Restoring Faith

I attended the Adelaide Showground Farmer’s Market for the first time about one month ago. They restored my faith in the possibility that a better food system is possible.

Having just recently spent two weeks camping on a permaculture farm – eating more or less direst from the garden – it was quite a shock to be forced into more distant food choices that come with living in Mission Beach. Occasionally I’m even forced into a head-shaking Colesworths visit to choose between four different options of ‘own brand’, or reluctantly pick a fake organic product off the shelf. At least there’s a small (proper) organics store in town to provide some sanity.

I was on KI recently and it was reaffirmed that they are not as focused on providing for their own needs as I think they should be. There is a once-a-month farmer’s market which is a bubbling community affair in an idyllic spot. Beyond that, if one wants to buy fresh produce, they must shop at the IGA. Very little in the store is made on KI; and though I (thankfully) haven’t done a full scale audit, I suspect not much is even produced in SA; and there is perhaps quite a high proportion of overseas products. Even products we think of as Australian are unlikely to be so, in today’s globalised marketplace. Follow the money and it is most certainly leaking very heavily off of KI, onto the mainland and flown overseas.

Compare these large supermarkets to the Farmer’s Markets, where the producer who is running the stall keeps all the funds of your purchase for themselves, save the cost of the stall. In the case of fresh produce, they have tended to the plants/trees/product from day 1, so have an intimate knowledge of what they sell you. Try asking a Colesworths employee the best way to keep capsicums fresh, or what a cow ate in the months before it became beef. These – and many others – are important questions, they increase our knowledge and create conversations about one of the few things that links us all together – our food. It’s not many steps between having a detailed discussion about potato growing and caring more about your entire diet, which leads to eating and acting in a healthier way, which leads to seeing the doctor less, which leads to saving money on medical expenses through not living with illness, which leads to being happier because you feel better about yourself. Talking about potatoes to happiness in 5 easy steps. One does not create this environment for one’s self by shopping at Colesworths, where if you even talk to a staffer they’re more likely to be concerned about an upcoming party than helping you.

Not every farmer’s market is weekly and not every one will have a membership card that entitles you to member’s prices (like the Adelaide Showground one), but they all will be a positive experience. Perhaps they will also restore your faith.

Small Habit Change – Find your local Farmer’s Market and go there once every month.