The why’s and wherefore’s of wood.


Much attention has been devoted to the global trade of illegal drugs, blood diamonds, ivory smuggling and the black market in endangered animals. Human trafficking has rightly had its fair share of coverage and of course there’s always plenty of interest in the fate of stolen objects of priceless art.

There is however an illicit trade that gets almost no attention despite the fact that behind drugs and counterfeiting it’s the third largest criminal activity on the planet.  That trade is illegal logging where roughly one in three trees cut for timber world-wide are taken illegally.

Typically illegal logging in countries like Myanmar or Papua New Guinea works something along these lines; a logging company (usually foreign) persuades local governments or owners (usually indigenous) to sell the rights to their forests for much needed cash and/or bribes.

Roads are bulldozed in, trucks and men with chainsaws arrive, protests are supressed (usually violently).  The forest is smuggled out of the country (usually to China) where the wood is turned into consumer goods and exported to the rest of the world. Once the forests are cut, the cash dries up, the landowners are left with no jobs, polluted rivers and a trashed landscape.

These are the forests where our merbau (aka kwila ) comes from. Merbau is a versatile hardwood popular in Australia for decking, flooring, furniture and window frames.  It’s estimated that within a few decades merbau will be commercially extinct, yet tomorrowyou or I could go down to Bunnings and buy a cheap trailer-load of Merbau without a second thought.

Building with wood can be the most ethical choice of material or it can be the least.  Which is the reason CERES launched Fair Wood.  We now want to know where the timber going into our house, extension or deck comes from.  There are ethical sources of locally grown timber – from tree farmers, urban salvage millers and local Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified plantations.

Fair Wood’s role is to make this wood available at a fair price for all, to educate builders and architects and to help grow an ethical market that encourages farmers and growers to plant more timber trees.

Fair Wood currently has FSC certified sugar gum decking as well as fence rails and fence posts.  We also have plenty of farm grown cypress pine (aka cupressus macrocarpa), including clear boards that would make great cladding.

In the next six months we’ll also be stocking kiln-dried Elm skirtings, architraves and door jambs and some Oak stair treads all from trees salvaged by an urban miller.

If you have a project coming up in the future contact Pete (Fair Wood’s manager) and we can help you source locally grown wood specifically for your build and we’ll show you exactly where your wood was grown, fill you in on the person who grew it and the sawmiller who milled it.

You can find Fair Wood here

New Food Host in Hoppers Crossing!


Ashley is in Lena Court, and is totally excited to help get our deliveries out to the Western suburbs. She and her husband have settled there recently, are super keen to meet like-minded folks in the area, and to utilise their verandah as a hub for organic groceries that give 100% back to our community.

She’s also a Southern Californian ex-pat, so look out Werribee… your black bean burrito knowledge may be getting an upgrade!!

Have a great week



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