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8 August, 2021

Local produce in paradise

By Lucy Smith and Karen Jacobsen FRESH, Locally Sourced Produce. How fortunate we are to be in this region of heavenly and delicious options.

Let us count the ways. Tropical fruit, brilliant vegetables and all with some of the most spectacular flavors worldwide. You may be asking how does eating local produce move the zero waste mission forward? When you purchase locally, the distances your food travels are far less.

 This greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves our carbon footprint. Local farmers benefit which supports the local economy. Even your health wins, as the freshness of local food equals superior taste as well as the nutritional value. There is less handling of food, often less robust packaging is required as there is little shipping, and locally grown fruit and vegetables canripen longer before being harvested.

 Redistribution of Income tells us that only 18 cents of every dollar when buying at a large supermarket will go to the grower. Purchase from your local farmer and the 82 cents that would go to various intermediaries can redistribute to the grower and local providers. Once you are into the swing of buying local, you are much more likely to be eating with the seasons. We have become accustomed to being able to access anything at anytime. It’s amazing, but as we bring awareness to the luxuries available to us, we learn there is a clear impact. When we eat seasonally, our produce is at its most flavorful. The prices are noticeably better, and the fruits and vegetables are available in much more abundant supply.

 Local Providers

Knowing the members of the community who provide your produce, naturally builds a stronger community. We love visiting Airlie Markets on a Saturday morning and purchasing outstanding fruit and vegetables from Suni, or from Pi and Paul. Bowen farmers travel down with their incomparable mangoes and tomatoes, and the roadside farm stands are a true bonus of living in this region.

 At the Centro shopping centre in the Whitsundays, we are fortunate The Prickly Pineapple, a family run business, has a commitment to offering the freshest premium quality produce locally. We have a new Permaculture initiative in the Whitsundays; The Creek Permaculture officially has an  Instagram page and is in the process of setting up a market garden and an education space.They are growing local, organic produce to sell and share in the local community and just had their first weekend stall at Butterly Nursery. Ballantyne’s Strawberries in Calen offer a beautiful family day out to pick your own strawberries, or to purchase direct from the grower.

  Conscious Shopping 

Every dollar you spend consciously makes a difference. Imagine if the majority of us channeled our spending toward local operators? The results would be striking. In our commitment to strengthen our community, we encourage you to purchase locally frequently. As the difficult issues of these times continue on, let’s take charge in the areas we can. If there is a local business or zero waste initiative you think we need to know about, please reach out to us on Instagram @zerowastewhitsundays and for more resources join our private FB group. Choose one to implement a week or a month. Let’s share our ideas and work toward a truly Zero Waste Whitsundays. If you have tips on these, let’s hear them.  

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