Environment Humanity

Pick your own – farming

Today, dear students, we’ll have another lesson on rubbish. Or rather how to prevent rubbish. You see there’s a lot of rubbish we produce that comes directly from packaging. And if we can avoid rubbish, that’s a huge help for our environment.

One of the things that we do in our house is we visit farms in summer in order to pick up and freeze fruits. We have smoothies every day for breakfast and they’re usually berries or other fruit smoothies. When we started, it would be more or less a plastic bag a week full of frozen fruit for 2 of us (about 1kg of fruit). We then decided to pick our own fruit to avoid plastic bags.

How it works is you visit farms (if they allow you of course) and you pick your fruit, you weigh it at the end and pay for them. In general, it is not much cheaper (if any) than buying in the supermarket but that’s because while you pick you can stuff yourself with fruit too! Around Auckland, there are at least a few strawberry farms and you can google them. South of Auckland there’s blueberries farm too, they’re different season so together you can save on plastic packaging for at least a few months.

But that’s not all. We used to visit a local farmer and pick up our own milk. We had our glass bottles and we would visit them to fill them up for a week. This way we didn’t produce any plastic bottles’ rubbish at all. This unfortunately changed in November last year since the New Zealand government decided that they are going to be smarter than people and tell then that drinking raw milk is unhealthy and they prohibited farmers from selling it. Now, apparently, the licence to sell milk from the farm costs tens of thousands of dollars, so our farmer from Kumeu gave up. However, it didn’t take long for us to find another farmer who decided to make a business solving the problem and bring back the old school milk delivery service. This guy delivers milk to your door every week and swaps old bottles for full ones. You produce literally 0 rubbish and we all drink milk, don’t we, lactose intolerant readers?!

That’s where we’re at now. But that’s not where we’d like to be, far away from that. I mean we live in Auckland, the city that has so much coast that you can probably put all people on beaches and they won’t see each other. Yet, we don’t have any fishermen selling fresh catch in the mornings. Something that happens in Wellington and I’m super jealous. Sure we have fishmarket but the freshness of the market surely is different from the boat that would arrive every morning with a catch.

We’d also love to have some good service for other farm access (maybe another startup idea?). E.g. we buy free-range eggs at Avondale market but why can’t we just visit a farmer somewhere close? The person we weekly buy eggs from comes from over 100km away from Auckland. Same with meat (mind you we’re still vegetarian… mostly… this year). If the farmer kills a cow/pig/sheep, surely they don’t eat everything by themselves. I’d love to have access to farmers that would sell home kill.

It’s funny because we made so much progress as humanity, yet we’re walking backwards. When I was younger and you bought Pepsi in a 2L plastic bottle, you had to return it as the bottle had a deposit on it. If you didn’t return it – you had to pay a few cents more. Then we went into the transformation of “bottles are so cheap it’s easier to throw them away” and now back to “let’s try not to produce that much rubbish”.

It wasn’t a long time ago when we sourced most of our food from farmers markets, yet it became so difficult for an average John Doe to reach that source of food now. Noodles and burgers became so cheap that no one wants to make an effort to reach for a quality, often cheaper food source. We humans repeat ourselves so often that it’s just boring. In our house, we’re trying to break that rule but it’s not easy. And it’s not cheap, that’s for sure. Sadly enough, it’s actually cheaper to produce the rubbish than not to. But we’ll keep fighting. One person can change a friend maybe. That friend maybe their family and this way we all can change the world.

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