Having often heard that eating ethically is fine for those that can afford to, we want to see if it is possible for average Australians to make delicious food choices that genuinely support our local economy and environment. Our weekly budget is $213, which is the average household expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages (according to the ABS Household Expenditure Survey 2009-10, and adjusted by CPI). Yes, we will drink plenty of locally produced wine and beer outside of our budget!
There are three main aspects to our challenge:
• Average weekly food budget is $213 – for food and non-alcoholic beverages
• Avoid buying from multinationals (including supermarkets, multinational processors or fast food)
• Spend at least 90% of our budget on food that we source by (in order of priority):
1. Growing our own
2. Making our own from locally grown ingredients
3. Buying direct from Victorian farmers and producers
4. Buying direct from interstate farmers and producers
5. Buying Australian grown products from locally owned, independent businesses
Why are we doing this?
The bottom line is that we want our kids to always have access to fresh, healthy food and believe that the way to ensure this is to have a thriving local food industry as an essential part of our food system. We suspect that eating ethically is not beyond the reach of average Australian households on an ongoing basis, and will try to demonstrate this by living within our parameters for a year. By following the food we eat right back to the roots, we believe we are likely to make better choices about how our food is produced; choices that support local independent businesses as well as the environment. Furthermore, as we are doing this without spending a fortune, we are making the most of what we have on hand – home grown vegies, using leftovers and everything that’s left in the bottom of the fridge; and that has to be better for the environment. There may always be multinationals in our food system, but it is critical that there are other options that continue to be viable in order to ensure we all have choices about what we eat in the future. Something as critical as food, being owned by just a few large companies leads to a very precarious system that is ultimately fuelled only by profit and not by the health of our children.
I will share what I discover on growing our own, making our own and sourcing food whose roots we can trace, and of course….the challenges along the way.