Goodbye Coles & Woolworths…

This year’s resolution was BOLD, it was out there, it was serious. It had fore thought, insight, and a month before the new year dawned I put it out there, I told people, I owned it, I planned on doing some preparation…. then it was New Years Day.

On the way home from watching the sunrise on the beach I decided a couple of extra breakfast ingredients would add nicely to the decadence of heralding in another year. Which is when my partner reminded me… No Coles or Woolworths, remember!!??! Oh crap, yes, it’s January 1st. No Coles or Woolworths.

And so it was. The resolution came to be without so much as a farewell impulse shop. Or a fresh load of toilet paper.

As far as New Years resolutions go, we’re at 14 days and going strong, I wonder if that’s a new record? And interestingly enough, the longer that this continues, the more I’m loving it.

I’ll admit I’m at a slight advantage working in a health food store, I have easy access to a small but varied range of organic produce, perishables and pantry lines without the need to visit a supermarket, but beyond that I’m making an effort to branch out and see just how much I am able to de-centralise my shopping experience and support the producer directly.

It is honestly so much more pleasurable speaking to the butcher about the produce available, where it came from, and the nature of the beast that provided for my meal. Similarly to talk to my local farmers, ask how their crops are, whats in season or going crazy, what’s challenging them, and find out how I can best deal with some pesky little critters in my own patch of produce paradise.

Beyond just avoiding the corporate multinationals my choice is one that takes a stand against all aspects of our food system that I strongly disagree with. From the intensive farming, pesticide, fungicide, insecticide, hormone, fertiliser and chemical use, to the treatment of farmers, the undercutting and underpaying, the shocking discount pricing that has collapsed many many small family farming businesses, even down to the way they treat and pay their truck drivers.

As a result of ever increasing urban sprawl we have pushed our farmers off and out of some of the most productive and fertile grounds, shoved them further out to the fringes of civilisation, concreting the former and expecting these custodians of the land to produce more food for more people with less resources on the latter.   

I’m amazed at how little the general population understand about how and where they spend their money and the systems that they support through their absent minded ‘convenience’ purchasing decisions. If I am going to be the change I want to see in the world, this is certainly one way to start.

And already I’ve been reaping the benefits!! BIG TIME!

This week I ventured out to Pocket Park Produce in Bilinudgel, located on Pocket Rd, about 6km from town, where farmers Ross and Sarah (and their 5 children) invite people to meander through their 30 acre property. You can readily explore the orchards, market gardens and paddocks, hang out with the animals (donkey, horse, cow, goat, chickens and geese) or my favourite PICK YOUR OWN PRODUCE!!!
I’ve been purchasing Ross’ farm fresh free range eggs for some time now, and some of his produce through my workplace, but I was keen to get a closer look at what goes on at Pocket Park, to pick some of my own farm fresh vegies, and to save a few dollars by going direct.

When you arrive at Pocket Park there is a small market table displaying some of the days fresh picks, and you are more than welcome to grab what you need from here, deposit your money into the honesty box and be on your merry way. Alternatively you can grab a box (or like me bring your own bags) and start to make your way through the rows of marked crops and pick what you like and what you need.

Ross loves to give first time visitors a little tour and explanation of the farm to ensure that they are not only comfortable and having a great time, but also so that they can discern between produce that’s ripe and ready and that which will be best in a few days time. (i.e. the pumpkin I chose – OK maybe a weeks time!)

The best part for me is that shopping this way ticks so many boxes when it comes to personal values and those aspects that I’d like to cultivate in my life this year and from now on. 

  • Community participation, encouragement and support  ✓
  • Sustainable and organic agriculture and farming practices  ✓
  • Organic fresh food for my family  ✓
  • Responsible custodianship of the land that seeks to improve rather than diminish fertility, vitality and life force, and working in harmony with the cycles of nature  ✓
  • Supporting local business and entrepreneurship  ✓
  • Low food miles  ✓
  • Reducing waste and garbage creation  ✓
  • Increasing personal responsibility and reducing reliance on big suppliers  ✓

My partner questioned whether the drive out to the farm was an environmentally sustainable choice so I did some maths; by contrast the 9.4km, 15minute drive from our home to Pocket Park is a little more than the 4.7km, 15minute drive to Mullumbimby Woolworths, or the 3.6km, 11minute drive to Ocean Shores Coles, distance wise only.

But when I consider that I am directly supporting a local farmer and his family, with ALL of the profits being fed straight back into the amazing job that they’re doing, I am supporting responsible agriculture and helping this family move closer to full organic certification (which is a ridiculously expensive process!), and I am supporting my family with affordable, nutrient rich, vital and alive produce picked fresh from the garden, with no need for packaging, refrigerated transport, cold storage, or junk mail flyers… it’s a no brainer really.

IMG_9432

As for the price (coz I know thats what you want to know…) all this booty (1 pumpkin, 1 rockmelon, 1 giant shallot, 1 HUGE tatsoi, 1 enormous zucchini, 2 eggplant, 4 cucumbers, 10 potatoes, 2 garlic bulbs, 1 ginger, 3 peaches, 2 corn ears, 4 kale leaves, 2 big handfuls of beans, 6 baby tomatoes, 12 eggs, 2 lettuce, and 2 mini capsicums) for JUST $30. Yep. That’s it.
I find that the people who complain about the cost of organic produce being SO damn expensive are usually the supermarket shoppers. Yep. Or those trying to substitute their regular packaged foods with organic packaged foods – better chemical free option sure, but doesn’t help the hip pocket. Yep. That’s what you call being ripped off. And paying for fancy packaging. Why? Because they can.

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