Tell us your food philosophy.
Matt and Lentil Purbrick began by selling the produce from their farm in Tahbilk, Victoria, to some of Melbourne’s top restaurants, encouraging chefs to adopt principles of local, real produce and sustainable farming and packaging.
But they craved more . . . so decided to open their van doors to the people of Melbourne, selling their home-grown vegetables.
They sold out week after week and have now set themselves the task of being authors, bloggers and educators to advocate healthy, clean eating and sustainability.
is the couple’s second book and focuses on the life-giving value of cooking and eating with your village — whether made up of family or friends.
I asked them a few questions:
Wholefood ingredients, seasonal, regional and best when shared. Our food is inspired by the seasons (what we are harvesting from the garden or what is seasonally available in the wild) and by our village — sharing with them, celebrating with them and experiencing life with them.
Throughout your book you talk about the village. Explain to us what the village is.
The village is something we all have — several different communities, often coexisting, which we are tied to by common interests, values, heritage/family or simply location. The village is something that traditionally has been at the core of human existence — it is togetherness. And it is this togetherness that is the foundation of us all, giving our life meaning, that is what makes us happy and content.
You visited villages around the world spending time with people who were living life for a very long time and loving it. Tell us their ‘secret’ to longevity.
Through three important routines:
■ Sleep. This is seen as something valued — they rest, they don’t overdo it.
■ Meditating. You would often see people sitting, really, just sitting, staring into the distance. We named it contemplation hour, as that is exactly what they seemed to be doing.
■ Online time. You don’t see people online in public — phones, televisions — they sit and talk to each other, rather than screens.
And three personality traits:
■ Traditional. There is always tradition in some sense framing everything — food, routines, celebrations. These are valued and important to them.
■ Generous and giving. People are always giving you something to take home, and you really can’t enter someone’s home without leaving with full hands or full stomachs.
■ They say what they mean and mean what they say. Life is full of passion!
What are their top foods?
■ Olive oil. They use it in everything.
■ Good fats, oils and animal fats. Every meal is full of good oils and animal fats.
■ Local everything. Seasonal, local, regional food, cooked from scratch.
Name three important health tips:
■ The most important of all is community. Having a community that makes you feel safe, secure and loved. One where meals are shared. Within this, life holds so much meaning and this is key to mental health and a long life.
■ Not too much. Moderation is the key.
■ Fasting. They seem to fast, but without much emphasis or intention, as breakfast is often small, so they are often fasting for 15-16 hours a day.
What are your five top tips to starting up a natural garden?
■ Soil. So much simply comes down to healthy soil. Start by loosening up what you’ve got, then add a whole lot of grazing animal manure (cow, horse, sheep, alpaca, etc), add lots of worms and wet it all down. Everything starts and ends with soil.
■ Diversity is key. A natural garden reflects nature, and the key to all things natural is diversity.
■ Structure. Nature also grows in lots of levels. You have trees, then perennial shrubs, then lower (and climbing) annual plants. Grow them all together, correctly spaced and your garden will thrive.
■ Don’t forget the flowers. No garden is complete without flowers. They bring in all the good bugs, birds and bees which then go to work protecting your vegetable
By Colleen Thorpe Authors Matt and Lentil Purbrick.