Food

Food is one of life’s most basic material needs. Not so long ago people grew all or most of the food they ate. Today, we have outsourced most food production to global corporations that are more interested in making profits than providing us with nutritious food or producing food in a sustainable manner. How we feed ourselves is extremely important. We must relocalise our food.

  • Grow as much of your own food as possible: Not everyone can grow all their own food, but everyone can grow some of it, even if it is a herb and lettuce garden on the windowsill. Gardening is an important revolutionary act.
  • Who wants a lawn when you can have a vegetable garden! If we are going to transition to more localised and sustainable food production, many lawns (or parts of lawns) are going to have to turn into beautiful, thriving vegetable gardens. Expand your garden as much as possible. Perhaps there is there room for chickens? Perhaps a couple of carefully placed fruit trees?
  • Think about planting some veges / fruit trees in your nature strip: Look into your council regulations about planting up your nature strip. Or just do it. Not only does this provide you with more space to grow your own food, it also sends a message to your community that you care about local food production.
  • If you need more space to grow food, look into whether there is a community garden: Community gardens are springing up all over the place, and the trend is likely to continue. Do some research and see if there is one in your neighbourhood.
  • No community garden? If there is no community garden in your area then get a small group together and make it happen. There is no greater gift you can give your community. Survey your neighborhood for good spots. Then devise a plan.
  • Support your local farmers’ markets: Most people will not be able to grow all their own fruit and vegetables. Supplement your own food production by supporting local farmers’ markets. Avoid supermarkets as much as possible.
  • Think about what you are putting in your body: Eat healthy, organic food, and eat moderately. Avoid fatty, artificial, and processed foods.
  • Reduce meat, dairy, and fish consumption: The fact is that the high levels of meat, diary, and fish consumption is impacting very negatively on our planet. Try to reduce how much meat, diary, and fish you consume. Start by going without for two days per week. This will save money and lighten your impact.
  • Consider vegetarianism: This won’t be for everyone, but it might be for some of you. When it is approached thoughtfully and creatively, a vegetarian diet is healthy and delicious. And the transition might be easier than you think.
  • Learn how to bake your own bread and preserve food: Nothing smells better than freshly baked bread! And preserving food is an important way to reduce your ‘food miles’ (i.e. the distance your food travels to get to your table). You can grow or purchase your food ‘in season,’ then preserve it and eat it later.

20 Comments

  1. Can you guys prove that burning wood to cook our food has low environmental impact than cooking done through natural gas? In my state, they popularize natural gas stating, burning wood pollutes environment and causes cancer….

  2. Vegan diet. Shop at two local farmer’s markets. Never have to drive more than 5 miles to get the things we need. Buy almost everything used. Refuse, REduce, Reuse and then consider recycling. But refusing (not buying products) is our biggest ally. We always carry our own stainless steel mugs for water or coffee and have about 20 reuseable bags in car for easy use (three of the bags are over 20 years old). We “wrap” gifts in reuseable (usually repurposed cloth bags from thrift store ) and encourage receiver to use the bag or pass it on as a gift. WE store food in repurposed glass jars and when they get to be too numerous, we give to others.

  3. For some people becoming a full time vegetarian can be too challenging. Consider becoming a weekday vegetarian or flexitarian instead.

  4. Bean and seed sprouts grown in glass jars have supplied much appreciated fresh, nutritious, food during non-gardening months. I love them sprinkled with brewer’s yeast. I pull tomato vines with unripe tomatoes up by the roots and hang them inside upside down. This provides fresh tomatoes for a few months after harvest. I agree about being discriminating about gadgets and that Thermomix sounds great. Can you juice wheat grass with it as well?

  5. I am not vegitarian, I would like to head more in that direction. I respect vegitarians because they live by there convictions. I have killed and dressed animals to prepare meat in my youth and I suggest that meat is a highly sanitised plasic wrapped product. I think people should witness the slaughter and processing before defending our practices too much. At least kangaroo’s are shot on the run and not subject to the horrors of being rounded up, transported and then queing up to get the chop. They are not treated with chemicals either. It seems that we can get all the amino acids we need without eating meat so it is a matter of taste and of individual conscience. And for the sake of SIMPLICITY some bread and beans will do.

  6. With doctors and dentists we build a firm, reliable and trusting relationship, for the sake of our health. It’s time to do the same with those that grow our food. If you can’t grow it yourself, get to know and support the local growers. It’s too important to avoid doing this.

  7. Katherine Blake, is kangaroo from a supermarket ok? It has such a long shelf life and is so red, I wonder what they put in it.
    Also, I suggest eating edible weeds. They grow there for a reason and wild food is so much stronger energetically.

  8. We try to eat local as much as possible. This winter I have not bought any fresh tomatoes because they all come from too far away. We use our own canned tomato sauce, tomato juice and even roasted tomatoes are good in a sandwich. Also we have a lot of frozen and dried vegetables we put down last summer. Dried dandelion leaves and nettles are some of the greens we put in soups, stews and casseroles.

  9. When we eat meat / fish, we should at least choose it carefully. Here is Australia, Kangaroo is a reasonably sustainably meat, but each place will differ. Do some research, read labels, and ask questions.

  10. 6502! I understand that vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, but we aren’t all omnivores necessarily. You make it sound like the world would end if you had to give up meat. The world will not end, I assure you.

  11. I like the list.
    Makes a lot of sense… except for one point: vegetarianism.
    I mean, we are omnivores after all.
    Eating less meat, I can understand.
    I’ve lived in Asia for 5 years and eating less meat (cause it is so expensive) has actually helped my health… but cutting it out is something that not even the folks here would do.

    I’ll support cutting back.

  12. Check into CSAs – community supported agriculture. They are wonderful! Some can deliver fresh local organic veggies and fruit to your door – if not, to your neighborhood. Use a cold frame for chillier temps to grow some veggies. If you grow tomatoes, just throw them whole in the freezer; come winter make a big pot of sauce – your family will love it! Buy in bulk, such as from a co-op.

  13. The most recent gadget we bought was a food dehydrator, and what a delight. When I put a pot of soup on the hob after having sprinkled in my own dried herbs, carrots, tomatoes etc it brings a big smile to my face. Very cheap to run, dries in all the goodness of the food which then takes takes no freezer space up. An excellent addition to all the other forms of preserving. Having just purchased a second hand polytunnel the challenge is to ensure that our vegetable and fruit food production and preservation takes us through the full 12 months.

  14. I agree in part with Stewart, but IMHO the best option is to buy top quality multi-purpose gadgets, i.e. a Thermomix – it will mill anything from 1 tsp poppy seeds to 250g of buckwheat, chick peas, raw sugar or brown rice to flour – it will even chop or grind coffee, ice etc to make your own sorbet, icecream, latte, mayo, curry pastes, dips, salads, etc. It will also juice anything you want juiced and even cook at delicate and precise temps eg. 37, 50, 60-100degC for making yoghurt and protecting vitamins in soups and stews. It also kneads to make all your breads.
    I’ve had one for 2 years and use it 3-8 times each day.

  15. Hi I know we are supposed to by buying less gadgets and using less power but make the last gadget you buy a grain mill. We bought a small German grain mill that is beautifully crafted to last the years and we make our bread directly from grain as Thoreau did. It’s much cheaper and because the grain is alive right up to when you use it, it holds more nutrients and so can be a greater part of a simple diet. It’s also great tasting bread of a good composition.(not brick bread)
    They come in hand models and electric. I use a bread maker because I can put on a mix and then go out into the vegie garden or orchard for a few hours and come back to a fresh loaf of real bread. I would like to buy organic grain but it is hard to get hold of and expensive. I just buy Australian Premium Wheat and some linseed at my local stock feed store and have added home grown wattle seed and pumpkin seed for some great variation. Enjoy your own baking, it’s very satisfying.

  16. Join, start a Food Integrity Group like we did – http://www.fig.org.au/ – !
    Or, start your own.
    Or, too hard?
    Get in touch with a Permaculture Group in your neck of the woods and see if they can help you in your garden – http://www.permaculture.org.au/ -

  17. I’ve stopped buying tea and am now making my own. Mint is especially refreshing and it grows like a weed.

  18. Start a food swap! They are a fun way to meet your local gardeners, share produce, and have a cup of tea together. Gardens / gardeners often produce surpluses of somethings, and underproduce other things. Food swaps are the perfect social space to exchange these surpluses for things you need.

  19. Another option is to register with the http://www.landshareaustralia.com.au/index/ website, where you can put in where you are and where you are looking for land to grow on, and if someone in the area registers in your area with land, it connects the two up. Basically placing growers with those that have spare land. In England the site is going great guns, they’ve got (last i looked) about 70,000 members there, the Aussie site is around 1600 members and growing.

  20. Consider collaborative approaches to food. It builds community, you get to make new friends, and more work gets done with more fun when people work together.

    Ecologists tell us that competition dominates in energy-rich environments, while cooperation dominates in energy-poor environments. In the tropics, there may be a half-dozen species of raptors hunting an area, whereas in arctic or alpine ecotopes, there may only be one or two raptors, often cooperating by dividing the hunting by day (hawks) and night (owls).

    As we begin the fossil sunlight energy descent, we will need to cooperate for our very survival. So find someone to grow food with!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>