Know your farmer, Know your food
“Wallets and words can change big business” was the message which emanated throughout the Fair Food Documentary, with the film aiming to highlight the need for a more ethical and ‘fair’ food system, screened at The National Victorian Gallery on Tuesday the 2nd of December 2014.
Many of us do not think twice about buying oranges from India or about where the fruit and vegetables come from when they are out of season in Australia.
We have grown up in a world where supermarkets are in abundance and open 16 hours of the day. We are a ‘now’ culture, that demands instant gratification and this is certainly the case when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables.
If the apples aren’t perfect or the bananas not ripe, many will boycott buying them altogether and often take to social media to complain. Without thinking of the effort and cost it takes to get the fruit on the shelf in the first place.
Don’t you ever wonder what has happened to your food before it turned up on your plate? The Fair Food Movement places great importance on knowing and understanding the produce we buy and consume, which in turn will bring positive changes to the environment, economically as well as hopefully build a community around the produce.
The Fair Food Movement wants to make these changes by producing and supplying the most nutritious and sustainable food possible, locally and direct to the customer.
The Fair Food Documentary focuses on a hand full of Australian growers of fruit, vegetables, meat and wheat, with a focus on producing a premium product and delivering it directly to the customer.
You can buy local guides for Victoria, New South Wales and now also Tasmania from Farmhouse Direct, further assisting consumers to find their local suppliers.
We live in a self-orientated society where people want access to everything now. But this is not sustainable, a shift is needed to turn people’s minds back towards seasonal produce. Cast your minds back to when much of the banana crops were wiped out and the fruit’s price went dramatically up as the supply went down. People became stunned and appealed at the prices of bananas, but this should not have come as such a shock. It used to be seasons that determined availability, not the public.
With such a vast array of produce available locally, we should be used to, and very much able to cope with not just fluctuating supply but seasonal produce. More so, people should be accustomed to growing more of their own food. Companies like The Little Veggie Patch, are pioneering to help people create and sustain their own small gardens affordably with heaps of tips and tricks to make gardening not just enjoyable but also easier.
For those who are unable to have a garden of their own, companies like Food Connect and Ceres Fair Food are able to put you into contact with local suppliers and farmers markets, as an alternative to buying food from the large supermarket chains.
The creation of food forests are also on the rise with permaculture meaning that many are designing along with nature to create urban agriculture in cities and suburban agriculture on the city’s fringes.
If you want to get on board it the fair food movement, you can start by turning around your own food community by growing as much as you can of your own produce.
Alternatively, join a community supported agriculture scheme such as those mentioned earlier, join a community garden in your area, buy Australian produce at your local food outlets such as from the butcher, bakery and greengrocer, join a local food co-op, buy directly from the farmer where possible, ask your local council to adopt a food procurement policy, buy minimally packaged food and join the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.
Together we can make a difference and make our food system more fair and beneficial for all.
This article first appeared in The Australia Times Australian Grown magazine. All images courtesy of Kristie Giblin.