Sunday, November 25, 2012

Food for thought

So, it's been a few weeks since I've stopped by here...

I've just been reading this article over at the ABC News website and wanted to share it here.

The article is about the Federal Government developing a national food plan and oddly this terrifies me... why? because I have little faith in the government to do the right thing by consumers as it usually sides with big business because that's where the money is... and big business in this instance means Industrial Agriculture (think loads of chemicals in our soil and the depletion of anything natural); Factory Farming (think poor defenseless animals caged and penned in horrific conditions) and those in favour of Genetically Modified crops!

Unfortunately we may be inadvertently supporting the above every time we go to the supermarket and not question what it is we are buying. Read the article to get the full story but I would encourage you to educate yourselves about what you buy and where you buy it from.

Obvious reasons why I like the article is because it is telling the story I want to hear. It is calling for 80 per cent of all Australian food to be sourced from within 150km of consumption. Genius I say! It refers to the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance's draft People's Food Plan which emphasises the importance of local production and consumption. The AFSA represents some organic farmers, market networks, consumer and health groups.

I've always been a Coles shopper myself... I like the convenience of a one-stop shop, i.e. fruit and veg of good quality with my other grocery needs. I also like that Coles has been very pro-active in issues such as being the first in Australia to stock organic products. They still have a long way to go, for example I just wrote to both Coles and Woolworths via Animals Australia to urge them to take caged hen eggs off their shelves.

What I don't like is that Coles and Woolworths are now monopolising the market more and more and forcing smaller, independent businesses to close their doors. It's not just about supermarkets here people... 'Australia has one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world. Woolworths and Wesfarmers (owner of Coles) account for almost 80% of supermarket sales, 60% of alcohol retail, 50% of petrol retail and 40% of all retail in Australia. The more market share they have, the more influence they have over suppliers, and the easier it is to stamp out smaller independent retailers.' (http://www.ethical.org.au/issues/?issue=16)

I have now started shopping at IGA more and more because I want to exercise my right to reject this duopoly by Coles and Woolworths. I want to send a message to them that while they might be doing some good things I don't like being smothered by them everywhere I turn and I want to know that I am supporting local business.

I could go on and on about this topic but some other people have probably articulated things better and gathered some very good facts so I'm going to share some links with you and urge you to really start thinking about where your food comes from... what are you supporting by the products you buy? what are you putting into your body and the bodies of those you feed? and what you are bringing into your home?

Here are the links and you have options to  follow them in ways that suit you, i.e. on Facebook, subscribe to free e-news letters and so on:
- Animals Australia
- Make it Possible
- Ethical Consumer Guide
- Truefood Network
- Greenpeace Australia Pacific
- Local Harvest
- Biological Farmers of Australia
- Australian Certified Organic
- local farmer's markets! (thanks JB, I added this after I saw your comment)

... there are many and varied organisations and businesses out there but this is a start and will hopefully lead you on a wonderful new journey... back to the past perhaps and how we used to do things before mass production.

2 comments:

JB said...

Farmers markets are the way to go. Every thing is just picked fresh fresh fresh. And the person selling to you is the one who picked it. Gives them half a chance for a decent price. I tried selling my strawberries to the supermarket. They were being supplied from WA, the other side of the country. Well traveled strawberries.

River said...

I do some of my shopping at Coles. I work there so it is easy to shop and bring small amounts home on the bus. Usually stuff I want for dinner that night. Weekend shopping is done at Woolworths, 7 minutes walk from my home, or Foodland, which is South Australian owned and just past Woolworths across a main road. Farmers Markets are too far for me, two buses each way, the amount of time involved just isn't worth it. I do try to buy only Australian products.