Diggings 13 February 2021


From ‘moonscape’ to emission offsets: the farmers breaking new ground

Bureaucratic red tape is a minefield for farmers, middlemen can take a hefty slice of the carbon credits sold to the government, and the Climate Solutions Fund approves only a narrow band of soil management techniques available to croppers and graziers. Because most farms are too small to offer the scale government wants to invest in, aggregators act as middlemen – buying up scores of carbon credits from farmers. But the problem is farmers bear the risk and if they fail to deliver the volume of carbon sequestration stipulated in the deal, they’re liable for the cost. Aggregators also sting farmers. While croppers grumble about the 1 per cent or so charged by grain merchants, and graziers gripe about the 5 per cent livestock agents charge, soil carbon aggregators charge 10 per cent or more of the value from a soil carbon payment.

The sting in the otherwise uplifting tale.


 From lurid orange sauces to refined, regional flavours: how politics helped shape Chinese food in Australia

The Australian public started eating at Chinese restaurants from the 1930s, or brought saucepans from home for takeaway meals. Chicken chow mein, chop suey and sweet and sour pork were the mainstays. The latter — together with other dishes smothered in sweet sticky sauces — became the lurid-orange epitome of Chinese cuisine for many Anglo Australians.

My first Chinese meal in Australia was at a Chinese restaurant in Singleton in the Hunter Valley in 1963. I don’t recall being at all surprised by the colour but the flavour was memorable.


Sydney’s final lockout laws axed to revive CBD

Sydney’s remaining lockout laws will be axed next month and restrictions on Kings Cross will be lifted to allow venues to open beyond 1.30am in a push to revive the city’s COVID-hit economy. The changes mean last drinks across the city will now be served until 3.30am. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Kings Cross had transformed since the laws were introduced in early 2014. Safety will continue to be a focus for the state government with the ID scanners system, which requires some venues to record patrons’ ID during busy times, to remain.


Raise a glass to a revived global city after the end of Sydney’s draconian lockout laws

Dirt, heat, noise, loudness, dancing: these are vivacious city wonders. Not a sanitised and soporific extension of suburbia. Let 9 February 2021 go down in history as the date Sydney finally became what it has long aspired to be: a global city. It won’t happen overnight, of course – lingering, sensible Covid restrictions and six years of nightlife decimation will somewhat stifle the comeback. But the ground is set for Australia’s biggest city to compete on the world stage again as the last of Sydney’s residual lockout laws are lifted from its once thriving, buzzy and grimy hub: Kings Cross


This bares close watching.  The laws were put in place to curb alcohol fuelled violence following a number of ‘one-punch’ occasioned deaths of young men. St Vincent’s Hospital medical staff are concerned that their Accident and Emergency facility will again bear the brunt of renewed violence.

Health experts back treating juice as ‘soft drink’ as industry fights star rating change

“The problem with fruit juice is it’s been extracted from whole fruit, so the fibre has been taken out,” Dr Muecke said. “What fibre does is reduce or slow down the absorption of the fructose element of the sugar within the fruit”, about a third of which ends up being converted into fat, he said. His advice to fruit growers is to shift focus and get people eating fibre-filled oranges.

Well, the predictable pun here is that this proposal has given orchardists the pip. Still, as a Type 2 diabetic who just paid his first visit to an endocrinologist, I have sympathy with nutritionists and others who are concerned, as this article says, particularly for the impact of too much fruit juice guzzling on children’s health


100 Days to “Cook and See” unravels a mystery of missing vegetables in Chennai

Less than 70 years after it was written, the cooking techniques referred to in the book often seemed unfamiliar or too time-consuming to include in a regular menu. Drawing on conversations with some 40-odd home cooks, Muralidharan is currently processing his findings by creating archetypes to fuel further research and insight into home cooking behavior. Many of the home cooks he interviewed over the age of 30 learnt recipes from elders—mothers, aunts, in-laws—while those in their 20s were still learning to cook. “These kinds of home cooks learn from YouTube videos, blogs, etc. where they don’t have a personal relationship with the person giving the recipe. They are thus already losing out on some knowledge regarding traditional recipes,” he noted.

What I wouldn’t give to read Tamil to access this treasure trove.


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