blithespirit: (Default)
[personal profile] blithespirit
 Thank you, [personal profile] dalmeny, for posting about the fresh spring produce at the Central Market in Adelaide. You inspired me to get off my bum and get down to the farmers market in St Kilda for the first time in a long time.

I have mentioned to a few of you that I recently read and loved The Omnivore's Dilemma, and it really got me thinking about  sustainable, ethical farming and eating. The problem with organic food was underscored for me recently when I tried to buy organic butter at Coles the other day. The only organic butter they had came from Europe. Craziness. Before reading The Omnivore's Dilemma I didn't think too much about the conditions animals live in under large scale free range or organic farming. Now I know a bit more, and the local food movement makes even more sense to me. 

Because I've been doing some research into local farms, I recognised a few of the stallholders at the St Kilda markets this time. I bought my veges from Fiona Chambers from Fernleigh Farms, and got to thank her for having a website. It makes it a lot easier to research growers when they're online! I should also mention Michael from Mountain Creek Farm in Canberra, who was kind enough to provide me with some recommendations of local farmers when I emailed him.

If you're even slightly interested in the above, and you haven't read The Omnivore's Dilemma, I can't recommend it enough. A wonderfully written, and eye opening book. The guy managed to make the sex life of corn a fascinating read. 

I came away from the market with eggs from Green Eggs, broccoli, some kind of bizarre onion, carrots, dutch cream potatoes and grass fed Warrialda beef.  A roast dinner is on the menu I think. :)

Date: 2009-09-05 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really want to read The Omnivore's Dilemma, as a recent convert from pesco-vegetarianism (and previously lacto-ovo-vegetarianism) but keep being put off by the fact that it's about food sources in North America and not Australia. Is it still worth a read?

And in answer to your earlier question, not sure what I'd do with a Dreamwidth invite other than comment on your blog... I have enough blogs I don't write in! But if you still have any, sure, maybe I will start writing here. Crazier things have happened.

Date: 2009-09-05 08:03 am (UTC)
damien_wise: (Default)
From: [personal profile] damien_wise
Hmm, some good points there.
Gets me thinking.

I noticed a week or two ago that the organic fruit&veg shop in Carnegie has shut-down. I'm kinda sad that they're gone. They didn't have a fantastic location/visibility (side-alley, not on the main street), and I suppose I'm partly to blame since I didn't shop there regularly.
That made me wonder why I didn't go there often, and I think it's because of entrenched shopping habits -- I prefer to shop at a major supermarket and get most of my weekly stuff there. Or, I'll walk to the local grocer (5 mins walk versus 25-30 mins walk to Carnegie). The catch is that even if the grocer stocked organic food, they wouldn't fit my habits since only time they're open outside normal working hours is Saturday morning.
Supermarkets are a different story.
With their massive buying power and logistics/distribution networks, they should be able to support a thriving organic food industry. Yet, for the most part, they don't. They deal only with large-scale producers/importers. So, it seems that smaller organic farms are locked-out and are at a massive competitive disadvantage.

As I see it, there's two good/workable solutions (and a bunch of others that I'm unaware of or are less doable).
Firstly, as demonstrated by the egg industry, it is possible to make incremental changes to production methods. Thanks to consumer pressure, there's a lot more organic and free-range eggs on shelves, which has reduced the number/range of eggs produced by the more intensive and cruel farming practises. I'd like to see this spread to other sectors of the meat and fruit&veg and industries. The egg issue also highlights the need for adequate descriptions (what do they mean by "free range"?) and a trustworthy way of certifying what goes on (sadly, the RSPCA's tick can be bought and they don't regularly check chook-farms to see that standards are being maintained).
The second, which is very nifty, is the rise of online merchants that do home/business delivery. Generally, they offer a random mix of whatever's seasonal. Most offer a variety is plans (one-off, weekly, fortnightly), different box-sizes, and some have special options such as "No tomatoes please, extra apples instead". Presumably, they deal with local farms to keep things fresh and minimise freight, and can deal with organic farms/collectives of any size. A couple of places I've worked at would get a regular delivery of a box of fruit...bribing nerds to eat healthy food has never been so easy. :)


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