Well we don’t have milk at the EcoCentre, but we do have honey, and it is divine!
Coming from the bees of Monica & Tim Tautau on Kaitaia-Awaroa Road, this active raw manuka honey has been lab-tested and is the equivalent of +5 UMF. It isn’t certified though as certification costs a phenomenal amount – mainly why certified manuka honey costs so much! So you get the equivalent product at a much more affordable price and know that you’re supporting a local business and keeping down your food miles. Priced at $20 for 500g or $35 for 1kg, the EcoCentre gets a cut from each jar sold, so you can polish your halo that bit more for supporting a good cause!
Using honey instead of refined sugar has definite health benefits, especially as you don’t need to use as much to get the same sweetness, but for us the biggest deal is that it is local. AND we’ll happily take the jars back fro re-use! Keeping your food miles down makes a huge difference to your carbon footprint and supporting local businesses makes for a more sustainable and resilient community.
Given our fragile road links with the rest of the country and the increase in major weather events and rising sea levels the less dependant we are on food coming in from outside the area the better. You may have seen articles online of the empty shelves in supermarkets across Britain recently during the snow as the supermarkets were operating a truck to shelf system where goods are replaced daily as sold rather than kept ‘out the back’ to replenish supplies – all well and good when the trucks can get through, but not much use when the roads are blocked! Some folk will remember the Matariki storms a few years back when we were practically cut off due to slips at Towai and the Brynderwyns and supplies of bread and milk were running low at Pak’Save & The Warehouse until trucks got here via Waipoua Forest and the Hokianga. This issue is very real.
Looking at the issues more widely than just the Far North, Local Food Northland is a community led initiative aspiring to promote and establish community-led sustainable food systems for the whole of Northland. Systems that produce, add value, market and distribute locally grown nutritious food that supports the health and well-being of the community and the local economy while looking after the environment.
Their aims are to contribute to a connected and cohesive, prosperous Northland by:
- building local resilience back into the Northland economy
- stemming the leakage of wealth from the region
- rebuilding local economies
- addressing food security and poverty at a community level
- providing and distributing healthy locally based fresh food at a community level through a range of channels
- enhancing employment opportunities at a local community level
- creating stronger supply and processing capability for value-add and export.
You can follow their blog for the latest updates, ideas and information on events. Please support our local growers and producers when you can, not only is is good for our local economy, but it is good for the planet too.
by Anna Dunford