Knowing where your food comes from is important. We’ve all heard about the recent Hepatitis A outbreak from contaminated, imported frozen berries. The potential health risks are concerning and since the outbreak there has been plenty of discussion surrounding food safety, food labelling laws and buying local products. No one wants to be eating produce washed in sewage water (egad!). So with that stomach turning image in mind, we thought we’d share our food philosophy; to buy and eat locally produced food where you can.

Our food culture is slowly changing from fast food to a revival of the basics. The local food movement is on the rise in Australia (and Victoria in particular – boasting 90 of the 150 farmers markets in Australia) with more people wanting wholesome quality food and to know where it’s come from and how it’s produced. There are certainly consequences to buying cheap imported foods; whether it is quality, impact on our local industry or food safety and security. So here’s some food for thought, below is a list of the top five reasons to buy local produce:

  1. You are more likely to know your foods “story”. Buying local food allows you to get to know our food producers and how our food has been made or grown. Get to know the farmers markets, community gardens, 'pick your own farms' and online hubs in your local area.
  2. Buy in season produce. Buying locally produced food means you will be eating in tune with the seasons.  We think there is nothing better than waiting all winter for fresh summer berries or stone fruit (instead of that frozen fruit!). Local produce is often picked within 24 hours of being sold. Local in season produce is fresher, tastier and lasts longer.
  3. Local produce is better for the environment – reduce your carbon footprint! Food that is produced locally has less distance to travel so the produce has a shorter journey from paddock to plate, which means fewer emissions. Also, food that is produced locally often has less packaging than what is required to ship overseas or long distances around the country. 
  4. Support local farmers and Australian jobs. When you choose to buy local your spending will go direct to local businesses which supports the local economy.  More money stays in the local community instead of money going to the ‘big end of town’ or overseas.
  5. Creating community and investing in our future. Buying local is investing in the community’s future. Local producers are often more invested in and have close relationships with the local community.

Lastly, if you are buying products from the supermarket, have a basic understanding of food labelling (it can be very confusing, I know!). Look for products labelled ‘Product of Australia’ or ‘Australian Grown’, instead of ‘Australian Made’ or ‘Australian Owned’, which don’t necessarily contain all Australian ingredients. Don’t let confusing labels leave you wondering, check out ACCC Country of Origin.  Also check out the local farmers market in your region:  Australian Farmers Markets Association.

 Happy shopping!