Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Waffle

Why would you pay more??
When you can effectively pay nothing at all? Or ensure you buy Australian Made (especially if you are in Australia!)  This past week has enlightened me to a few 'hello what the..' concepts which really are beyond ridiculous. The first one is apples ~ $12pkg. That is the first 'What the...' - but when you take into consideration these are in season and locally grown (for me at least) how can a supermarket charge this much?

There is news about a blockade outside McCains because the potato farmers, who have had less produce grown this year are being told they are going to be paid less for their potatoes. Before passing judgement on the farmers greed for more money for spuds, know this:
Western Victoria had about 200 growers in 1990, 90 growers in 2000 and 43 growers in 2011 - who will be growing our potatoes in 2020?? 
January floods reduced crop levels by about 20 to 30 per cent.  Many farmers have 1000-5000 tonnes LESS potatoes than last year. What will fund the new years crop??
McCains wants local producers to compete with overseas producers. Simplot (BirdsEye) is paying its Tasmanian producers MORE to ensure the local economy, community and farmers benefit.
The Ballarat potato industry is worth about $20 million, most of which is poured back into the local community. Lower prices mean corners get cut, potato quality and quantity suffers. Local families will suffer, so will the schools, the sporting group and then the overall quality of life. 
There is more information at the Herald-Sun with an article and please know I do not know anything about the business dealings, the costs of manufacture or the costs of potato production. Heck, I'm hardly what you'd call politically minded - I still confuse which party is which (and haven't really ever known except for Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party, only because of Pauline Pants-Down's "I Don't Like It").

All I know is if ALL Australian produce was to be managed this way, why would farmers of crops, orchards, beasts, wool or any other item bother to put in the effort, time and devotion on the land to earn nothing but bankruptcy? If you must know - yes - I have done something about it. We buy our potatoes direct from one of the grower/packers because $3.50 for 5kg of brushed potatoes is a great price. I can only assume this is still more than what the manufacturers pay - so its a pittance. 

Then comes the news a chap in Melbourne has been charged on summons to appear in court for 'stealing' roadside rubbish - a vacuum cleaner, possibly broken. If that isn't a "What The.." I don't know what is.  Oh how I WISH for hard rubbish collections where I live. Apparantly the (by-)law is the items on the nature strip become the property of council. Um - what? Does council send out a mowing crew to mow its property? No - it sends the home owner a fine for failing to maintain the area. When strangers dump items on the nature-strip, it is the home owner who receives notification to dispose of the rubbish or risk a penalty. True dinks! And tell me, what does council do with its 'new' property after leaving it on kerbs for weeks on end? Clean it and sell it? Use it to help those struggling within its community? No - it trashes it - breaks it and piffs it.

It got me thinking about those people who cultivate kerbside gardens - do those plants belong to council and what about the drive to encourage nature-strip veggie beds for the community? What mixed messages are being sent? I get the police felt the chap was behaving suspiciously, and they did the right thing to stop, check and suss it out - but surely it could have been settled quickly & appropriately without the fuss of alleging theft. Yes there are those who rummage and make a mess, yes there are those who take to profit - but I'd suspect this is the minority. Those who trade from hard rubbish need a license, well that's how I understand it. Does this mean if you put something out with a 'for free' sign you need to have a traders license? It's just crazy how we are unable to just be..?

Back to Normal Waffle
About the bartering - I am really impressed with how well advertising through some local forums really pulled a result which will enable us to have good, healthy food without the associated costs - especially when we can't afford them at a retail level. Knowing we have $10 per week for food this month could have been a disaster had we not had the staples in the pantry. Husband just said we need to do a shop soon. I asked what did we need to get? Thinking for a moment he replied there was nothing he could think of, it "just seems so long since we've done any shopping"... I think this is why many set a budget to shop each week out of habit ~ rather than shopping each week for what is required.

There is the challenge ~ see if you can work out what you NEED rather than get those items you purchase out of habit. I am sure milk, bread, pet food, nappies, juice are some items which end up as regular needs - but do you buy tuna each week out of habit (I did), or baked beans and spaghetti. I really do suggest giving a week to try a $21 Challenge and only use what you already have in the pantry and forego one shop.

Now I need to get a few things done so it doesn't go to waste. I've been scouring Simple Savings, blah and other such blogs/forums for recipes and ideas. We've had a rhubarb and apple crumble dessert fest - made a crumble mix which is now in the fridge so all I need to do is get it and sprinkle on the fruit - that's making dessert easier to prepare and will go down a treat now its getting cold. Stoopid weather...

It's raining - SmallBoy is back from camp - bruised and cuts on each arm and leg indicating he has a great, wild time in the bush. He was licked by a dingo called Huey, had two serves of chocolate pudding one night, ate porridge for breakfast and then bacon and eggs. He climbed a mountain, trekked through the bush at night spotting possums, bats, frogs but sadly no one saw the elusive puma! War wounds came from the rock climbing wall, a rope ladder and the apple coring machine. Day at home tomorrow is permitted for all - or go to school for a movie marathon. Oh the dilemma of choices!!

Dinner tonight is was sage, pork and veal sausages, mashed potato, silver beet with ham and nuts ~ total cost $3.03 for the snags, rest is bartered produce or leftover bits loitering in the fridge. Loving it!

Chat tomorrow ~ oh ~ and if you've got a few bob spare, happy for you to chuck it in our Spare Change Jar or the Treasure Chest at the top of the page *hint*

1 comment:

  1. Good post,didn't know about the potato farmers, our farmers really get ripped and then leave the land. Who do they (they as in the big corporations and the government)think is going to grow our food?