Get down to your local…
Author | Alexis Drevikovsky
Here at The Locavore Edition, we aim to make it easy for Australians to get to know their local food producers and to put locavorism – eating local food – into practice.
The Locavore Edition was born out of the Festival of Ideas in Brisbane in 2011. Our editor, Ewan McEoin, contributed to discussions on important food issues, such as sustainability, transportation, provenance and health.
The forum explored the diminishing relationship between customers and their local food providers, and raised the important question: how do we better connect food consumers with the people who grow, sell and make produce?
Back in Melbourne, Ewan assembled a team to research and compile a list of Victorian food producers who were local, accessible and sustainable. The result was The Field Guide to Victorian Produce, published in February 2012. The guide profiles growers, producers and providers in each region of Victoria, and enables residents and visitors to discover local food champions in these areas. Interviews with chefs and key figures such as Alla Wolf-Tasker AM, Stephanie Alexander and Dan Hunter highlight the importance of using local produce in restaurants and at home.
We’re now busy putting together The Field Guide to New South Wales Produce, due for publication in spring this year, with editions for the remaining states and territories planned for the near future. These guide books are the perfect size to keep in your glove box for day trips or to take with you on your weekly shop.
For anyone wanting more information about why they should eat local, the Locavore Edition website is the perfect resource. Our regularly uploaded interviews, opinion pieces, features and profiles delve into local and national issues, such as the sustainability of seafood, the new wave of artisan produce, and the effects of Australia’s supermarket duopoly and peri-urban development on local agriculture.
We recommend the following practical tips for anyone wanting to explore the benefits of eating local:
- Visit your local farmers’ market. Talk to the stallholders about their produce – they have some remarkable stories to tell. And you’ll get fresh, seasonal produce at a reasonable price that’s also sustainable for the farmer.
- Eat seasonal. Seasonal, local produce is likely not to be frozen, stored for long periods or transported huge distances. It celebrates the uniqueness of your local area and its climate, and is ready to eat at the peak of freshness and flavour.
- Buy from local providers. Buying from independent food retailers provides much needed support to your local economy and strengthens the community too.
- Support environmental sustainability. Local food has a lower transportation carbon footprint than interstate or imported produce. Make sure to source local, sustainably-caught seafood and try to buy organic where possible.
- Avoid the supermarket giants. Large supermarket chains are continually pressuring farmers to reduce margins in order to lower prices for their customers. They are forcing many small agricultural operations to become unviable. Cheap, imported produce increases food miles and directs profits away from Australian farmers.
Alexis Drevikovsky is the Editorial Co-ordinator at the Locavore Edition. The Locavore Edition‘s mission is to publish high quality editorial content across digital and print media that educates and informs consumers about sustainable regional food producers and suppliers while supporting regional food brands, events and tourism. Find out more and get in touch by visiting their website.