The Problem with Mass Food Production
Mass food production, or centralised farming as I call it, will likely end as we move into laboratory-type food production. You must ask yourself about the consequences on our health, environment, and economy. Large-scale farming often involves harmful chemicals, deforestation, and excessive water usage.
The long supply chains required to transport food from farms to you also contribute to pollution and waste. They are vulnerable to rules and regulations that the Government can introduce immediately. We saw that happen when the lockdowns were introduced. As a result, many people like you and me are seeking alternative ways to source our food and create a more sustainable and controllable future for ourselves.
Local Communities and Sustainable Food Practices
One of many solutions is to join and find support from people near you, such as Postcode Communities, that promote sustainable food practices. By participating in these communities, you not only support local growers and businesses but also contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Here are some pointers on why joining local communities can benefit your sustainable lifestyle:
1. Shortening the Supply Chain
Local communities can shorten the supply chain quickly by sourcing food from local growers and businesses. At the Trade Shack, we manually set up a page for each local Postcode Community with local producers, sustainable-focused businesses listed, and backyard growers who sell their surplus food. Using them reduces transportation’s environmental impact and promotes more efficient supply chain management.
Shortening the supply chain also helps ensure the freshness and quality of your food.
2. Food Scaping and Edible Landscapes
Food scaping is an innovative gardening technique that combines ornamental plants with edible ones, creating a visually appealing and productive landscape. By adopting food-scaping practices, you can grow your food sustainably and self-sufficiently.
Moreover, you can exchange your home-grown produce with neighbours, and add them to the local edible food exchange, something we also promote and provide guidance with, all that can foster a sense of community and cooperation.
3. Local Edible Exchange and Postcode Communities
Joining a Postcode Community is not just about ticking some boxes to join a webpage. It is more than that! It is about creating offline conversations and connections. Meet people in your area you can rely on, trade with and become friends with. You can also participate in an Edible Exchange, connecting with like-minded individuals who share your passion for sustainability, growing your food and sharing the excess.
Through Postcode Communities and Local Exchanges, we try to provide a platform for sharing resources, knowledge, and support, helping each other achieve a more eco-friendly and resilient lifestyle.
4. Supporting Local Growers and Farmers’ Markets
By purchasing produce from local growers and farmers’ markets, you contribute to the local economy and promote environmentally friendly agriculture. You get to know your farmer and the person who grows your food. Websites like Open Food Network Australia, Seed to Plate, and Paddock to Plate are fantastic examples of buying local food sustainably, offering various locally sourced products and connecting consumers with producers in their area.
Again we consolidate all these resources for you on your local postcode community page, which is specific to your postcode and only accessible to your postcode community members.
5. Trade Shack and Bartering
The Trade Shack offers a unique opportunity to trade goods and services within your postcode community or further afield, like across other Postcode Communities. When you advertise on the Trade Shack we allow you to select how you want to be “paid”, this can be bartering, or paid in cash or just the bank transfer thingy.
The bartering system encourages the reuse of items and reduces waste while fostering solid connections among community members. It also helps individuals become self-reliant and less dependent on traditional consumer goods.
We do not recommend using cryptocurrency or any other online virtual money. Some excellent and exciting initiatives might work for others. We’re going to leave it up to you what you want to use, not constraining to using one or the other for trade.
6. Community Gardens and Growing Food Footprints
Community gardens are an excellent way to encourage growing food other than what we are going to explain in our growing food footprints within a postcode community These shared spaces provide an opportunity for members to grow their food, learn about sustainable gardening practices, and work together toward a common goal. Participating in community gardens can contribute to local food production and create social connections whilst supplementing what you cannot grow in your backyard. A well-run community garden creates a sense of belonging and achievement.
Regarding Growing Food Prints, we split the growing ability, based upon area, into Urban, Suburbian, Rural and Family Farm. The Family Farm is considered a hybrid community garden. Although a great concept, we will not discuss it further as it is not our target group.
Urban, Suburban and Rural are where we believe you reside. Urban is likely harder to grow food, but suburban and Rural are ideal. So in the context of a community garden, we promote Backyard Garden Network, where each backyard gardener focuses on a specific vegetable and swaps them among others. There is reasoning in it which we will explain in another post.
7. Self-Sustainable Communities and One Small Town
A self-sustainable community is designed to meet its residents’ needs and reduce reliance on external resources daily. Communities that focus on self-reliance by growing their food needs, as such, most likely reduce waste, conserve energy by reducing the length of the supply chain, and promote local food production and services.
The One Small Town initiative is an example of a self-sustainable community that fosters collaboration and resource sharing among its members. The video you can view below will explain more about their processes and plan of action.
8. Education and Knowledge Sharing
Local communities often offer workshops, seminars, and resources to help members learn about sustainable living practices. That is just one format on how to share knowledge. My community group meets with a joining community group on a bi-weekly basis. We’ll meet at a nice park for two hours to discuss everything. Everybody brings something to nibble on, which is always a friendly get-together.
You can develop the skills and knowledge necessary to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle by joining educational opportunities within your community. Learn from mistakes others have made and how they overcame the challenges.
9. Foraging and Connecting with Nature
Foraging is collecting wild food resources from your local environment, such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and eating weeds basically. Foraging sounds “sexy”, and it might for some, but you have to remember that, like a fair few things self-sustainable, foraging is illegal in Australia. You can get big fines for taking plants out of a national park.
I did some foraging myself, mainly around the property, and it is a lot of work. I now only use it for medical reasons, not to feed myself. As much as I like nature and connecting with it, the time is better spent working on serious self-sustainability activities like growing food and learning skills. I had to add it here as it is one of the things the Trade Shack covers.
10. Adapting to Climate Change and Resource Shortages
Local communities that are serious about prioritising and promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency are better equipped to deal with what nature or civilisation “throws” at them.
For example, when faced with a fertiliser shortage, communities that practice organic gardening and regenerative agriculture can continue to produce food without relying on synthetic fertilisers. You can find more about that on the forum discussing fertiliser shortages. There is no need for chemical-based fertilisers if you treat the soil respectfully and follow the basic principle that what you take out needs to be put back in. It causes an imbalance in the soil.
Climate change will cause resource shortages. It is human nature to work against nature when something happens we do not agree with. In the end, no matter how much money and resources we us to bent nature to our will, we end up losing. Generally, the price is high, and as I write this in 2023, we see food prices skyrocketing due to the supply and demand and the price of transport, storage and production.
Imagine a situation where you grow collectively in your backyards across town enough food to sustain that town. Even make a few dollars in the process. It is all possible by sharing knowledge and growing “decentralised but centralised”. You can apply old and new farming practices to get the best yield naturally and eat healthy for a fraction of the environmental and financial cost.
11. Health and Wellness Benefits
Adopting a sustainable lifestyle takes work, and it takes lots of work. Getting there will take money and effort, but the return on investment is immense. Your food tastes better as it is fresher and more nutrient-dense, which you can test scientifically using a refractometer that tests the sugar content in the fruit. Let’s not forget the “workout” you get by working in the garden. You be surprised how gardening and other outdoor activities can offer mental health benefits, such as reduced stress and increased happiness.
I still remember my first potato harvest, the feedback on the cucumbers I was selling and the sense of completeness when looking in the pantry full of homegrown canned food. Even now, thinking about it, I cannot stop smiling.
Joining local postcode communities that promote sustainable living practices is an effective way to support your sustainable lifestyle goals. By engaging in activities such as food scaping, participating in edible exchanges, and supporting local growers, you can contribute to a more environmentally friendly and self-sufficient future.
By embracing the methods and suggestions we publish on the Trade Shack and connecting with like-minded individuals, you can make a lasting impact on your community and the planet as a whole. But above all, YOU will feel better.
So why wait and JOIN UP, lets’s create online connections for future offline communication.