Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Wriggling can of Worms {the ethical consumption of goods}



A while ago now I wrote a series entitled 'Finding Our Way to Ethical Eating' in which I explored feeding a family on a budget whilst being conscious of what we were consuming.

During this time our family made the switch to organic fruit, veg, meat and grains where possible. We now have a box of organic fruit and vegetables delivered once a fortnight and stock up on organic tinned goods and grains from Aldi or Coles when necessary. In addition to this we have soldiered on in producing our own food- canning and preserving where possible.

Our research suggested that 'Food Miles' should be the most important factor when shopping for produce, even above and beyond buying organic (i'll get Dave to write a little more about this in the coming weeks) - this proved a little more difficult for our growing family as Farmers Markets can be stressful places (ironic, i know) when you have little ones running wild.

Nevertheless, Dave and I have tried to uphold these ideals over the past year and have drastically reduced our meat intake as a result.  We have adopted the River Cottage approach and now 'eat meat as a treat' finding that good quality Chorizo, local fish or free range chicken find their way to our plates a couple of times each week. I must however confess to still buying cheap mince from the butcher - a busy mum can't argue with 2 kilo's for $16 - the meal options are endless.

I feel that the exploration of 'Ethical Eating' was an interesting and positive one and have decided to continue on this journey of discovery about sustainable and ethical consumption of goods, not just food.

Over the coming weeks I'll be exploring 'The Ethical Face' and 'Ethical Fashion' - both relatively new areas for me and a fairly huge can of worms.

There are so many layers surrounding ethical consumption and rarely are they cut and dry. I'll be doing my best to look into a few of them and find some practical answers.



whoh, here we go.


29 comments:

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  2. Wow ethics! that is a HUGE can of worms you are opening. I think I'd be castigated for a few of my views about society's consumption....I'm a bit conservative for these modern times. A friend once said to me, 'you have to live in the world but you don't have to be of the world'. I pondered this for a while, it still confuses me, but i think i like it!

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    1. that classic scriptural reference- I know it well!

      x

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  3. Oh yay! I really look forward to reading about what you guys think and do.
    But I have to disagree, organic before local for us.
    It's a big scary wide world of chemistry out there.
    xx

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    1. Hey Kate!
      Dave here - Just to be clear, we totally support organic production; I'm as scared of (angry at!) Monsanto et al as anyone concerned with this kind of stuff. The premise of the food miles issue for me, really comes back to community. That is, it is probably better to develop a relationship with a local farmer and food community that can push towards healthier and more sustainable production, than it is to ignore a local farm because they're not organic, and buy "organic" tinned tomatoes from Italy. I agree, it's pretty idealistic, and we're still trying work out how to do it. It's probably different when the "local farm" is an agribusiness mega mono-cropping monster - in that case I'd opt for organic produce shipped in from somewhere else (within Australia if possible). A better option could be to change what we buy and eliminate the need to choose...? Everything gets pretty complex!!! And I start to feel guilty...

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    2. ps - if you lived down the road, we'd buy all of our food from you! :-)

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    3. Yep I agree, it's all crazy complex.

      And I wish you guys lived down the road, what fun!

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    4. Kate, don't tempt him. This man would pack us up for greener pastures in a heart beat!

      xx

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  4. Interested in finding out more! Thanks for doing the leg work and learning! Looking forward to reading more.

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  5. Oh and everytime I see your beautiful bread I wonder about the recipe and method (ie bread maker or no bread maker) but maybe I've just missed the post on it!

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    1. Hey Lucy- Dave is the bread maker here. He uses the kitchen aid. I'll get him to share the recipe!

      xo em

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  6. Can´t wait for the next posts! (the new "blog header" is WONDERFUL!!!)

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  7. Ooh, I'm looking forward to this. We too eat ethical, grow our own veggies, and are vegetarian at home. Renovating kind of puts the spanner in the works with the garden, but as soon as this project is up and running, we will back to planting, growing and eating!

    xx

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  8. My kids and I just watched "the river cottage treatment" which the library had on DVD and it was great. My kids are 9 and 7 and we got a lot out of it. We grow some veggies and love making home made focaccia and on Sundat made Turkish bread for the first time. I have a Thermomix which is fantastic for cooking from scratch without chemicals. You don't need a fancy gadget to cook from scratch however this machine can make ice cream, soups, dough for bread and pasta and pizza and lemonade with real lemons in less than 5 minutes. I think having less chemicals in our diet is a good thing and I've already told the kids I need to make more things for their school lunch box. I have home made biscuits but still confess to buying packets of BBQ shapes when they are half price and I might put 5 little biscuits in the lunch boxes. Look forward to your posts. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  9. Looking forward to ethical fashion, it's something that isn't in the mainstream thinking anywhere near as much as it could be! x

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  10. Brave you, not so much for making the decision to eat and feed your family ethically (but that's good too!) but for blogging about it.
    I am a farmers wife, we produce beef and wool (and some lamb). Last week I got on my soapbox about supporting Australian grown and owned food, man what a can of worms I opened! All of a sudden I had this DISCUSSION happening on my blog, more comments than I've ever had and emails hitting my inbox wanting more info. I think I've taken it for granted that I know what goes into producing our food, I know what the big supermarkets are putting in cool storage, what they're buying fresh, what weather events or market conditions are effecting our pricing. Not everyone knows this stuff. As a farmers daughter and wife and previously working in the fresh produce industry (managing the logistics of getting produce into wholesale markets/supermarkets) it's second nature to me but I've realised for city-living families it's this great unknown. I'm hoping to blog some more about it to INFORM people, I've had a gutful of ill informed people making bad choices which in the end will effect my family and the Australian agriculture industry. Look forward to following your own food journey here with your family! Emma x

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  11. Looking forward to any new ideas you might come up with here, these ideals are all very important to me. I'm lucky to have a local shop that sells only free range and local meats, local organic milk, cheeses and a few veggies and other food items. I don't drive, so I take the pusher or my trolley and load up- no extra food miles. I too get an organic fruit & veggie box delivered once a fortnight, and supplement it with home grown fruit, veggies and eggs. We also go to farmer's markets sometimes, and recently bought a (local) whole lamb (divided into cuts) for the freezer. I make bread for the family (I'm gluten intolerant), and most of our snacks, then I can slip in extra nutrition for fussy children. It's all very satisfying to me, and my husband's attitude has changed so much in the nearly 12 years we've been together. As for ethical clothing, I op shop at least half of our clothes, make a lot of the children's clothes, and what I buy new is handmade or ethically sourced.

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  12. Yes please! It is a huge can of worms, mostly because it is so much easier to be ignorant of the larger implications of our decisions. River Cottage is uber inspiring, I really like Hugh's 'middle way', acknowledging that at the heart we are consumers so we need to be responsible for lightening our step on the earth. I use Shop Ethical and it has braced so much of my indecision in the supermarket. Their app is really excellent, too, and so cheap. http://www.ethical.org.au/

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  13. You've just inspired me to write a post on this too, I reckon. Let's snowball it! x

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  14. I did quite a few posts on natural skin care products last year and because of the research I did I now have such a hard time using anything else. It is a big can of worms to open...and once you open it they wriggle too much to can them back up!
    Good luck!
    I am looking forward to reading your thoughts.

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  15. You really truly are amazing and putting me to such shame as a mother. You have a new little bub and then this...good luck and can't wait to hear all about it! x
    www.crazyspeedylove.com

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  16. Don't buy cheap mince em, seriously, there's so much junk in it. Do you have a kitchen aid? Or something you can put a mincer onto? I buy rump in bulk and a whole rump is about 2 kgs and less than $16. The mincing may sound like a drag but seriously, trim fat, cut into long pieces and mince. You then know exactly what's in it - it's really worth trying.

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  17. For one l am glad you are exploring this topic. I've been trying to grow our veggies for years now to ensure that we live a more carbon neutral and simpler life. Farmers markets are a great source of food for us but l have to make sure we have activities set up for Miss 3 while l wait in the long lines for fresh produce. We also invested in a thermomix so l can make my own meals and breads using organic and unprocessed foods. It's great when you can go to the pantry and make meals and be less dependant on supermarket shopping. We are still trying to find a co-op for fresh veg/organic goods but haven't been lucky yet in finding one. The closest is almost 40 mins away. I've been going the slow cooker and cheaper cuts of meat for better meals and more $$. I've even taken on the challenge to use reclaimed, vintage and found materials and fabrics for my Etsy shop. So far it's been a great adventure.
    www.poppyfoxathome.com

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  18. Oh Em, I've got to tell you - now that I've got the space and a garden I'm hell keen to grow more of my own food. I plan on roping my mum in (purely for telling me what to do purposes, I'll do all the hard graft) for the summer school holidays when I've got lots of time and I can get stuck in. I've a hankering to turn some dead space into a bit of a mini orchard (I'm thinking apples, pears, I'd love to grow figs, cumquats as well). AND I'd like to have a small raised garden bed for potatoes and ... well I don't know what else at the moment. I had some tomatoes when I first moved in, but I'm not sure they're still alive :( So I'll be bringing those babies back if I can. I'm also planning on getting a herb garden going with mint, parsley, spring onion (they were also already growing here when I came), garlic, ginger, etc, etc. On my front deck I'd like to have some potted citrus plants (orange, lemon, lime). Oh, and I want a chilli plant! Or three!

    Aherm. Excuse me. I did get quite carried away there. Soz Em. As you were! xx

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  19. I'm loving these posts & feeling quite inspired to change the way my little family eats, as hard as it will be with a hubby that has had a lifelong love affair with processed food & doesn't eat veges, i live not too far from you, would you be able to let me know where you buy most of your food as i have no idea where to start. monica_feilen@yahoo.com

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  20. I'm loving these posts & feeling quite inspired to change the way my little family eats, as hard as it will be with a hubby that has had a lifelong love affair with processed food & doesn't eat veges, i live not too far from you, would you be able to let me know where you buy most of your food as i have no idea where to start. monica_feilen@yahoo.com

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  21. Speaking of food miles-get a hold of "the hundred mile diet" if you haven't read it

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  22. Hmmm.... interesting.

    I have been quite conscious about where I buy my clothes for a while. I just won't buy $3 t-shirts etc - it means someone down the chain is not getting paid enough, I can't stand that idea. I will buy from op-shops as much as I can, at least it is a form of recycling!

    I look forward to reading more about this... you are an interesting cookie....

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em