Ethical question # 7: tucking into food

‘How much do you know about where your food comes from?’

BEECHWORTH livestock production consultant Kristy Howard (pictured) has tackled the Kerferd Oration committee’s seventh lead-in question – ‘How much do you know about where your food comes from?” – for the 2015 oration in Beechworth on July 19.

“It’s an interesting question because there are two things to think about,” Dr Howard said.

“’Do we know what food we’re actually eating?’ – as in milk comes from cows and pork comes from pigs.

“I think there are a whole lot of questions about that.

“We used to understand that because we used to have relatives who were farmers and people used to have market gardens in their back yards.

“And then the other part is ‘Do we know where it comes from?” – its place of origin.

“Is it produced in Australia? How much of it is produced in Australia? There’s the whole question of food miles.

“I did some work looking at farmers’ market development in the North East.

“In the North East we produce a lot of meat, fibre and grain but not a lot of vegetables.

“So if you want a local farmers’ market with a lot of vegetables there’s not a lot to choose from (here), whereas if you go to Melbourne there are a lot of market gardens but not a lot of meat produced.

“So, different parts of the state produce different the foods that we eat.

“And then there are some that we take for granted, as being available, that we don’t actually produce in Australia.

“Coconut oil’s a good example, but we don’t produce it here.”

Dr Howard said that her buying decisions were influenced by food freshness and nutritional value.

“When thinking about where your food comes from and why you eat what you eat, for me it has to be fresh, it’s got to be nutritious, and then whether or not its locally produced is a lower consideration.

“And then there’s price – and I think we underestimate how the consumer relies on price to make a buying decision.”

This post is reprinted from the ‘Ovens and Murray Advertiser’, which is supporting the oration by publishing each question of the week.

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