How far does your food travel before it makes it into your kitchen?

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A recent study conducted in June 2014 by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has revealed that farmers markets are an extremely valuable practice, not only for the farmers, but for the consumers and the community.

“Farmers’ markets are a vital and increasingly significant link in Australia’s food chain and provide a valuable distribution channel connecting farmers and specialty food producers directly with customers,” Says Ms Jane Adams from the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association (AFMA).

Farmers markets provide an accessible outlet for consumers to purchase products that are not only safe, reliable and healthy, but also great value for money. The reduced travel time and absence of packaging allows locally sourced produce to be fresher and more nutritious than commercial supermarket bought foods. This also makes it an incredibly sustainable and eco-friendly practice!

Farmers markets also offer many benefits to the farmers and stallholders. Farmers markets become a reliable distribution channel for local businesses and help to establish strong ties with the consumer! From a business standpoint, 80% of stallholders surveyed in the RIRDC study reported positive economic benefits from participation (p. 84).

Richmond Good Food Market

Richmond Good Food Market is a community initiative created to support the Hawkesbury’s local farming industry and provide community members with an incredible range of locally sourced products! It gives consumers the opportunity to meet the farmers and learn about where their food has come from. The Hawkesbury region is abundant with some of Australia’s highest quality fruit and veg, so why not make the most of it!?

Richmond Good Food Market allows community members to bypass the conglomerate supermarket chains and instead support the local economy and small businesses.

The market is held every Saturday morning from 7am at Richmond Park, NSW. They have a smorgasbord of products available from baked sweets, organic seasonal veggies, homemade jams and sauces and everything in between! The lineup changes weekly so you have the chance to pick up something unique every visit!

This week’s specials include:

– Jaggard’s salad dressings (caramelised onion oils, caramel mou and more)

– Hillbilly cider & Canonbah wines

– Juicy Gees fresh fruit juice

– The Chef Secrets organic coffee

– Paddock to Plate grass fed angus beef

– Bellview Hobby Farm fresh fruit & vegetables

 

… Along with a host of other local gems!

 

So head down to Richmond Park on Saturday morning and pick yourself up some delicious treats and support your local community and farmers.

To become a stallholder at Richmond Good Food Market click here!

Make sure you visit Richmond Good Food Market’s facebook page  and twitter for updates and info!


Woodburn, V. 2014. ‘Understanding the characteristics of Australian farmers’ markets,’ Rural Industries Research & Development, Australian Government.

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Rose Bay Community Garden GRAND OPENING!

The Rose Bay Community Garden is hosting it’s grand opening tomorrow, Saturday 25th October!

 

After months of support from the community and the tireless work of community members gifted with a green thumb, the Rose Bay Community Garden is ready to unveil their gorgeous garden flourishing with fresh fruit and vegetables for all to enjoy!

To celebrate and mark the beginning of this wonderful community project, they are putting on a fantastic event with a multitude of activities which will ensure a fun family day out in the sun! There will be a sausage sizzle, community stalls and Costa from Gardening Australia will be attending to share his top gardening tips!

Head over to Rose Bay Community Garden’s facebook for more information and ongoing updates! And make sure you get involved with this wonderful cause and show your support by heading down to the Rose Bay Community Garden tomorrow for the grand opening starting at 9am, Saturday 25th October!

If you would like to become more involved in the project or want to lend a hand tomorrow  shoot them an email at info@rosebaycommunitygarden.org. All help is greatly appreciated!

 

 

My first love affair…

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The snow was falling at a sharp angle as I darted between buildings, trying to find the elusive Le Frigo Vert I had been hearing incredible stories about. Wedged in between two lifeless  buildings lived a bright green oasis. I had finally discovered the quaint and quirky food cooperative, Le Frigo Vert. As I entered the emporium of wholesale grains and organic vegetables, my heart fluttered and I knew this would be the beginning of a joyous and effervescent communion.

 

Le Frigo Vert was my first experience with a food cooperative and is the origin of my passion for the Say No to Pesticides and Packets movement. During my university exchange in Montreal Canada I was a frequent visitor to Concordia University’s co-op Le Frigo Vert (The Green Fridge). Ran completely by student volunteers, Le Frigo Vert was the place to find discounted quinoa, exceptionally delicious coconut cookies and farm fresh organic greens, as well as a public meeting space to discuss student issues and politics. Being a lover of all things food and cooking, it soon became my haven in a foreign country, it became my ‘happy place.’ The staff were absolutely delightful and would immediately ask if you needed any help in navigating the store and finding what you were after, as well as sharing some of their delicious vegan recipes and cooking tips.

 

The strong sense of community could be felt as soon as you entered the store, and although I did not belong within this community, it made me feel as though I did. This is perhaps the most over looked and under appreciated quality of food co-operatives. You become part of a collective group of people and gain a sense of togetherness and belonging. Now don’t let me get too emotional here, but that was an extremely comforting feeling after relocating to an unfamiliar country and culture. It also helped that I just really love food! And Le Frigo Vert has some of the best produce I have ever tasted, all ethically and sustainably sourced.

So I encourage and urge you to get involved with your local food co-op, become an integral part of your community and make an environmental and political impact through your consumption habits. You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

To find your closest co-op in NSW click here.

To find out more about Le Frigo Vert check out their website here.

5 Reasons Why You Should Go Local!

image via @ShopLocal #ShopLocal

image via @ShopLocal #ShopLocal

Food co-operatives are all about supporting your local community. One of the ways they do this is by supporting local farmers and consciously buying their produce locally.

There are many benefits of locally sourced, chemical and gmo free fruits and vegetables but here’s the top five!

Photo: University of Michigan/Flickr

Photo: University of Michigan/Flickr

Taste

They taste fresher. They taste better.

There’s no denying it! There is an incredible difference between a piece of fruit that has been farmed, driven to a packaging manufacturer, packaged, driven to a distributer, packaged, driven to a consumer supermarket and driven back to your home compared to a piece of fruit sent straight from the farm 10km to the local co-op. Trust your taste buds on this one!

Economy

Not only are the organic products cheaper than you will find in a conventional grocery store, you are also keeping money and business within your local community. As a member of a food co-op, you will get to know every employee at the store and instead of handing your money over to a conglomerate giant, you are feeding it straight back into your community co-op. This has all sorts of positive repercussions like economic growth within your community, providing employment opportunities for community members and encouraging prosperous relationships with other local business. 

Environment

When you shop at a food co-operative you are becoming an ethically and environmentally responsible citizen. As the products are not shipped and transported from all around the world (think about the oranges from Woolies that are imported from California and the asparagus that is flown in from Chile), there is no carbon foot print. You will reduce the mammoth C02 emissions that are constantly released into the atmosphere from various transportation methods. Usually the farms are no further than 20km from the store, which is a obvious difference from the thousand km flight  from South America. The environment also benefits from reduction of packaging and waste that is regularly seen in commercial grocery stores. There is no need for plastic packages and bags for your fresh fruits and vegetables, in fact this often spoils the fruit! Instead of plastic bags and wrappers, food co-ops use recycled cardboard boxes and recycled canvas totes to carry groceries to and from the store. When you shop at a food co-op you can pat yourself on that back, you’re making an ecological difference.

Community

Co-ops operate entirely on the principle of community. The community aspect is so prevalent when you step into a food co-operative. The workers and shoppers are your friends, neighbours, peers and family! They genuinely have your best interest at heart and will make choices that will benefit the local community as they are part of it too!

Health

Perhaps the most overlooked reason as to why you should shop local, an organic diet free from pesticides and other nasties is the healthiest diet for you. Numerous studies and tests have shown that fruits and vegetables that have not come into contact with chemicals and synthetics are by far the healthier choice! They give your body and your brain the nutrients and nourishment it needs. We all know our bodies are our most valuable possessions on this earth so fuel it with organic produce!

Well not only is going local tastier, great for the community and even better for the environment… It also makes you healthier and happier little vegemites!

Jump on board and go local! Make the most of your community co-op!