Hunt, gather, grow, cook. Rohan Anderson on living self-sufficiently.

In this, dare I say, 'journey' of mine to live a better life, a more sustainable life, I seek people who are living by a philosophy of mindfulness. And holy moly when I find them, do I get excited! Rohan Anderson is one such bloke. Living with his little family in Ballarat, he hunts, gathers or grows all his own food. And cooks. He loves to cook (he's also a talented pro photographer, truly). His blog, Whole Larder Love, is a nourishing photo gallery of the amazing produce he sources, and the food, oh the food, he cooks up. Rohan has this connection to the land I'm always on about, the one most of us are sadly missing. I truly respect the way he lives. To some, the idea of hunting might feel wrong, but it's nature's way.

What inspired you to live off the land?
My mum had a dream of self-sufficiency, I guess I caught the bug. The whole process of growing, raising and hunting your own food just makes so much sense to me. Buying food wrapped in plastic always makes me feel odd.

What do you love about hunting, gathering and growing your own food?
Hunting and fishing and killing raised animals can really suck at times, but it's the reality of eating meat. The best part about hunting and fishing is that I get out in the bush, the plains the paddocks. I get lost in nature. I can just sit down, take my time and feel everything that is real. It's a beautiful world, we just seem to have tarnished it by striving for the synthetic side of things. When I'm out bush I'm raw and stripped to the basics. I really find peace in that.

Why is it important that we get back in touch with where our food comes from?
Most people are so divorced from where EVERYTHING comes from, not just food. Think about the effort that went into getting the shirt on your back. It's mind blowing. If we could bring some of that production of 'thing' back to a local level we could improve the world. Think about it. Less transport for a start.

Your cooking style is fairly rustic, as is mine. Favourite ingredients?
Chorizo, basil, tomato, paprika, sage, thyme, wild mushrooms, duck... I could go on. The best thing about how we eat is that we have speciality ingredients to look forward to seasonally: duck, quail, nuts and mushrooms in Autumn, tomato, basil and zucchini in Summer and vegetable soups, slow-cooked stews and plenty of pasta in winter.

Okay, so not everyone's game to go hunting (pardon the unintended pun)... what's the next best thing for us city folk?
Eat less meat, grow more veg. Don't need to become vego, just make meat a treat!

Make friends with a hunter. They'd probably be okay with sharing or bartering their seasonal fair. The other option is to source some of the game meats at market, but it's expensive. I saw a wild rabbit for sale for $17 when it cost's me .60c for a bullet.

I think the best thing to do for city folk it to support the growers that live on the edge of the cities that come to farmers' markets. Raise your own birds, ducks and chooks are easy to raise and easy to kill and prepare. Yes sounds gory, if you don't like the sound of it, then stop eating chickens.

What does living sustainably mean to you?
Relying on less people to get our food to us, instead putting in the effort ourselves, while having a minimised impact on the overall environment. It's not Rocket Science ;-)

Just coz puppy is so cute

All images courtesy of Rohan Anderson. Check out Rohan's wholesome blog Whole Larder Love. I love.


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