Cittaslow Katoomba Blue Mountains


Information and education

This section is to inform and assist those interested in being more acquainted with credible and valuable alternatives to mainsteam practices, policies and education. Anyone may submit an item to be included, provided it meets with the Cittaslow principles and ethos.

Please submit your article, report or information to Nigel Bell at for review.

Local Food Movement

Local food (also regional food or food patriotism) or the local food movement is a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies - one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place" and is considered to be a part of the broader sustainability movement. It is part of the concept of local purchasing and local economies, a preference to buy locally produced goods and services. Those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced food sometimes call themselves locavores or localvores.

The locavore movement is a movement in Australia, the United States and elsewhere that spawned as interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness become more prevalent. Those who are interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market, are called "locavores." The food may be grown in home gardens or grown by local commercial groups interested in keeping the environment as clean as possible and selling food close to where it is grown. Some people consider food grown within a 100-mile/kilometer radius of their location local, while others have other definitions.

Watch the official Locavore Trailer - A must watch! So true!

Locavore is an inspiring new documentary about the inevitable return to the local diet. Less than a generation ago human beings worldwide travelled less than 10 kilometres to obtain the majority of the food they ate. Today the average conventionally grown vegetable has travelled more than 1500 kilometres by the time it has reached your pantry. Our food today is over processed, stale, and lacks nutrition. This new film, featuring some of the neo-pioneers of the Locavore movement will educate, inspire, and revitalize bringing health to our bodies AND our communities. - NOTE from Jean: I've grown my vegetables for my year-round needs for the past 30 years and can attest to the facts mentioned in this trailer. That's the way of the future!

Foodshed for Thought

Why Eat Locally? Our food now travels an average of 1,500 kilometres before ending up on our plates. This globalisation of the food supply has serious consequences for the environment, our health, our communities and our tastebuds. Much of the food grown in the breadbasket surrounding us must be shipped across the country to distribution centres before it makes its way back to our supermarket shelves. Because uncounted costs of this long distance journey (air pollution and global warming, the ecological costs of large scale monoculture, the loss of family farms and local community dollars) are not paid for at the checkout counter, many of us do not think about them at all. What is eaten by the great majority of North Americans comes from a global everywhere, yet from nowhere that we know in particular.

How many of our children even know what a chicken eats or how an onion grows? The distance from which our food comes represents our separation from the knowledge of how and by whom what we consume is produced, processed, and transported. And yet, the quality of a food is derived not merely from its genes and the greens that fed it, but from how it is prepared and cared for all the way until it reaches our mouths. If the production, processing, and transport of what we eat is destructive of the land and of human community -- as it very often is -- how can we understand the implications of our own participation in the global food system when those processes are located elsewhere and so are obscured from us? How can we act responsibly and effectively for change if we do not understand how the food system works and our own role within it?


Eat Locally! Can we stay within a 100 mile radius? While corporations, which are the principal beneficiaries of a global food system now dominate the production, processing, distribution, and consumption of food, alternatives are emerging which together could form the basis for foodshed development.


The 3 A's of Awesome

Neil Pasricha's blog 1000 Awesome Things savors life's simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets. In this heartfelt talk from TEDxToronto, he reveals the 3 secrets (all starting with A) to leading a life that's truly awesome.

Watch video:

Editor's note: Though this is about Canada, the thoughts apply to us these days, where ever we are.

Watch video


3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship

The future of green is local -- and entrepreneurial. At TEDxMidwest, Majora Carter brings us the stories of three people who are saving their own communities while saving the planet. Call it "hometown security."

Watch video:

Eidtor's note: Perhaps this relates to our own communities. Is there a way you can innovate?

Watch video

Kitchen Table Sustainability
Kitchen Table Sustainability


'Kitchen Table Sustainability' Book

Two years in the making, drawing on stories and case studies from around the world, Kitchen Table Sustainability is designed to help guide and support you through the challenges of engaging with sustainability so that you can make a difference for your community, your organisation and the Earth.

If communities are the heart and hands of the sustainability movement, community engagement is the life support system that connects the heart and the hands to enable the transition toward global sustainability.

Kitchen Table Sustainabilityoffers a unique view of sustainability through the lens of community engagement.

Drawing on a rich tapestry of personal stories, professional and academic knowledge and a heartfelt care for communities and the Earth, this book encourages communities to engage with conversations about sustainability at the 'kitchen table' where anyone can contribute and everyone has a place.

Kitchen Table Sustainabilityintroduces a powerful new EATINGapproach to community engagement, encompassing Education, Action, Trust, Inclusion, Nourishment and Governance. It distils decades of wisdom from community planning, engagement and sustainability practice into a practical guidebook full of inspiring examples and case studies.

Whether you are struggling to know where to start or wondering why your community engagement processes are stuck and not achieving the sustainability results you wanted, this book can help.

Written by one of the world's leading experts on community engagement and planning, with contributions from experienced practitioners, scholars and activists, Kitchen Table Sustainability is a must-have for anyone who wants to ensure a liveable Earth for future generations of all species.
 To receive a complimentary download of the first four chapters of this exciting book, please enter your details below.

We'll also let you know about relevant Kitchen Table Sustainability events from time to time (of course, you can unsubscribe at any time).

To receive a complimentary download of the first four chapters of this exciting book, go to:

Law of Mother Earth

...expected to prompt radical new conservation and social measures in South American nation

John Vidal reports from La Paz where Bolivians are living with the effects of climate change every day Link to this video

See full article attached...

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Transition Blue Mountains -
has a groovy new website and it's there for all of us to use. Check it out here and add your own events, articles and stories.

Applying Sociocracy as an Individual

Even if you do not live or work in a sociocratic organization, you can apply the sociocratic principles and methods to develop a deeper understanding and achieve greater harmony in your life and in the lives of others. By demonstrating that sociocratic principles and practices increase fairness, effectiveness, and transparency and improve collaboration, you may also increase the possibility that sociocratic principles will be implemented in your organizations.

These small changes suggested here can make a big difference in your life as well as in that of others.

To view the principles and practices of Sociocracy, visit

View online version here


truefood network

true food network news



Greenpeace GM scientist tours Downunder

Dr. janet cotter, senior scientist at greenpeace international laboratoryWhile Australia stands to be the first nation to commercialise genetically modified (GM) wheat, the debate on the dangers and promises of GM crops is far from settled. Adding ten years' experience researching GM to the debate is Dr. Janet Cotter.

Dr. Cotter is a Senior Scientist at Greenpeace International Laboratory based at the University of Exeter (UK), and she is currently in Australia to discuss the risks of eating GM wheat and of releasing GM crops into the environment through open-air field trials.

Dr. Cotter is currently meeting with politicians, scientists, journalists and community groups across the nation. Read more on her tour and follow some of the media coverage she's attracted, including a lively debate on ABC radio.

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MADGE Australia Inc

Dear Friends,

We have developed a glossy, three-fold leaflet that is available to read and print out from our website here. Alternatively read the text version of the new leaflet below. Please help us spread the word by forwarding on this email or by sending your friends the link to this email online. The glossy print version of the leaflet is also available for distribution. Please contact us if you are interested in having copies to circulate. Auguts 2011

Your food looks, tastes and smells the same but it's been changed in ways you can't see. This may have harmful effects on people, especially children:

What's happened to our food?

Companies have Genetically Modified (GM) some food crops:

Soy, corn, canola, cotton (we eat cottonseed oil) and sugarbeet. Ingredients from these crops end up in many processed foods and are used in animal feed.

GM plants have been changed in two main ways so they can

  • survive being sprayed with weedkiller (herbicide tolerant). This greatly increases the use of weedkillers.
  • kill certain insects that eat them (insect resistant). The GM toxins produced in the plants can't be washed off

What effect could these GM foods have on our health?

Animal feeding trials of GM foods report many negative effects. They include increase in inflammation, allergy, immune dysregulation, infertility; changes to the liver, kidney, pancreas and spleen.

How has this food been tested and regulated?

The companies that own the GM patents can, and do, restrict independent testing.

Our food regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), does no testing. It does not commission any studies. It relies on the studies provided by the companies that own the GM crops. FSANZ does not require the companies to do animal feeding trials.

A review looking at Conflict of Interest has found that where at least one of the researchers was connected to the GM industry, 100% of peer reviewed studies made a favourable GM safety finding (Diels 2011).

The latest review of GM safety studies noted their limited number, that most reporting favourable findings had been conducted by the GM companies, and that the debate remains undecided at all levels. (Domingo 2010)

Is GM food labelled?

Rarely. Our labelling legislation is full of loopholes and the GM companies have worked hard to ensure it stays that way. The Australian Food and Grocery Council noted that if all GM derived ingredients had to be labelled most food products would need a label.

Who are the GM companies?

One company, Monsanto, is estimated to own 90% of the world's GM crops. Other companies are Du Pont, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta and BASF. These companies also sell pesticides and pharmaceuticals. They began buying seed companies in the 1990s, are still acquiring them and now dominate the world seed market.

Monsanto bought 19.9% of WA's ex-public plant breeding company InterGrain in 2010. They plan to introduce GM wheat into Australia

Reasons to be concerned about eating GM food

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine asked doctors to educate the public to avoid GM foods due to the "serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health".

There is no official monitoring of GM food safety in Australia. FSANZ expects the GM companies to monitor for "existing and emerging risks" and report back to FSANZ.

GM food was first introduced in 1996. No studies have been done on the effects of introducing it into the food chain.

What�s the alternative to GM crops?

GM breeding is very recent. GM crops have been linked to superweeds, plant pests and diseases, pesticide related illnesses and birth defects in GM growing areas.

Working with natural systems (agroecological agriculture) has doubled yields in Africa. Food availability increases when there is adequate storage, transport and reduced food waste. We need farming systems that protect the land and farmers and produce healthy food for everyone.

Please help up spread the word and Forward this Email to a Friend
Or send them the link to this email here.
Read the Leaflet from our website here.
Read the Reference Material here.



Below is that wonderful quote from Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens, by  Clea Danaan:




We hen-keepers hold as one of our centres or touch points the care of chickens.  In doing so we drop a stone into the pond of life that sends out ripples of care for the earth and all her beings.  We shape the riverbank of life with our convictions an dour dreams through the simple act of raising chickens.  Daily we face the reality of interdependence; we understand that all is interconnected, from the microbes in the soil to the sun in the sky and all life in between.  All is Spirit, even the simple hen.

Edible gets off to a good start…

Anyone who eats, is IN. Great inspiration by an English town. Great for Cittaslow towns anywhere.

Continuing his great work
Continuing his great work

Ray Anderson Foundation

On the 28th July, on what would have been his 78th birthday, a small group of friends and family of the late Ray Anderson, the founder of Interface and a giant in the world of sustainable business, gathered in LaGrange, Georgia, to inaugurate a foundation in his name to "champion a revolution in sustainable production and consumption."

Anderson died of cancer on August 8, 2011, at age 77, leaving behind an extraordinary legacy as a Southern industrialist who dared to envision his carpet company as a model for the closed-loop, restorative enterprise of tomorrow.

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation, which will roll out online next week, aims "to promote a sustainable society by supporting and pioneering initiatives that harmonize society, business and the environment for the present generation and tomorrow's child," according to its mission statement. "We will achieve this mission through inspiring and funding innovative, educational and project-based initiatives that advance the revolution in sustainable production and consumption."


The foundation itself isn't entirely new. Anderson himself created it in 1989 - several years before the ephipany that would lead him to, as he later dubbed it, his "mid-course correction." At the time, the foundation was used as a vehicle for Anderson's own charitable giving, including to endow a chair at Georgia Tech, his alma mater. Over the years, it distributed midsized grants to some of Anderson's pet organizations and causes, including several sustainability-related groups, such as the Rocky Mountain Institute.

But since his passing nearly a year ago, his family, colleagues, and friends have been pondering how to infuse the foundation with new life, transforming it into a vehicle to continue the kinds of innovative efforts that were the hallmark of Anderson's life and work.

It wasn't an easy task. "He didn't give his family any kind of directions," said Jo Ann Bachman, Anderson's longtime executive assistant, now part of the foundation's staff. "He didn't give them any kind of pointers. It was just sort of 'take it and run.'"

"Daddy left absolutely no instructions," his daughter, Mary Ann Anderson Lanier, told me last week. "We were really at a loss."

In early May, a small group gathered in Georgia to begin the process, including Lanier and her sister, Harriet Anderson Langford; Anderson's wife of 27 years, Pat Anderson; Janine Benyus, the biomimicry guru; John Picard, a veteran sustainability strategist; the philanthropist Laura Seydel, Ted Turner's daughter; and Julie Wrigley, co-chair of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. They and several others began to envision the foundation's mission, vision and goals. A subsequent, larger meeting was held in June.

It began to take shape. "With the help of advisers who knew my dad really well, who were inspired by him and who inspired him, we've been able to identify a niche in the sustainability world that seemed to be unfunded," said Lanier. "It was an area that we felt we could do the most good: funding research initiatives and projects that will advance the sustainable production and consumption cycle, specifically the sustainable manufacturing cycle."

The relaunched foundation has four principal goals:

Funding innovative new ideas and projects that promote visionary change in the sustainable manufacturing cycle.

Educating the public and business leaders alike in meaningful ways that propel a revolutionary change in the way we produce and consume products.

Inspiring a new generation of leaders and consumers to be good stewards of the planet's resources, igniting action that radically impacts the way products are created and used.

Connecting thinkers, builders, innovators and idealists to a shared, ethical responsibility to the environment.

The bulk of the foundation comes from Interface stock, so its size fluctuates with the stock price, but is estimated at between $25 million and $30 million. Talking to several individuals close to the foundation, it's clear that the organization is in its early stages, with some of the rules and procedures still taking shape. It's unlikely that the first grants will made until 2013.

At Saturday night's birthday dinner, the small group - which included Anderson's wife, children, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, as well as a few close friends - officially launched the foundation - a "soft launch," Bachman emphasizes. They previewed the website, slated to go live August 7, and a just-launched Facebook page.

"The menu was five-star and toasts were raised to Ray and the future of the foundation," says Bachman. "The spirited conversation and genuine warmth of all to one another was a fitting testament to the man we honored."



Reminders to keep your kitchen garden growing - lists vegetables and herbs to plant right now and when ever you need it.

Inspiring people- Marilyn Waring, Aoteroa New Zealand

Chasing the light

 Janice Kennedy

'The Ottawa Citizen', April 26, 2009

 No matter what your politics, listening to New Zealand feminist Marilyn Waring is like joining a march toward hope.

It is a march that began decades ago. The 56-year-old economist, a public intellectual and passionate activist who is also a writer, professor, globetrotter, international development consultant, classically trained singer and former goat farmer, was once best known as New Zealand's youngest Member of Parliament. She was 23 when she was first elected in 1975, International Women's Year, a young feminist determined to put her money where her mouth was.

Her constituents were rural, propertied and overwhelmingly conservative, but they loved her. Until 1984, when she quit partisan politics, she listened to them, represented their interests vigorously, and regularly offered them alternative ways of thinking about things.

Waring is in Canada to launch her new book, 1 Way 2 C the World, a collection of writings from 1984 to 2006, published by University of Toronto Press. Ottawans can hear her tomorrow night at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library (120 Metcalfe St., 7-9 p.m.), when she will read from the book and answer questions. She might also offer a few alternative ways of seeing the world.

She does have a talent for it. Take the time, decades ago, her local party organizers were grumbling about how easy New Zealand convicts had it, what with free meals, television, table tennis. "So I put them all in a van and took them to the local prison," she recalls. "They never said it again".

The potential of seeing things from different angles has always interested Waring, who recently gave a speech called 'How Do We Know What We Know?' Her own delivery of information is creative, and she enjoys citing Leonard Cohen's beautiful Anthem, with its powerful observation that "there is a crack, a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in".

Waring has spent her life chasing the light that slips through cracks, something she thinks the rest of us can do, too. And when she speaks, whether with words or actions, people tend to listen. Her fans have included such luminaries as feminist extraordinaire Gloria Steinem and economist extraordinaire, the late John Kenneth Galbraith, with whom she spent some time as a visiting fellow at Harvard. Canada's National Film Board made a 1995 documentary about her, Who's Counting: Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics, based on her most famous work, Counting for Nothing/If Women Counted, which argued for the economic value of unpaid work by women.

But while she's passionate about her beliefs and hopes, she remains non-confrontational, a courteous woman with a kiwi musicality to her voice....She lays out facts and possibilities in a diversity of ways, making a strong case for alternatives to the status quo. That, she thinks - that flexible willingness to deliver, and to absorb, varied information - is crucial if we ever hope to fix this broken old world.

Despite nearly four decades of unflagging activism and progress that sometimes proceeds at a glacial pace, Waring remains stubbornly hopeful, especially where the work of contemporary feminists is concerned.

'If not us, then who? We have no excuses not to be resilient.'

Essentially, she wants women and men, both, to think about things they never thought of before, or to think about old ideas in new ways. What if we reordered our economies to impute value to all productive labour, including the unpaid? What if our screwed-up values are supporting a system that is destroying us all? What if dumb questions are the best questions, demystifying what the system prefers to keep mysterious? What if the evacuation of the world's first climate-change refugees (from atolls of South Pacific islands like Papua New Guinea, which are sinking into the sea) is actually a wake-up call for all of us? What if our most comforting beliefs -- the ones we take refuge in, instinctively -- are really doing us and the world no good at all?

What if? Until you admit the possibilities, you can't know what's possible.

'There are far too many people out there who want us to feel hopeless, to think we can't change the world. So the first act of defiance is to be hopeful.'

(© Canwest Publications)

 Janice Kennedy is a columnist with The Ottawa Citizen. 

 Marilyn Waring delivers the 2011 Distinguished Speaker lecture for the Centre for Co-operative and Community-Based Economy, University of Victoria, in which she examines different conceptions of 'progress' and what those mean for the life of our communities. approx. 1 hour

10 minute clip in which Marilyn analyses conventional economics and how it measures what we value- she explains how GDP does not count work of caring for children or the ill if it is done by their loved ones, how GDP does not measure the value of the environment, how GDP does not measure subsistence work of indigenous peoples around the world.

Blue Mountains Conservation Society's Planning and Development Resource Kit

The Society's 'Planning and Development Resource Kit' is now on our website - you will find it in the Resources menu. Here's a direct link -

The Kit has been developed in response to numerous enquiries about environmental and development issues in the Blue Mountains.

It is designed to help residents better understand environmental protection and planning laws, learn how development in the Blue Mountains is regulated, and take appropriate action on environment-related matters.

The Kit gives advice on what to do in a variety of situations - from how to report pollution and suspected non-compliant or illegal development, to how/ to use the Council's interactive maps, how to make a submission to a Development Application and more.

Please pass this message on to your friends. We welcome feedback on the Kit and suggestions for improvement.

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

In July 2012, we 'the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance' decided to do something both bold and innovative and develop our own food plan in response to the federal government's National Food Plan Green Paper - this document is not available online anymore. Check for more on government plans for food.

Stimulating our initiative was the government green paper's heavy bias towards corporate agribusiness, large-scale food manufacturing, big retailing interests and a flawed public consultation process. We knew these things did not truly represent the aspiration of ordinary Australians nor would they move the nation towards securing its supply of basic, essential foods and creating opportunity for smaller businesses and farmers, entrepreneurs and community initiatives in food systems.

We called our policy directions document the Peoples' Food Plan because, in contrast to the government, ours' would be developed as an authentically open, inclusive and democratic document reflecting the aspirations of eaters, farmers, community organisations, small to medium size food businesses and nutritional, health and other advocacy organisations.

Full details at...

Our Tree - natural living, conscious consuming

Our Tree is the Blue Mountains first ever 'everyday natural living' business that combines simple living & conscious consuming. We work directly with importers, Australian distributors & local creatives to bring you ethical & environmentally friendly products that support simple, basic living & provide an alternative to buying from large national corporations. 

Our Tree is a hybrid business that understands & acknowledges the outdated & disconnected retail model that many larger companies are also beginning to turn away from. Our Tree combines retail shop front, online & community buying to help better meet the needs of suppliers & customers. This healthier hybrid business model balances morals, money & quality of life.

We value craftsmanship & quality products that result in less frequent purchasing. We respect the environment & acknowledge both the impact & power we have as consumers. We believe that with more conscious, simple consuming we are able to make more ethical purchases - more possible - more of the time, We believe we have a choice.Our Tree is a community-centric business with immense local & national support that has used crowd funding similar to the Transition Town & Kiva Project models to bring to our community a business that the people genuinely want.The Our Tree shop is set to open in the Blue Mountains in 2014.

Werner Sattmann-Frese & Stuart Hill - Learning for Sustainable Living:

Psychology of Ecological
This book addresses the pressing issues of psychosocial and ecological deterioration by examining their background from the perspectives of depth psychology, holistic thinking, and transpersonal psychology. Based on a doctoral research project, it argues for the necessity for an accelerated transition from our current state of consciousness - here called egocentred consciousness - towards advanced levels of eco-self consciousness.

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