As the end of the year approaches, I'm thinking about all the local / small growers I've gotten to know. With each season, I look forward to variety in available produce. And in Victoria, we have a wide selection of fresh, high quality ingredients. Every weekend, in just about every Melbourne suburb, there are so many markets and events where fresh goods are available.
Anecdotally, it's becoming increasingly obvious to me how many individuals are growing their own produce, keeping chooks in the city, composting, recycling and even making some really impressive patches of greenery on apartment balconies etc. These activities are not the odd "greenie environmental" tasks that were once the domain of a small group viewed as "extreme" or "hard line" nerds. It's fantastic to see that such simple and ultimately rewarding jobs, are becoming increasingly mainstream. I clearly remember 20 years ago when I wanted to install a water tank in our small, inner Melbourne garden. Not only was it not permitted at that time, the local council threatened to fine me if I went ahead and installed a tank ! Needless to say, I couldn't find a single plumber who was willing to take that risk, at that time. Thankfully, this has all changed.
There used to be two types of farming - farmers who grew fruit and vegetables according to the seasons and allowed produce to ripen on the trees - like my great grandparents on the "Ballendella" farm. And the other type - the ones who use(d) all kinds of sprays and pesticides with largely unknown ingredients. There were no fancy labels such as - organic, bio dynamic etc. The first was known as regular farming, and the second - spray farming. Just saying...
I get as much produce as I can from such "regular" small growers (who cannot afford the prohibitively high cost (and sometimes questionable), organic certification. It is very easy to get seasonal produce that is not sprayed (and therefore technically "organic"). It takes a little scouting around in the beginning, but it is well worth the effort.
Visit a Farmer's market, find some small growers, start growing some herbs - these small things all add up to better quality lifestyle.
Happy New Year,