Five things each of us can do to support Aussie farmers

Five things each of us can do to support Aussie farmers

Feb 16, 2024Jonathan Englert

As the news over the last couple of weeks has made abundantly clear, Australian farmers are doing it tough, and they simply don’t deserve it. From the financial risk of managing a farm, to dealing with Australia’s temperamental climate, and the long hours they put in, farmers go through a lot, and they do that for our benefit. 

After all, we eat their produce. Without the farmers, we wouldn’t be eating much! 

So, did you know that there are a lot of things that you can do to support farmers, without having to make a significant change to your lifestyle? With just a dash of forethought, it’s possible to do your bit to make sure that Australia’s farms thrive.

1. Avoid supermarkets. Given that supermarkets reject great produce for the most arbitrary of reasons, and then refuse to pay farmers a fair rate for their produce, the single biggest thing that we can all do is break the monopoly that the major three supermarkets have over our food retail. 

By swapping over to a weekly box of Good & Fugly, not only can you rest easy knowing that we are paying farmers a reasonable price and we’re not rejecting their produce for silly reasons, but you’re getting better quality and fresher produce anyway. Where a supermarket’s supply chain involves lengthy travel, freezing and defrosting of fresh fruit and veg, our process is almost direct from farmer to your door, and in many cases, it’s a same-day delivery deal. 

2. Go on a working holiday to pick some fruit and veg. One of the biggest challenges that our farmers face is the shortage of labour, especially during the harvest season. Many farmers rely on backpackers and seasonal workers to pick their crops, but that hasn’t been a reliable workforce for a few years now. 

So consider going on a working holiday to pick some fruit and veg. You can earn some money, enjoy the fresh air, and learn about farming while also helping to support their financial health. If you make a trip of it, it can be an incredible way to see parts of Australia that you might not have considered, too! 

3. Learn about agriculture in Australia. One of the big challenges that farmers face is, simply, that people don’t know what they do! So many of us take for granted the produce that we see in stores, but when farmers start talking about the challenges they face, it can seem very abstract to us, because we still see plenty of produce on shelves. 

Reading books, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, or taking online courses that teach you about the history, challenges, and innovations of our farming sector is actually a very useful way of better understanding what farmers go through. With that knowledge you’ll be better placed to support and advocate for their needs.

4. Support farmer’s markets, or stop at roadside trucks selling produce. Let’s say there’s a fruit or veg that you need that isn’t in your Good & Fugly box. There are still alternatives to taking yourself to the supermarkets!

A great way to shop for fresh, local, and seasonal food is to support farmer’s markets, or stop at roadside trucks selling produce. These are places where you can buy directly from the farmers, or from small businesses that source from them. You can get high-quality food at reasonable prices, and support our farmers’ income and community. You can also chat with the farmers, and learn more about their products and stories.

5. Spread awareness and advocate for farmers’ rights. Finally, you can help our farmers by spreading awareness and advocating for their rights. You can share articles, videos, or posts on social media that highlight the issues and achievements of our farmers. You can also sign petitions, write to your local MP, join campaigns, or donate to organisations that fight for our farmers’ interests and welfare. Only 2.6% of the Australian workforce is in agriculture. The only way they’re going to see change is if other people support them.

As you can see, a lot of these steps don’t require much work on your part. Indeed, it’s all an opportunity. You’ll eat better, know more about our magnificent agriculture industry, and perhaps even travel around Australia a bit, and in return you’ll be supporting our farmers to turn the existential challenges they face around.

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