Where does our food come from, how it is grown or raised and what’s actually in it? And besides, what do we do about it if we do know? What can we do if the supermarkets provide fruit and vegetables that are grown with lab chemicals, GMO and genetic engineering? What about eggs, fish poultry and meat?
We can perhaps go to the markets and source cleaner foods where we have a direct connection to suppliers and growers. We started doing this in Melbourne some years ago and sourced chicken and eggs and kangaroo meat from the Barossa Valley, South Australia, New Zealand and other places. A lot of people would not go to the trouble.
And even though we are not really ‘foodies’, the vitality of our food has grown on us as we have started growing our food.
The good food quest depends on two things. (1) What good food is worth to us – and (2) an awareness of what is happening in the food industries. The following conversation starter touches on both points and asks a lot of questions. It is good to think about and try to work on solutions. Much of the experimentation we are doing at 5eyesfarm comes from this motivation.
The good food quest is about learning where our food comes from and making choices about what we eat. It is also about growing and raising food more sustainably and healthfully. The challenges are many and include the following:
Market pressure: The whole market is profit-driven and does not promote understanding of the value, health and processes of cultivating good food. The food business is both overt and subtle. Big agriculture has vested interests in monopolising the food industry and now ‘owns’ most strains, seeds, types – and will own DNA and genetic coding too. Small sellers often disguise what is in the foods they sell, mainly processed foods.
Screening: Many of us live happily in denial about where our food comes from not caring how it is raised or grown. Even if we do know, we have an extraordinary capacity to block this out. “I want it because I like it”. Somehow this has stuck with us, and we quickly screen out the reality of what is good or bad food. As a result, junk food has become an epidemic and caused untold health problems around the world.
Availability: It is not easy to get hold of good food anymore. The best way is to grow it and raise it ourselves. This way, we can control what we feed the food we eat. We know what is in the soil. We know what the animals are eating. And yes, this can all be done in a small space in an urban context.
The next best thing we can do is to find the source of our food. – when we started doing this at the markets in Melbourne, it cost more than the supermarket, but that was a lifestyle choice and a priority for us.
Sourcing food also includes researching food and finding out where it originates. I recall discovering the best free-range organic eggs in Melbourne and finding the farmer/seller at different markets every week. It involved a bit of planning and dedication on my part. Still, it was a great way to get to see other foods at other markets all across Melbourne as he was always in a different place. He had a video on his website, showing the process explaining where the eggs come from and how their parents were raised. Is this the kind of transparency we need, the type of accountability and confidence?
Awareness: Related to all of the above is awareness. Tuna fish – if we eat it – where does it come from and how is it fished? Does it meet sustainability guidelines? What about other meats and how can we find out about vegetables and fruits. Organic whole-food stores are a good start, and in big urban centres, they have become popular. Mineral intake, fats and sugars, omega’s and antioxidants, and the ‘goodness’ in good foods needs to be understood as a common thing, not just by specialist dieticians.
With the information age at our finger-tips, this information is freely available to all. And that is what this quest is all about—finding out more. Helping each other discover solutions and learning about food and growing and permaculture and the value of organics.
We invite and welcome collaboration, ideas, stories, examples and more questions and answers about growing food, sourcing good food, raising poultry and fish, organic gardening, productive growing, composts, natural farming, permaculture and all related subjects around the quest for good food.
5EyesFarm is inspired by permaculture, natural farming & integrated farming methods and practices.