Making the effort to buy from the farm
These days we are spoiled for choice when it comes to buying just about anything. This includes our daily fresh food. The options are seemingly limitless, and every day there is new information about what we should buy, who we should buy it form, and how often we should eat that particular super food. But one of the lasting and ongoing debates centres on the source of our fresh produce, and whether our purchasing practices are helping or hindering our beloved Aussie farmers. The question is: supermarket or farm bought? Here at Seven Women we always support the little people, and believe that the closer you buy from the source, the more ethical and fair your purchases turn out to be. That’s why we wholly support buying as much fresh produce from the farmers when possible. Buying fresh produce from the farmer’s market isn’t just a quaint weekend activity; it supports local industry and often guarantees fresh produce free of harsh chemicals and undercut prices. When you buy direct from the source you can guarantee product quality and ask any questions about the production line right there. This is especially helpful for people with allergies, or those who wish to avoid commercial pesticides or certain GMOs; when the farmer is standing right in front of you, it takes a lot of the guess work out of your purchasing choices.
Another concern for consumers is the possible exploitation of our own farmers when dealing with the larger supermarket or supplier chains. The supermarket is a convenient option (and we acknowledge for many it is their only viable option), but this is where a little bit of research can be helpful. If you do need to shop at the supermarket, keep an eye out for stories regarding exploitation of farmers and producers, and try to avoid giving your money to those companies who do not behave fairly. We have seen this kind of grass-roots action before, such as with the ongoing debate in the milk industry. We have also seen the impact it has when consumer pressure is placed back on big producers. Make companies accountable for their actions by buying smart and talking to others about your purchasing choices. Knowledge is power, so make sure you use your knowledge to empower our local farmers.
And when at all possible, shop local, and look around for independent grocers and suppliers. Maybe try that local butcher, get bread from the family-run place down the street, or make weekend farm visits a normal part of your grocery shopping. Many places even let you pick your own fruit and veg, so a day trip to the strawberry farm could be a fun family day out and leave you with a bucket of delicious fruit at the end. There are many ways to support local, so get creative.
Farm-fresh produce can cost more – the reason the big supermarkets are so cheap is they can afford to be – but the impact on home-grown farming is enormous. Supply and demand means you get to determine how your food is sourced by where you choose to buy it, so support the little guy. Not to mention, farm-bought often means tastier and more robust produce, and who doesn’t love that.