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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The honeybee massacre & the rise of Monsanto

 

via: Flickr

via: Flickr

The biotechnology and genetic engineering giants Monsanto are widely regarded as one of the most hated companies in the world. Often referred to as evil, Monsanto has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way! Before we begin, here is a brief background on the company and how they earned this villainous  reputation.

 

Monsanto began in 1901 as a small chemical company and by 1902 they had sold an artificial sweetener to Coca Cola. In the 1920’s they broadened their scope and began creating synthetic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. They created PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) which were used as coolants in electrical equipment such as chemical plants. In the 1970s PCBs were banned after they were found to cause problems such as damage to the liver, hormones and the immune system and also an increase in the risk of cancer. In the 1960s during the Vietnam War, Monsanto was contracted to create a chemical which would clear the jungles in Vietnam as a military tactic. This chemical was Agent Orange.  It did it’s job of killing the thick forests, however it also killed and maimed over 400,000 people. This chemical was so toxic that is continues to have fatal consequences even today. Since the Vietnam War, over half a million children have been born with severe birth defects and most will not survive to see their 5th birthday.

In the early 1980s there were concerns for Times Beach in Missouri as it was nearby to a Monsanto plant which produced a great amount of chemical waste. By 1983 Times Beach was completely evacuated due to severe toxic contamination and an alarmingly level of PCBs in the soil. Monsanto still denies their products are to blame.

Monsanto ‘relaunched’ in the 1990s as an agricultural company and emerged as the leader of genetically modified crops. They modify organisms and produce genetically modified seeds for agricultural purposes. These genetically modified crops are resistant to herbicides and pesticides meaning that the crop can survive large amount of chemical spraying. Since Monsanto is also the leading producer of chemical herbicides with products such as RoundUp, this means their sales have inevitably sky rocketed. There are still varied opinions on the debate of genetically modified foods and the health risks involved. Ingesting large amounts of chemicals and genetically modified organisms however isn’t something that many people prefer over organically grown produce.

 

Monsanto

via: Flickr


So what about the bees?!

The first issue is that genetically modified crops have been created to ‘self pollinate’ without the intervention of the humble pollen spreading bee.

The second issue is the invention of neonicotinoids. There is a new stream of genetically modified seeds that contain ‘systemic pesticides,’ which are informally coined “the chemical you can’t wash off.” These chemicals are actually imbedded in the genetics of the crop, instead of being sprayed onto the surface of the plant. In the late 1990s these were introduced into commercial farming, the most common systemic pesticide being neonicotinoids.

When the bee attempts to pollinate a genetically modified crop, it becomes poisoned by the toxins and chemicals imbedded in the genes of the plant. When the bee returns to their hive they also bring back the chemicals, which are then stored along with the rest of the pollen. This has lead to a bee massacre and is the main contributor to Colony Collapse Disorder which is the sudden disappearance of honeybee colonies.
Over 1 third of crops worldwide rely on bees for pollination and this significant decline in the honeybee population has lead to a decrease in crop production and agricultural profits.

This has huge implications for farmers who use honeybees to pollinate their crops. Ultimately, it may lead to the disappearance of organically grown crops and the sole reliance on Monsanto’s genetically modified substitutes which will remain unaffected by this ecological disaster.

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via: Flickr

 

I hope this has perhaps opened your eyes and encouraged you to question your consumption habits and made you aware of some of the more serious implications of genetic modification and companies like Monsanto.

This is only scratching the surface of the information that is out there on this topic so I urge you to do your own research and get involved with the future of this Earth.

 


Sources:

1.http://www.independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/is-monsanto-killing-our-bees,5365

2. Yonemoto, Junzo. 2000. “The Effects of Dioxin on Reproduction and Development.” Industrial Health 28 : 259–68. – See more at: http://embryo.asu.edu/pages/birth-defects-caused-agent-orange#sthash.zKbzHJ6S.dpuf

3. Hanzai, E. 2014. “The Complete History of Monsanto.” Global Research, Waking Times, June 22, 2014. http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/06/20/complete-history-monsanto-worlds-evil-corporation/

4. http://www.tfsp.info/systemic-pesticides/

5. http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572#public

6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G5dlNzPnzU

7. http://www.honeycolony.com/article/what-is-monsanto-doing-to-our-bees/

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.

4 Eco friendly ways to pack your lunch!

DID YOU KNOW?

– In Australia 376,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is used every year

– The production of plastic requires oil, gas and coal which emits greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change

– Excess greenhouse gases also contaminate our ocean and are responsible for killing millions of marine animals every year

– There are roughly 30,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square kilometre of our oceans

– Plastic bags are the number 1 serial killer, wiping out around 1 million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals and millions of fish, every year

– ‘Biodegradable’ plastic bags actually cause greater widespread pollution than regular plastic bags

(Facts from http://www.cleanuptheworld.org/ & http://www.sita.com.au/)

 

So with those alarming facts in mind, here at Say No to Pesticides & Packets we encourage the elimination of plastics and other artificial materials used to package products and tote them from A to B.

The biggest problem with not using plastic bags and other plastic wrapping materials is how do we store our delicious fruits and vegetables when we hit the road? How do we transport our gourmet organic lunches without contributing to landfill, chemical poisoning and the death of millions of animals?

Here are a few ideas!

1. Nude food! 
Mother nature is a pretty clever gal, she created the most nutritious and delicious snacks with their own natural packaging! Think bananas, apples, mandarins and oranges, they all come pre packaged! Chuck them in your bag and you are good to go!

 

2. Use recycled or plant-based products 
There are a bunch of recycled, biodegradable packaging options to store and pack your goodies in, you just have to seek them out and be conscious about which recycled products you are using! A great option is sugarcane packaging, made from 100% plant based renewable resources. Takeaway style boxes are available and they actually help to keep your food fresher for long as the sugarcane fibre material is breathable and non-toxic! Another great alternative to plastic wrap is recycled aluminium foil! Use this to individually wrap things like sandwiches or chopped up vegetables.

 

3. Japanese Bento Box
The Japanese are often on the forefront of cutting edge design and technological innovations and this is still definitely the case when considering eco friendly and sustainable design options. Bento boxes have been used for thousands of years as a sustainable and environmentally responsible way to package and transport meals. A typical bento box is a simple sturdy container with different compartments to separate the food. These containers can be made from recycled materials including steel (we love these ones! http://planetbox.com/). The box is used over and over again and the individuals items packed do not need to be plastic wrapped as they have neat little segments to fit in to!

 

PlanetBox-3LunchBoxes-Shop-Home

via: planetbox.com

 

4. Reusable lunch bags 
As we are all becoming increasingly aware of the environmental damage that plastic packaging causes, we have seen the rise in business of reusable and recyclable lunch bags. There are plenty of fabulous sites that sell environmentally friendly plastic bag alternatives to cart your munchies around! We’ve listed our favourite reusable lunch totes below!

via: lunchskins.com

via: lunchskins.com

http://www.mygreenlunchbox.com.au/

http://www.lunchskins.com/

http://www.laptoplunches.com/

http://ecolunchboxes.com/

 

 

Have you tried any of these eco friendly alternatives? How do you package your lunch? Do you have any environmentally friendly ideas?
We’d love to know! Leave us a comment 🙂

 

Ballin on a budget?

help-me-im-poor
If the words ‘tight ass tuesday’ and ‘2 for 1 Friday’ get you excited, chances are you’re a cash stricken student. There is no shame in this! You can still have your organics and eat them too!

In fact, food cooperatives are the cheaper alternative to buying groceries including organic fruits and veg. Because of their cooperative nature, the price of the products are not marked up as a result of excess transport, packaging and wages costs. Cooperatives do not aim to make profit, therefore what you pay is the cost price. Unlike supermarket giants who mark up their products significantly, food cooperatives are able to offer you the best price possible! On average, a box of fruit and vegetables at a food cooperative will be at least 15% cheaper than the equivalent at a commercial supermarket. 

If you thought buying organic fruits and vegetables was expensive, think again! Check out your local food cooperative and I think you will find that the prices are fair less than you’ve been paying at a supermarket. You can also feel great about helping out your local community and the environment too!

 

UNSW STUDENTS: Head down to UNSW’s own food co-operative Thoughtful Foods! Sign up for fresh weekly fruits & vegetables for extremely reasonable prices!

Mixed boxes of fruit and vegetables for $20, $40 or $60.
Boxes of only fruit or vegetables available in $10 or $20 sizes.
WHAT A BARGAIN!
Check out their page here for more details.

Food Co-ops - Cheap & Chic!

Food Co-ops – Cheap & Chic!

Can organic bananas cure cancer?! Raw till 4?

bananagirl2Founder of the “Raw till 4” diet, Freelee the ‘banana girl’ boasts how a raw vegan diet offers an abundance of health benefits and suggests that a high-carb diet consisting mainly of fruits can cure cancer. Freelee herself reveals how a raw till 4 vegan lifestyle completely changed her life. Once a miserable, overweight and depressed young lady, she began this diet which has resulted in extreme weight-loss, improved health and happiness.

So what exactly does this diet involve?

Freelee eats around 30 bananas a day, and suggests this is the best way to transition into the lifestyle. She has created ‘Banana Island’ a fictitious metaphor for a banana detox. During your time on ‘Banana Island’ you are to only consume bananas and water for an extended period of time. Some spend a week on Banana Island, others months. 

Once you have holidayed on Banana Island, it is now time to begin your raw till 4 lifestyle. This involves eating only uncooked vegan foods (mainly fruits and vegetables) until 4pm. This allows you to have a cooked vegan dinner (Freelee suggests rice or potatoes and more vegetables). The macros of the diet are high carb with only 5-10% fat and protein. Usually discouraged by dieters, weight-loss experts and dieticians, Freelee believes that a high-carb diet is the key to incredible health. As the carbohydrates you are consuming are simple carbs from fruits and vegetables they are easier to digest than complex carbs seen in pasta and bread. Freelee also insists that carbohydrates 

Freelee is a spokeperson for going organic and believes that by eliminating the nasty toxins that are found in commercial produce, your health will improve out of sight. She also attributes organic fruits and vegetables to curing diseases such as cancer, depression, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases. Other conditions such as eczema and acne have also been shown to completely disappear while on this diet. Check out testimonials from the raw till 4 diet here and here.

So what do you guys think about the raw till 4 vegan lifestyle? Have you tried it out? Are you skeptical?

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For more info on Freelee and her lifestyle you can check out her YouTube channel where she posts daily videos about her diet.

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!

Food Co-ops?

Welcome to the ‘Say No to Pesticides & Packets’ movement! We are all about educating and discussing alternative methods of food consumption to promote a sustainable way of living.

Food Cooperatives are one example of an ethical, environmentally responsible and sustainable food consumption practice.

So what are ‘Food Co-ops’ and how do they function?

Simply put, food co-ops are a community based grocery store, ran and owned by it’s members. This means there is no middle man and they do not set out to gain any profits. Their main goal is to provide their members with affordable natural foods whilst supporting their local community and agricultural industry. As they are working at a much smaller scale, their produce is usually organic and locally sourced. There is also much less waste involved in the production and consumption process. Environmental pollution from the transportation of goods is relatively low and there is no wasteful unnecessary packaging that we often see in conventional grocery stores.
Food co-ops promote economic justice, sustainable living, environmental consciousness and community action. What’s not to love?!

 

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More posts coming soon! In the meantime, drop us a line and let us know what your thoughts are on food cooperatives, sustainable living, organic foods!