One of the trade-offs of living in an urban city like Sydney is accepting the fact that most of your food will most likely be sourced from non-local suppliers. According to the Sydney Food Futures project, Sydney’s current food bowl comprises only 20% of our cities dietary needs, meaning that 80% of our diet is either transported, cold-stored or imported from another state or country.
Currently, our local Sydney farmers produce 55% of our meat supply, 40% of eggs, 38% of dairy, yet astoundingly, only 10% of vegetables and 2% of fruit. As our city continues to grow and expand, with urban development trending upwards, and housing blocks become apartments, it’s estimated that the current supply of 20%, will decline over the next 12 years, and in 2030 will only account for 6% of Sydney’s food needs.
Only 6% of your total food intake will be sourced locally.
Just think about that figure for a second. 94% of the food that you consume will be from out of state or out of country.
So Why Local?
As we’ve said before, the second your fruit and vegetables are harvested, the natural oxidisation and rotting process begins. As more and more of your produce is transported, the chances that you’re eating “fresh” produce is extremely unlikely. Whilst it’s out of your personal control, this means you’re likely eating subpar fruit and vegetables, lacking in flavour, taste and nutritional content.
Not only is the quality of your food negatively impacted, but the environment as well. Local farms supply high quality, fresh and affordable produce. As well as supporting local farmers, buying your produce locally decreases your carbon footprint by reducing food wastage, also cutting down on the emissions created from food transport and storage.
The benefits are enormous.
Having a local supply of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat reduces supply chain wastage and spoilage. It also implements a natural buffer to any shock rise in fuel prices, as well as supplying local job opportunities.
The city of Sydney is only getting bigger and bigger. In the next 20 years, there will be over 1 million more people living in what is already Australia’s most populated city. The challenge then is to change the supply chain and our consumption habits to support local producers who make up Sydney’s Food Bowl.
As the Western Sydney Parklands continues to develop their green corridor project, a 27km stretch of farmland from Blacktown to Leppington, the opportunities for local, sustainable urban farming is only growing. Not only does supporting the Sydney Food Bowl help the environment and promise better quality produce that lasts longer, but it connects communities.
It may just seem like a phrase that you hear all the time, but it really is possible to have local food straight from the paddock to your plate. Eating locally produced food, means you’re eating seasonally grown fruit, vegetables and meat at its absolute freshest, filled with optimal flavour and nutrients.
Supporting the development of Sydney’s Food Bowl is a form of agricultural resistance against the inevitable urban sprawl.
Through an increase in awareness and accessibility, food consumers can choose to support local farmers, increasing the resilience of Sydney’s food system, whilst also lessening the everyday environmental impact that our food habits necessitate.
Knowing WHERE and HOW your produce is farmed, WHEN it left the farmgate, and WHO the farmer is, is important information which Foodlum plans to make available to it customers.
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*images sourced from Sydney Food Futures