We have reached some moments worth mentioning and celebrating the past few weeks!! We have just tipped 400kg of produce through the best in the west, the freshest of the fresh food community, our lovely friends at the Ipswich Good Food Group. We have been providing our produce for the past 20 months on a weekly basis and it is a really humbling feeling knowing that our area has an ethical food community which allow small fry like me the opportunity to provide a service through locally grown food. From the management to the volunteers to the customers, thank you to everyone that plays a role in ensuring there is some diversity in the food chain and allowing opportunities to have a go in small scale agriculture, it really is an astonishing feeling to be able to look at the spreadsheet and know that 500kg of produce has been taken into the homes and served up on the tables of our local Ipswich families. One thing that makes me quite proud is that of that 500kg over 150kg has been of our signature Health Mix, you guys are the original community that gave me confidence and pride in our mixes!
We have also just reached our 1 year foodiversary with the best of Brisbane’s local food providers, the fair food freedom fighters, our wonderful friends at Food Connect Brisbane. We have had the privilege of providing over 850kg of produce to the wider Brisbane community through this hardworking hub! Dropping the produce into the hub with Eli at the start of every week is one of the best feelings, it is a ceaselessly amazing experience to be welcomed as part of the community and hand over produce to one of the most appreciative communities of fresh food I have met! The past 12 months have certainly been one of the best educations in food systems I could have received with more than a few fumbles along the way and I honestly don’t know if I would have had the confidence to continue without the positive interactions, advice and feedback I have received. They are also a source of inspiration for me, allowing me to stay focused on the local food movement, as they constantly push the boundaries of what a fair food system can be in Australia, providing the groundwork for localized distribution and a vision for the future of local production.
How is small scale agriculture benefiting the Brisbane community?
Now I can only speak from my experience having lived small scale agriculture for a few years, so using our onsite data the reasons I believe local food and small scale agriculture is providing alternative avenues to the deficits that arise from our industrial system are these. We are 15kms from the Ipswich Good Food Group hall, that is less than 2 litres of fuel every delivery. We now have one of the volunteers pick up the produce and take it in with them so the carbon footprint for production is negligible. The Food Connect hub is 35km away from our market garden which is about 4 litres of fuel every delivery. Our ordering is systemized and harvest quotas are determined a week before the harvest date so our community is able to order with confidence knowing they are getting what is in the ground, this also significantly reduces our onsite waste as we only cut to the order quantities. The past 18 months we have harvested the morning of delivery day and our average time from harvest to hub is 8.5hrs, this includes all processing and delivery so the community can be confident knowing what they receive is as fresh as it gets. In the past 18 months we have had an average of 12% waste of our overall product, less than 1% of this has been edible produce. Over the 2 and a half years we have been in production we have used 55L of petroleum onsite in our production activities, we have grown 48 different crop varieties and fruit trees, we have had no organic material leave the site as waste, we have composted just under 5m3 of organic waste onsite, bought 90% of our products from local businesses and provided over 1800kgs of produce to the wider community. I know I have a biased opinion as this is my business, but I believe this is starting to follow along the path of regenerative best practice for a localized fair food system. I believe that through the collaborative participation of producer, distributor, retailer and consumer, an open dialect and the sharing of information between all parties a system can be remodelled which benefits all the people involved and a basis for future production in green, liveable cities can be achieved.