowners who carved up vast tracts of land at the end of the nineteenth century; and, later, the division of these properties into small settlements to accommodate soldiers returning from the First World War. Andrew's mother witnessed the arrival of 240v electricity in her home in 1968: a great advance on the original 32v service that had to be cranked up before use. I fought tooth and nail for satellite internet when I moved here in 2006, 3gb a month. We didn’t come close to using it up.
Now I am mother to two young children. The daily scramble for the bus, football boots and art smocks, lunchboxes and homework provide a rhythm for the everyday. But it is also a framework for the dream that it might be possible in some small way to create a new dialogue around the type of world they inherit.
The news is full of the big questions around climate change and politics, commerce and consumption, but I still believe it’s possible for quiet voices like mine to initiate a change in focus from the macro- to the micro-. With the support of even the smallest community, questions around the food we eat and the soil that sustains us can introduce new ideas that highlight our dependence on the natural environment.
The means at my disposal are the humblest imaginable: I will be planting my popcorn seeds in the coming month with the aim of producing a range of healthy snack food by mid-2018. I will be learning from a local friend who can coax even the most fragile seeds to life with her permaculture practices. I will also be collaborating with the students of our local High School to discuss the importance of bio-diversity and the complex web connecting soil health, human health and the health of our environment. I hope to use this time to demonstrate to the students how it is possible to start a small business with meagre resources in a remote environment in the hope of effecting change.
I would be so excited if you would join me on the journey.
1. Tara Brach on Buddhism, www.tarabrach.com/ nourishing-a-liberating-intention-audio/