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.

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 🙂