Monday, June 26, 2017

Food and Ethics

I have recently had a few people ask me about my food philosophy. One person asked if most farmers grow their own food and eat like we do. Actually I don't really know for sure, but I don't think too many of the farmers around our area do.

So what exactly is my philosophy?

I have very strong views on the farming of animals for a start! I believe that animals should only be farmed free range - ethical farming I call it. It is wrong and I believe unnecessary to lock animals in small, crowded cages/pens, where they don't have access to display their natural behaviours. We don't need feedlots (CAFO's) to feed the world. If we returned the farmland that is currently used to grow grain for cattle feedlots, to pasture, if we managed our pasture lands using regenerative farming techniques, if we de-centralised our food systems, we can feed the world.

Re-hydrating our land is one of the regenerative farming techniques we are doing.

(People starving in the world is not due to animal or land management, it's due to politics and I'm not going into that now!)

We grow our own meat, so I very rarely buy meat. If I eat out and there isn't a free range option on the menu, I will often have vegetarian. I actually don't go out very often, so it's not a huge issue for me. I've had to buy eggs lately, and I just cannot buy anything but true free range. If I can't get them, we go without!

Turkeys for food.

Vegetables and fruit I try and buy local where I can and when I can't grow them myself. I often go to the markets so will buy there mostly. Even though most of the time the local stuff is not organic, I choose local over organic and not local. Unfortunately potatoes, onions and carrots are essential vegetables for me and aren't grown locally terribly often. I usually buy spuds and carrots from my organic delivery person and when I do that, I'll often buy a few other veg that I don't normally get, just for  a change. Onions are often really expensive organically so I tend to buy commercial onions (and we eat a lot of onions). Spuds and carrots are only worth buying organically because they have so much more flavour.

Most of my dry goods I get from our local whole foods supplier. These are also organic. My preference with all food choices would be organic, but as I said before, local comes first for me. One of my concerns with non-organic farming (think wheat and other grains) is the amount of chemicals used. Glysophate is such a commonly used herbicide and I know for a fact that the withholding period is not long enough and crops are harvested too soon. I don't buy non-organic grains.

So in a nutshell:
Free range and/or organic where possible.
Local food comes first in vegetables and fruit (over organic).
Meat - I wouldn't buy intensively farmed meat even if it was local.
I try not to support Coles or Woolworths, because they DO NOT support farmers. If I can't buy dry goods from a local business, I will buy online (e.g. Who gives a crap toilet paper)
I support local food systems and small business.
I would prefer to buy things without single use plastic, but realise that this is not always possible for small producers going to the markets (it certainly isn't possible for our business)

And to be completely honest, I would stick to this at least 90% of the time. Sometimes, especially if I'm travelling, it's hard, but I'll support a local business if I can't get local food. One final comment I'd like to make, is I know it's expensive to buy organic, but I choose to go without other things so that I can afford to. I don't believe that we can afford to muck about with out health buying choosing less nutrient dense food. I also prioritise my time to grow and prepare food. It's all about choice!