I think it’s the way I’m wired – the geographer and social activist in me (I assume also the Holy Spirit!) keep prodding the rest of my conscience to confront ethics issues regarding food production and food consumption. Also my geographer/envrionmentalist friends. There’s really no escape anymore!
I’m still struggling with the complexity of it all. Ethical food production and consumption intersects with so many enormously difficult issues that the world has been trying to get its head around for years – including climate change, the pros and cons of globalisation, the pros and cons of capitalism and best practice in environmental management. On top of all this I have been working on a project about food insecurity among low income Australian households at work. The few people I have spoken to so far are in dire straits – and the situation here is nowhere near as bad as what is going on in the horn of Africa!
It’s hard to know what to do, so since the start of the year I’ve been taking little baby steps. I have been making slow and subtle changes to what I eat and where I buy my food. At the moment I’m trying my best to:
– avoid all Coles and Woolworths branded products
– buy food from places other than Coles and Woolworths where possible
– buy as much locally sourced fresh food as possible
– cut back our meat consumption
– avoid imported seafood
Maybe someday I will have enough of a grasp of things to be a better advocate of ethical food consumption. In the meantime I am very thankful to Luci, who has recently finished a sweet series of blog posts on Voting with your fork. (That link will take you through to all of her “food” posts). I have also found a couple of neat resources that I think you should check out if you want to explore this issue yourself:
Oxfam’s GROW campaign provides a helpful and simple summary of the different issues contributing to global food insecurity.
GoodFishBadFish is a quick reference tool where you can select any fish available in Australian shops and restaurants to see whether it is at risk of being overfished. It’s a great tool for finding out the most sustainable types of seafood to eat, and it also suggests alternative species if you are really hankering after something that it endangered. (Good news: Octopus is a “better choice”!)
Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a Yiayia who grows her own vegetables and gives the extras to me!