What’s not to love about village chickens?

food security women village chickensIf anyone knows chickens, veterinary scientist Robyn Alders AO does. Over the past 20 years, Robyn has been instrumental in rolling out a sustainable vaccination program that immunises chickens against Newcastle disease, empowering women by providing them with a dependable source of income and nutritious food.

Poultry have been domesticated for thousands of years with archaeological evidence suggesting that domesticated chickens existed in China 8,000 years ago. While there is an amazing array of fancy breeds of chickens, in many countries, village or indigenous breeds of chickens continue to exist in a collaborative venture with their human owners as they have done for many centuries.

Village chickens can be found in low- to middle-income countries and play a vital role in many resource-poor rural households. They provide scarce animal protein and micronutrients in the form of meat and eggs and can be sold or bartered to meet essential family needs such as medicine, clothes and school fees. Village poultry are active in pest control, provide manure, are required for special festivals and are essential for many traditional ceremonies. The output of village chickens is lower than that of intensively raised birds but it is obtained with a minimum input in terms of housing, disease control, management and supplementary feeding. They are frequently owned and managed by women and children and are often essential elements of female-headed households. More


Call for your chicken stories and bones

chicken ceramics

* * * Status: Ready for bones * * *

Once chicken was a rare treat, yet today, we gorge on it. Australians are the fourth largest consumers in the world, eating 623 million chickens a year, or 46 kilograms each.

From supermarkets to fast food, the message is the same, ‘Eat chicken, it’s cheap!’

‘Eat more’. More


Fuck Facebook, let’s art!

first bone

Changes are afoot and you can be a part of it!

No more Facebook
Subscribe to the mailing list (top right in the blue box) to be kept in the loop. I’m still on Twitter, and on Instagram, so follow there for food.

I’m making art
I’ve enjoyed researching our food system, and social media has been effective to get the word out, but I feel like it’s time to start communicating food in a new way. Also, to be kind to myself, off the computer and in the real world.

I had an idea to start a food museum to influence public debate about food. But that was a little ambitious, so I scaled back the idea to create museum exhibitions. And then I whittled it down a little more.

To make art—or something of the sort. More


Rethink breakfast: One small thing you can do to fix food

summer breakfast
Summer breakfast

Decades ago, I stopped shopping for food in the supermarket, only entering for cereal, milk, and tortillas.

When the milk war erupted in 2011, I began buying milk from small dairies. The next year I made heavenly tortillas from scratch.

Which left cereal.

Due to one hundred years of extensive marketing, cereals have an aura of health—yet the truth can be somewhat hairier. More


Level up local food

sugo
Literally up

The way I shop is different now. During summer, I’ll pounce at the first sight of corn. In March, I embrace all the tomatoes. And when I spy red capsicums—I’m warning you—step aside!

I know what the chooks that laid my eggs eat. My sourdough was made by hand. My milk comes from the dairy an hour away.

Local, seasonal food has changed the way I cook too. Because it’s full of flavour and tastes alive, the mantra “less is more” rings true. I step out of the way and let the produce shine. More


Powerful supermarkets push the cost of food waste onto suppliers, charities

farmers paid for this too
At a time when one billion people globally experience hunger, as much as 50% of all food produced—up to two billion metric tonnes—is thrown away every year. In Australia alone, as much as 44 million tonnes of food is wasted annually.

Last year, French supermarket chain Intermarché launched a highly successful campaign encouraging consumers to purchase “ugly” food. This year, France became the first country in the world to implement laws cracking down on food waste, with new legislation banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Under this new legislation, supermarkets are required to donate any unsold food to charities or for animal feed.

More


Save Sydney’s food bowl

sydney basin food

Australia’s food supply chains are increasingly vulnerable to shocks and trends related to the impacts of a changing climate. With Sydney’s population of 4.2 million expected to grow by 1.6 million people in the next 20 years, local food production is further threatened by the need to house–and provide infrastructure for–a growing population. More