Jun 16, 2011

I Grew Up Buying Stuff

I remember when I got my first job and used it to fund clothes, jewellery, bags, stationery and other stuff. I didn’t think a lot about the effects of what I was doing – on myself as well as on others and the planet. I didn’t question the ideologies that got me so invested in this earning-buying-cycle.

And then, when I learnt about the environmental and social damage being done through my shopping habits, they didn’t just disappear. Because a knowledge of the consequences isn’t necessarily enough when a pattern has been with you for your whole life and you aren’t aware of how it works.

There is no denying that Australians love to shop, but our obsession with consumption is disastrous for the planet and it is adding little to our wellbeing. We are purchasing things, not to fulfil our basic needs, but to make social statements about ourselves.

When I became a parent I adopted a new way of thinking… where are the things coming from that I am using, and who am I buying them from? Where is it going to go when I’m done with it? How can I use things that already exist, instead of asking the planet to continually contribute more resources?

I dream of living closer to nature, having space to grow food, having a small ecological footprint, and being part of a sustainable community and dismantling the guilt, shoulds and self-judgment. Feeling good plus doing good....

Apr 8, 2011

Sow 'n Sow Interview& Giveaway

Meet green-thumb Michelle and discover her creative plant products as she tell us about her plans to make the world a little bit greener one precious seed at a time...

Hi Michelle. Thanks for the chat... Can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?
I guess you could say that I’ve had a pretty varied professional life which started at the ripe age of 19 when I was working full-time in television. I found early success in journalism then branding, advertising and marketing.  I also lived in London for two and a half years, and it was there that I discovered some incredible inner city parks and nurtured my love of gardening.  After tending to my own little patch of dirt in our suburban courtyard, it wasn’t long before I became a green-thumb and hooked on gardening! I still can’t explain just how much joy I get from picking fresh veggies from my own garden and seeing them on my dinner plate! I now work full-time on Sow ‘n Sow, which is the business I started to develop early in 2010.  The ethos/philosophy of Sow ‘n Sow is to combine the world of creative design with that of the natural world.  I’ve created a range of organic seed gifts (‘Gifts of Seeds’) and am also exploring other creative plant products including Airiums.  These are like terrariums, but consist of air plants arranged in beautiful, unique vases.  Basically, I’m trying to bring as much of the living plant world into peoples lives as possible.

 To what degree does a commitment to the environment influence your range? 
Sow ‘n Sow is an outlet for me to express my wish for a better environment, combined with my love of design. It’s great that I’m able to make a living doing something that I love. It makes me happy that my business encourages positive actions like edible gardening. It’s a great way to get the public actively involved in reducing their carbon footprint and it’s not just about the food miles but also the drive to the store, the refrigeration in the store, the pesticides on the farms etc. If Sow ‘n Sow is able to encourage communities to grow their own produce, then I believe we’ll be taking a step in the right direction. Home grown produce is fresher, healthier and so much more satisfying to eat than the products you buy from supermarkets. The products themselves are designed to be as good to the earth as possible.I use FSC certified paper stocks, 100% recycled envelopes, soy based inks, and I’m constantly on the hunt for new ways to improve the eco-friendliness of the product.The seeds are also organic and sourced from certified organic suppliers. It’s more expensive to do it this way, but the environmental and health benefits of using seeds that aren’t genetically modified or chemically treated far outweigh the extra costs.

Tell us about the seeds and the beautiful packets and where you get them?
My products are ‘Gifts of Seeds’ - gift cards that double as a packet of seeds.  They are ideal as a small gift or to add to a larger gift. They are designed to get people excited and involved with the world of gardening. The packets are made in Melbourne and I work with two incredibly talented designers at The Mangrove Studio to achieve a high design standard. We have created a range that covers all seasons.  Spring/Summer options include; Sunflowers, Chilli and Basil and Autumn/Winter options include; Poppies, Forget-me-nots and Oregano. You don’t need a big backyard to enjoy the gifts since most of them are perfect for a window ledge, apartment balcony or garden.   It’s a gift suited for everyone! We’re also able to customise the ‘Gifts of Seeds’ for bonbonniere and corporate promotions. I recently customised an order for a large pet care company’s event which included three custom packets; Catnip for kittens, Wormwood for dogs (it’s a great flea repellent!) and Marigolds (also a bird seed!). 


Why did you start Sow n Sow?
I’d wanted to start a business for many years, but didn’t know what my business would be or where to start.   All I knew was that I needed to do something that challenged me creatively, that I was passionate about and that I could be in control of.  Creating Sow ‘n Sow has enabled me to live this dream and encourage positive actions at the same time. In my eyes, it was a win, win situation! 

Of course, I have to ask…what is your favourite flower?
Daffodils!   When I was living in London I was amazed how they popped up absolutely everywhere early in Spring! The parks become covered with their perfect yellow bulbs and it was always so beautiful and refreshing after a long, cold winter.  I used to buy bunches of them from street vendors for one pound so that I always had a vase full in my bedroom.

What is one thing you absolutely love doing? I absolutely love visiting gardens!   There are some amazing gardens in the world and discovering all the plants and flowers and vegetables really makes me happy.  I also find gardens very inspiring and often catch myself unconsciously building my dream garden in my head when I’m meant to be working!  My partner and I are hoping to move out of the City in the near future.  That’s where my dream of a big, luscious veggie patch with chickens and goats will come to life!  Watch this space. 

*~ *~* GIVEAWAY *~*~*

Michelle has kindly given us one of each of the 'Gifts of Seeds'   to give to 6 lucky facebook friends.   These boutique gift cards double as a packet of organic seeds and are made using environmentally friendly materials. For your chance to win one of the Poppy, Forget-me-not, Oregano, Basil, Sunflower and Chilli varieties, just visit our facebook page and tell us which one you love

Dec 23, 2010

Introducing our lovely little backyard veggie patch

We have recently settled into our new home in beautiful Northern NSW and I have had the absolute pleasure of helping my two young boys set up their new backyard veggie patch. I have given them complete free range with it. It has been so much more fulfilling for them if I just let them go...and just look at what they have produced, I am impressed!

Nov 17, 2010

Green Christmas Challenge

Christmas is almost upon us again. It’s the time of year when we do things to excess and sometimes end of year celebrations can end up feeling like they are just about mass consumption. I am hoping that everyone has a jolly green Christmas this year, but for me that doesn’t mean a plastic green Christmas tree and oodles of tinsel decorating your home – it means organic, sustainable, recycled, eco-friendly and all those other lovely earth-conscious words.

I’ve had enough of overcrowded shopping centres and I don’t want to celebrate another Christmas that has ‘Made in China’ stamped all over it. This year, I want beautiful handmade gifts and eco-friendly tree decorations. So I’ve set myself the challenge of having a green Christmas, and I want to get as many other people as possible doing the same and sharing their ideas and discoveries with each other.

Do you have any fabulous eco wrapping paper ideas? Have you made a gorgeous upcycled tree decoration? Perhaps you have created something festive from your op shop find? I am inviting everyone to participate, by linking your own green Christmas related items back to this blog. If you have anything green to share, please attach your link below using McLinky and join me in my Green Christmas Challenge.