Cynthia Lim is one of the people who was instrumental in organising BEAM’s first bulk food buying in many years. She and her husband Nick run as small farm Blue Tongue Berries near Seymour specialising in Blueberries, but they also sell some great jams and sauces. They have a passion towards sustainability and creating community and recently became BEAM members. Cynthia writes about her experience with the Bulk Food purchase that we recently made for 10 families – as a pilot before inviting more BEAM members.
Cynthia and Linda Kennedy will be presenting information about the Bulk Buying group and local foods at our AGM on August 17th at Gavan Hall in Broadford.
Food is one of my true passions and I believe local, good quality, seasonal food is an indulgence worth spending time on. There seems to be growing appreciation that the highest quality food comes from the butcher, the farmers market, neighbours and your own garden. We moved to the country many years ago for a better way of life, we didn’t actually appreciate what a life change we were making then but couldn’t imagine city life again. For a long time now I’ve grown my own food, produced my own meat and avoided fast and highly processed foods. However there are still certain foods that cannot be easily grown or locally sourced such as flour and rice.
So what are the options when it comes to these dry goods? The obvious choice for most are the big supermarkets, and living near the Hume Fwy is certainly a reminder of the high demand for food and its transportation around our nation. However, I am so pleased that an increasing number of people seem to be turning their back on the big supermarkets and finding alternative ways to source food. This is where the bulk food purchasing project steps in. It has been inspirational for me to get involved in this project.
Helping to organise our first local bulk buy was really exciting. Lots of people were involved which opened up conversations all around food, quality, production methods and ethics. As a group we are learning about different products, storage challenges, cooking techniques and waste reduction. The ordering process was not too difficult but it did take a little organisation and communication. There were a few teething problems but with such a cooperative group these were easily resolved. I was particularly happy to share my Cantina (my farm kitchen) and it was such a fun day of shouting out quantities, sorting out bags, tubs, boxes and even pillow cases! I really got to see how 530 kg of food was being dispersed amongst 10 families. Some people had bulk purchased before, others were attempting this for the first time so it was a good mix. It’s an interesting process to try and find local or Australian made food which is organic and affordable. Some compromises have had to be made but we are now more experienced and can improve on our purchasing systems, handling methods and product selections.
This project has made me feel part of something in the community which I really didn’t feel before. My husband and I don’t have kids and have little interest in sport so when we moved into a small town it’s difficult to meet people. After 11 years, slowly we felt accepted but still on the periphery, then suddenly we found the Black Market (local food exchange group), BEAM and presto – like minded people were all around us. We are still constantly amazed and so pleased that we are surrounded by such committed, caring and interesting people.
Blue Tongue Berries