“Farmer poisoned by his own livestock; whole herd exterminated; dam water toxic from pesticides and chemical fertilisers; monoculture breeds pesticide resistant superbugs; farm work so putrid that only prisoners will work there; known contamination; profits over people!”

It might all sound like shock news headlines from a natural disaster or sinister plot for revenge, but unfortunately these topics are the routine experience of today’s farming industry. And we, the consumers, are the ones to encourage it!

This was all pointed out in a screening of “FRESH! The Movie” that I went to see at my local cinema this week. If you get a chance to see it, I urge you to go – it will challenge your concept of fresh produce and change the way you eat.

Our rural industry is responsible for producing the food we eat – our basic need for survival. Yet we see that our food supply is contaminated with a cocktail of antibiotics, bio-accumulative chemicals and devoid of nutrients. We can complain all we like but what really matters is where we actually end up spending our money.

There is very little money to be made by farmers in large, monoculture food production dictated by productivity levels and economies of scale especially after allowing for the cost of synthetic fertilisers and a host of pesticides to protect their crops from the ever increasing incidence of pests and diseases. The profits, sadly, are shared among the few multinational companies driving down the prices paid to farmers yet, at the same time, driving up the prices for consumers. This method of production is not a long term viable option for our planet or its people.

The movie showed an uprise of sustainable family farmers who turned their backs on conventional agricultural practices to go back to nature and see how they could mimic natural forces to produce high quality, nutrient rich, tasty food without chemicals. This was supported by a food distribution through local farmers markets and independent grocers who chose to stock only local produce.

Organic Industry Reports show that we can actually feed the world effectively through small to medium scale family farms using sustainable practices so that everybody wins.

The choice becomes ours: who will we support?

Unless we are prepared to back the small scale sustainable producers then their future will always remain shaky and their political voice will not be heard. Support your local farmers market every time they run – at least buy something from them! Get to know your local producers and talk to them about how much they enjoy their farming. Think global, act local – that way you will protect your own fresh food supply indefinitely.