Home' Smart Farmer : March 2014 Contents SmartFarmer •
MARCH in Adelaide is a won-
derfully inspiring place to
be, full of creativity, energy
and visitors enjoying what Adelaide
does well -- festival!
One of the innovations of the 2014
Adelaide Festival of Arts is a series
of long table dinners instigated by
the team behind this year's party
central -- Lola's Pergola.
These themed degustation dinners
have been curated by our most inno-
vative and creative culinary kinds
and have proved an early hit not
only with the public who were lucky
enough to get tickets but also with
the talented crews who staged the
There has been a healthy sense of
competition and rivalry between the
teams of chefs charged with develop-
ing the menus and by all accounts,
the results have been extraordinary.
Described as 'a series of 10 unique
degustation dinners, each for 150
guests at $130 per head and led by
award-winning executive chef from
Bistro Dom, Duncan Welgemoed,
and The Happy Motel, the team
behind the 2013 Festival hit Barrio's
Neon Lobster Taquería. Using world-
class South Australian produce, the
stellar line up of guest chefs will
prepare an imaginative selection
of unique courses each night and
feature a selection of matched local
wines and beverages'.
What stands out here of course is
the reference to world class South
Australian produce, and the list of
local chefs, all of whom continu-
ally seek out the very best, the most
unique, the freshest local produce.
I mention this because it seems the
federal government does not under-
stand the importance of nurturing
this sector of our nation's food pro-
ducers or the importance of nurturing
the palates of our children who will
become the next generation of chefs
In a petty display of what has been
a $1.5 million cost-cutting exercise,
the federal government recently axed
funding for school gardens, farmers
markets, community gardens and
other small projects such as small
producer network websites.
It seems though that the South
Australian Liberals are at odds with
their federal colleagues. They seem
to acknowledge the importance of
nurturing a healthy regional food cul-
ture, according to their press release
"A Marshall Liberal Government
will re-invest in the agricultural sector
as part of our plans to drive growth
in the SA economy, increase export
earnings and regional employment
opportunities," said State Liberal
Leader Steven Marshall.
Just what this means exactly is not
clearly defined but they do promise
to consult the food and wine sector
widely as part of their new strategy.
Let us hope they will come to
understand supporting our regional
producers is not just about develop-
ing product for export -- it has a
much more far reaching impact.
Last year, the State Labor
Government put money towards
a food industry guide -- The South
Australian Food Users' Guide -- which
was distributed to restaurants, cafes,
pubs, tourism outlets and education
providers in SA and interstate to
promote local produce.
This seemingly minor initiative,
along with their Eat Local campaign,
has been effective in assisting small
producers -- often too small to sup-
ply supermarket demand -- get their
produce included on menus. It is
this interim stage that is so crucial to
assisting small food businesses in the
early stages of development.
As Lola's is clearly showing,
seducing the palates of those visiting
SA for any one of its many festival
events with the very best it has to
offer is an easy and effective way
of developing an unpaid troop of
SA ambassadors who will no doubt
spruik about their unique culinary
experiences when they return home.
It also supports the development of
a quality-driven artisan food industry.
As a friend who works in the
international music events industry
recently said: 'the thing that really
makes Womadelaide different to
other similar festivals is the quality of
the food stalls!'.
Who would have thought!
And I am guessing that one of the
highlights of this year's Festival of
Arts, for those lucky enough to score
a ticket, will be their dinner at Lola's.
with ZANNIE FLANAGAN
A stall at this year's party central Lola's Pergola, set up for the Adelaide Festival. Lola's is clearly showing that seducing
the palates of those visiting SA during its festival season is an effective way of developing an unpaid troop of SA
ambassadors. Photo: Ben McPherson.
Solar energy choice saves overheads
AN increasing number of SA businesses
are turning to solar energy to cut their
electricity expenses, with systems now
more affordable than ever.
Even without government subsidies,
costs have come down in recent years,
making it a very economical and prudent
In many cases, the cost of installing a
solar system can be the same as buying in
electricity from a retailer over a period of
"All over Australia, business owners and
operators are now reducing their over-
heads by producing their own electricity
and increasing their profits," said Braemac
Energy's Graham Smith.
"For many businesses, their demand
is at exactly the same time as the solar
produces its power -- during the day."
It can even reduce costs further because
of the solar panels' shading effect from the
hot sun on the roof.
Another hidden benefit is the reduced
load on the electrical infrastructure.
During the recent heatwave in SA and
Vic, wholesale prices were considerably
lower than in past years because more
than 350,000 private homes and businesses
were generating solar power.
This helped keep retail prices down and
had the effect of keeping the power on
during times of peak demand. For any
business that depends on refrigeration,
this can be a lifesaver.
Another reason for the success of photo-
voltaic solar is low maintenance costs.
"Because there are virtually no moving
parts in a solar system -- apart from a
couple of cooling fans -- there is no wear
and tear that you can expect with a diesel
generator, for example," Mr Smith said.
"Cleaning your panels with water once
or twice a year can quite often cost noth-
ing, and will keep your system performing
at 100 per cent."
As with many things in life, it is
extremely important that a system live-up
"A properly designed and installed
system should be tailored to suit each
customer's needs," Mr Smith said. "When
it comes to commercial and industrial-sized
systems, you can't take a 'one size fits all'
approach, and you definitely can't sell over
the phone. At Braemac Energy, we take
design seriously and have fully accredited
designers in most state capitals. It is very
important that the customer knows exactly
what is being proposed, and is consulted
through the entire design process."
• Details: www.braemacenergy.com.au
Smith in front of a
6kW solar system
Primary School. He
says systems should
always be tailored to
suit individual needs.
Abbott under fire: Prime
Minister Tony Abbott has been
accused of pulling the rug from
under farmers' markets following
the decision to abolish the
Community Food Grant program
last month. Not-for-profit com-
munity gardens, farmers' markets,
food rescue groups and com-
munity health are the big losers
from the "misguided" decision,
according to shadow agriculture
minister Joel Fitzgibbon. The $1.5-
million program was announced
as part of Labor's National Food
Plan, designed to bring local com-
munities together to grow food.
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