That’s what it all comes down to, right? We just want to get cheapest food in the easiest way. Doesn’t matter how or where the food is produced. Doesn’t matter how much waste or packaging is involved. Doesn’t matter who is screwed over. As long as it is easy for shoppers to throw cheap things into their trolleys and buy, buy, buy there is no problem. Right?
No. Just no.
This way of shopping and eating is killing us through diabetes, obesity and probably a few kinds of cancer. It is harming the only planet we have through epic amounts of food waste (even though there are plenty of hungry people that need feeding), CO2 emissions and mountains of plastic trash. It is also profoundly unfair for growers and eaters alike.
The good news is that even though this is a big problem there are small steps we can takes in our own homes that help fix it. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the kitchen!
The trick is to change your habits into ones that create positive change and foster a sustainable system. The craziest thing is that these new, sustainable habits will save you money. That’s right – you’ll end up paying less and you’ll be creating a better food futures every time you shop.
Learn to Cook
Despite what some popular TV shows might say, learning to cook isn’t about impressing people. It’s not about becoming a chef or hosting the fanciest dinner parties. Home cooking is about being able to transform ingredients into meals. Learning to cook means learning the basic skills to see the potential in raw ingredients. It means learning simple combinations and techniques that can be applied in many ways to many different items that make many different nourishing meals. This knowledge is powerful, because it gives you the control over what you eat. It gives you choice. It’s a power that big supermarkets and corporations don’t want you to have because they want you to be dependant on the fat-, salt-, sugar-filled products they sell. Get to the point where some braising some vegetables is more appealing and takes less mental effort than a frozen pizza and you are on the right track.
Learn to love vegetables
LOVE them. Not just tolerate them. LOVE them. It takes effort if you palate is accustomed to processed food. It can also take effort if you are dedicated to eating meat as the main part of every meal. We all need to eat less meat, but for most carnivores I know that’s only going to work if the vegetables are delicious and appealing alternatives. So practice eating them often.
Get out of the supermarket
Supermarkets are have their appeal to some, but they simply aren’t the cheapest way to get real food. Buy Dry goods from a co op or bulk retailer. Buy fresh produce from a coop or farmers market. Use an social enterprise like Harvest Hub or OOOOBY (look for others that are local to you). Go to pick your own farms. Use local small businesses. There are plenty of other strategies that allow you to take back control and provide you with better, fresher, cheaper food.
Grow something yourself
Doesn’t matter what it is, just grow something. Herbs in pots are a good place to start. It’s not that hard to get going, but you can join a community garden to learn the basics. Growing food can save you money. It can help you avoid food waste and excess packaging. It also gives you empathy for the people who grow your food as part of their livelihood.
Write to local council and your federal and state member about food issues. Tell them that you want real solutions to help address problems like food waste or supermarket dominance of every aspect of food in Australia. Tell them you want healthy and sustainable options available every where for everyone. When you see something plainly wrong in a supermarket or food retailer (like chocolate bars in the Fruit and Vegetable section, or banana bread sold as an alternative to bananas) take a photo and share with the message that this is not good enough. Band together with others and you will make a difference for the future!
You can do this! Join the Easy Green Recipes newsletter now, and make sure you download our ebooks including 52 tips, tricks and swaps for an Easy Green Kitchen to help you shop, cook and eat sustainably!