The average farmer in Australia makes just 18 cents of every dollar when you buy from large supermarkets. The other 82 cents goes to various middlemen. While farmers help to feed our communities, they often cannot afford the very foods they grow. This, among other reasons, is why I shop local…
Every Sunday I bike or bus to my local organic farmers market. I don’t buy all my groceries organic as it can get quite expensive, but I do focus on buying the foods on the dirty dozen list organic as they’re the ones that are the most pesticide laden. The fruits and veggies on the Fab 14 list I tend to buy conventional.
According to Local Harvest;
In Australia the two largest retailers, Coles and Woolworths, control almost 80% of the market, making Australia one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world.
Unlike independent stores, supermarkets have huge buying power and can therefore influence the market, sourcing and selling produce at a cheaper price. This pressures farmers to provide cheaper and cheaper produce, and has been a huge contributor to the rise in farmers turning to factory farming and other intensive farming practices that degrade the environment and disregard animal welfare.
Supermarkets will also tend to stock very limited options for fruit and vegetables, usually favouring only those that have a longer shelf life, resulting in a decrease in biodiversity. But the supermarkets aren’t to blame for these problems with our current food system, they’re simply responding to consumer demand. Thus, the power to change this lies with us. With every dollar we spend, we have the power to vote for the type of food system we would like to be a part of.
I choose to buy as much as I can at my local farmers market for a few reasons:
- I can buy high-quality foods without the retail margin.
- I get to try new food items like red spinach and other foods like that which I couldn’t get at supermarkets. This, in turn, expands upon the variety of foods I’m eating, helping create a wider variety of gut bacteria in my digestive tract, which, in turn, helps with immunity and increases my overall level of health.
- Buying directly from local farmers ensures your produce is fresher. Buying local means food is left to ripen on the plant for longer, not needing to be picked early to travel long distances to the supermarket store. In Australia, most of the food we consume has been in transit or cold-stored for days, even weeks, while produce from the farmer’s market usually gets picked within 24 hours of arriving at the markets.
- Buying local means less transportation is needed to get the food from the farm to you. Our current food system involves transporting produce long distances, producing a lot of carbon emissions in the process. According to Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution, world oil production has already peaked, so while energy demand continues to rise, supply will soon start to dwindle, sending prices for energy (and food) sky-high. Instead of waiting to change our food systems when we’re in dire straits, we can use our dollar now to support energy efficient, sustainable agricultural methods, like small-scale, local, organic, regenerative farming.
- When you buy local, the money used to purchase the goods actually goes to the farmer. According to Local Harvest;
Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, goes to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen.
Buying local cuts out these middlemen and supports these small farmers.
My experience at the farmers market
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Tell me your market finds. What’s your favourite thing about the farmers market? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,