Factory farming and meat consumption

“Farm animals gobble more than a third of the world’s supply of arable harvests and they waste most of this as faeces and heat. If your aim is to provide adequate nutrition for the world’s billions, the fewer factory farms the better. By contrast, traditional systems let ruminants graze on grass while pigs and chickens snaffle up leftovers and forage, thus increasing, rather than decreasing, total food availability. Factory farming may also have helped to breed strains of superbugs that medicine cannot defeat because farm animals have been routinely fed antibiotics merely to increase their growth rate.”


“Lymbery rightly focuses on how much meat we eat: on average, in rich countries we eat two to three times more than is recommended. But the other side of the equation is how many people there are in the first place. When is population going to become an accepted part of the food debate? If it’s fine to encourage people to think about halving their meat consumption, can we really not cope with a conversation about how many children we have?”

Tristram Stuart, Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery – review

I hate factory farming. It’s bad for the animals and it’s also bad for those who eat them. So why do we continue with this ludicrous activity?

Sharing a message from Feeding the 5000

“Calling all gleaners in Kent and London! We’ve found thousands of brassica going to waste on a farm in Kent! We went last year and saved 2 tonnes of caulis and cabbages, and they enjoyed having us so much they’ve invited us back. On Saturday 1st February, we’ll be going on a mission to save as many as possible of these tasty delicacies for charity! All produce going via our good friends FareShare to charities dealing with food poverty.

Saturday 1st February 10am-5pm (TBC). Travel expenses paid from Kent, London and nearby (just ask us first) – priority to Kent gleaners, but might be London spaces too.

Contact martin@feeding5k.org to volunteer or for more info – join the Glean Revolution!

If you can’t join us this time, sign up to our gleaning list to be the first to find out about our next gleaning day near you – gleaning is spreading all over the UK! http://ow.ly/p0PHs

I was in Ha Noi last year

Ha Noi was a mix of beauty and chaos. The city never sleeps. Everyone is awake at five in the morning and you can’t help but get up too. It is, afterall, a bit hard to stay asleep amidst the chatter. So you start the day together with the rest of the city. You get the special treat known as bread and jam on some days, because it’s hard to prepare breakfast for some one who’s vegetarian – or as they call it, someone who eats diet food. After breakfast, you pick up the helmet and hop onto a motorbike. You curl your toes and refuse to relax your shoulders the first couple of times, but eventually you sit back with your arms on your laps and enjoy the ride like everyone else. You even manage to hold your camera on one hand and a parking ticket on the other.

The people and the city confuse you at times. They insist on drinking wine during meals, but use the wrong glasses. You miss how clean it is back home. You use your hand sanitiser more often than you thought you would. The rich are concerned about sophistication, but seem to neglect basic hygiene and manners. Some anecdotes are simply beyond amusing, such as the middle-aged ladies in the gym who sleep on the sofas while waiting for the yoga session to begin, then crowd around the reception 10 minutes before the sesson starts to fight for a better spot. It is hard to equate them with quiet, and extremely frustrating as you struggle to prepare for the session, but they eventually become silent when the instructor enters.

But when you step back and take in the city for what it is, all isn’t bad. The elderly sit by the road with their friends, tilting their heads back as they laugh over trivial matters. People exercise along the lake and play badminton in public open spaces. You walk into small alleys and people are selling meat, vegetables and snacks at others’ doorsteps. Small, local businesses work much better than large enterprises here, and you love it. You look up and you see webs of electrical cables hanging above you – scary, but mesmerising.

You don’t know what to think of this land. It’s beautiful, but ugly. It’s ugly, but also beautiful.

Whole Larder Love veg box

(photo source)

Hello readers living in Melbourne! If you’re looking for certified organic vegetables and free range meat, I have news for you! Whole Larder Love is selling two types of real food boxes: A box of assorted organic vegetables (and some fruit) ($55 – approx. 10-15kg) and a box of Free Range Pork and meat (sourced from the Farmers Larder) ($57 – approx. 2-2.5kg).

Place your order via the shop website (click here) and you can pick up your veg/meat from one of four locations in Melbourne. Delivery is every Saturday, starting 25th January 2014, until June.

Find out more by clicking here! Support family farms, eat local!

Reusable sanitary pads

Disclaimer: If you’re not a female, this post probably wouldn’t interested you. You can click HERE to skip to my previous post. 😀

(image source)

It’s a new year, so I decided that I would try something new: reusable sanitary pads! Or cloth menstrual pads, washable pads, etc. Last summer, I was getting ready to go to Glastonbury and there are several things that most girls and women would worry about when it comes to camping: How am I going to shower? What if I’m on my period?! Are there going to be toilets?! I wasn’t too bothered about showering because I’m used to cold showers with a bucket of water and I’m fine with using wet wipes too. My simple solution for the second question then was a quick visit to the doctor to get some pills. (I don’t recommend doing this regularly. I only did it because I knew my period was due right smack during the festival and I only wanted to delay it for a couple days) So then my final problem, toilets. After reading several suggestions from regular festivalgoers, I decided to buy a Shewee. It’s amazing! I no longer have to worry about dirty toilet seats, or even the lack of a toilet! But the Shewee is not the focus of this post. I may write about it in the future. So how did I end up buying reusable sanitary pads?

After buying the Shewee online, I discovered the menstrual cup. Basically, it’s a reusable cup that collects your menstrual fluids instead of absorbing it like the tampon. I learned that it’s more environmentally friendly than disposable sanitary pads and tampons which are not easily biodegradable. It makes sense, doesn’t it? I’d choose reusable plates over disposables, bring my own bag instead of taking plastic bags when shopping. So why not use something reusable for my monthly period? I briefly considered buying the menstrual cup, but the idea of leaving something inside me for hours scared me a little (same goes for tampons), so I decided to shelf the idea. Until I discovered cloth menstrual pads. Women have been using cloth menstrual pads from as early as 1888. They’re much more environmentally friendly than disposable pads. They are made of natural materials which can be composted whereas disposable pads cannot be composted and they contribute to landfill. The environmental factor is a big plus point for me. Do you have any idea how many disposable pads we use in a lifetime? I use an average of 15 pads each month. That’s 15×12=180 pads a year. If I menstruate for 35 years, that would be 35*180=6300 pads! And that’s only the amount of waste generated by one woman!

I bought my first reusable sanitary pads from Eco Femme in November last year. There are plenty of brands out there such as GladRags, Lunapads, Moonpads, and you can even make your own. But I chose Eco Femme because I support how they’re helping the local community in Tamil Nadu, South India and also because their pads look so lovely! They’re also cheaper than some of the other brands. I ordered a set of 3 day pads and they arrived in a cloth parcel, and everything used for the packaging is recyclable.

(If you don’t already know, the camera on my phone is horrible)

If you’re squirmish or afraid of trying new things, I suggest you buy your washable pads in advance. Because it took me two months to finally decide to use them. I wasn’t sure how absorbent they were, so I decided to stick to disposable pads on my days with heavy flow but I used the reusable pads on the rest of the days. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, because they were very absorbent. There was no bad odour either. I didn’t have to worry about rashes because they were made of 100% cotton. Fastened with snap buttons, they don’t make that awful ripping noise when you remove them either. Don’t you hate the sound that disposable pads make when you’re ripping them off your knickers?!

They’re also easy to clean. I soak them in cold water overnight and wash them with some soap in the shower the next day. The stains come off very quickly and there’s no need for stain removers or excessive scrubbing. This month, with the use of washable pads, I’ve reduced my use of disposable pads from 15 to only 4. I think I might buy some of Eco Femme’s night pads and completely replace the use of disposable pads.

You may be put off by the cost of washable pads, but if you think about how long they can be used for (Eco Femme’s pads can last up to 75 washes), they’re more cost-efficient than disposables. And in the case of Eco Femme, you’re also helping women in rural areas. Good for the environment, good for empowerment and good for your pocket!

Here’s a video to help you understand more: