DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

30 July 2013

Support local food, both fresh and tinned

Sometimes plans just don't work out. Yesterday I wrote a post on Irish soda bread and fresh pea and herb soup. A couple of hours later I checked the forum and came across Tessa's thread about how SPC Ardmona was petitioning the Australian Productivity Commission to place tariffs on imported tinned fruit and tomatoes. Just this year, three fruit processors have closed their doors. The iconic Rosella, Mondella Farms and Windsor Farm Foods. SPC Ardmona is one of the last, if not the last, Australian companies to process Australian fruit and tomatoes in tins. 

I felt I had to do something, so I wrote an additional post.


I decided I'd set up a petition at change.org to support Australian fruit and tomato farmers and SPC Ardmona. I got the petition underway, then decided to email SCP Ardmona to let know what was happening. But something stopped me in my tracks. When I rang their head office to ask for their email address, I heard the woman say: "@ccamatil.com". SPC Ardmona is owned by Coco-Cola. That made me stop and think about what I was doing. Do I continue and ask my friends and readers to support a non-Australian company? I decided that without doubt, I would. It might be an American company but the factory is processing fruit grown in Australia by Australian farmers, the factory is employing Australians, the company is listed on the Australian stock exchange, it and its employees are paying taxes, it is keeping many Australian farmers going and keeping Australian fruit on the shelves of our supermarkets. We all need to support that. If we don't, it's all lost.

If you've signed the petition, I thank you sincerely; there have been 739 signatories in under 24 hours. But signing the petition is one thing, we need to make every effort to help SPC Ardmona and our fruit farmers not only survive, but prosper. The next time you do your shopping, please search out SPC fruit and tomatoes and buy a couple of tins for your stockpile. That is what will really help our farmers - if we leave the imported tins on the shelves, showing the supermarkets where our loyalty lies and that we prefer to support our local people. Buy a couple of cans to stock up now and then in the future, only buy Australian; that will help us get back on track. If you're Australian, it will also help if you let your local federal MP know about your concerns and that you've signed the petition. Ask what they're doing to support Australian farmers and the local food industry.

If you're reading this in another country, you should support your local fruit and vegetable growers as well. But if you don't have the climate to grow things like peaches, pears and tomatoes, please consider the SPC Ardmona brand if you see it on your supermarket shelf. It's top quality Australian produce, and you can't get much better than that.

If you haven't yet signed the petition and you're Australian, please click here to sign. Ask your family, friends and work mates to sign too.

Additional reading

30 comments:

  1. Completely agree! It's a tough choice when things are made in Australia but not Australian owned. I would still rather put money into Australian producers pockets than to some wealthy 'Australian owned' company who put all of their money into overseas wages and production.
    We need to be supporting our people and economy at all levels, especially grass-roots.
    As a side, am I the only one who has noticed the large content of Australian made produce at aldi compared to the bigger two supermarkets?
    Rebecca H

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    1. I've noticed that too Rebecca and apparently Aldi are the best to deal with for the farmers i.e. they don't reneg on verbal agreements, aren't overly fussy about superficial appearance, don't put extra financial pressure on the farmers with deliveries etc.

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    2. Yes, I too have noticed that. When they opened they said they'd stock Australian made and owned when possible and I've been surprised how much Australian stock they have. I can't say I can compare them to the big two because I very rarely shop there, but I'm very happy to support them by buying Australian products.

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    3. Aldi are opening up in my local town soon, prob a month or 2, and I am looking forward to seeing what they stock, as in what is on my list, that is Aussie. The Aldi that is about and 1 1/4 away stocks very little that we buy, so am hoping that this one is very different.
      Cheers

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    4. I have also noticed that at Aldi's and willingly buy as much of their stock as possible, but I'm not sure who owns the companies whose canned produce they sell? If SPC is foreign owned, who owns the others? I do most of my shopping in Coles and Safeway because they are conveniently close to me, and I am appalled at all the products that are not made or grown in Australia. I ALWAYS buy SPC, Golden Circle and Edgell canned produce as long as the label states it is grown here, although some legumes etc. aren't grown here at all, so we have to buy foreign produce occasionally.
      What really made me mad one day was to discover that on all the shelves of toothpaste, there was only two brands made in Australia - Cedel and Grants. All the big names were made in India, Africa, and other places where I hate to think what goes into that toothpaste that would have gone in my mouth - EEEWWWW..

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  2. I signed the petition, but feel guilty as I don't buy canned goods due to worries over BPA. Maybe our Aussie manufacturers could lead the way with BPA free canning- might be a winner over cheap imports?

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  3. Hi Rhonda,
    it's probably also worth writing to Coles,or wherever people shop, to let them know we want Australian-produced food. Companies know that for every person who bothers to write there are 100 others who feel the same but didn't take the time to write - in other words, our actions have power.

    The issue is not only important for Australian jobs, but also to reduce carbon miles.

    Have a wonderful day, Madeleine :)

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    Replies
    1. Good point, Madeleine. Although Choice magazine is having a very big effect on the supermarkets lately with their push to make those shops stock more Australian produce.

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  4. I hate cocoa-cola but will happily sign for it for the farmers. Coles and Woolworths have a lot of shoulder to blame. The way they treat farmers is disgraceful.

    Jade

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  5. Hi, this link might be helpful for others out there who are unsure on what brands to buy when out shopping.

    http://www.ethical.org.au/

    There is a guide you can buy or download the app to have it handy for shopping.

    thanks Lisa

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa. I'll put the link to the guide up on my side bar.

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  6. I am a farmer . The things we are talking about affect us greatly and can actually change the way we farm both ethically and environmentally. It is really heartening to read about people who care about our farmers. I have seen many friends farms go by the way side as imports and low payment by supermarkets destroys what they love and believe in.
    We farm beef cattle .... but every opportunity to help ever farmer is one I am happy to take on.We farm because we love it , we love our trees , we love our animals and if people like you all sign petitions like this , then we have a chance to be here when your children's children buy fruit , vegetables and meat. Our country has lost so much already in terms of farm land , it is time to take a stand.

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    Replies
    1. Good on you Kim - you guys do it hard, battling with floods and droughts, and you deserve respect and support from all Australians, but especially the retail sector and the government.

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  7. well said, as always. Lisa's guide looks interesting

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  8. Regarding Jade's comment about Coles and Woolworths, I've recently had a very frustrating experience. For many years I've been buying Max's Cat Litter - it's made in Australia, is a by-product of rice processing, is totally biodegradable, works very well and is reasonably priced. My local Coles have taken it off the shelf and replaced it with an imported product which is supposedly 'all natural' but doesn't tell me what it's made from (rainforest timber for all I know) and costs almost four times as much. When I asked the manager he told me that the company was having supply problems, but I was suspicious since there was no longer a sign for it on the shelf. I contacted Max's who have assured me that there is no supply problem and Coles have made a decision to not stock their product.

    I think it's disgraceful when an Australian product is ditched for no reason but presumably better profits for Coles. It won't work - I'll be buying the product from Safeway (Woolworths) and trying to get my local independent grocer to stock it. And since I need to buy my catlitter elsewhere,the rest of my shopping will be going elsewhere as well.

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    1. I now shop at Aldi, local butcher & green grocer however Aldi does't stock everything e.g. rolled oats (only have quick oats). Shopping at Coles & Safeway (Woolworths) I've noticed a dramatic reduction in the variety of brands and in certain stock, especially 'basic' items. Safeway no longer sell Borax so I have to get that at Coles to make laundry powder. I'm having difficulty finding the Victorian made organic plain yoghurt I like when I need to replenish the culture to make our yoghurt and quark. It's really frustrating having to hunt for some basic items and to recheck every so often if it is Australian produce from what you think are Australian companies using Australian produced food....

      Like you Sarah, I shifted my main shopping from Coles, to Aldi, when Coles never had on the shelves their cheaper own brand basic items such as weetbix several shops in a row. Aldi use mostly Australian produce, are cheaper and always well stocked.

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    2. Hi Hadassah,

      I do shop at Aldi, but it's not close to me, so I use it just once a month - I agree it's much better and cheaper, but it still doesn't stock the cat litter I want! I think I'll try to fix that.

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    3. Hi Hadassah,
      You may wan to check your local Aldi store for Rolled Oats - our's (Caloundra, Sunshine Coast)has just started stocking them :)

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  9. I always try to buy Australian made when I can but it is getting harder and harder all the time. When I went shopping yesterday I needed some tomato sauce (Dick Smith) but I couldn't find any on the shelf and when I asked about it I was told that Woolworths won't be stocking it anymore as it isn't a big enough seller. I got the same story at Coles. I think it is a shame that these two supposedly Australian companies are not doing more to support Australian brands.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe I should write and ask them both. :- )

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    2. Yes please, Rhonda. Please publish their response on the blog and tell them that we (your large group of readers) and interested in what they have to say. I am sure they will respond with some PR fluff, but at least they will know that more people are onto them.

      It's terrible the way in which Coles and Woolworths are taking lines of products off the shelf and replacing it with their own. I avoid those two brands purely on principle. Nadia

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    3. Dick Smith was interviewed on A Current Affair or Today Tonight recently about his tomato sauce being taken off the shelves, Coles had agreed to give it another try for 6 months so you may see it on the shelves again soon. I'll be keeping an eye out for it, i haven't tried it but i want to support it so I'll give it a go.

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  10. I've been buying several items a week from AussieFarmersDirect, like a milkman but with meat, fruit and vegs, cheese/yogurt, bread etc etc, all sourced from Australian farms and delivered to my door twice a week. They're not everywhere but may be a good option to consider?
    Thanks Rhonda and Tessa for this eye-opener
    xxx

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  11. Rhonda, after reading this post, I checked my stockpile to see what brand was on the tinned fruit and tomatoes, knowing that I already look for Australian produce. I was pleased to see that everything says Ardmona.

    I shop at our local Foodworks store - no Aldi nearby.

    Regards,
    Lyn in Northern New South Wales.

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  12. What a wonderful idea Rhonda. I've currently signed the petition. Hope your successful!

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  13. I couldn't agree more! Supporting our local businesses is essential. When I go shopping here in the UK, I first look for British and then for Welsh (since Wales is where we live) - the more local, the better. I was dismayed to see green beans from Kenya at the height of the UK bean season in the shops - that's just silly! Kirsten x

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  14. I was surprised to read this post and see that you have problems like this in Australia. I live in the USA, and we also have too many imports in our grocery stores. I like to buy American products, and especially local produce in season. Right now peaches are in season, and local grocery stores have signs saying "Arkansas peaches!". We even prefer "our" state's produce to another southern U.S. state!

    We all have to remember that we vote with our dollars. If I'm treated badly at a store or they don't stock what I like, I take my dollars somewhere else. It's also a good idea to let store managers know that we want local and domestic food, and that when they carry these, we'll spend our money at their stores. I do like to support local and small businesses (and I live right in the heart of Wal-Mart Corporate Office country, but they don't get much of my money).

    Elaine in Arkansas, USA

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  15. I am also surprised that Australia is having this same problem. I remember being very impressed while visiting Australia several years ago,on being told that only Australian grown bananas are sold in Australia. Is this still the case? I am afraid here in Hawaii, imported bananas are still sold in large quantities when we should be able to grow and supply this market ourselves.

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  16. This is a very prickly issue for me. My stomach churns because it knows that what is happening is plain wrong. Manufacturing is disappearing and farmers are going to the wall. I struggle to find Australian food on the supermarket shelves and have not seen Australian made clothes or shoes for years. Tariff removals were suppose to make us more 'competitive' but all they have done is closed us down and made us dependent on imports. The big corporations have muscled their way in. They buy the struggling concerns make them profitable then they sell and move on to where the profits are bigger. Today the Business Council of Australia is peddling putting a goods and services tax on food and reducing corporate tax. Their argument: To make Australian companies more competitive. It is absolute madness. The 'food bowl' is no longer growing food to feed its own. A tin of tomatoes travels from Italy to Australia and a few hundred kiometers away me farmers are ripping plants out because they have no viable market to sell to. Where is the logic? What is the future?

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  17. I am so glad, but not, that others in the world feel this way. Here in America, it is very hard, very, very hard, to find things MADE IN USA! Whenever and wherever I shop, I look for where an item is made and if it is not made in America, I truly think about whether or not I need it, or if, perhaps, something else would work, or even, can I afford the higher cost of the MADE IN THE USA item.

    I have recently, the last year or two, also begun to look at where our canned food is from. I will not buy any food that does not come from the USA and I have recently begun to learn about simply living, gardening, canning, dehydrating as a way to have "home grown" food, and also I have begun to go to a local farmers market.

    In a world that is so incredibly busy, we all need to take the time to really think about where and how we spend our hard earned money. We need to keep our fellow citizens in jobs, no matter what country we are in, we should support our own first and talk with our purchases.

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