Thursday 25 October 2007

S.O.L.E foods

Many other bloggers are talking about this. Sometimes called the Localvore movement, Ethicurean, whatever label you want to put on it, it's a growing "movement" to think more ethically about our food.

S. sustainable
O. organic
L. local
E. ethical.

Read some futher ponderings here:



The Age.

And before y'all accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon, here's what I want to know??

What does all of this mean, in the real life of real women? Those of us in the 'burbs struggling to make our kids eat ANY vegetable, let alone an ethical one?

Those of us living from pay to pay, with kids in schools, with mortgages and rents?

In short, how does one bring ethical issues in food and sustainability to Glen Waverley? Or Craigieburn?

Here's what I do:

I buy from Aussie Farmers Direct, who guarantee me that my milk comes from the Warnambool Dairy (thus supporting a co-operative venture and local dairy farmers), that my bread is baked in Dandenong.

I use the cardboard boxes from my orders to compost and grow veggies in. I currently have several boxes, down my sideway, where they get the run-off from the spouting, in which I am growing pumpkins, parsley and potatoes.

I water these with the collected shower water when they need it.

I ask questions. To my grocer. To my butcher. And if they can't tell me where they source their product from, I find one who can. If enough of us suburban mums ask our butchers "where does this come from?", maybe they'll start wondering why and THINKING about the products they supply us with.

I can't afford a green water collection system, but I CAN buy a couple of big plastic containers from Bunnings and whack them in the garden beds, to collect rainfall for the dry days.

I can go to a farmers market (and I am not naive enough to think that ALL foods there are SOLE food, btw), but I can buy cheaper and better and a lot more ethically from the Ferntree Gully market, than I can at Safeway.

I eat in season. I refuse to by tomatoes or lettuces or asparagus in winter. I refuse to by gas-packed meat from Coles or Safeway. EVER.

When I can afford it, I buy local meats. When I can't, I buy something that gives me the best return for my dollar, the best "bang for my buck".. a chicken that can be roasted, used for sanga's the next day and the carcass turned into stock.

I talk to my kids about the choices I make and why I make them.

I rob Peter to pay Paul. I buy home-brand flour, so I can afford recycled loo paper. I pay more for ethical, environmentally friendly cleaning products (and make some of my own), and pay it off by shopping at Aldi for dogfood and canned tomatoes. I buy an organic pineapple for a fruit platter, at my local green grocer, but I pay it off by using non-organic Coles cabbage in my stews.


So, tell me, dear readers. What do YOU do?? HOW do you do it? What more can WE do??

If you want to debate the ethics or the perceived "wankiness" of this movement, some of the links above are the place. What I want this post to be is a place where we can list places, ideas, THINGS that we can do, out there in Mortgage Land, out there in "do I pay the gas bill or eat ethically" land... out in the real world.

It can be done, I know it can. Eating ethically and sustainably on a normal family income, making normal family choice. It's NOT about eco-friendly larks vomit. It's about being aware, and making sure our suppliers of food, out in the 'burbs; the butchers and the grocers and the bakers KNOW that SOLE foods are not just important in the rarefied atmosphere of urban hippies, but to you and I as well.


grocer said...

wankiness? I agree, but I hope you don't mean my post. stay tuned for more.

purple goddess said...

Actually, it was sticky's self-perceived "wankiness" I was referring to.

I am really hoping to open up some REAL dialogue for those of us who do see SOLE food as an important part of the way we consume, but are not quite sure how to go about it every day, or even one day a week. When it's cheaper to buy soy sauce from our local Vietnamese grocer, knowing it has racked up a gazillion food miles, co we've got school fees to cover this month.

Bring it AWN!!!

stickyfingers said...

Bandwagons are built for the ride. Blogs are food for thought, and I'm glad you've saddled up on this chewy topic.

Yes, no matter where you live, it's about asking your butcher, baker, grocer or supermarket to provide what you want to buy at the price you want to pay for it.

Coles has seen a major backlash since removing from stock the items people love and are looking to redress things. It takes that kind of action to make a change, we now just need to be mindful of what we ask for. Are the things we buy impacting on the crisis in the farming community? Are we doing ourselves out of jobs by buying mostly imported goods? Lets move out of the 'now' and think what can we do for our future generations?

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