So, this week I wanted to talk about Plastic Free July, and the dilemma that this puts small scale organic farmers in.
As growers, we understand the need for affordable organic local produce in our communities. We live in Byron shire, where we know there are many families living in financial stress and needing to pay more than 50% of their wages in rent…and the next biggest expense for many is food, and certified organic food is more expensive than chemically produced produce, which currently does not account for any cost to the Earth or its inhabitants?!!
So, those that choose to purchase certified organic want their produce to be high quality, and last a long time in their fridge… Enter plastic!
In olden times we would often shop every day for fresh fruit, greens and vegetables from the local village, as there were no fridges, and we would grow and harvest from our home gardens daily.
Today many of us, just do not have time to shop every day, as all adults in the family must work, as 1 income is often not enough for escalating costs of living…and many do not have home gardens. Most of us own a fridge to keep our fresh fruits, greens and vegetables in. Packaging greens, and some vegetables in plastic ensures that the product lasts a long time in the fridge. So, whilst we do not support single use plastic anything, we also need to find solutions for our modern lives.
I tried very hard to source source clear PLA plastic punnets (plant based compostable plastic), and snap lock bags, which are available in the U.S, Canada and Europe..however I was told that there is nothing like this available here 🙁
We tried cellophane – greens have moisture so the cellophane dissolves.
We tried compostable biopak bags – they tear easily, and you can’t see the produce inside.
We tried paper bags – lasts 1 day max, and then wilts.
Paper Pulp – can’t see produce, and it wilts too.
I spoke with 3 of the large packaging companies in Australia, and I was told that until there was a demand in Australia from the larger processors, and supermarkets that they would not bring this type of packaging in, as the market was too small :((
So, we have had to settle for biodegradeable plastic packaging at the moment as a transition, until some more innovative packaging companies, or importers are born in Australia!
All of our greens (Salad Mix, Baby Leaf Kale, Rocket, Asian Greens) come in biodegradeable plastic snap lock bags (you can re-use them), for maximum freshness and lifeforce.
Sheia K Kironn,
Lifeforce Food Gardens