Sunday 21 October 2018

In God's strength

I have been so busy recently.  My existence is usually a fairly quiet one, but this year there's been so much that's outward-facing.  I've spent a lot of time on my fish project and have become more active on Facebook, both in supporting friends and in advocating for issues important to me.  In recent weeks my life has been consumed by work on Just Kai.

As the busyness has increased I've felt an increasingly urgent tug to return to spiritual practises that had become neglected.

So this week I've resumed doing lectio divina each morning, focusing on one of the day's lectionary readings as before.  It's been so helpful!  I've realised I've been trying to do God's work in my own strength, and getting so stressed by it.  Such foolishness!

Friday 19 October 2018

Introducing Just Kai

As you'll know from this blog, a major project for me this year has been researching different sectors of the retail fish industry, looking for brands that have taken significant steps to remove slavery from their supply chains.  In the process I've come across some pretty hideous stories of literal rape and murder, both of which seem scarily common.  I've learned that fish is the food purchased in rich countries that is at highest risk of having been produced by slave labour.  I've also come across some amazing companies who are really going the extra mile: working very hard to eliminate slavery from their supply chains, despite this being an issue with very little public awareness to date.  I have been especially impressed by the work of Sealord in this regard.

To pass on what I've learned, I've produced printable buying guides for both slave free fish for people (covering the sectors I've looked at so far) and slave free fish for pets (fish is found in a remarkably high proportion of pet food but can be invisible as it often isn't mentioned in the product name).  These are part of a very exciting project that has consumed a lot of our time in recent weeks: Just Kai.

Tearfund is hosting The Justice Conference in Auckland in two weeks time.  As 'Just Kai' Martin, along with our friends Anna and Sarah, will have a table there.  They will be advising people on how to buy fish, cocoa and sugar (the three foodstuffs most likely to have slave labour in their supply chains) without supporting slavery.   You can download a pdf summary of that advice here or check out the Just Kai website for more detail.  For cocoa and sugar they will be telling people to look for various trusted certifications; for fish the situation is more complicated as there are no human welfare certifications used on fish in New Zealand - for that, people will have to rely on my research.

So is your kai just? Or is it just kai?  Check out the website to see!

And if you expect to be in Auckland with no particular plans in two weeks time, why don't you consider signing up for the Justice Conference?  There's a wide range of speakers addressing a great many social justice issues, collectively bringing the challenge for us to join God in His work of making all things new!

Monday 15 October 2018

Why I support Nestle

Around the world today countless people are being abused in the supply chains of large multinationals: either directly through their working conditions, or indirectly through the destruction of their environment.  If we want this to stop, it is crucial that we either support Nestle, or boycott multinationals altogether.  A selective Nestle-only boycott can do nothing but harm people who are current victims of the misbehaviour of large multinationals companies.

Why would I say such a thing?  After all in the 1970s Nestle actively foisted infant formula onto mums who had no access to clean water to make it up, convincing them it was modern and hence better than breastfeeding.  Tens of thousands of babies per year died from diaorrhea as a result.  There was a widespread boycott of Nestle products as a result.

But have you noticed what happened subsequently?  I've only discovered this relatively recently and have been really surprised by what I've learned.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Cricket meatballs

A while back Martin and I bought a bag of cricket flour: farmed crickets that have been freeze-dried and ground to powder.  We were keen to try cooking with crickets as they have lower carbon emissions than most other meat.*  However, we rapidly ran into problems.  There are zillions of recipes for using cricket powder to boost the protein content of snack foods, but very very few for using it to make actual meals.
* I wasn't able to find data on their emissions as such; however crickets have negligible direct emissions and eat the same food as chickens (which also have negligible direct emissions).  Crickets have a feed conversion rate of 1.7 (for chickens it's around 3.3) and crickets are 16% protein (source).  Crunching those numbers with our existing carbon emissions number for chicken (3.9kg CO2e /kg), and noting that my cricket powder is 60% protein, I estimate carbon emissions of 7.5kg CO2e/kg cricket powder.  Which sounds worse than the chicken until you remember that chicken is 25-30% protein (with most of the rest being water) while the cricket powder is double that.  So the emissions per gram of protein are about the same as chicken, but much better than any red meat.
We did find one that we liked (shitaake mushroom and cricket meatballs), which we did with both an Italian-style and a sweet and sour sauce. That inspired us to try our own meatball recipe.  We've done it a few times now and really like it :-)

Happy Birthday to me :-)

It was my birthday on Saturday.  We were staying at my parents' place and I had a few friends over for afternoon tea.

Sarah and Anna

Temi in her fabulous dress