11 January, 2014. 13:04
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
A year ago, Tom Greenwood’s life seemed pretty normal. He had a good job as a stock and station agent in western NSW and was busy paying off his first mortgage.
That was before vegan preschool teacher, Emily, came in to his life.
“My life changed overnight,” he said.
“Meat, cheese, fish, eggs, milk and alcohol disappeared from the house the day Em moved in,”
“I’ve been working in the meat and livestock industry since birth and Em really opened my eyes to how dumb and cruel we humans really are,”
The 29-year-olds met at a live export protest in Sydney – where they stood in opposite trenches.
“I saw this pretty girl spitting on agriculture lobbyists outside Parliament House in Macquarie Street,” he said.
“Although I didn’t immediately find that attractive, I knew that I had to meet her,”
Emily agrees that their forbidden romance started at first sight.
“I saw this unkempt boy in riding boots and a sports coat,” said Emily.
“The way he looked me and the other protestors that day was so fucking hot,”
After exchanging numbers, their relationship accelerated quickly.
Emily moved into Tom’s three-bedroom home in South Dubbo late last year and the pair says they’re never looking back.
“Have you ever tried having a Milo with ice-cold water instead of milk? It’s just fantastic,” said Tom.
“I used to come home from work and have a VB with a cold meat sandwich – it was taking years off my life,”
“I’ve never felt better,”
Emily describes herself as being a “strict” vegan, to the point where she grows and cures her own tobacco.
“Aside from the ethical reasons, there’s so many chemicals and preservatives in an average diet that make it crazy,” said Emily.
“The same goes with mainstream tobacco. I grow my own so I know there’s no toxic chemicals in the smoke I inhale.”
It was another lifestyle change that Tom said has profoundly impacted upon his life.
“I was never a smoker but Em got me hooked,” he said.
“She said it was organic tobacco and could help my asthma.”
The couple isn’t sure what the future holds but Tom’s parents are determined that he’s just going through a phase.
“The kid grew up eating mutton,” said George Greenwood, Tom’s 68-year-old father, who’s been farming in the region for over 40 years.
“I can see it on his face. He looks terrible. I just hope he comes around before his organs start failing.” he said.
Tom’s mother Myrtle, says he’s worried about her son and thinks “Emily should go back to Glebe with her ‘damn’ carrots”.
“It’s insane. She’s supposed to be this healthy clean person but she smokes. She’s a walking contradiction. A hypocrite. She got my youngest boy smoking – after all his father and I did to make sure he never started,”
“I hope she finds another project and leaves Tom alone.”