Arabella was forced to improve her diet after discovering she had an autoimmune condition. But her motivation for starting her own veggie patch was pleasingly not inspired by her green thumb or desire to seek out the purest natural ingredients. Rather it was a combination of good old laziness and a desire to save money – stuff anyone can relate to.
“10 to 12 years ago, the nearest organic store was a long drive away and everything was really expensive,” she said.
“I thought if I could grow my own veggies, I wouldn’t have to do the drive and I’d save money.”
She now grows all kinds of things in the back yard but leafy vegetables and herbs feature high on the list.
“The most vigorous growing things are green leafy veggies. They’re so easy to grow and they are always replenishing and because they have a shorter shelf life, they’re always the most expensive to buy,” she explained.
“I am also very interested in medicinal weeds like stinging nettles and catnip. They’re very hardy plants and fabulous in cooking.”
Arabella admits she’s not sure if cats are really attracted to catnip (her partner is allergic to cats so they don’t have any) but said it tastes delicious in cooking. She also has a beehive, which gives her about 10kg of honey each year.
Incredibly, all this is taking place, not in some far-flung hobby farm, but in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond!
Arabella’s impressive dedication to a healthy lifestyle has seen her chosen as the ambassador for Natural Instincts – an environmentally conscious line of skin care products. And it seems the partnership is a match made in heaven.
“I am passionate about organic food and minimum chemicals and I’ve always been very environmentally conscious,” she said.
“The Natural Instincts products are really low allergenic and also well priced. I had actually been using them for years when they approached me to represent them.”
So as the poster child for clean, healthy, sustainable living; what advice can she give the rest of us?
“It’s really not that hard,” she said. “It’s not about restricting your diet; it’s about changing habits and going back to basics – eating the way our parents and grandparents did.”
“There are so many more opportunities to buy good food and shop organic now than there used to be and so many options for eating and living well.”
She makes it sound ridiculously easy. Like I’d have to go out of my way to eat junk instead of home-grown goodness. I already have garlic chives growing on my little apartment balcony. Maybe I should go plant some spinach…