Living a simple, not-too-complicated life – that’s what I’m trying to do. Yes, I also live the city-life, so I’m not up, bright and early, harvesting carrots or beets every morning, or feeding goats, or other such pastoral activities, but I try to bring as much of that idyllic life into my own space as possible.

I have a few pots in which I can grow a few herbs and vegetables (with varying degrees of success). I visit farmers’ markets and connect with the farmers and small producers who’ve created my food. And I support Cape Town’s very own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project, which means I get to visit the farm on which my vegetables are grown.

Just because we live in the city, it doesn’t mean we can’t connect with the earth in our own way.

And this month we urbanites will be able to get a big dose of country-living, without stepping foot outside of Cape Town.  In two weeks’ time, From The Earth is coming to the CTICC, and it’s bringing the country with it: alpacas-, goats-, boots-n-all.

It’s a weekend-long expo that’s all about going back to basics, and ‘inviting the simple life right into your urban backyard’. The program looks awesome, with practical cooking courses, a feast of local products, and an animal ‘parade’ for the kids.

Country Kitchen – learn how
If, for you, it’s simply not enough to buy everything readymade, learn in the FTE Country Kitchen how to grow your own mushrooms, how to prepare a 3-course farm meal in 30 minutes, how to let herbs play a more important role in your life, how to make your own yogurt cheese or how to cook with artisan goat’s cheese.  Linger for a while and improve your store of knowledge about hemp, organic wines, witblitz and even the health of your pets.

Mmmmm… all sounds pretty good to me… even (especially?) the witblitz!

fte_CowAnimal parade
Bring the kids to witness the wonder of being close to sheep, cattle, pigs, alpacas, horses and poultry – all under one roof. Other farm products will be housed in the Earth Expo section to give the visitor a complete and exhilarating experience of the diversity the land offers. Spend some time around a real life show ring and view some of South Africa’s top animals in action.

The logistics of coping with farm animals in a convention centre environment must be quite a feat… but I think it’s great that kids who might not otherwise get to see and be close to farm animals will be able to do so (and perhaps get a better idea of where their food comes from, in a roundabout kind of way).

Bring your basket
No expo of this kind will be complete without a market where you can load your basket with goodies such as speciality cheeses, home-grown vegetables and fruit, olive products, organic wines and berry liqueurs, and lots more to fill your pantry.  Also spoil yourself with alpaca felt products, designer bamboo clothing or leather products, or take home an earthworm composting bin, herbs and plants.

What can I say – they had me at ‘market’.

Event details:
From The Earth takes place from 16-18 October 2009 at the CTICC.  Tickets are available at Computicket (or at the door) and cost R50 for adults; R20 for scholars; kids under 13 get in free.
Win tickets!  We’re giving away two pairs of tickets for the From The Earth expo AND two fabulous hampers of goodies from producers.  All you have to do to go into the draw is to fill in the entry form below before midnight on the 11th of October 2009 and send it our way.  Good luck!

THE FINE PRINT: The competition closes at midnight on the 11th of October 2009. Only one entry per person, please.  Two winners will each receive two tickets valued at R50 each AND a hamper each.  The sponsor, Agri-Expo, will be responsible for providing you with the tickets and organising delivery of the hamper (to be claimed at the expo entrance).  Please include a contact number with your entry!  If we cannot get hold of any winner by midday on 12 October 2009, we will award the tickets to a runner-up.  Please note: the contact details of all entrants will be passed on to the sponsor, Agri-Expo.
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