Eating Locally

“What’s the story behind the food” Sophie Budd says passionately. She runs a cooking school, Taste Buds, in central Perth with a huge focus on using local, seasonal ingredients.eating locally EDB13

It made me think.  I know the story behind most of our food.  I know our potatoes, carrots and pumpkins come from Vince at the Buy Bellarine Produce Barn, I know that our eggs come from Gurtrude, Maude and Poppy; our three layers in the backyard, I know that our silverbeet is so fresh that it still has grubs on it (I pick it as I need it).

What I don’t know about, is our staples. Our flour, rice, and legumes come from Aldi. Our baking bits and pieces; bi-carb, food colouring and sugar all come from the super market.  I justify all this by the fact that our family has freshly baked goods, there is always home made bread in the freezer and , but ideally I’d like to know the producers that make our staples.

I asked the question to the panel, “what do you all do about your staple?.” Honestly I was hoping for “oh, I don’t eat anything that isn’t produced locally” or “look harder”. But I got an honest and helpful answer from Paul Kilmurray, who is the founder of Urban Locavore, and it went a little something like this:

Do what you can.

So I sat, and pondered this while listening to the rest of his response. He talked about how doing something, doing anything is better than doing nothing. So even if people start making the farmers markets a regular shopping trip, if you go to the butcher and ask about where the meat comes from, if you buy something from a little stall on the side of the road, then these are great steps in the right direction.

In the week since Eat Drink Blog, I have made a conscious decision to think more about our staples and buy Australian if we can’t buy locally.  If we can’t get something made in Australia, then I am ok with buying it from Aldi, but at least I tried.

Do you buy locally?  What’s one small change you can make in your kitchen?

18 thoughts on “Eating Locally

  1. I am attempting to grow my bunny food but it’s not going so well. Especially not with the crazy weather we have been having in Sydney. It’s really interesting to see what other peoples thoughts are though.

    1. Thanks Cass, I think as long as we all do what we can and we’re aware, then that’s great! Good on you for having a go!

  2. I can honestly say I haven’t given much thought to the staples. I guess like you I concentrate on the meat, veg & fruit and after that it comes down to price, availability and whether I can be bothered or not. Buying as locally as possible is a start. Buying from the producer is better. Great advice though to do what you can – when you can.
    Great post!

    1. Thanks Nancy! The staples have been on my mind for a while, but I’m not going to knock myself for not buying everything local. I think awareness is important.

  3. I think in all respects, if you do what you can that is all anyone can hope for 🙂 Sometimes it’s not always possible and people shouldn’t beat themselves up or stress themselves over something but if you can do what you can then that’s a good start.

  4. I don’t shop at Aldi because there isn’t one anywhere near me and I hate how you can’t ask anyone anything about any product line they’re selling. I try to buy Australian as much as possible even if it’s a little more expensive – we have to keep Aussies in jobs. xx

    1. I think the little expenses are worth it too. We don’t buy a lot from Aldi, but it does free up some of our dollars, so that we can buy local meats (which aren’t cheap), so it all works out in the wash.

  5. I try my best to buy from the farmer at the market and if I can’t then I buy from a market that buys locally. If I can’t get the stuff there, I do my best to buy Australian but like you, I don’t beat myself up about it. If we ALL did just that bit, our farmers would be much better off and we’d all be healthier. Nice post!

    1. Thank Maureen, I agree that if everyone just did a little then we could help out our local farmers. I also love a chat with a farmer!

  6. We are farmers producing grass-fed beef. We would dearly love to open our doors to the public and sell them our meat but so many rules and regulations prevent this from happening.
    We are almost self sufficient on our farm but I still support fellow farmers by buying from their road-side stalls. The staples I buy are from a little organic shop in our local town. Sure I have to pay more but knowing where my product comes from is important.
    But, I also agree that you should not beat yourself up if you cannot do this. Just try to buy Aussie products.
    Great post!

  7. you’re right -what do we do about anonymous things like flour and sugar?
    i’m trying to make sure i buy tasmanian when i can (mostly that’s fruit and veg, when in season) and then australian.
    balancing this against the need to be money-wise when you’re on a budget is of course the other issue.

    1. I’m trying to steer clear of tropical fruits this year as I know that they wont grow on my door step, but I fear I wont be able to restrain myself when I smell my first mango’s or pineapples. The money thing is always going to be a tough issue.

  8. Our fruit & veg are all local, and freaking delicious! If I get home too late and have to buy veggies for that night’s dinner from a supermarket, I notice the quality and taste differences. My meat is still from supermarkets unfortunately. I would rather buy from a local butcher but it’s just one of those things I haven’t done yet. And it’s hard enough for me to get home in time for local shops as it is. Ultimately I’d like a bigger freezer so I can buy an entire cow from a farm – one of the ones where they make it into chops, sausages etc for you. That’s a longer term goal though. I’ve gotten out of the habit of baking my own bread/breakfast rolls etc because hubby can’t eat them, so it’s harder to motivate yourself to cook them when it’s just for you.

    1. What can’t Ben eat in the bread? Worth giving sourdough a try? Looks like you’re making some fantastic choices! I’d also love to buy an entire cow!

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