A few years ago while driving across the endless Nullabor Plain, Dr Miin Chan and her newly wedded husband, Niel, were sipping on some home fermented tibicos while listening to Nina Simone sing Feeling Good. Somewhere in the middle of that desert highway that young doctor, seeking an avenue to do greater good, that clasisic soulful song and and a slightly fizzy fermented beverage, fused into the name of their future tibicos brewing venture - Doctor Chan's Feeling Good Ferments.
While travelling in Mexico, Miin and, Niel, discovered, tibicos, a fermented drink it's origins lost in the mists of Central American time. Tibicos are a co-operative culture of bacteria and yeasts not unlike a ginger beer plant and are found forming on the pads of the Opuntia cactus as hard granules that can be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution. Min and Niel add fruits, berries, herbs and spices into their glass fermenters and have created an eclectic mix of probiotic drinks.
Miin and Chan also discovered that kefir in Turkish which is also a term used for the general genus of Tibicos, Japanese Water Crystals, or Tibetan Snow Lotus also means feeling good. Miin Chan is a medical doctor deeply interested in a probiotic rather than antibiotic approach to human health if you're keen to try some her and Niel's tibicos you'll find them here.
New Lao Stove: It's more than just the carbon.
So as you may or may not know Fair Food offsets the carbon our delivery vehicles emit. We buy our carbon credits from GERES (no relation to CERES) who have been running the New Lao Stove Project in Cambodia since 2000. We chose the New Lao Stove project as opposed to a possibly dodgy forestry project in Kazakhstan (apologies to all legitimate Kazakhstani carbon abatement projects) because the NLSP was food related, women focussed, supported social enterprises and it's just a really good project even without the carbon offset part.
Over ten years the New Lao Stove Project (NLSP) has sold over 2 million efficient charcoal stoves made and distributed locally by hundreds of small social enterprises, run by a high percentage of women owners. The carbon savings come from less forest being cleared for charcoal and also from the stoves using less fuel and creating fewer emissions.
The New Lao Stove costs a bit more but has become extremely popular because it does not consume as much fuel as traditional stoves, cooks faster and with less smoke, is durable and with its silver bucket sheetit looks good. Customers call it rob reang saartâ€ (the pretty stove).
Vann Tola (that's her with her family in the pic) is one of the stars of the NLSP. When she was only 16 years old her father left and Tola took over his struggling cook stove business to support her family. Eight years later Vann Tolaâ€™s production centre employs more than 30 workers (28 of whom are women) and pays them US$8 a day, which is way above the daily average wage.
Good Gut Box in orbit
Last week 56 people tried out the new FODMAP Friendly Good Gut Box, which is a lot. If you need to eat low FODMAP food because of IBS or the like then check out what's in The Good Gut Box this week - here.
Complementing The Good Gut box we've created a dedicated Probiotic Section in the webstore. We've gathered everything from kimchi to kefir to Dr Ohirra's OM-X caps to help get your human microbiome in good order. Next up we're making a gluten free section which Alex, Fair Food's grocery buyer, says is going to get big with the addition of lots of Orgran's gluten free foods. I'll keep you posted on that one.
Have a great week
CERES Fair Food's weekly update with stories from our farmers and producers, Food Hosts, the Fair Food warehouse and theworld at large.