(A super yummy dinner from last week; mushrooms baked with basil pesto and parmesan, salad and rockmelon.)
We’ve been thinking about food a lot lately. Our food choices have a big impact on our health, our lifestyle and our footprint on the earth and we believe that fresh, local produce and good, real stuff cooked from scratch is what’s best for us and what’s best for this big, beautiful planet. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy. Like lovely Kate said in this great post, “unless you prioritise food, the more often you end up taking short cuts and finding yourself with some not so great food habits”. We’re guilty of that. Lately we really haven’t made food a priority and that’s something that needs to change.
Ideally we would like to grow as much as our own food as possible and source the rest from local (preferably organic) producers, but at the moment, 95% of the time our food comes from the supermarket. We’re terrible at planning our meals ahead and most nights we grab something easy from the shops on the way home from work. Supermarkets are cheap and convenient, but unfortunately in return for discount prices and long open hours, you get fruit and vegetables that have been sprayed with chemicals, picked too early, travelled long distances and left in refrigeration too long. As well as the quality of the produce being questionable, we don’t like the way the big supermarkets treat farmers (when you consider how cheap the supermarkets are selling produce, imagine how little the farmers are getting) and we believe the type of agriculture required to produce such vast, cheap quanties of food, is seriously bad news for the environment. We want to support local farmers who are focusing on growing real, nutritious, delicious food without the nasty chemicals, but when we shop at Coles and Woolies, we aren’t doing that.
At this point in time we can’t grow much food for ourselves. Our backyard is tiny, the soil is poor and the sunshine is limited. Being self sufficient might not be an option right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shop and eat better. We realise that where we spend our money and what we choose to eat is entirely our own responsibility. We need to start supporting the food producers we believe in, making more time to visit local markets for produce, and going to places like the locally owned wholefoods store in place of a chain supermarket. Buying our groceries this way will likely be a little more expensive (and not as convenient) but we have to consider the greater cost of food from the supermarket. Spending a bit extra on our produce will hopefully also make us a bit more mindful of how we spend our money and the food we waste. Though we live on a very limited budget, sometimes we are quite wasteful. We buy too much of something when it’s super cheap or it seems like a good idea at the time, and then we don’t get around to eating the food before it goes bad. Hopefully buying better quality food will also make us less inclined to waste it (we hate to think how many pieces of supemarket fruit we have thrown out simply because they were tasteless and horrible!) So in the long run paying more for our fruit and veggies might not actually cost us much more at all.
We don’t expect to change our grocery shopping habits completely overnight (and we suspect there will always be some things we have to visit Coles and Woolies for) but it is something we are mindful of and something we are (slowly) working on.
Where do you buy your fresh produce from? Is this something you think about? Does where your food comes from matter to you? Do you have any tips for recovering supermarket addicts like us? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
If you’re interested in finding out more about why we believe Coles and Woolies are bad news, this short video is a good place to start. Pretty scary stuff.