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Paddock to Plate: the Earth Hour Cookbook

By Karen Bowley, Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH) and Wooragee Landcare

I was lucky to receive Planet to Plate: the Earth Hour Cookbook, a beautiful hardcover book as a gift.  It is more than just a cookbook.  It contains interviews with our Australian farmers about how they are dealing with climate change which they all agree is one of the top pressures facing farmers today.  And next to the delicious recipes by well-known chefs, there is information on the main ingredients and how climate change is affecting their production.

As a home gardener, I am interested in how climate change will affect the produce on which we depend, such as our cucumbers.  Higher temperatures will accelerate the flowering and fruit setting and the shorter fruiting periods will affect yields.  This will of course affect the food grown for our supermarkets.

Have you noticed an increase in powdery mildew on your zucchini plants? This could be due to the higher temperatures and higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels due to extreme temperature events.  And as vignerons and winemakers are finding cooler climes in which to grow their vines, so too will our vegetable growers, as many of our vegetables such as cauliflowers and other brassicas will require cooler regions to be viable.

The book has delicious recipes using cereals, nuts, legumes, vegetables, meat and seafood.  For example, Barbecued Pulled Pork with Cauliflower Cream and Quince Sorbet.   But the information on how global warming is affecting our food production makes for sober reading.  The sources of all the information included is listed at the back of the book.

The farmers whose produce is used in the recipes are from Australia’s different climatic regions: from sugar cane growers in Queensland to berry growers in Tasmania, Pilbara cattle farmers to wool and grain farmers in Gulgong, NSW.  They discuss how they are having to change their way of growing in order to adapt to the changing climate.

We can all learn from this book, whether it is about the impact of climate change on our local farmers and the fresh food on which we depend, to the back yard gardener and how we are also going to have to adapt to ensure that we can feed ourselves into the future.  Hopefully it will inspire you to live more lightly on the planet and to protect it from the dangers of climate change.