Focussed on Food

With the rain setting in this weekend it seems a perfect time to be focussing in on food. It is certainly the topic de jour at present.

The documentary Food Inc is screening in cinemas across the country and here in Canberra Slow Food Australia is holding its first National Congress. Unfortunately we won???t be going to either as we have our own food matters to attend to.

We are off to the Northside Farmers Market to pick up our 1/8th of a Dexter cow. Locally grown, slaughtered and butchered. This is the first time we???ve bought beef like this, although there are a number of producers who now offer this service at both Southside and Northside Farmer???s Markets. Buying the beef has also tipped us over the line of getting a new freezer as our current upside down fridge just can???t cope with all the frozen produce from the garden and cow segments as well. That is the energy downside as we increase our power demands to store food. Hopefully we are offsetting that energy increase by sourcing our food locally and reducing the energy costs of buying in ???long distance??? food. I???m not sure that there is a simple way of calculating this out and my maths phobic brain isn???t likely to work it out any time soon.

If you are interested in following up on the food issues raised in Food Inc you have quite a few options. ABC Radio National, bless its woollen socks, has run quite a few stories around this topic recently. Bush Telegraph had an interesting panel discussion on where Australian food manufacturing stands in relation to the practices shown in Food Inc.

Not to miss the boat Life Matters has an interview with Joel Salatin, who was one of the farmers featured in Food Inc and earlier in Michael Pollan???s book The Omnivores Dilemma (I think I???ll be catching up on that story while I???m pedalling away at the gym this weekend). Salatin is currently in Australia visiting beef farmers in Victoria.

While you are over visiting Aunty you may want to listen to another story about the people of Moruya who have an ambitious goal of returning to producing all their food locally. It???s more than just grow your own and is also linked to the Slow Food movement. You can also read about this group in the current May/June issue of Organic gardener magazine (page 8).

If you prefer your media in a more traditional format you could even read the two books that were the basis of the Food Inc documentary. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser and The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Both books are in the Chez Fork collection and were a part of what has made us change our approach to the food we eat. Both books are available through the ACT Public Library.

To round off the day we will be heading out on our own Italian food safari. We are off to our Italian friend???s Mums place for dinner! I???m looking forward to that.