Nick Ray: 2014 – DAY 5 … soil food = soul food

10th April, 2014 —   

My confession is that I’m not really a ‘green thumb’. Love the idea of growing our own – and have done it somewhat over the years, but it doesn’t really come at all naturally to me. Right now we have silverbeet and not much else.

The best thing about our food garden this summer was amazing sunflowers which is food for the chickens more than for us, and a rather nicely shaped bean tripod which acted as a fun cubby for the kids. (Although it looks like a jail in this pic).

I do hope our chosen lifestyle reflects our goals of being ‘producers’ rather than ‘consumers’, but I suppose that this can happen in many ways.

My passion is actually soil creation, and recently I’ve been able to indulge more than before. Our local ‘pay-as-you-feel’ restaurant Lentil As Anything has allowed me to collect their food waste for our chickens and compost. It’s about 60 litres each night, 7 days a week. I take my bike trailer down there (about 500 metres from home) at 10 to 9 each night. The chickens had their fill kind of early on, so I’ve been hot composting it since then (for about 6 weeks now, combining it with leaf mulch, collected from a nearby street (about 200 metres away), and also shredded paper which is actually our old editions of the Shop Ethical guide. When I turn the heap each day, it literally ‘steams’ away with huge temperatures being created within. I love being a part of nature’s systems in this way – assisting nature to assist us.

This is food for the soil, which is food for my veggies (should I eventually be successful with them), which is food for me. Local food – all of it.

Unfortunately the update on this is that I’ve had to stop collecting due to limits on space, and some fly problems. It blows my mind that there is so much food waste going to our landfills – literally from almost every hospitality venue in every city.  Surely setting up systems to channel this to our land and food should be a priority. Like many things, not too hard to implement, but tricky to maintain over the long term – so I found.

Breakfast today was more muesli and eggs on toast.


Dinner was a celebration meal for our friend Amanda and Jo’s boy Benedict who turned 12. Starter’s was Amanda’s Pumpkin soup and home-ground and home-baked bread; Janet’s roasted vegetables on mash; and a butter cake with candles.






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Name: Nick Ray
Suburb: Footscray
State: VIC
Team: Westies
Size: Feast-sized

Nick Ray's Challenges

  • Source local meat & cheeses
  • Shop at a local food coop, buy in bulk, take your own containers
  • Shop at a local food coop, buy in bulk, take your own containers
  • Shop at a local food coop, buy in bulk, take your own containers
  • Buy cruelty free eggs (laid by happy chooks!)
  • Go foraging! - eat edible weeds
  • Harvest and eat food from your own garden
  • Cook with seasonal produce
  • Go plastic-free packaging
  • Go plastic-free packaging
  • Go plastic-free packaging
  • Start a worm farm
  • Visit a local commuity garden
  • Join a food coop
  • Join a CSA farm
  • Speak with your school canteen about local sourcing