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This is an exciting time in history for local food systems as more and more people are seeing the benefits of this way of life and turning "Locavore"! Our dear friend Dr Sarah Lantz from Temptress Brew Co shares some thoughts about this growing movement below.
Locavore: "a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food."
In Australia we have, in the main, and up til our recent turn of events, grown accustomed to having all foods, always. Forget the snags and meat pies; I think ‘always food’ may be the closest thing to our national cuisine. An Australian dinner table can have New Zealand lamb with Italian porcinis, mangoes from Mexico, asparagus from Peru, and cherries from California. The date on the calendar is utterly irrelevant. Yet the consumption of long-haul industrial foods at the dinner table still fails to be considered an ethical (or spiritual) problem – or even bad manners, for that matter.
Our society is fairly well acquainted with the idea of food as an ethically or philosophically loaded commodity, particularly the reasons for declining certain foods. We find it acceptable when someone declines food for religious reasons (‘It’s prohibited by a holy text’), for health reasons (‘I’m a coeliac/ diabetic/I have an egg/nut/dairy/allergy’) or for ethical reasons (‘I’m a vegan or vegetarian’). In most circles, it’s socially expected that we cater for these special food requirements.
Yet energy wastage, out-of-season dining, the presence of irradiation or long-haul food journeys are not yet considered acceptable reasons for declining certain foods. I wonder if one day this same hospitality will eventually be shown to diners who are uneasy about industrial food practices? Maybe they will be considered ‘Seasonatarians’? ‘Local eaters’? The term ‘locavore’ is hitting the vernacular ... and I like it.
The meal on your average dinner plate has travelled around 2000 km from field to fork, much farther than most of us go on our Christmas holidays. Numerous people have tried to express the magnitude of this irregularity with different statistics: for example, it takes 15 calories of energy to put one calorie on the table, and four of those are in transportation.
The fact is, local and seasonal food systems are the backbone of any sensible food model. They have stood the test of time because they make sense when measured in terms of energy, logistics and nutrient density. No culture has ever survived when it couldn’t feed itself. The strongest communities are the ones that can feed themselves.It’s heartening to see some families responding to this notion, and local food systems like Spray-Free Farmacy are rising up. At its heart, this food culture is an affinity between people and the land that feeds them. It’s a beautiful thing.
The slow/real/local/organic food movement – the food sovereignty movement – is gaining momentum in Australia and doesn’t seem like an unreasonable response to the existence of such a fragile food chain, which inevitably becomes even more clear in times of crisis.
The Slow Food Movement, including everything Spray-Free Farmacy embodies, is all about eating seasonally, supporting and protecting regional cuisines, reinstating the ritual of family dining and educating children’s palates.
The Slow Food movement manifesto states: ‘a firm defence of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life ... Our defence should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavours and savours of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food’. It is appropriate, then, that the movement’s symbol is a snail, ‘a talisman against speed’. Don’t rush. But the Slow Food movement doesn’t believe in everything at a snail’s pace, despite its name and logo. What it values is Tempo Giusto ... the right time.
Written by Dr Sarah Lantz, Temptress Brew Co.
Are you a recently converted "Locavore"? Welcome to the tribe! Join our Farmacy Family Facebook group to connect with others who care about where their food comes from and what's been done to it.