Model & Local Action – Farmer’s Market Newsletter, August
Below is an extract of the Farmers’ Market Newsletter for August, by Miranda Sharp, Melbourne Community Farmers’ Markets Freelance Food Writing, www.mfm.com.au.
For the carnivorous enthusiast, winter is the time to bunker down and concentrate on the joy of meat. Not your burnt chop on a balmy, barefoot evening variety but the all weekend kind of proposition in slippers and celebration of the beast. And thats just what you should expect from an authentic farmers market. All our chooks, pigs, cows, sheep, buffalo and venison have lived a good life and the producers who bring them to you are proud of the way they treat their animals. Over the decades, the global industrial food chain has meant that breeding, feeding, housing and ageing of animals for human
consumption has been streamlined into a focus on â€˜outputs and bang for the buck. As a result the diversity of breeds has dwindled, animal (and consequently human) health has been compromised with catastrophic results and traditional practises lost along the way. So the image of happy animals grazing peacefully in plentiful pasture is shatteredâ€¦
What does free range really mean? In Australia, lamb and beef is mostly still grass fed and therefore free ranging in paddocks. Feedlot housing though, is becoming more commonplace; this is where animals are housed in confined yards, fed a scientifically formulated grain-based ration and reach optimum weight and readiness ASAP. For chooks raised for egg laying, RSPCA guidelines specify that un-caged, barn laying egg hens are afforded a ratio of 7 per square metre, so pity the caged birds. No meat chickens are raised in cages in Australia, but the majority of non-free range are housed in sheds at a ratio of about 25 chooks to a square metre. Suffice to say, thats a lot of unhappy chooks in a restricted space!
The fate of a pig raised to minimum legal standards is a sad tale and one that anyone who buys commercially produced pork should really think twice about â€“ its enough to put you off your bacon. Have a squizz at a few websites…www.choice.com.au gives the introduction and links to the meat industry associations websites for you to decipher the industry standards. The animal welfare sites show the darker side of meat production if youre feeling up to it! Also consider what bred free range, corn fed and other ambiguous terms really mean…
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations estimates that over 20% of farm animal breeds have been brought to the brink of extinction as world agriculture narrows its focus to most productive livestock. Many old fashioned breeds are hardy and tasty; they just take more time and effort to raise. Check out the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia, www.rbta.org.au, talk to your friends, keep supporting our honourable producers and cherish your roast!
Slow Food Melbourne Farmers Market
25 August & 4th Sat every month 8amâ€“1pm.
Abbotsford Convent, St Heliers St, Abbotsford, Melway ref 44G5
$2 adults entry & St Heliers St carpark to restoration & maintenance.
Veg Out Farmers Market
4 August & 1st Sat every month 8.30am-1pm
Chaucer Street, St Kilda, Melways 2P B9.
Collingwood Childrens Farm Farmers Market
11 August & 2nd Sat every month 8amâ€“1pm
St Heliers Street, Abbotsford, Melways ref 44 G5
Entry $2 adults& stay all day. St Heliers St carpark (if you use it) is $2 donation
Gasworks Farmers Market
18 Aug & 3rd Sat every month, 8.30amâ€“1pm.
Graham Street, Albert Park, (cnr Pickles St), Melway ref 2J H7
Please dont forget all the markets are plastic bag free so get into the swing and BYO!
For more information or if youd like to receive the monthly newsletterâ€¦.. contact Miranda Sharp on 0429 146627 or mfm @vtown.com.au or www.mfm.com.au