Last week I headed out to St George. For a city person like me, a 6hr drive is a very long drive (Pathetic right?). But the destination makes it totally worth – some good company along the way doesn’t hurt either (Thanks Lucy).
The purpose of the trip was to celebrate one of my best friends 21st birthday – so I headed out a few days to make the cake and help set up. It was a weekend spent preparing for the party, relaxing with great friends as well as water skiing, - or more knee boarding for me, because lets be honest I’m far to uncoordinated to ski.
But what I noticed more than anything on this trip was the impact of food insecurity in a small rural town. Something I take completely for granted – living a mere 2 minute walk from a coles, woolworths, health food store and fruit and veg store….
While I devoted this month on my blog to the benefits of eating seasonally and supporting local businesses, I thought this topic had an important place in the discussion. Food insecurity is very real in rural Australia; most of us that grew up in a city have never experienced it. But it can cause difficulties.
Food insecurity is determined by three factors – food availability is which I will be touching on today.
‘Food insecurity is when all people at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’ (World Food Summit)
While my friends family love to support the local business owners by sourcing as much as they can from St George, sometime it is merely impossible to access certain foods or simply far to expensive.
In preparation for the party on the weekend, most produce had to be sourced in either Brisbane or picked up in Toowoomba along the way. Don’t get me wrong – I do not consider my friends family to be food insecure, as they have both the means and ability to source food elsewhere. But not all locals have this option.
While I helped to prepare food for the party with my friends mum, aunts and family friends I was able to quiz them on the type of produce and availability in St George.
They all agreed that there was limited variety and of what produce was available was usually lacking in quality. The other thing that shocked me was they all new exactly what day they should go to the local shop if they wanted to get the best produce on offer.
‘Its best to shop on the Tuesday or Wednesday to get the best produce, as this is when the delivery comes in’
Food insecurity is a growing problem is rural areas of Australia – and it needs to be a big reminder to people to remember to support local and eat seasonal produce- this helps out without you even having to think about it.
To help out even more I suggest checking out Oz Harvest. They are doing amazing work to tackle the food insecurity problem in Queensland. They have multiple opportunities to either donate your time as a volunteer or money.
I also urge you to encourage your local cafes to donate there left over produce and ‘food waste’ to Oz Harvest!