Saturday, January 18, 2014

Local Vs Organic

We started our real food journey a couple of years ago, unfortunately not when our children were young. We didn't eat a lot of junk, but we did eat a bit and because we were always so busy, the kids did get a lot of packet food in their lunch boxes. But we gradually changed and now I buy very little packet food.

We were living in Rockhampton when we first started buying organic food - about 10 years ago. We have always eaten our own meat - beef and pork mostly and when I could, I had a garden. My garden was pretty lousy until we moved back to our farm at Baralaba and it has gone from being quite good at times to currently being almost non existent. This is going to have to change very soon!

I chose organic food as it is the only way to ensure that there are no chemicals. However since I've been going to the markets on a regular basis, I've started buying all my fruit and vegetables from local growers, not all of which are organic. So what's better - organic or local? I would prefer organic for the reason stated, but it's so good to be able to support local farmers who, just like us are trying to make a living. At the markets, you can talk to the actual person who grew your food - you can ask about their chemical use, their methods of farming and just find out what they generally think of health and food. Then you can make an informed decision. Just because something is organic, does not necessarily make it healthy! I've had some pretty tasteless organic food. My rule of thumb is taste and keeping quality. The sweeter something tastes and the longer it keeps, the healthier the item is. The other advantage of buying local is that it is usually picked the few days before you buy it! This probably helps with keeping quality.

I buy most of my vegetables at Yeppoon and Rockhampton markets every second week. The food lasts for the two weeks with very few losses. To me this is fresh, which equals healthy! So what can I get locally? I buy macadamia oil and nuts, all my fruit and some green vegetables. Potatoes, onions and carrots are occasionally available, but mostly I get these through the various organic outlets I use. I really love buying local produce and last week we went to the 1770 markets and I bought the most beautiful olive oil (20 litres of it to share with my sister, so I won't run out for a while!). You can get meat at Rocky and Yeppoon markets too - either our pork, or Lilly Pilly Organics stock local beef and chicken. Therefore, it is possible to buy most of what you need to eat locally if you live in Yeppoon or Rockhampton. I'm sure most larger centres have a weekly or monthly market which would sell local produce. The more we support them the bigger they will get and the more produce they will have.

So what do you think? Is local better than organic when you are thinking to buy food?

This is 20 litres decanted into old wine bottles! Recycling and local!


  1. I'm all with you Lucy, fresh & local before organic, though my own garden has been organic for 30 years, I also consider the food miles.

  2. Unfortunately in kingaroy we don't have much access to organics! So I mostly try to eat local. It is a difficult one.

  3. It's difficult to be organic and local unless you grow it yourself! And the food miles certainly do need to be considered. One problem with only buying local produce, is the variety. Sometimes there isn't much. I'm getting a bit sick of zuchini's and squash. Every farmer seems to grow the same thing at the same time! We are very lucky here, as I can get organic fruit and vegie and other supplies from two different suppliers - one delivered virtually to my door! But my conscious tells me to go local first, so I just need to be more inventive!