Reduce your food miles
A new internet based shopping system aims to cut out the middlemen and provide locally grown produce directly to consumers.
EcoMart volunteer Dr Effie Ablett said the idea is being driven by the need to reduce food miles and bring food production back to the local area and to start putting systems in place that will be sustainable as oil supplies run low.
EcoMart is based on the idea that primary producers and small scale manufacturers will be able to supply to a central point and will then be distributed to neighbourhood shops and customers who order directly online.
Producers will be able to enter the goods they have available for sale each week and the system will allow them to name their price and pre-sell their goods. Volunteers then sort the goods and the orders can be picked up or delivered to customers. It would also allow urban farmers and home manufacturers to sell small quantities of produce and goods when they have them available.
Dr Ablett said she hoped it would encourage micro industries like people making jams and soaps that they could sell through the site.
Eventually they are hoping to be able to supply a full range of groceries so they can be a real alternative to the big supermarkets.
The online booking system will also allow customers to find out information about where their food has come from and how it was produced.
The venture is still in the early stages of development and there will be a series of information sessions around the Northern Rivers in early November. They will also be having a stall as part of the Sustainability Expo at the North Coast National Show this weekend.
It is envisaged that the organisation would be set up as either a co-operative or a not for profit incorporated association, but it will be up to the members to determine how the system is set up.
Dr Ablett said they were hoping to have around 100 producers involved by the time it was up and running and to keep adding as demand increased.
She said to make it viable they also needed to know there was sufficient demand from consumers and urged people to get along to one of the public meetings or to contact John Knapen on 6689 9375 or john@ecomart
australia.org. You can also visit their website at www.nr.ecomart
The meetings will be held at Casino on Tuesday, November 3, at the Casino RSM Bowling club at 11am; Kyogle on Wednesday, November 4, at the Kyogle Memorial Hall at 11am; Lismore on Thursday, November 5, at the Workers Club at 11am and 7pm. Mullumbimby on Tuesday, November 10, at the Ex Services Club at 11am and the also the Ballina Community Centre 7pm. And finally Murwillumbah on Thursday, November 12, at the Autumn Club at 2pm.