In my blog Three things we can all do to make a difference I challenged myself to make three small changes when I go shopping to try and make a difference to my purchasing habits.
I set myself the task of:
- Checking the labels on at least three different items to make sure my choices were locally grown and produced.
- Asking a shopkeeper if I couldn’t find a local option or wasn’t sure of the labeling.
- Sharing with my friends and social media networks about fabulous local brands
Now into the third week of this challenge, I am really pleased to say that I am gradually changing my habits and I feel great about it.
I am discovering new things about what is and isn’t available and am making conscious decisions about what I am buying. Looking and taking notice is starting to become a habit, rather than a chore.
On the weekend just gone I set about preparing for our Sunday afternoon ritual of enjoying home made wood oven pizzas. I ventured into the local independent supermarket and sourced some wonderful, local ingredients. I found a superb artisan wood smoked prosciutto that was no more expensive than any of the commercial imported brands. This went beautifully with some fresh South Australian La Casa Del Formaggio Bocconcini and Lucia’s Fine Foods olives, and the finely sliced Red Anjou pear from Paracombe was a highlight!
The enjoyment of sharing wonderful, freshly prepared food with family was particularly special because I knew that by and large, everything we were eating was grown, made and produced by an Australian farmer and food company. Even more special was the fact that most of it was produced within a 50 km radius of our home.
However I am also making some discoveries on this journey. I now know that most packaged ham is made from local and imported ingredients (don’t ask me why). I now know that a large percentage of fruit juices are made from 100% imported juice concentrate and diluted with Australian water to show a label of made from imported and local ingredients.
I also have a much greater appreciation of just how confusing our labeling systems are and how many discrepancies there are in the standards. Often labels will not even show if a product is made and/or grown in Australia.
I was in the Adelaide Central Markets on Saturday morning, an icon of Adelaide renowned for its atmosphere and range of produce. I was astounded to see that in a market where many shoppers go specifically to source local produce, there was no enforcement of country of origin labeling. Californian cherries were proudly on display front and centre of one stall with no indication whatsoever that they were imported. The only giveaway to the discerning eye were the few loose, empty boxes that they had arrived in strewn under the stall.
I also know that I need to work on raising my voice further, because instead of questioning the stallholder I walked away under the excuse that I was in a hurry.
So my journey of change continues. As I grow in confidence that what I am doing is making a difference, I am more determined than ever to share my story and encourage everyone to join me. So if you are prepared to join me in this challenge, let’s raise our voices together and help spread the word!