February 3

Published by Panetary Health Initiative on

Love Local and Love Global

Blue Mountains City Council’s Love Local Campaign has been at the front of my mind this week as I’ve been trying to decide the best new actions I could choose to restore planetary health!

Two days ago I purchased my first ever Vegan cookbook, inspired by the arrival of local writer and fabulous cook, Teya Brooks Pribac’s new book Not Just Another Vegan Cookbook.

I was motivated partly by wanting to learn how she produces such incredible vegan meals, and partly by wanting to support a Katoomba writer who’s just published a really good book. We need more of them!

And even better, by choosing to purchase a book by a Katoomba writer, I was delighted that no packaging and postage and ‘cuts’ to Amazon were needed … my book arrived, courtesy of Teya, to my front door, with a sample of the amazing cheese she ferments herself wrapped simply in paper and cardboard. The recipe is in the book and I’m now excited to try making it myself. Seriously, what’s not to love. This whole experience has been just joyous, warm and lovely!

COVID has been tough on everyone, but particularly on people whose income has also been jeapordized – and that’s a lot of small business people, including artists, writers, musicians, cafes, restaurants …..

I once heard a fabulous story. A guy from Sydney walked into an outback pub and threw $200 on the counter, asking for the pub’s best room for the night. The publican was so ecstatic, he immediately rang the grocer who supplied his food and paid off his bill. The grocer immediately rang the hardware store and paid off his bill. The hardware store immediately rang the plumber and paid off his bill. The plumber immediately rang the Pub and paid off his tab.

The guy from Sydney came downstairs and said this room is crap, give me my money back, and walked out the door. But in the meantime … the money had circulated and supported people all around the town.

The more we can keep money circulating in our community, the better off we all are.

The more our Covid-safe online shopping leaves our community to support large global corporations, the worse off we all are.

But what if our purchases, through a local not-for-profit, also help a country that we owe help to!

So today I thought about the coffee I love to drink so much every morning. Many years ago we had a Cafe in Orange and we’ve been ordering the same coffee ever since. We are creatures of habit and have learnt to love a certain taste that is the highlight of our mornings.

But coffee, and global trade, are issues that need to be addressed if we are truly to restore planetary health.

And this is where we get into murky ground … emotions, rational thoughts, intellectual confusion and the overpowering desires that drive us.

I am not ready to stop drinking coffee, yet, but I have reached the point where I am ready to adapt my taste buds and drink a different coffee, especially one that’s equally delicious.

I met Libby Bleakley through the Rotary Club of Blackheath, and have been just so impressed by the work she’s doing to support communities in Timor Leste. She’s started Roasters with Altitude to raise funds for Timor farmers, and to support the Timor Learning Centre she founded while stationed in Timor as a Federal police officer. It includes an English school, a women’s sewing centre, and a gymnasium.

To raise funds for the Learning Centre she also wrote On a Mission Strength, Resilience, Compassion Policing with Attitude

Last year we bought lots of Libby’s coffee to share as presents and to share with visitors to the Blue Mountains Planetary Health Initiative site. At home however, every morning, we still kept drinking the coffee we’ve been drinking for 28 years! (even just saying that makes my eyes roll in my head).

My action today was to change our habit and order OUR coffee from Libby, who comes to Blackheath every week to roast it here! How more local can you get than that … and how much more can you support ethical trade than knowing someone personally who you trust that cares so much about it.

Just as with my local cook book delivery, my coffee arrived by personal delivery on my doorstep today … two sample packs to get us started: an organic Timor Leste coffee and an Australian coffee from Byron Bay. The aroma is so amazing I’m hanging out for tomorrow morning!

Loving Local is just the best!

This is from Roasters with Altitude’s website:

Roasters With Altitude is a small boutique coffee roaster, sourcing Arabica coffee beans from the misty mountains of Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, Sumatra, Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, and Australia. We respectfully roast the beans in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Australia for the discerning coffee drinker.

Our philosophy in roasting coffee, centres around supporting the indigenous people of different counties  to preserve their sacred growing regions. While doing this, we are supporting their traditional way of life where connecting with the earth in a respectful, spiritual way is maintained, while producing quality coffee beans. As a specialised coffee roaster we promote quality over quantity.

We support farmers within the “Coffee Belt”, by actively seeking coffees ethically farmed from organic and sustainably grown crops, in developing countries. The focus of our enterprise is to support fair-trade, specialising in coffee from Timor-Leste. We deal directly with these farmers when choosing our beans. By supporting the farmers in newly developing economies, Roasters With Altitude will play a significant part in their development towards independence.

Roasters With Altitude has been established to help farmers find markets. Our profits go directly into running the Timor Learning Centre, which we built in Timor-Leste.  The Centre, includes an English school, a women’s sewing centre,  and a gymnasium.

After living and working in Timor-Leste for more than seven years, founder and director of the Timor Learning Centre, Libby Bleakley, understands that to make a project sustainable and successful in the developing world, the local community needs to be initially consulted and ultimately take responsibility and ownership of the venture. Hence ten Timorese staff are now employed to facilitate the running of the Centre.

The Timor Learning Centre is about establishing strong social foundations by bringing the community together. By building respectful relationships, crime is reduced, especially violence within families and communities. The Centre supports and empowers its members to take ownership in progressing the development of their country. You can follow the Timor Learning Centre here.

Libby has now expanded her connections to include the farming community. Roasters With Altitude is proud to be partnering with coffee producers, to roast and bring quality coffee to its valued customers.

It is our aim to create an enduring connection between the growers and lovers of outstanding coffee.

Join #AYearInADay Citizen Science Project to see if we can all inspire one another to do more to restore planetary health

We’d love you to collaborate with us and share any actions you take to restore planetary health in the comments below or on our social media. While any action you take is valuable to inspire others, we’ll be recording NEW actions that people take as part of our tally, because we’re trying to inspire one another to do more than we’re already doing. Feel free to copy some of the actions our participants have been sharing – the action only needs to be NEW for you. Let us know if other people are influenced by your posts, or ours, so that we can measure outcomes of this project. To leave a comment on this blog you’ll need to enter your name and email address.

Our first step is to record 365 new actions. Our second step will be to aim for 365 new actions in one single day. Imagine if we could do it every day of the year! You can subscribe to receive a daily action from us here


1 Comment

Kathleen MacDonald · February 4, 2022 at 10:50 am

A volunteer from the SES phoned, encouraging me to buy raffle tickets. In an ongoing effort to reduce paper, I declined the paper tickets and bought some online. I donated some money too. SES volunteers have been working so hard to support people with all the rain and storm damage.

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