This idea has been brewing for a while inspired in part by the alarming treatment of Australian dairy farmers by the major supermarket conglomerates. With a family history rooted on the land and an awareness of the extent to which those who produce our food struggle, I decided that it was time to do something.
Australia is blessed with an abundance of high quality produce, equal to if not superior to that produced by countries celebrated in popular culture as paragons of food quality. Despite this, in recent years so many of our farmers have been caught in a deepening crisis where the vaguaries of the Australian climate has merged with the market power of big supermarkets and a flood of cheaper imports to drive a growing number of agribusinesses to the wall. I've seen first hand how tough it is to make a living from agricultural existence.
Because every dollar spent by consumers makes a statement it's important to spend wisely and make careful choices. In Australia, as in any market economy, spending has an impact. It is for this reason that I have decided to not shop at a major supermarket chain for the next 52 weeks. Let me clarify - by the term 'major supermarket chain' I am not referring to the independents or family run businesses. Rather, I am referring to the two large supermarket chains which collectively dominate the food and grocery retail sector.
Despite beginning this initiative on the eve of a Federal election, this is not political. Everybody needs food. So we need to support the people who produce it.
Each week I'll be blogging about seasonal produce, any challenges in finding specific products, the discovery of new products, the exciting food world that is Melbourne's array of farmer's markets and more. If this makes a handful of people stop and think about spending choices, then I'll be happy !
First stop this weekend.......St Kilda Veg Out Farmer's Market, located behind Acland St, Saturday July 2nd. (This will be a rare day off for me.) Looking forward to seeing what's available.
Have a great weekend !