Thursday, February 1, 2007

Tilth Newsletter February 2007

Te Waru/Lughnassadh/First Harvest
This is a very busy time for most gardeners and traditionally in Celtic times a celebration was held during the Full Moon (this year on the 2nd of February) to celebrate the harvest of First Fruit in the expectation of an abundant harvest. Lugh was the God of grain and life, who conquered darkness; and a good harvest meant the survival and conquering of the harsh dark winter in Celtic time. Nasadh means feast, held at this time of the yearly cycle to thank Lugh for the first fruits of the earth and the abundant harvest that was expected to follow. In the old Maori calendar this was the 8th lunar month, Me te terakihi e papa ana I te waru (Like cicadas chattering in the 8th month). For both cultures this was the berry time, but in Maori culture the first Kumara was not as yet harvested, while the European grain harvest was now in full swing. While the European ovens were full with bread baked from the first harvested grain, the Maori rua (storage kumara pits) were still empty and it was a lean time for them. (Batten, Juliet, Celebrating the Southern Seasons. Tandem Press, Birkenhead 1995. P.124 and 135)

Visioning Workshop
Soil & Health Canterbury/ Waitaha Branch RevisioningThe Canterbury/ Waitaha branch of the Soil & Health Association is rethinking its role and revisiting its objectives, and we'd like YOU to be a part of this. At its well-attended 2006 AGM, those present expressed a strong desire to keep the 63 year old branch going, and floated some exciting ways of taking organics to the next stage in this area. Since then, the committee has been tidying up some house-keeping matters. Now we want to develop our vision at a special
Visioning Workshop to be held on
Sunday 11 February, 1.30pm-4.00pm,
At Marriott House, Lyttelton,
Right beside the Lyttelton Community Garden
(entrance via the Community Garden, through the double wire
gates on St David's Street, between Exeter Street and
Stevenson Steep).

We hope you can come along to share your thoughts. We want to capture the fullest possible picture of what our organic community needs and wants. At the end of the session we will have our new vision statement and some strong ideas about projects, as well as a mandate to proceed. The committee will then be well placed to meet our community¹s expectations. The visioning meeting will then be followed by a brief Special GeneralMeeting, in which we will elect a new Treasurer and possibly new committee members, and discuss a slight wording change to our constitution for IRD purposes. An agenda for the meeting will be sent to members beforehand, but if you are not a member and would like more information, please feel free to ask. Email Matt Morris:
We will, of course, also be featuring an organic chocolate and parsnip cake, and other organic nibbles to celebrate this next step for the branch.

Lunch in Ashburton with the Wastebusters
This was attended by Matt Morris, your President and Don Hampton and myself and was much enjoyed. The name of Waste Busters, proudly displayed at the entrance of the refuse station, is also very positive and encouraging. There were other interesting names such as “Mitre 13” where all sort of tools, metal constructions and motor parts were displayed and for sale. It is a joke in the Ashburton community that if a woman has lost her husband, she will go to Mitre 13 to look for him as that is the place he is most likely lost and to be found.

I do not have the exact statistics of what % ends up in the landfill and what is actually “busted” and put to very good use, but it was very encouraging and certainly much better than in Christchurch. The Waste Busters centre is also very friendly and inviting and the coffee room next to the 2nd hand clothing and preloved toy shop is a meeting place for locals to have a chat and a browse. Ashburton certainly sets a shining example for Christchurch City to follow.

Mandatory additives to our food.
The decision of compulsory Folic Acid Fortification to ALL flour, including organic is still on the agenda, even though the decision has been delayed. However a delegation of OANZ met with Food Safety Minister Annette King, who was willing to consider the possibility of an organic exemption. To Mass Educate is better than Mass Medicate 4 million people of NZ to prevent 8 spina bifida is the message of OANZ, and Soil and Health will continue with their efforts to achieve this. The latest Magazine of Organic NZ, 2007, Vol.66, Page 45 has full details of the discussions and issues.