Think before you eat

Surf Coast residents are being encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by embracing sustainable eating opportunities.

Local groups and initiatives such as the Danawa Community Garden, Greenmums 3228 and the Torquay Farmers’ Market are encouraging people to think about the environmental impact of food production, packaging and transportation.

Members of the Danawa Community Garden with their fresh and sustainable produce.
Members of the Danawa Community Garden with their recently harvested fresh and sustainable produce.

Greenmums 3228 member Leanne Reinke said people need to be aware of what they are eating and the effect it has on the environment.

“People need to ask where their produce comes from, think about the distance it’s travelled and how it’s packaged,” she said.

According to the University of Queensland, choices regarding food packaging and place of origin are the single biggest contributor to most people’s carbon footprint.

People can easily reduce their carbon footprint by simply switching their thinking and considering sustainable alternatives.

Those wishing to eat more sustainably can include more fruit and vegetables into their diet and consider having a meat-free day once a week.

A 1kg portion of beef, according to EPA Victoria, requires 16,000 litres of water in order to get it from paddock to plate, making meat one of the most resource-intensive foods.

Danawa Community Garden Secretary Perry Mills said people are becoming more interested in sustainable eating as vegetable gardens and organic produce increase in popularity.

“There’s a growing interest in eating a plant-based diet and an increased understanding of the importance of growing chemical-free food,” he said.

Eating sustainably is not just good for the environment, it has economic and health benefits too.

“Many of our members have changed their diet to include sustainable eating and this has helped them to control some pretty serious health issues, such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems,” Mr.Mills said.


Happy shoppers buying produce which helps to reduce their carbon footprint.
Happy shoppers buying produce which helps to reduce their carbon footprint at the Torquay Farmers’ Market.


Torquay Farmers’ Market coordinator David Bell said the increasingly popular market encourages people to change their habits and attitudes to food and support the local community.

“Initiatives such as this help to stimulate the local economy, support small producers and businesses, and increase resilience and connectedness in the community.

“It’s an opportunity to create niche businesses in food production and supply customers with fresh, health and sustainable produce,” Mr Bell said.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Perry Mills from the Danawa Community Garden on 0428848646, email Greenmums 3228 at , or for the Torquay Farmers’ Market contact David Bell 0418315026.  This article featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

What are you doing to eat sustainably? …..

Green Mums want ‘greener’ groceries

When you are filling your trolley with your favourite fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, do you ever wonder exactly how fresh they are and where they come from?

Well, there are a number of Surf Coast women asking these same questions.

Green Mums, a network of environmentally-orientated women are working to establish a “farm gate” fresh food cooperative to encourage healthier and more sustainable living in the Surf Coast region.

Green Mums are striving to create a healthier and more eco-friendly community. (Picture courtesy of Green Mums)

How will the initiative work?

The Green Mums initiative will develop a weekly collection of food from producers in the Surf Coast region which will then be sorted, packed and delivered to designated community pick up points by rostered cooperative members.

They have also applied for a grant from the Surf Coast Shire for additional support of this initiative.


How will the cooperative benefit our community?

This cooperative would allow regional farmers to distribute their produce fairly and provide opportunities for the community to buy locally sourced groceries.

Leanne Reinke, a member of the Green Mums group, said this initiative will be beneficial to both our health and the environment.

“This initiative will result in carbon emissions being reduced by people buying food that is not sourced interstate or overseas, families eating healthy, fresh food and community friendships being fostered,” she said.

Ms. Reinke also said the initiative would build a more locally-based and self-reliant food economy within the community.

“We want to pay a fair price for good food and local farmers need support and a fair and consistent return, so this initiative will deliver a sustainable and secure food future.”


Are there other regions which support similar initiatives?

Green Mums is drawing on the thriving Melbourne food network Ceres Fair Food, for inspiration.

Ceres Fair Food is a popular organic food delivery service which sources produce from local growers who are paid a fair price for their produce and also practice eco-friendly farming.

For more information, click here to see the Ceres Fair Food website.

Leanne Reinke from Green Mums seeks advice from Jesse Hull at Ceres Fair Food.

On a global scale, trends suggest that consumers are increasingly looking to understand where their food comes from and exactly what goes into it.

“There is a growing international desire to be more sustainable and to live a healthier life, and a realisation that these two objectives complement each other.

“It is possible to have a much more tangible relationship with who is growing our food and changes inevitably ripple outward to our local community and ultimately impact globally,” said Ms. Reinke

How can I help?

Ms Reinke said anyone wanting to make a healthier change now has the ability.

“My advice when shopping would be to think when you shop- where it comes from, how it got here, how much packaging does it have, what was used to produce it, and say ‘no’ to plastic bags”

Those wishing to get involved or learn more about the cooperative can email Green Mums at , visit their blog or Facebook page