The picture above shows what remains today of my local papaya farmer's roadside stall. It symbolically illustrates the state of Australia's family owned small farming enterprises.
A nutritionally diverse range of fresh locally grown food is now almost impossible to find, when just twenty years ago there were ample supplies.
So who and what is responsible.
You, me, and everyone who elects to buy from either of the two supermarkets who control up to 80% of our food supply and refuse to buy locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables from individual farmers.
It is our choice to buy the papaya that has just travelled 3000 kilometres before reaching the supermarket shelf, rather than the local farmer's offering at the non-airconditioned weekend produce markets.
But it is not all our own individual fault.
Hungry Jacks has decided to abandon loyal Australian potato growers and import product instead from North America.
Governments have enabled corporate players to buy up huge tracts of previously productive horticultural land to grow timber.
These new enterprises were established not with any environmental do-goodery in mind. They are simply tax minimisation schemes for top-end-of-town investors.
Bananas imported from the Philippines will soon replace those previously grown on this land.
Citrus from California flooded into this country during the last decade while our own farmers were busy bulldozing their mandarin and orange trees in the Sunraysia because of a "market glut". Go figure.
Our Government provides financial subsidies for food to be grown and imported into Australia from other countries in the Asia Pacific region.
Instead of encouraging domestic food self-sufficiency, all tiers of Government in recent times have imposed legislative and financial burdens on smallholder farmers.
The administrative effort and cost of complying with all the regulations of workplace health and safety, public liability, workers compensation, taxation, disease control, produce inspection and certification have all combined to force small growers out of the industry.
I know a little about it because it once happened to me.
So, as a society what have we lost?
1. Fresh fruit and vegetables grown locally instead of being
transported from halfway across the nation or the world.
2. Old food varieties that were both tasty and nutritious.
(International agribusiness Monsanto now wants to genetically
modify vegetables to improve their flavour. How about they just
leave the genes alone and give us back some of the heirloom
varieties which tasted just fine ***).
3. Fruit and vegetables picked ripe, without chemical
preservatives or a superabundance of plastic wrapping.
We wished for them.
We got them.
We will suffer from the health consequences of ingesting all the artifical, additive-polluted chemically-enhanced "food" which they sell.
We live in a country which actively discourages it's own self sufficient food supply.
Nobody cares one iota about the demise of smallholder farmers or the little towns which once depended upon them.
Australia will become reliant upon food produced in distant politically unstable countries, and place life or death trust in the vulnerable shipping transport necessary to get it here.
Australia….sometimes you are utterly DUMB and STUPID!!!!
*** India and China, free from the ethical constraints of the West, are now the world leaders in the genetic modification of fruit and vegetables.
Does anyone else find that a very scary scenario?
PS. If you haven't noticed previously, this whole subject makes my blood boil. I promise I will not bother writing about it any more. Instead I'll go and have 52 colonic irrigations next year to get all the shit off my liver.