Thanks for buying local

F_NO15_TTO-seedlings.jpgSo the Antarctic ice-sheet is melting and sea levels rising faster than we thought, possibly 1.5 meters by the end of the century.

The implications for a coastal town like Ōtaki are huge, but what can we do about it?While the big players face off at the international talks on climate change, each of us can and should work towards reducing our carbon footprints—for example walking and cycling more, using the car less. Using more efficient, sustainable forms of heating and lighting and conserving energy as best we can. It seems little, but millions of small contributions by individual consumers could add up to a big difference in global temperature rise.

How about becoming a “locavore”?

This is a new word coined to describe people interested in eating food grown locally, not moved long distances to market—the cut-off point is often 100km. Locavores want to eat foods that are minimally processed, in season and locally grown, like those from our own backyard gardens, from farmers’ markets, or from Ōtaki’s own Seasonal Surplus Stall.

The benefits of growing and eating locally are many. They can include saving the energy involved in moving and storing food transported long distances but also mean a more educated and resilient local community that could feed itself if disaster struck.

The Seasonal Surplus Stall

Lyndsay, Belinda, Rosli and broccoli on the Seasonal Surplus Stall
Lyndsay, Belinda, Rosli and broccoli on the Seasonal Surplus Stall

Transition Town Ōtaki’s Seasonal Surplus Stall encourages people to buy and eat locally and also to think about growing their own food. On Thursday mornings gardeners can take their produce along to sell to the stall, which then on-sells it to local buyers. A similar stall runs at the monthly Te Horo market.“Our vision is a thriving local food movement in Ōtaki,” said spokesperson Jamie Bull. “The stall is just one step along the way, but we are delighted with how well it works, as a strong voluntary organisation, a way to exchange and enjoy fresh, local produce and as a hub of useful information.“There’s nearly always a crowd round the stall as growers, buyers and stall-workers share their enthusiasm and knowledge about the different fruits and vegetables on offer—especially how to grow, store and cook some of the more unusual ones like globe or Jerusalem artichokes, quinces, chokos and kamokamo.

“We often give away fresh herbs and seeds, and sell seedlings at minimal cost to encourage home gardeners.

At present we’re giving away kamokamo seeds for anyone wanting to enter our ‘biggest kamokamo’ competition, to be judged next April,” she said.

The Dream-catcher Food Co-op

This local Food Co-op started in March 2014 and now has about 100 members, having doubled in size in the last year. It operates from Windsor Park on the north side of Te Horo, which is the hub for the packing and despatching of food boxes. The joining fee is $20 per household. Members are expected to contribute their time in some way that suits their skills and their commitments. Both dry and fresh foods are offered, as far as possible from local and/or fair trade sources, by way of a weekly order form.

For further information email DreamCatcherCoop@gmail.com, pop into the shop at Windsor Park if you see the sign out, or get in touch with Jeremiah, 027 209 2232, or Emma, 021 064 9568.

What is Transition Town Ōtaki?

R_F_TTO-logoTTO is a group working towards a sustainable community. It links with Energise Ōtaki, the Sustainable Food Group and the Thursday morning seasonal fruit and vege stall in Main St, as well as the West Tararua Timebank, TTO runs a mulcher club, with a community mulcher available to anyone after a short training. It holds regular gatherings at members’ homes or local venues. Topics are relevant to the theme of sustainability—food, energy, housing, education, climate change.

Membership is free and open to all. For further information check the web-site transitiontown.otaki.org.nz.