I’m so excited to reveal a project that I’ve been working on for months…the Earth Hour Planet to Plate cook book is finally here!

I’ve been an Earth Hour ambassador for a few years now and one of the reasons why this book is so special to me is that brings together my passions for the weather, climate, farming and food in a really meaningful way.

Rice: Just a 1 degree rise in night-time temperature may reduce yields by 10%, and higher temperatures can decrease yield by causing rice flowers to become sterile, meaning no grain.

Over the last few months, the Earth Hour team and a bunch of volunteers including myself have been calling on farmers and chefs around Australia to get involved. The result is an incredible collection of 52 delicious recipes from Australia’s biggest culinary names including Matt Preston, Colin Fassnidge, Sarah Wilson, Margaret Fulton, Kylie Kwong and Darren Robertson.

In an Australian first, the book also weaves in first-hand stories from Aussie farmers right across the nation. They’ve shared insights about the impacts that global warming is having on their farms and livelihood, and the threat that climate change poses to their communities and the availability and affordability of fresh, local produce.

Top Right: Most of Queenland’s sugarcane is grown on coastal flats so sea level rise and saltwater flooding from cyclone-induced storm surges will pose a major risk to production by 2050 (Photo: James Morgan). Bottom Right: A sneak peak of the “Vegetables” chapter (Photo: Greg Elms)

From Western Australia to Queensland, these farmers have told us about how global warming is already affecting the produce we enjoy in our everyday lives including vegetables, cereal, bread and fruit. They deal with the impacts of declining resources and extreme events daily.

“The farmers I talk with around here have gone way beyond debating whether climate change is real. We’re all getting on with adapting.” Marian MacDonald, dairy farmer, South Gippsland VIC.

Fortunately, we have the technology to switch to renewable energy to cut pollution and help protect the fresh food and farming communities that make our Aussie lifestyle so great. Let’s amongst it!

So many of us love food and now’s an exciting time where we’re becoming much more conscious about where our food comes from; we’re asking questions; we want to connect more with the food we eat and the people that grow and prepare it. We’re making more sustainable food choices. No one can do everything. But everyone can do something.

Farmer Scott Samwell with his brussel sprouts in South Australia (Photo: Meg Hansen)

Farmers are faced with the realities of climate change. It’s not a philosophical idea to us; it’s something we’re seeing the impacts of every day.” Ashley McMurtie, sheep and goat farmer, Cobar NSW.

From Miguel Maestre’s Banoffe Pie to James Viles’ Lamb Belly sliders, I hope Planet to Plate will inspire you to cook beautiful food and live in the spirit of making the earth a cleaner and better place.

You can buy the book on the Earth Hour website for $50 including a flat rate $10 delivery anywhere in Australia. Proceeds will go to supporting Earth Hour’s work with schools, small business and community groups. You can get yours here.

Earth Hour is on the 28th March from 8.30pm-9.30pm. The Three Blue Ducks in Bronte will be hosting dinner by candle-light so come along or be sure to switch off at home too!

I just want to say a massive thank you to the chefs that said yes to being involved at the very beginning, when it was just a thought. You created enough energy and groundswell to get others on board and now we have this amazing book. You know who you are. Thank you.

 

Global warming and some of our kitchen staples…

Wheat: While higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will increase plant growth termed the “fertilisation effect”, this extra growth requires more nitrogen and can reduce baking quality and important micronutrients. For example, zinc and iron concentrations are projected to be 5-10% lower by mid-century.

Onions: Higher temperatures cause “bolting”, meaning flowering stem begin to grow early, with the result being smaller bulbs and reduced quality.

Pork: Pigs are particularly sensitive to heat stress since they don’t possess sweat glands (you know, sweating like a pig and all that) so increased temperatures and heat waves are likely to increase heat stress for intensively produced livestock.

Kangaroos: These guys are highly adapted to Australia’s often dry, infertile and variable climate. For example, roos can even delay their joeys birth and growth rate according to the conditions around them. This is a highly sustainable food source but even these guys are likely to suffer with more frequent and intense extreme weather.

Lemons: Our citrusy friends enjoy warm, sunny weather but temperatures over 37 degrees can cause trees to shed fruit too soon, reducing yields.