Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pondering milk

I know I've been quiet for a while on here, but today I've been pondering milk - and particularly where we source ours from. We're moving to Cambridge next year, and I've been remotely exploring who we might get our milk delivered by (I know it's very early to be researching that, but I kind of enjoy it!). It's made me re-think where we get our milk here from.

The other day in the supermarket, I noticed that Coles is now stocking 'Great Ocean Road' milk, which is made by the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory. It's far cheaper than the Parmalat Pure Organic milk we usually buy. I want to be thoughtful about how we use our money, 'voting' for a sustainable food system, without being extravagant (especially since neither of us has much of an income this year).

Here's my research about Warrnambool Cheese and Butter company and their milk:
  • Their existing brand is Sungold (, but WCB and Coles are creating a new brand - but same milk (;
  • They're Australian owned and local (Victorian and eastern South Australia) and 'Great Ocean Road' milk is only being delivered to Victorian supermarkets;
  • Sustainability is at least on the radar of WCB - it gets a section on their website (;
  • The Ethical Consumer Guide like them because they're locally (Australian) owned, have voluntarily signed the Australian Packaging Covenant and have environmental claims on their website. They rate them as a 'light tick', 'lesser praise, no criticisms' (;
  • WCB make it onto a list of alternative milk providers that are preferable to Coles/Woolworths on at least list of more 'ethical' milks (;
  • "Sungold milk comes from the cleanest, greenest region of Australia and travels from the farm to the shelf in less than 24 hours, ensuring that Sungold is the freshest milk available." (
In contrast, regarding Parmalat's 'Pure Organic' milk:
  • Ethical Consumer Guide likes the individual product because it is certified organic, but doesn't like the company because they're foreign owned, have joint ventures with Nestle, recently went bankrupt because of massive corporate financial fraud and their palm oil policy scored 1.5/9 by WWF's measurementsn (although they have signed the voluntary Australian Packaging Covenant). Their overall rating is a strong X, 'criticisms' (;
  • They're certified organic by NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia), which means that they need to care very well for their animals and are definitely passing on excellent paddocks and soil to future generations;
  • Frustratingly they don't seem to think it's relevant on their website to talk about where the milk comes from, or any of the environmental issues associated with its production and transportation;
  • Local Harvest say they discovered that "the True Organic coop in Victoria provide the milk for Parmalat’s ‘Pure organic’ brand. The majority of these farms are located within 200kms of Melbourne." (
Anyway, they're my ponderings. I kind of enjoy musing over these things, and definitely enjoy having made a choice that I'm pleased with ethically. Anyone else want to contribute?

Update: As it turns out, I've discovered that CERES Fair Food - who we are hosts for - deliver Schultz milk, which also happens to be cheaper than the 'Pure Organic' milk. I love buying from CERES because I like their buying policy - they buy local and establish relationships with as many suppliers as they can. Although Schultz is unhomogenised, which my daughter doesn't like, so we're also buying Great Ocean Road for her.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why should Christians care about social justice?

I'm speaking tonight at a youth group about social justice. Here's my list of 10 reasons why Christians should care about social justice. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

The texts that accompany them are meant to give a brief idea of where these ideas come from in Scripture - they're certainly not exhaustive! I'm planning to speak to them tonight (briefly!), so in a couple of cases the links aren't water-tight.

1. Stewardship – humans are created in God’s image and given dominion over the creation. We need to express that dominion in a way that honours God and reflects his character.
Genesis 1:26

2. God’s covenant with Israel showed great concern for the poor and needy. We’re not under the OT Law anymore, but it still gives us an idea of what God is concerned about.
Deuteronomy 15:11

3. Biblical worship includes justice and compassion towards the poor. Worship is not just singing, but offering our lives to God in the way that he has directed. Acts of worship without justice aren’t pleasing to God.
Isaiah 58:6-7

4. Biblical wisdom includes a concern for the poor and needy. Foolishness and ignoring wisdom does not honour God.
Proverbs 14:31; 29:7

5. Jesus cared for the poor and outcasts of society. Jesus repeatedly favoured the company of broken, poor and needy people – even when it scandalised nice ‘religious’ people.
Luke 7:22; 15:1

6. Jesus commanded his followers to love God and love our neighbours as ourselves. He makes it very clear that ‘neighbour’ includes those who are different and uncomfortable for us.
Luke 10:25-27, 36-37

7. Jesus shows us that to be truly human is to serve. We must avoid worldliness that urges us to pursue our own interests – career, security, comfort – at a cost to others, and instead considers the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-8

8. God has called a people to himself so that we can do good works. We are not saved by good works, but for good works. Doing good works is part of the gift of salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14

9. Being generous makes us more like God, helps us to trust him more and stores up real treasure for us.
2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Tim 6:17-19

10. Justice is an important part of God’s kingdom. Although his kingdom hasn’t come in all its fullness, it has arrived in Spirit-filled believers. One day, there won’t be any more sin, oppression or injustice.
Isaiah 9:7; Revelation 22:1-2

Monday, March 12, 2012

Little church

I love this little church - nestled under large trees, right in the middle of a residential area. It's not used on Sundays, and I know that sometimes counsellors work out of there during the week. It's a pity it's not better used, though - such an excellent location. It has a feeling of being embedded in the community, even if it has very few (if any?) connections to the local area.