Are you what you eat?

February 25, 2013

If you purchased a well known brand of frozen lasagne from the supermarket, would you know if it contained horse meat or donkey?

If it said that it was “manufactured in Belgium” would you assume that all of its ingredients came from that country?

If you bought a processed food product Made in China, or Vietnam or Cambodia or even Australia, does the label tell where all of the ingredients came from, how they were handled, and what additives were used at all stages of production?

Probably not. Our food production chains have grown to be very long and complex. We have become part of a food production factory system where we, and our families, are the end of the assembly line. Our laws require manufacturers to state the ingredients and Country of Origin on labels, but where, and how, were the ingredients produced?

On March 19 and 20 the Upper Gwydir Landcare Association is hosting The 15th Annual “Landcare Adventure” at The Living Classroom, and the Roxy Theatre, in Bingara. The theme is Healthy Communities and it will explore every aspect of a healthy landscape – healthy soils, healthy pastures, healthy livestock, healthy biodiversity and healthy people.

The Living Classroom Project has, as a key element, the production and promotion of local food. That is, a shortening of the food chain to the point where we can see, or easily find out, how and where the food we put into our mouths, came from.

If you raise your own food animals, or have a garden with produce you have grown, you can consume that produce with confidence, and openly, even enthusiastically, share it with your friends and neighbours.

Graeme Sait is one of the exciting presenters who will be at the Landcare Adventure. Graeme has noted, on a recent podcast, that some of our long food chain foods provide much, much less nutritional value today, than what they provided a generation ago. Some ‘supermarket’ lettuces, for example contain little more than cellulose and water, and some budget white breads may even be “anti-nutrient”, that is, they take more nutrients from our digestive systems to process them, than they provide in return.

These aspects of our modern lives are worrying, but they also provide opportunities, especially for rural producers and rural communities.

What are these opportunities?

Well, come along to the Landcare Adventure to find out, and follow the developments of The Living Classroom.

Submitted by Rick Hutton – Publicity Officer Bingara and District Vision 2020 and Committee Member for The 15th Annual Landcare Adventure.