Australia Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2017

Blog site for the 2017 MSU study abroad program.

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Day 21

Hello loyal readers! 
Today on Day 21, we had a great time adventuring to a few agricultural businesses in the Tablelands of Australia. 

We started our morning at On the Wallaby Lodge in Yungaburra, and first drove to Jaques Coffee Plantation where we watched an informational video about how coffee is produced and how the Jaques family has done it. They incorporate zero waste, as the shell (the berry) of the coffee bean can be recycled into mulch and put on the growing plants. We were then able to sample some delicious coffee! 

Coffee plants at Jaques Coffee Plantation 

Sampling the product! 

Our second stop of the day was to Mt Uncle and Natural Evolution, where we met Rob. Rob produces gluten free banana flour from green bananas that is stocked with natural fiber! We learned about the process of growing bananas and developing it into flour, and that bananas are one of the toughest plants on earth. We were given the opportunity to try gullfinger, ceyan, and blue java bananas, and even made a little green friend! (Don’t worry – frogs are extremely susceptible to chemicals, so his presence is good news!) 

Our green friend amongst the bananas! 

Group photo with Rob!

The third and final stop of the day was to Nerada Tea Plantation. Here, we learned about the way tea is produced from plant to cup, and the practices Nerada has implemented to help the environment, such as no irrigation – depending on the rainfall during the wet season, and using no pesticides, as tea has no natural pests. We were also able to see tree kangaroos as they too live on the plantation, and try some tea and scones! 

Nerada tea processing plant

The last event of the day was an evening canoe for half of the group. They were able to see some animals on Lake Tinaroo, such as wallabies and lizards! The other half will have the awesome experience tomorrow. 

After tonight, we have one more night in Yungaburra and then onto Sydney!

Thanks for reading!

Anneka and Lindsay

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Day 10

Blog Post Day 10
Hi everyone! 
On Day 10, we woke up in Mildura after arriving yesterday afternoon! We started our morning early with RuralCo Water and water broker director Peter Morrish, where we learned all about water trading with the Murray River and connected streams throughout Australia. RuralCo is one of the largest water trading companies in Australia. We had a great time learning about how the market works and the importance of farmers buying and selling water efficiently.
We stopped for a short time at the Sunraysia Farmers’ Market, complete with produce from around the area. We watched Giovanni, from Slow Food Mildura, cook some pumpkin soup only with ingredients from the market – and even got to sample! The market was abundant and colorful, filled with everything from persimmons to pistachios. 
Our final stop for the day was at the Mildura Field Day, an agriculture day with the latest in machinery and innovation. Here we saw plenty of tractors, learned about some sustainable practices, interacted with locals, and some even got to hold a snake! 

Dinner was an cool experience – Flick organized each cabin to cook their own meat and corn, and even prepared some kangaroo for everyone to enjoy! Since Australia is entering winter the sun sets here around 5:30pm, so we ate in the dark with headlamps and flashlights. 
All in all, it was another great day down under! 

Anneka and Madi