A win for Fairtrade and Cadbury Australia

On the weekend I got an email from my mother who was part of a group who campaigned very hard for Fairtrade chocolate from Cadbury's, and from my brother whose company helped Fairtrade to negotiate the outcome. Following is the statement from Danielle Johnson, Community Program Coordinator, Cadbury ANZ that she made on Wednesday:

"(Today) Cadbury Australia and Fairtrade Labelling Australia & New Zealand have announced plans for our Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate to achieve Fairtrade Certification by Easter of 2010. This move will more than triple the amounts of Fairtrade product sold throughout Australia and is part of Cadbury's ongoing global commitment to Fairtrade. Consumers in Britain and Ireland are now able to buy Cadbury Dairy Milk Fairtrade Certified chocolate in store and today's announcement coincides with confirmation of similar plans for Cadbury Dairy Milk in New Zealand and Canada.This groundbreaking move means cocoa farmers and communities can look forward to a better and brighter future as Fairtrade cocoa sales increase in Ghana and new Fairtrade opportunities open up for cocoa growers across South East Asia and the Pacific.I have personally been privileged enough to visit Ghana and see first hand how we are working with the local farmers to help their communities provide a sustainable living so I am extremely proud of this milestone.The uniqueness of the Fairtrade system will provide them with a fair price for their produce, increased funds to grow their businesses and a better deal for their families through the Fairtrade 'social' premium - which delivers additional investment in schools, healthcare and other much needed infrastructure within their communities. "Fairtrade Certification enables Australians who buy Cadbury Dairy Milk to make a real difference for cocoa farmers with every purchase." Steve Knapp, Fairtrade Executive Director.Our Managing Director, Mark Callaghan, had this to say "Cadbury has a long tradition of being pioneers in sustainable chocolate production and using Fairtrade Certified cocoa for our Cadbury Dairy Milk products is another example of this commitment."So, by Easter next year you will be able to purchase a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk, knowing at the same time that you are supporting Fairtrade.I have attached a fact sheet on some of the more commonly asked questions around Fairtrade although I am sure you are well conversed on the subject. For more information on Fairtrade Certification please go to http://www.fairtrade.com.au/ Kind regards, Danielle Danielle Johnson Community Program Coordinator Cadbury ANZ "
Great news for chocolate lovers, and even better news for those who farm cocoa.

All power to you...What is the best source of power

This is something that has really been bugging me, and I haven't any answers yet, in fact, I feel like there are so many answers out there that I am overwhelmed by them. What I am talking about is, what is the best source of power. My first choice would be to have our own solar panels to provide us with sufficient power for our needs. After that, what is next and how do we choice the right provider? All providers seem to say that they are providing renewable energy. But are they really? And how much are they?
The Green Power site (which is a government website) provides all of the information about, how to "buy in" to the green power, either as a home or as a business. As a Green Power user you can choose how much green power you would like to buy (between 10-100% of your electricity account) and this will then be offset by GreenPower. Obviously, the more you buy, the better for the environment.
There are labels with different percentage amounts help you to work out what you are happy to "buy into". This is the percentage of your household’s electricity consumption your accredited GreenPower your energy retailer is buying on your behalf that will be renewable energy.
ie. You choose 10% GreenPower you can offset 10% of your household’s electricity consumption with renewable energy. This 10% is added then to Australia’s electricity grids. The more people who choose to buy GreenPower the more renewable energy Australia can produce.
If you live in Victoria, you could go to this page and find all of the retailers who supply GreenPower. When you then click on their logo, it will then take you to their website where you will be able to see the different percentage choices that they have on offer. They have listings for every state in Australia. I suspect that other countries may have something similar?
The green power comes from sources like mini hydro, wind power and biomass which produce no net greenhouse gas emissions.
But, what is the cost? Well, I am not exactly sure about this. The GreenPower site tells me, and I quote "the few cents extra you pay in addition to your electricity account each day is invested in the renewable energy sector." I suspect that each energy company charges their own thing...so investigation is going to be key. Watch this space!
So, now I just have to look at the choices between AGL, CountryEnergy, SimplyEnergy, Australian Power&Gas, Jackgreen, powerdirect, EnergyAustralia, Red Energy, Origin, Momentum, energy, neighbourhood energy, Victoria electricity, TRU energy....shouldn't be too hard ;)
Does this help?

Monday night rush - Dinner in a hurry - Sausage and Chickpea casserole

Monday nights are a little crazy in our house. One kid goes one way, another stays to eat, then goes, whilst the third tries to eat in all three shifts of tea. I have had to learn how to make dinner that can be ready for a 5pm shift, 6.10pm shift and still ok for 8.2opm... Tonight it was sausage and chickpea casserole that I made up on the fly because I always seem to run out of time as well. You can make this really, really quickly.
less than 1kg sausages chopped into smallish bits
3 cloves of garlic chopped up (this will help keep them healthy)
Chuck these in a heavy saucepan (I use the cast iron pot), and brown them off.
Then throw into the pot:
800g tin of diced tomato
4 carrots chopped up
1 head of broccoli chopped up
4 or 5 stalks of celery chopped up
2 tins of chickpeas (if I had thought of it earlier, I could have used dried chickpeas)
Pop the lid on & leave for about 1/2 on med-high heat on the stove top or pop it into the oven on 180 degrees celcius.
Serve it up with couscous. Boil the kettle. Throw 2 cups of dried couscous into a big bowl, and pour 2.5 cups of boiling water over the top of the couscous. Cover with a dinner plate until you are ready to serve up dinner, then fluffy up with a fork.
Done. Iron, vitamins A & C, protein...and many more things, good flavour, lots of colour & everyone is happy.

New Curtains for an old cupboard

This is the horrible old cupboard that we have in our kitchen that I really cannot bear the look of. It once had doors on it, however, they were even worse, so they were removed. We have looked at this for a very, very long time and I hate it. I hate looking at everything in it & I hate the dirt that gets into the things. I know that we could go & get the kitchen "redone", however, we always want to find a way around things first, so as the sink is still kinda working, and the shelves still work, I came up with an alternative.

I have a mountain of well made, well loved and handed down hand embroidered tableclothes that I couldn't have enough tea parties to even start getting through (and in reality, I probably wouldn't use them with my three boys around!), so I came up with this idea of the "changable curtain". I have use that plastic covered spring curtain wire (I am not sure of the name of it - it's about 4mm wide) and put that across with hooks. Then I simply hung a couple of tableclothes over. When they get dirty-ish or every week or so, I will just give them a wash.

I think that it has brightened up a pretty dreary place in our house & I don't have to look at the stuff in the cupboard & it is no longer getting dirty. Yay! What are you doing in your place?

Green Cleaning Day

Have just finished cleaning the house & by the sound of this blog, you would think that I really like cleaning. In fact, I really don't like cleaning. I dream of have a cleaner, a genie, a magic wand, a self-cleaning house, or a house that just never needed cleaning. I do also sometimes get hooked on the idea that maybe it would be easier if I used bottles of this that & the other to help me clean the house. A spray of this, a squirt of that & ta-da, sparkling clean. But no; I always come back to the choice of walking out of the supermarket with just 3 items to help me clean, vinegar, bicarb & borax for a few reasons:
  1. everything else seems really complicated and I would need a different bottle for everyroom & every surface
  2. everything is artificially fragranced and after years of not using it, I really notice the fragrances in other people's homes & find it quite irritating
  3. it is unneccessary having so many bottles, and those bottles add up to so much wastage...
  4. having kids with asthma & ezcema, things with chemicals & fragrances may make things worse for them
  5. I don't want to be putting unneccessary chemicals down the plughole when there are other choices
and at the end of the day, I actually find it really easy to just:
  1. dust all the surfaces with my damp cut up nappy with a few drops of cedar essential oil & orange essential oil (to ward off the beasties - moths, beetles, bugs - & make the room smell fresh & happy)
  2. whip around with the HEPA vaccuum
  3. and then follow with the microfibre mop that only water with it.

I use the vinegar & borax to clean the toilet, spray the vinegar wherever I see any mould, and use the bicarbonate soda to make a paste with water for cleaning kitchen benches & sinks & oven & stoves. The bathroom I use the microfibre bathroom cloth that I have with water I find that works a treat.

Simple, but easy, and it works, every 7 days.

I think that if I, the housecleaner hater, can do it...then...

Cool! Somebody likes what we are doing

Woohoo! We are now listed with the Best Green Blogs under the Editors Choice as they liked what they saw. So, if you also like what you see and read, why don't you become a follower to help you keep up with the posts that we put up.

Don't forget that if there are any other issues that you would like us to look at, or any questions that you have, please feel free to send us an email on livinggreenandthrifty@gmail.com

The real good sink bucket

Last year we were really lucky to be involved with getting this video presentation made for this really cool water saving product. Great way to involve your kids in saving water

Coffee time for the compost

A friend of mine told me that she never puts the coffee grounds into the compost & I was incredibly surprised. We have always found it to be wonderful for the compost and for the worm farm. So much so we really should be drinking more coffee so that our worms are a little happier. They also don't mind a cup of tea (or the dregs of, the leaves, or even the tea bag).

A few things that you may not have thought about putting into your compost:
  1. ripped up newspaper soaked
  2. toilet paper rolls soaked
  3. kitchen paper rolls soaked
  4. used tissues
  5. paper napkins
  6. cotton buds (remove the stick if it is plastic)
  7. cotton balls
  8. hair trimmings
  9. nail cuttings
  10. timber saw dust (needs to be dug through and not MDF)
  11. path sweepings
  12. wrapping paper ripped up & soaked
  13. hay and left over vegetable scraps from animals
  14. poo from herbiverous animals (non-meat eating)
  15. dog poo can go into a worm farm or into the garden have Eco Organics sprinkled over it & it will disappear in a few weeks (I believe that some people just put the poo into their normal worm farm with no probs anyway)
  16. garden clippings
  17. all food scraps (except for meat, cheese and bread - unless you want to attract vermin)
  18. milk (helps with the acidity levels)
  19. ...what else do you think?

Scrub your body down, naturally

I have just started the day with a lovely scrub down & there is nothing more refreshing than scrubbing off all the dead skin & feeling really fresh again. I make my own scrub with mostly items from the kitchen added with some aromatherapy to give me those benefits & smell nice. Make your own as well. You can make it as you need it, or make it in a jar to store for when you need it. Once a week is great, or twice a week if you have rough or dry skin.

This recipe will do for about one body scrub (depending one how much you use, etc)
100 gm Table Salt
Olive Oil (just enough to make the salt moist)
1 tbs Jojoba oil or wheat germ oil
2ml Vitamin E oil
5 drops Lavender oil
5 drops Frankincense oil
2 drops Chamomile oil
If you wanted to use different essential oils to suit your mood, personality, then this is very adaptable
Mix it up with a paddle pop stick, rub onto your body & use circular motions to get your blood circulation going. If you can, get someone to help with your back. Pay close attention to your elbows and knees and feet. Make sure that you are standing in the shower recess (no water yet) whilst you are doing this so that it doesn't go everywhere. When you have finished rubbing, turn the shower on & wash off (no need to soap up). You should feel lovely & moist & smooth.
Please leave a comment to let me know that you have come by!
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