Does anyone remember a colder midwinter than this one? After our two-week July sojourn north to the sun the weather gods saw fit to crank up the chill factor. I ventured out for my early morning constitutional in the wetlands on our first Monday home and the barometer said minus 2. Breath steaming, I trudged over frigid slush and frost-whitened green seared a straw-yellow by the relentless Antarctic slipstream. Thin ice covered puddles. Even the ducks looked cold.

But we hardy souls of the market welcome the bracing morning “freshness”…don’t we? It makes us feel truly alive. Last Saturday we had the added “enjoyment” of icy blasts from the Southern Ocean strong enough to shift the hefty stones that weigh down our tent legs. The ukulele group did their best to keep the cold at bay with the 60s folk songs, strings plunked by semi-frozen, mittened fingers, brave voices slicing through the chill: “The iceberg, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…”

The refrigerator-like mornings of July and furnace like days of January (usually the moment the kids return to school) are apparently related to climate change, a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions and related man-made intrusions into the natural weather patterns. The more we conquer our environment and shape it to our desires, the greater the damage we do. The higher the comfort level we obtain (for the affluent of the race who can afford it), the greater the consequent discomfort for all.

For two decades now scientists have studied the relationship between man-made emissions and the weather, allied to the comparative impacts of sustainable and non-sustainable agricultural practices. Given that global population will increase by as much as 50% in the next half century, the prognosis is foreboding. Food production must increase sharply, using less space, less resources and with an exponentially higher consideration for the environment.Our market is a model for smaller-scale, sustainable farming practices. Stallholders and customers at the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market shiver this winter for a sustainable future. Cold comfort this July, but everything old can be new again.


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