THE MIDNIGHT OILS

The latest news from the Ballarat Food Network

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FAIR PRICES FOR FAIR FOOD

Ballaratfood Dairy Cow

We need to talk about what we eat. How it’s produced, where and why. We bang on about it all the time “Support local food.” Why do we do this? Our health and livelihoods depend on it.

In the past few weeks the future of our dairy farmers have been cast in doubt as they face drastic cuts in milk payments. A variety of factors impacting current market conditions have been quoted as reasons why the previous milk prices are now deemed unacceptable. It will force many farmers out of the industry. 

There’s not a lot you can buy with $2 today, but you can buy 2 litres of milk for $2 at a couple of major supermarket chains. Dairy farmers are telling us it costs more than that to produce it. Seems reasonable to me, it’s a lot of product for $2. 

I’d rather pay more for my milk than see our dairy farmers go out of business. Supermarkets have decided to use milk as a loss leader in order to obtain market share from their competitors. Supermarket executives might not deem where and how milk is produced as a matter of concern but I do. So I’d rather pay a bit more for my milk. 

When you think about all the processed food products for sale in a standard supermarket, hundreds if not thousands of them, few retail for under $2. If you think you can’t afford to pay more for milk perhaps have a look at what else is in your basket, maybe you could sacrifice a pack of biscuits to support a dairy farmer.

We have been receiving messages from people asking how they can support local dairy farmers and what could they do to help the dairy farmer's current plight. A few things actually.

Rachel Peterkin from Inglenook Dairy sums it up perfectly. We just need people to support local! Not just their milk purchases for home but also support local cafes, eateries, suppliers and markets that are passionate about local produce and care about what they serve their customers and the local food trail.

For anyone interested in trying the delicious Inglenook Dairy milk and cream and supporting a great local dairy producer we will be taking orders from now until 11am Saturday 21st May. You can pick up your Inglenook orders from the Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market this Saturday between 10am and 1pm. You can text your order through on  0407 054 224 or leave your order in the comments below.

ballaratfood milk prices may 2016

You can also sign the petition Barnaby Joyce: dairy farmers like my family are being destroyed - please step in urgently, on change.org, by Chloe Scott. Currently the petition has over 120,000 signatures.

If you have more ideas about how we can support our local producers, feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below. Its an important discussion we need to have and sharing our ideas helps us to make informed choices about our health and well being.  

Recent Comments
Jodie Kaine
Hi Kristie. You certainly can your order is confirmed. See you tomorrow at the Jiggety-Jig.
Friday, 20 May 2016 14:53
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FAIR FOOD WEEK 2015

Fair Food Week 16th October - 25th October 2015 is a self organising national event established in 2013 to provide communities to showcase how farmers, gardeners, chefs and community based food enterprises are working hard to ensure access to fresh, local and affordable produce to all Australians.

ballaratfood pigletEthically raised pig from Tarna Valley

Ballarat Food is a network of of individuals in our community who are committed to supporting food in our region, we appreciate the quality of life in our area and want to work towards a healthy and sustainable future for the Ballarat region. We became involved with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance early this year and were honoured to have Dr Nick Rose and Tammi Jonas attend our local produce dinner and help us launch Ballarat’s first screening of the documentary Fair Food.

nick rose fair foodDr Nick Rose from The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is a collaboration of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people have the opportunity to choose, create and manage their food supply from paddock to plate. Their purpose is to is to cooperate, to create an equitable, sustainable and resilient food system for all Australians.

We were so excited to learn from such a switched on and organized group of people, who were already looking at the implications our current method of producing and consuming food were having on the health and well being of us and our planet. The Australian Sovereignty Alliance are actively setting out to remake Australia’s food system secure, fair and of benefit to us all.

Spending time with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance helped me to understand more about the problems pertaining to our our current food system and delving into the topic of world food security I felt overwhelmed at the scale of such a task as the remaking of our food system. How I could make a contribution to such an undertaking? I have physical and economic access to all the food I need and want, but many people do not.

It seems pretty clear that we’re all waiting for someone else to take charge in order to come up with a solution, after all how can one person effect meaningful change? I often think about the things I can do to help remake our food system, and I’ve decided it starts in really little ways, so small and insignificant that unless you continue to make additional changes they may not be substantial enough to hold your attention or interest in the goal of achieving improved food security.

We need to keep asking the questions, what is threatening our food security and why? I am fortunate to be able to talk about the security and fairness of our food system with everyone involved with Ballarat Food. We have more questions than we have answers, and we have so much to learn, but we all offer our unique perspective on the subject and we know that if we continue to support each other and challenge the processes that are unfair or unsustainable, we can at least start to make a difference to our local food system.

I believe that’s how the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance affect change. They take the time to visit a lot of communities across Australia, they spent the weekend with us, the Ballarat Food group. They meet with a lot of other community groups, they spend time with individuals; farmers, gardeners, chefs, producers, small business owners and they meet with governments. They share their knowledge with us and we are inspired by their commitment to work towards change, small incremental steps.

ballaratfood springcreek organicsSpring Creek Organics

Here’s a list of the little things I do that I believe are steps towards a secure food system to benefit myself and my community.

  • I try to source local seasonal produce and whole foods as often as I can, it’s healthier for me and supports the local economy.
  • I try to buy food from the people who have grown or produced it themselves.
  • I try to cook from scratch, it tastes better and it saves money.
  • I focus on a vegetable rich diet and when I do eat meat, try and source ethically raised meats.
  • I buy food in smaller quantities to minimise waste.
  • I usually walk to buy my food, it’s good exercise, and ensures I only buy what I need.
  • I grow most of my own herbs, it’s easy to do and makes a lot of the dishes I prepare taste wonderful.
  • I eat at local restaurants and cafes who support our local quality producers.
  • I spread the word about all the great produce I find in our region to family and friends and others via ballaratfood.com.
  • I love to talk about what’s in season, and what recipes and cooking techniques others have for seasonal ingredients.
  • I have google alerts on Food Security and other related topics to help me learn more about this important global issue.
  • I help support the Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market to encourage others to experience the abundance of wonderful quality produce and food being made in our community and to help support our local producers.

There’s so much more I could do, it’s a start. I’d love to grow more of my own food and implement more sustainable energy and water systems in my home, I’d love to make a bigger impact. If only one person reads this blog article and finds out about the Jiggety-Jig I’ll be happy. I will be at Jiggety- Jig again this Saturday (3rd Saturday of every month). We have a growing number of locals who come along every month and they are buying fresh food and they love it, and we know that as the word spreads more people will see the benefits of supporting local fair food, for themselves and the community.

ballaratfood jiggetyJiggety-Jig Farmers Market at the Ballarat Showgrounds

There’s lots of events going on across Australia. Checkout the Fair Food Week Website to see what other communities are doing for Fair Food Week and in the spirit of keeping the fair food conversation alive, what are some of the little things you do in the spirit of fair food?

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THE JIGGETY FILES AUGUST 2015

THE JIGGETY FILES AUGUST 2015

The August Jiggety-Jig market, the final one for winter 2015 was good for us all. We had more new stall holders and a great show of support in the from of fresh food shoppers. I am always impressed when hanging up our jiggety shingles at ten to nine in the morning to see people already arriving baskets in hand to support their favourite local producers. It makes me smile and I am sure it makes our producers smile. 

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THE JIGGETY FILES JULY 2015

THE JIGGETY FILES JULY 2015

A thriving community requires fresh quality produce from a sustainable food supply. Land on the city fringe is still important to our economy and we are aware that it's our obligation to support our local producers. If we can all start to make an effort to supplement our regular grocery shop from local produce markets as a priority before filling the rest of our needs from the supermarket, we can reap the health benefits while supporting our region’s economy. It may take a some more effort and planning to create our meals from the local seasonal produce on offer, but it will provide a far more tasty and nutritious diet for our families.

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JIGGETY JIG PART TWO

JIGGETY JIG PART TWO
At the closing on the first Jiggety Jig Indoor Farmers Market an official manoeuvre was executed the Piggity Jig, with fingers bent like little pig ears on our head and feet shuffling back and forth we all raised our chins and chuckled. Success! And even better, the atmosphere! Our first event was brilliant.
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INGLENOOK DAIRY AT THE JIGGETY JIG

INGLENOOK DAIRY AT THE JIGGETY JIG

If you love our local Inglenook Dairy milk you will be very excited to hear that we will be selling Inglenook Milk and Cream at the Jiggety Jig Market this Saturday 18th July, but you must preorder.

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FARMGATE FRIDAY BRINGING FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE TO BALLARAT

FARMGATE FRIDAY BRINGING FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE TO BALLARAT

Country Style Smallgoods and Saltbush Kitchen are bringing local fresh produce to Ballarat. Farmgate Friday will commence this Friday July 17th, 3pm to 7pm. You can order your quality locally made smallgoods online at www.countrystylesmallgoods.com.au  before 5:30pm this Thursday and pick them up the following afternoon at Saltbush Kitchen at M.A.D.E. where there will be an offering of fresh vegies, local platters and wine.

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TO MARKET TO MARKET JIGGETY JIG

TO MARKET TO MARKET JIGGETY JIG

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig. 
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun.
Home again, home again, market is done.

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CHRIS BALAZS FROM SAGE BEEF

CHRIS BALAZS FROM SAGE BEEF
Sage is a “100% Grassfed Paddock to Plate” family owned company, located between Bannockburn and Lethbridge. Sage are as passionate about the animals as they are about the premium quality 100% Grass-fed beef and lamb they proudly supply.

 The “Sage” concept originated from farmer Chris Balazs from “La Finca” farm. He originally wanted to process his own premium Hereford cattle for family and friends and maybe sell at a farmers market or two. Four years on however and Sage has grown to supply its highly sought after meat in six fresh produce stores throughout Geelong, the Bellarine and the Surf Coast, and is at a number of farmers markets as well as being available online.
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TASTE BALLARAT FAIR FOOD

TASTE BALLARAT FAIR FOOD

The Taste Ballarat Food Pavilion at the Ballarat Rural Lifestyle Expo on Saturday 11 April 2015 was a hub of Ballarat's finest growers and producers. We were entertained with some classic Taste Ballarat events and were introduced to a community discussion of a fair food system and how we all play a vital role in the future of our food supply.

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TASTE BALLARAT: A BALLARAT FOOD EXPO

TASTE BALLARAT: A BALLARAT FOOD EXPO

Anticipation is growing as I check and recheck my lists for this year’s Weekly Times Rural Lifestyle Expo, not just because there will be many beautiful things to see like fat piggies, belted Galloways and kooky looking chooks but because as you all know I love to eat great food.

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