Saturday, March 9, 2013

Reduce those food miles - buy local or grow your own!

A new study shows that consumers will pay more for locally produced foods! And why not? Any intelligent human being, who has concerns for the planet, their own and their family’s health, but most of all for the taste, freshness and safety of foods, would be crazy to select any that have criss-crossed the country, let alone the globe! But the fact that a product, even with the cost of a multitude of food miles added, is cheaper than a locally produced competitor really beggars belief. This study indicates that labeling with “food miles” is a good way to encourage purchase of the local produce. 

Well I guess if that’s what it takes to get consumers to do the right thing... Maybe at the same time we can find a way to turn them from foods that have been fertilised artificially so they grow in all seasons, then refined, processed, partitioned before being reconstituted through a variety of manufacturing processes and made tasty and stable with a range of chemical additives? What would it take to switch consumers to choosing sustainably grown, Nature-given varieties of fruits, vegetables and animal produce?  If common sense doesn’t prevail, maybe clever labeling will?

But there's no doubt that we all need to be a lot more aware of our food purchases. Marion Nestle, commenting on the publication of NY Times investigative reporter Michael Moss’s new book: Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us says: “Anyone reading this truly important book will understand why food corporations cannot be trusted to value health over profits and why all of us need to recognise and resist food marketing every time we grocery shop or vote.”

What would it take for us all to become more conscious shoppers? We can start by looking beyond the marketing hype, reading labels very carefully and asking tough questions of our produce providers! Social media, blogs, tweets and online conversations can play a very important role in raising consumer awareness. Of course growing some vegies in your backyard garden is the best way to minimise food miles. Not as hard as it sounds - all the details in Healthy Parents, Healthy Baby.

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