Australia, Community, Environment, Food, Gardening

REKO – Covid safe drive through food

By the time the humble spud or apple reaches your supermarket shelf from its trek from the farm, it could be up to three weeks old, due to storage times, days waiting for freighting in trucks, sitting in the open air at wholesale markets, transportation to distribution centers and then to individual supermarkets. Then there is the shelf time waiting until the customer selects it, for purchase.

It doesn’t help the consumer or the farmer.

We have come to expect produce to be available year round, but this comes at a cost in terms of nutritional content and quality. Some fruits that grow naturally in warmer/colder climates have been genetically modified to lengthen the growing season. In the 1970-‘s a range of foods were genetically modified to ensure a longer shelf life, or make fresh crops more resistant to pesticide attack in the non-optimal growing months. Food quality has changed.

As we all know fresh is best, how can the fresh food supply chain be compressed, so that produce reaches us sooner and in better condition?

vegetables tomato salad

Alternatives to the Supermarket

A farmer led online co-operative company called Food Connect, was one way I sourced fresh produce sooner than the tired offerings at my supermarket. This company guaranteed to get fruit and vege to your point of collection from the farm within three days.

The range is limited to seasonal produce, (which is the way it should be), so the boxes has a set selection of product. Customized boxes cost the customer a lot more and were supply dependent.

But now there is another alternative.

What is REKO?

Reko is an online farmers market where the supply chain involves the farmer or producers selling directly to the customer with zero wastage and minimal delays in transportation of goods.

This concept originated in Scandinavia, by a Finnish gentleman and has now grown to more than 500 local groups in Scandinavia, Canada and North America.

The reach and success of online farmers markets such as the Reko model have been made possible by technology. A positive is that Covid has helped this model flourish. And it supports your local growers!

The Reko model means more time available to farmers tend and develop farm animals/produce – a job that is always 7 days a week.

How Reko Online Farmers Markets work

Customers read the Reko Facebook group posts for their area, each week on social media to see what each farmer or supplier is offering.

If there is something that appeals, the customer orders by posting a comment, indicating the quantities they’d like, sends through the payment via direct bank deposit, (ie no credit card fees), and collects the produce at the nominated time and pick up point. Voila!

Straight from the farm to your fridge all within 24 hours.

Reko offers more than just fruit and vegetables.

A home gardener who has excess produce may sell via the REKO group and if you are selling cakes or prepared meals, you must have a commercial style kitchen. When we grew zucchinis in our home garden, we planted so many plants, we could have fed an army, so this option would have been a way to share our produce and make a little money for more seeds! If only it had been possible then.

Advantages of Online Vegetable and Produce Ordering

  • A way to stay Covid safe in a variant outbreak!
  • Pick up from your car appeals too!
  • Local growers supporting local community
  • Hand made or home grown sold by person growing it
  • A supply chain model that makes food or products available as fresh as is humanly possible
  • Farmers get cash directly and there is no excess wastage of product

Less wastage = lower prices + a better environmental outcome.

Costs are reduced as farmers don’t need to spend time away from their farm, spending hours in the hot sun/cold rain setting up and sitting at an outdoor markets, or selling to wholesale distributors, fiddling with cash and change. There’s less wastage as they don’t take more product to sell than is required, as the grower in the you tube video explains.

Why is it different from a farmers market?

  • No sitting out in the rain
  • Farmers only harvest as much as has been ordered
  • Less transport time and fossil fuel emissions
  • No signage, change, Point of sale machine, tent or tables needed as pick up is direct from the farmers car boot or truck
  • Farmer received the money directly – keeping costs down and cash flow is instant
  • Supports local growers
  • Minimal effort to source
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Akaroa
Environment, Motivational

How to Talk About Climate Change

Thanks largely to social media, much of the world already knows the basic facts – the planet is warming, carbon emissions are increasing, biodiversity is decreasing and all this and more threatens mankind’s existence on planet earth.

Martin Fredricks of IVWords was a recent guest at StPA, writing about how we talk about the climate crisis, and the reactions of others, in everyday conversations.

Do climate sceptics, or those in authority, want to hear more shocking statistics and dire warnings? Will it galvanise support for change and encourage the immediate action that is needed? Possibly. Possibly not.

More likely is that some will turn a deaf ear, place it in the too hard basket or choose not to believe it will happen, at least in their lifetime.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Repeating facts, figures, and ghastly predictions is merely preaching to the choir, and can actually be counter-productive by provoking anxiety in those who already know the planet is in danger. We don’t need to reiterate that things are getting worse.

Endless and ongoing debate with climate deniers wastes time, precious time as it a sceptic’s own confirmation bias skews their perceptions and blinds them to any logical explanation.

So what might increase awareness and understanding of the climate crisis?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Personally, I believe we need to focus on solutions. Hope for OUR future is in finding solutions to climate change and reversing environmental damage.

I want to hear ideas and suggestions of things the ordinary man and woman can do, or have already done, in their own corner of the world. Ideas, positive ones. Give us solutions and tips on how we might at least stabilize the environment deterioration, if not improve it.

Context and expert guidance on steps we can enact for ourselves or in collaboration with authorities and others, that is relevant to each individual area is vital.

“I have learned that you are never too small to make a difference.” Greta Thunberg

For it is when we sense that feeling of community, of connection and of common goals, we are more likely to succeed and others, even sceptics will join us in positive action and change.

Please share in the comments below the positive initiatives happening in your corner of the world. Here is some initiatives in mine.

‘Green’ Environmental Initiatives in Moreton Bay, Australia

In my own little area I find:

  • Habitat protection on private properties – Grants for Land dedicated for Wildlife
  • Reforestation and mass tree plantings and maintenance with recycled water by active Bushcare groups
  • Glass recycled for re- use in the manufacture of new glass bottles and conversion to glass sand for use in asphalt, filtration, drainage, coating, resin and sandblasting applications.
  • Plastic collections for recycling by residents, as well as general recycling in Council kerbside collection
  • Walk to school days promoted to discourage use of petroleum driven vehicles
  • Over 75% uptake of solar power panels by new and established homes aided by Government subsidies and rebates
  • Innovative technology to convert landfill gas into green energy, providing alternative power generation. Generators at landfill sites are producing electricity to power over 4,000 homes in the local area each year, saving 75 million cubic metres of the greenhouse gas methane that has been converted to energy.
  • A municipal sustainability policy
  • Reduction of plastic straws, cups and disposable cutlery in cafes

What Positive Change is Happening in Your Corner of the World?

Please share this in the comments below.

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