Sunday, May 8, 2011

Food for Thought

Have you heard of the Slow Food® movement or the 100 Mile Diet?

Photo by snowbear from

I read about the 100 Mile Diet some years ago. However, although the idea of sourcing locally-grown produce was appealing, driving 1½-2 hours out of suburbia to buy from local growers seemed impractical and counter-productive with such a time-consuming and unpredictable job. Would I really have saved money and reduced my carbon footprint if I drove additional kilometres each week or fortnight to source my fruit and vegetables?

The Slow Food movement was set up to “counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat ...” (Source: I only became aware of the Slow Food concept through an article in the Satyananda newsletter in which Brad, the chef at the Mangrove ashram, described the changes being implemented in the ashram kitchen to reduce costs. Recovering from a shocker of a grocery bill after our last supermarket visit, this article definitely grabbed my attention.

So, what can a time-poor person do to incorporate the ideas of the Slow Food movement?

I think the key is to develop awareness—awareness of the Slow Food concepts, awareness of the produce I'm purchasing—and make conscious decisions about what I want to purchase within the restrictions of the time I have available. Sounds too analytical? This is what I have started doing:

  • Buying produce from a local independent greengrocer instead of from the big supermarket chains.

    The produce looks better and there is more variety in the fruit and vegetables to cater for the different nationalities in the area.

  • Looking for seasonal produce.

    I bought a box of apples last week because they were in season and on special. The taste? Sweet and crisp. Delicious!

  • Comparing prices and quality of produce.

    I stocked up on butternut pumpkin last week because there seems to be an abundant supply and therefore, it is relatively cheap. Looks like we'll be enjoying lots of pumpkin soup and pumpkin bread this Winter.

  • Searching for local growers' markets so I can buy produce directly from the growers.

    Unfortunately our nearest market is only held once a month so the greengrocer is a viable option. However, by buying directly from the growers when I can hopefully the number of kilometres required to transport produce is reduced. Instead of lots of buyers travelling out of Sydney to the growers locations, the growers are the only ones who travel that distance from their locations to Sydney.

  • Making time to cook and freeze meals.

    When we switched to a low sodium diet we had to cook more meals from scratch so we've become smarter shoppers and more efficient cooks. We cook simple meals—meat or fish with salad or vegetables. If I have more time I will cook a more complex and larger meal and then freeze half of it for those nights we are working late. Every month or so I'll spend an afternoon or a day cooking stocks, soups or breads, dividing them into smaller portions, and then freezing them. Making the time to cook meals in advance has helped us maintain a healthy diet and still meet the demands of our working lives.

I'm not sure whether these actions will reduce our grocery bills or our carbon footprint but at least we're sourcing better quality food, receiving better value for our money, and most importantly, maintaining a healthier diet for a better life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments for posts older than 14 days will not immediately display. These comments are reviewed before they are published for public display.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...