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Sustainable Food: The Fundamentals

Posted by James Bennett on

There is no more inspiring call-to-cooking than a full pantry of top-quality ingredients. And there is no greater impact on the planet than the journey of those ingredients, from the farm to our forks. This is the good & the bad of our food – a source of great benefit or devastation, for the health of ourselves and the planet.
I believe in a more mindful consideration in sourcing food. Asking serious questions like, what cost does it inflict on biodiversity? On an increasingly polluted atmosphere? On the flow of our rivers or the fertility of our farmland?
If food is an intersection between humankind and nature, food companies are the traffic controllers. As I see it, all too often the extract the health and value out of both sides just to fill their coffers, and I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to be this way. There is a possible future where both humankind AND nature mutually benefit – a symbiotic relationship. Food that restores the fertility of the land.
Mindful Foods are supporting this view with a few fundamental principles:
  • No insecticides, pesticides, or fungicides
    • The food ladder actually looks a lot more like a pyramid, with apex predators at the top, then herbivores, insects, plants, bacteria & fungi. Sunlight is harvested by plants, nutrients are driven up the chain by insects and animals, and recycled by fungi. Each kingdom serves an important function, and yet mainstream food production picks out one particular species of one particular kingdom, and uses poison to ensure other species don’t compete for resources.
    • That will give you a bigger crop in the short-term, yet in the long term it disrupts what we all know to be the circle of life. Not only is it detrimental to this important biodiversity, it disrupts the biodiversity inside ourselves. It’s poison too for the multitudes we contain – our bacterial and fungal microbiome.
  • Fertiliser-free
    • It is considered by many to be the largest environmental problem behind global warming, the surplus free nitrogen corroding our soil and polluting our waterways. It’s killing our Great Barrier Reef and even contributing to global warming.
  • Water consumption
      • One of the biggest problems Australia faces at the moment is the asymmetry in water flows, and water use. We may well blame our predicament on drought, yet we live in a famously drought-stricken country. The best thing we can do for our farmers is to promote more sustainable agriculture, one that is not too thirsty and holds water well.
      • Australian food
        • We are already highly respected in terms of quality food. I want our dear country to be a world leader when it comes to sustainable food production. From food miles to fumigation, there are many reasons why one should try and eat local. Frankly, we’re in it because we can meet and work with the farmers who are doing this important work. They’re not just growing the food, they’re growing a food culture – which is all important if this sustainable food production is going to continue to gain momentum.
      Of course there’s plenty more to it, practices such as tillage reduce the fertility of the soil and lead to the release of carbon into the atmosphere (known as soil respiration).
      With so many factors at play, we had to make trade-offs in sourcing ingredients. The right decision isn’t always immediately obvious, and the perfect meal probably doesn’t even exist, but what we promise you is full transparency in all the decisions we make.
      All that we ask, is that you eat mindfully.

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