Its funny how we take so much for granted…. Here I am back for 2 weeks in SA, where I lived for 50 years, seeing and doing things I have never bothered with before.
I was pissed off with SA when I left…. the succession of governments who did not do a single thing about water allocations until it was too late (and even then have not followed through on promises), who failed to encourage reducing the carbon footprint of South Australians, who continued to let the urban sprawl build concrete jungles all over the best agricultural land in the state and so on and so on…..
I was pissed off with some of my family and friends…. I was pissed off with living in a bubble, surrounded by desert which took days of arduous driving to break through… I was pissed off with the never ending heat of summer where weeks of temperatures over 40C were becoming the norm, and where stupid governments said you could fill your swimming pool but not water your lettuce or fruit trees…..
I was pretty pissed off all round, actually, and I went to live in a cool, damp place which has soothed my soul and made me smile every day since…. even when it gets down to minus 4C and it takes me 10 minutes to get all the layers of clothes on or off!
BUT…. trying to start a sustainable/green/healthful small business in Tasmania, at the bottom of the whole world has been an interesting challenge and made me see SA with new eyes….
Where else but SA can you get terracotta pots of every shape and size, made by hand for 4 generations, in your own town, from clay dug only a couple of suburbs away? Where else but in SA can you see the clay arrive in trucks and experience the gentle clatter of the amazingly old machinery that turns it from dirt, into blocks of potters’ clay? Where else but SA can you talk to the man whose passion for clay oozes from his skin and who is excited about maybe making some sourdough proving bowls for me?
Where else but SA could I spend time watching the world’s best pasta being made by hand, not as a show for the public but just as a family going about their daily business in a suburb only a hop, skip and a jump away from the potter?
What other city but Adelaide offers the ability to take a short drive to the farm and mill and talk to the farmers and millers whose organic grains, flours and seeds are sold all over Australia, including to the pasta makers?
I could go on and on about the produce of SA and about the small businesses tucked away in the streets of our very own Adelaide, doing things as they have always been done; no fuss, nothing wasted, by hand and charging only enough to live a simple life…. all the broken pots are thrown back into the mix and not a single one is wasted; just as with the pasta, where the trimmings go back into the mix and come back around and around…. Where else can you get the very best range of organic / hand made produce, from soil to finished product, right at your doorstep? Nowhere!
South Australia has blossomed in my eyes. I am proud to be South Australian again. Despite the lack of leadership in the government, despite the negative angle offered incessantly by the media here, and despite the enormous challenges of heat and drought, South Australians are doing what they have always done best – quietly producing some of the best natural products on earth, using few resources but ingenuity and sweat.
Now I am having to work out ways of bringing these fine things to Tasmania. It is totally against my principles to start shipping things around. But, people will buy grains and flours anyway and they will buy pastas and pots and bowls too. Isn’t it better that I bring them from SA than someone brings them from China??