Australia Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2017

Blog site for the 2017 MSU study abroad program.

03-Brooke B.

In Australia, the local food sector has positively influenced the health of people who have access to fresh food. After being picked, fruits and vegetables automatically begin to lose their nutrients. With local markets being close to home, people are able to buy fresh produce and other products that are not only tasteful but also high in nutrients. The fresher the produce, the healthier it is for consumers to eat! The thriving local food and farmer’s markets in countries like the United States have inspired Australia to take a closer look at the advantages of supporting local farmers. Fresh food does not only influence people to live healthier lifestyles, it also promotes local businesses and economies, which in turn supports the overall economy of Australia (Halweil, 2002). While not all local farmers practice sustainable agriculture, a large majority of them in Australia do. By increasing the availability to fresh food, Australia would also be increasing the potential of sustainable farming practices on a national scale. Conserving water in the form of drip irrigation in some circumstances and using natural fertilizers, such as compost, are just a few practices that have begun to be more widely accepted throughout Australia (Coveney, 2008). Sustainability itself cannot be defined simply. Coexisting factors, such as the biosphere, the social realm, and the economy, all play a role in how sustainable the lives we lead are. We must think about the biosphere and the environment first because we are all a part of it. Without it, we would not exist. The way we deal with environmental problems affects us socially as well. This is why adopting sustainable practices and educating consumers about where their food comes from and how it is grown is so important. A study conducted by Deakin University found that “improvements in food access in rural areas could reduce the high burden of disease suffered by rural communities.” The potential to improve general health from a greater availability to fresh food would allow people to thrive and support their economy more often, as well. It has been found that people with more access to local food and markets tend to have better health than communities where individuals cannot afford fresh food (Morland, 2002). After talking to local people while in Australia, like Mikhail from the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, I learned that local farming doesn’t only have the potential to positively affect people’s lifestyles but it also supports the farmers themselves. He told me “it is really important that we put human interaction back into this business. We don’t just come to sell our products at these markets to make money; it’s healthy for our community to have access to fresh food like this. I think that commercialization decreases quality, so when people buy locally grown produce, they are buying food of the highest quality. It is fresh and not too far from home, there’s nothing like supporting the little guy while giving yourself healthy food to put on the table at the same time,” (Mikhail: Queen Victoria Market, 2017). Farmers markets may not serve a massive percentage of the population, but it positively impacts the lives of those that are fortunate enough to have them available. While the existence of processed food is inevitable, Australia is on the right track to improving their overall health and lifestyle choices. Local food will continue to improve the lives of those it touches and hopefully, it can begin to reach an even wider audience.

Bibliography:

Burns, C., Gibbon, P., Boak, R., Baudinette, S., & Dunbar, J. (2004). Food cost and availability in a rural setting in Australia. Deakin University. Rural and remote health: the international electronic journal of rural and remote health research, education, practice and policy, 4(311), 1-9.

Coveney, J. (2008). Food and trust in Australia: building a picture. Public health nutrition, 11(3), 237-245.

Halweil, B. (2002). Home grown: the case for local food in a global market (Vol. 163). Worldwatch Institute.

Mikhail, . (2017). Queen Victoria Market. In Local Farmer.

Morland, K., Wing, S., Roux, A. D., & Poole, C. (2002). Neighborhood characteristics associated with the location of food stores and food service places. American journal of preventive medicine, 22(1), 23-29.

Worsley, A., & Scott, V. (2000). Consumers’ concerns about food and health in Australia and New Zealand. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 9(1), 24-32.



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