One of the best ways to know where your products are coming from is to buy from the makers themselves.
How can you do this with ease? Shop locally! While there is a global ‘top-down’ push for larger scale production systems for everything from carrots to clutch bags you as a consumer can say no to mass production by investing your money locally. Your local farmers and makers market offers you the opportunity to ask the makers and growers directly how their products come into fruition. By shopping locally so you also put your dollar right where you can see it (in the farmers well worn hand) and reduce your carbon footprint. Sounds like a winning combination to me 🙂
The contents of your shopping basket may have traveled more miles than you have!
According to this study a the contents of a typical food basket in Victoria can have clocked up as many as 70,803 km to get to you. This is the equivalent to travelling nearly twice around the circumference of the Earth (40,072 km), or travelling around Australia’s coastline three times. A pretty unpalatable statistic! The total greenhouse gas emissions estimate for carting your goodies to the store is 16, 989 tonnes (t) CO2–e. If all the food trucks were transporting all food items on the same day, the emissions from this one day of transportation (16, 989 t CO2–e), is equivalent to 4,247 cars driving for one year.
Hug a Farmer, Butcher or Cobbler today!
Supporting local businesses is the easiest way to support your local economy and reduce your carbon miles. for those of us who are interested in the health of our families and our soils then you can find yourself a great local, organic, supplier or fresh produce, meat, dairy (whatever takes your fancy) and give them a hug and your ongoing support. If you meet the maker of your products you can ask up front about what processes they use on their produce and products. They may be able to sell you spray free fruit and veggies that aren’t certified organic (organic certification is a tricky and expensive process that not all small scale farmers can afford to go through). Perhaps your after a fancy new pair of shoes? Hunt locally! There is a fabulously charismatic gent here on the Sunshine Coast who makes the most on-trend sandals from a card table at his market stall. You can assure the product you are buying was grown or made in a way that meets your values simply by asking the people who are selling. Unlike large scale supermarkets or fast fashion stores, these frontline retail staff will be able to give you an answer about who made your goodies and how they were made!
I’m too busy to hug my family let-alone the local butcher.
Time and life commitments can make it tricky to be able to attend leisurely Sunday farmers markets and the small scale food co-ops and fresh produce places tend to close pretty early. Fortunately there are people cottoning on to the fact that the world is a little time poor and they are bringing the joys of locally grown and/or organic produce to your door. Box schemes are packages of delicious and nutritious locally grown veggies and fruit that are sent from the suppliers to you via a friendly middle man with a van. These schemes utilise local farmers to bring you the best seasonal produce from your local area. I’m fortunate enough to know a few fab folks who have taken on this initiative on the Sunshine Coast and provide loads of folks with fresh produce every week. Good Harvest is run by a uni friend from way back, and is staffed by a couple of other friendly faces who studied environmental science with me, bring local harvest to your home. Fresh Box is another local organic food delivery system set up by the beautiful bohemian couple that I met while working in Jewellery retail. If your not on the Sunshine Coast a quick Google should point you in the direction of a local food delivery system in your area. If there isn’t one and you are passionate enough about the idea why not start one yourself? It might just be the lifestyle change of your dreams.
Want a months worth of eco eating/living tips delivered to your inbox? Join myself and a whole host of lovely ‘faces of change’ ambassadors for the Give A Fork challenge. April is going to be a blast!