Our market might seem an oasis of calm on a Saturday morning, a place to shop and socialise, an element of a semi-country lifestyle much treasured by the regular attendees and open, as always, to attract more customers. There is a common mid-set amongst customers and stall-holders alike: people think in an increasingly green way. It is one reason why we would like more customers, above and beyond the obvious desire of market stake-holders to make more money.
But it is potentially bigger than that. Our market is child-friendly. It is heartening to see parents make food choices for kids based on our mantras of fresh, seasonal and local. Unfortunately, though, we go down to Coles to get toilet cleaner, tissues, toothpaste and other grocery items and see obese parents of young children filling trolleys with cut-priced items from fridges which may contain trace elements of nutrients but are well-represented by saturated fat, carbs and a roll call of all the additives and chemical enhancements that allow such items to lie fallow for weeks in industrial freezers, long-haul trucks and ultimately in home refrigerators.
People can cry time-poor and seek a quick, cheap solution to meals. Supermarkets can squeeze out marginal players with price wars that make it easy for economically challenged folk to choose No-Name over brand and forfeit the right to know what they are eating and allow any cooking skills they might have learnt to go dormant through lack of use. But every time that happens, the supermarket-oligopoly-carbon-emission paradigm is given yet more oxygen to pollute and the climate-change-deniers gain continued validation for their fossil-fuelled oligarchic agenda.
Climate change is going to be a substantial factor in the approaching Federal election. Recent research reported in The Guardian indicates that temperatures in the Arctic are likely to increase by at least 3 degrees on average, even if the Paris gas emission targets are met. Most thinking Australians are appalled by politicians like Tony Abbott changing his tune on the Paris Accord, depending on the direction of the political winds. We can vote such politicians out of office, but the damage done by their cynical and opportunistic disregard for scientific evidence is already severe.
A grass-roots mindset relating to farming, centred around farmers markets, is one way to begin changing people’s habits in favour of seasonal, local and fresh. If I were Prime Minister for a day, I would immediately outlaw supermarkets from marketing fresh produce and introduce a raft of incentives and tax relief for market gardeners and farmers markets and a blanket all-media campaign to educate the public in favour of home cooking, seasonal, fresh and local foods, with incentives for all restaurants to apply the same principles to their offerings.
Let’s talk up fresh, seasonal and local.
** The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market or its members.