Posts

Where does your food come from paleo network-min

So you think you know where your food comes from?

I saw a documentary the other day that was both fascinating and disturbing. I’ve given so much thought to the quality of what I eat, eating locally and seasonally – and avoiding processed foods. But it turns out there’s a significant aspect to what I eat that I hadn’t considered.

Where does your food come from paleo network-min

Who is involved in getting your food from the field to your plate?

The documentary focused mainly on fruit and vegetable farms right here, in Australia. I’m always careful to make sure all of my produce is Australian and I’d naively assumed those involved in picking and packing would be protected and treated fairly. Apparently this is not the case.

Whilst the majority of the work force at these farms is lawful and “on the books”, many of them were reported to rely on cheap workers, who are often forced to work incredibly long hours, underpaid, and in some cases struggle to get paid at all. The farms go through 3rd party labour providers, which seems to be a way they can bury their heads in the sand, claiming they had no idea the workers were being mistreated. Many of the third party labour providers were reported to with-hold part of the minimum $21 hourly wage the workers had earnt, which is clearly illegal.

Significant numbers of the farm workers are in Australia on Working Holiday Visa’s –the exact visa I first came into the country on. This visa enables the holder to work for 12 months, but it is possible to extend it to two years on completion of qualifying farm work. It appears the promise of granting the valuable second year visa extensions allows a lot of the farms to manipulate the workers even further.

I was also amazed at the sheer volume and range of well-known companies and brands some of these farms were reported to be supplying. With salad, fruit and vegetables going to all of the major supermarkets (often packed as their own brand) as well as restaurants and fast food outlets, it seems almost impossible to have the confidence to buy produce that you can be certain is not from exploited workers.

Is there any way we can be certain the food we’re eating was picked and packed ethically?

Power outage power cut electricity off the grid paleo network 2-min

The suprising things a long power cut taught me

Last Monday was really rainy and windy, so I wasn’t that surprised on Tuesday when I woke up to find we had no power. Other than missing a morning cup of tea and breakfast, I wasn’t that bothered and assumed by the time I got home in the evening, normal service would be resumed.

Power outage power cut electricity off the grid paleo network 2-min

Well during Tuesday, the storm continued. On reflection I shouldn’t have driven. With traffic lights out, multiple roads closed due to fallen trees and flooding, it was not a fun day to be out on the roads. That evening the power still wasn’t back on, but luckily I managed to find some matches and candles by the light of my phone.

As I’ve written about before, I’m a chronic night owl. Even if I go to bed early, I’m just not tired – I can lie there for hours, willing sleep to come. I’ve tried everything. For months I’ve been waking up early to an alarm, the theory being I’ll eventually be so tired, I’ll have to start getting sleepy at an earlier time. I stopped using my computer in the evenings. I turn off all but some dim side lights in the evenings. So I assumed on Tuesday, the unusual feeling of deep sleepiness at 7:30pm was due to the stressful driving conditions. But on Wednesday night, still with no power, I spent the evening reading by candle light – and was hit by the unusual feeling of tiredness at a similar time. And the next day – and the next. By the end of the week – after just a few days, I was waking up before my alarm. This never happens.

Finally power returned late on Saturday night – and I’ve still not turned my tv on. I’ve realised it had become a habit turning the tv on, I wasn’t putting it on because there was something special I wanted to watch, but because that’s just what I did in the evening. I haven’t missed it at all – and I wonder how much part this has played in my new sleep pattern? I’m not sure if it’s the light, or the stimulation – or perhaps both, but tv and artificial light have clearly not been helping my sleep pattern.

I’ve realised how much I really, really appreciate my washing machine, hot water, oven and fridge/ freezer – but the other things – perhaps I need to do without.