Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scenic Rim 4Real Milk

As we are brought into the world, we all start equal...at zero. With no life experience, no preconceived ideas, no judgement to pass, or standards to follow. So the process begins, as we are molded by those closest to us, and the environment surrounding us. Our personality develops, our confidence grows, our morals and ethics are instilled, remembered and later acted upon - as if almost by reflex.

With such diversity in our own great country, Australia.... of cultures - nationalities - religions - political beliefs, and the wide and varied combination of blends within and across these differences - there's little wonder we as a society don't always agree on everything.  This is very healthy by the way, as it creates the intricate fabric with which our communities are woven. It is as beautiful as it is fascinating!

It is in fact my fascination with people, and my desire to 'save the world', that I find myself drawn to the current phase of my life. With the fast pace of our lives today - so much to do...so little time, that many are neglecting some of life's most critical aspects. As a collective, we're becoming a more and more disposable society. Our desire for financial success, to buy the 'toys' we don't need. Our 'entitlement' mentality is creating complacency, our apathy continues to cause instability. Our lack of time and effort to properly nourish our bodies and stimulate our minds. Our reliance for science and medicine to prolong our lives, artificially.

This lack of balance is now negatively impacting on many aspects of life - but most particularly health. The 'obesity epidemic' spirals out of control, Type 2 Diabetes is now afflicting people in their 20's and 30's, Cardiovascular Disease is growing exponentially and food allergies are on the rise. The severity and number of attacks and subsequent injuries stemming from drug and alcohol use, or those suffering from mental health is an endless stream.

During my own recovery, from a diagnosis of Clinical Depression only 3 years ago, I felt compelled to undertake a 'post-mortem' on my own life, to that point in time - January 2010. My life as I knew it was over...though fortunately not in the literal sense, as I had enlisted the necessary help prior to becoming suicidal. Beyond the 'fog haze', fatigue and nausea that filled my days, I became committed...even obsessed to do whatever it took - to once again feel well.

In years to come, I will possibly look back at those first 6 months of 2010, as the most influential of my life. I already acknowledge quite openly today, that Depression was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Sadly - I'm aware that it does not end so well for many sufferers and their families. But personally, it was that period of analysis, the endless questioning, the search and ultimate discovery of purpose, that found me 'reborn'...as Farmer Gregie!!

I 'see' things. Always have. My ideas are often, well, out there! During my quest to find that absolute purpose, and comprehend the role I must play, I began to see with a clarity I'd not previously experienced. The ideas were not new, but the conviction of belief and the confidence to implement these ideas was quite foreign to me. It has however resulted in some challenging times for other members involved in our family business. Despite my ability to justify all recent projects on farm - they have effectively been 'Executive Decisions', by yours truly. I have carried the burden of scepticizm and uncertainty, keeping the faith that our business will eventually be rewarded.

We are genuinely reaching a critical time in history - that only the future will judge. Here in Australia, we are on the verge of becoming a 'net importer' of food. How is this even possible - with such a small population base in proportion to our fertile agricultural land? The triggers that have always assisted stability in the market-place are no longer working. 'Supply and Demand' has in the past been the driving force in maintaining the necessary equilibrium...whether that be here in Australia - with our domestic market, or Internationally - with exports.

It would appear to me, as a naive country boy, that our supply chain has become as dysfunctional as the legislation that protects it. What we do know for a fact, in my little corner of the world - South East Queensland, is that there is currently a supply shortage of MILK (as of today...not next year), for which your local Dairy Farmers are being rewarded at...below the cost of production.

I much prefer to stick to what I am aware of - so I won't digress into the many other food industries being crippled. But surely there is no problem for the consumer - you are still getting fresh milk every day? The truth is, your fresh milk is being trucked over longer and longer distances up and down the east coast of Australia, to fill the shortfall SEQ is currently experiencing. Particularly disturbing is the reality of this situation - there's every chance that a dairy farmer within an hours drive of your house...is bleeding money every single morning he or she gets out of bed. The situation is not likely to abate (having lost over 10% of Qld's dairy farmers since Australia Day, 2011) as forecasts indicate we may lose almost as many again, in the next 12 months.

You must also understand, that milk is a perishable item. It is a living organism, with a limited shelf life. We can only extend that shelf life, by rendering milk itself completely devoid of life - ah yes...UHT milk! But even if we avoid going to the extreme of Ultra Heat Treating our milk, we are losing precious days in transit...in and out of cold storage, before your 'fresh' milk arrives. There is a fast growing movement of people who believe strongly in getting back to local, fresh, minimally processed foods.

It is absolutely critical - that the general public are aware of the wider ramifications of their buying habits today. To maintain a high level of stability in our local fresh food supply, producers must be rewarded 'fairly' for their product. Without financial viability...more and more of our food will be produced offshore, beyond the controls of Australia's very strict health regulations.

So yes - today I am driven by this desire for the truth to be known, and the knowledge to be shared. Through the recently formed tourism arm of our business - 'Farmer Gregie' is able to share the fragility of the dairy farmers' situation, with the many 1,000's of visitors we have the pleasure of hosting on farm. Scenic Rim Robotic Dairy is also becoming increasingly involved with Schools and Education - our core target audience is intentionally domestic, not international.

This gives us the perfect opportunity explain the potential benefit, of the harmonious co-existence of consumer and farmer, of city and country. As a vocal advocate of the health benefits to you, the consumer, of locally produced fresh food, we are absolutely thrilled with what is about to unfold. A product launch is scheduled for May 2013 - at which point Scenic Rim Robotic Dairy will become the home of SCENIC RIM 4REAL MILK !!

The Dennis family will literally be in control of the entire process of milk production...from the feeding and milking of our Holstein cows one day, to the bottling of milk on site the next, to transporting directly to your local shop....