Live local challenge day 3 #livelocal

Since today was a big work from home day I had the opportunity to take a break and explore the origins of some of the foods already in my cupboards.

For example, during afternoon tea breaks  I’m partial to a particular 99% fat free chocolate drink that comes in sachets.  Previously I’ve never bothered to ask where it comes from or where the ingredients come from.

Today as I made a cup of hot chocolate (using my nifty Girl Geek Dinner mug pictured) I read the packaging. According to the very helpful woman on their customer service line, this product is packaged in Rowville Victoria (about 1,000 km away)  using Australian ingredients, except for some milk powder imported from New Zealand.

Then encouraged by this exercise I continued my exploration of the cupboard.  It turns out that we have three kinds of honey:

  1. rainforest honey from Bateman’s Bay NSW (about 230 km away)
  2. organic outback honey from Dubbo NSW (about 390 km away)
  3. iron bark honey from Stockleigh QLD (about 1,000 km away)

Next time I head to the store I’ll be checking out locally produced honey – but it might be a while since we’re already got three jars.  I’m still not sure how easy it will be to find locally produced honey in the big supermarkets near my place.  The only wholefoods outlet that is relatively close to me is Macro Wholefoods, and it was just acquired by Woolworths. It will be interesting to see what changes there.

A good example of how you can get caught by inattention was at the large supermarket yesterday looking at canned tomatoes. There were two almost identical cans from same brand, but closer inspection revealed that one was imported from Italy and the other was Australian.  It was very easy to confuse the two.

Dinner tonight is some more of the vegies I picked up the other day, together with some chick peas from Bathurst NSW (about 190 kms away) and cheese from Bega NSW (about 450 km away). The cheese & chick peas were already on-hand and it seems wasteful not to use them. Thinking about doing a vegie bake with tomatoes & cheese, and a glass of Hunter red from Pokolbin NSW (about 120 km away).

The interesting thing about this challenge is that it is really making me think about where things are really from.  The package might say “Australia” but closer inquiry often reveals “imported ingredients”. At the mall yesterday it was interesting to see the huge variety of foods in the deli – they came from all over the world. I’m starting to wonder how sustainable all that choice is in the long term?

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7 thoughts on “Live local challenge day 3 #livelocal

  1. One thing to consider as well is that living in a city such as Sydney, more and more of the produce-producing land is being squeezed further and further away – the distances our food has to travel is increasing.

    I wonder when the ‘farm’ in Kyeemagh (near the airport) will be pushed out to make way for more monstrosities? (check out the satellite pic from google maps -> http://tinyurl.com/rxvkuc)

    Are there any other farms like this in suburban Sydney?

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    1. Andrew – that’s an interesting question. When I was a kid there were huge numbers of market gardens around Blacktown and Mt Druitt, that’s all houses now.

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  2. Yeah, I’ve had a few of those surprise moments in the supermarket as well. A shocking amount of canned legumes (e.g., chick peas) seem to come from Italy, at least at Woolworth. Surely cans of a food that could pretty easily be grown here would end up costing more by the time you factor in shipping costs? The local ones, made by Edgell, typically cost more. Bizarre.

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    1. John – it is really interesting re the price differences. Makes me wonder about buying groups etc to purchase directly from Australian wholesalers or something? cheers, Kate

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  3. Kate, great to be doing the challenge with you and really enjoying how you are exploring the origins of your produce – what a great discover process we are on together…

    on another note – I’ve booked for next Geek Girls dinner at Yahoo7 will I see you there?

    x Becca x

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  4. Pingback: What I learned from 7 days of living local | Aide-Memoire

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