Do you buy local? Can you? Are there any benefits?
I've been buying local for some time now and in a variety of ways. I want to know, as much as possible, where my food is coming from, particularly the fresh produce I buy. I also want to know where it has been, how old it is and whether it has the nutritional elements my body needs.
How do you do that these days? Much of our food is being managed, stored and distributed by large supermarket chains. We don't know for how long they've been storing it and how it is being ripened. There are very few local fruit and vegetable shops left where you can chat to the owner about what's in season, what he/she recommends and from where it's source. Whilst you can't find out from your supermarket how fresh your food is, you can when you make the effort to find a local fruiter, visit a farmers' or fresh food market or, in Sydney tap into Harris Farm Markets (HFM).
HFM is a family-owned business which prides itself in purchasing as much produce as possible from local suppliers. Local suppliers are now considered to be up to 150kms from our CBD. How things have changed from when the market gardens were virtually on our doorstep. Unfortunately they've been sold to developers to spread our cities even further.
HFM have introduced a new LOVE LOCAL fresh section in their stores. It's their way of supporting the growing Australian local food movement. Some of their reasons for buying local are:
When I'm in the Southern Highlands, I'm always keen to buy local. I do this at the Sutton Forest Fresh Market and the Bundanoon Market, every second Sunday. Both stock as much local produce as possible. I find it's always so much more flavoursome. I feel good too supporting local growers and businesses.
Recently my husband and I did a road trip to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. It was wonderful to drive through so many regional food bowls and to buy oranges, apples, avocados and a range of vegetables from roadside stalls, straight from the grower. All were flavoursome and delicious. We were keen to support them directly. The final stop on our journey was in Crookwell, NSW, where they had a buy local programme going. The local shops had teamed together and were providing incentives to customers to buy local produce and support local businesses, the lifeblood of their community.
We need to support our famers too to help ensure they are not squeezed by big supermarkets and 'middle-men' and can continue to provide fresh food for our needs, our families and their families.
In addition, you can create your own supply. Have you considered converting a patch of your garden for vegetables and herbs? It's easy and so much fun when you harvest your own and devise your evening meal around the vegetables from the garden.
Many suburbs are now establishing community gardens. This is another way to enjoy growing and sourcing fresh vegetables.
ENJOY EATING FRESH and BUYING LOCAL!
Jill Keyte is passionate about health, vitality and making a difference to people who want a natural, quality life where they are well, fit, energised and feel vital. My knowledge comes from my wellness training and and life experience.