February 13, 2018
People often ask if they can visit the farm. Everyone likes to know where their food comes from and that it is safe, nutritious, fresh and healthy. We all want to minimise the environmental footprint of our food system. But how can you really know what’s happening behind the scenes?
Here is a list of questions to ask a farmer that will help you to learn more about food production and what you are eating. You can ask me any of them and I’m happy to answer, and even show you how we do it.
- What do you add to the soil before you plant a crop?
- Do you use herbicides? If not, how do you control weeds?
- Do you spray your crops for pests and diseases? If not, how do you control them?
- Do you add synthetic petrochemical based fertilisers to feed your crops? If not, what do you feed them?
- Where does the water come from that you use on your crops? How do you know the quality of the water?
- Have you tested your soil for heavy metals and pollutants?
- How do you control fertiliser run-off into local waterways and erosion on your farm?
- Do you have areas set aside for local wildlife on your farm?
- Do you have native revegetation areas on your farm?
- Do you provide safe bee forage on your farm by avoiding spraying pesticides on flowers?
- How do you minimise or reuse packaging on your farm?
- Where does rubbish go on your farm and do you recycle?
- What are the main plastic items that you use on your farm and are they single-use?
- What hygiene practices do you use when picking and packing food on your farm?
- Do you have animals on your farm and are they kept separate from cropping areas?
There are many more questions you can ask your farmer. No question is dumb. Remember most farmers want to talk about their farm. What is growing well; what failed; the effects of recent weather; recent lessons they have learnt; things they won’t grow again; their greatest successes and challenges of the season; the sustainability of their business.
So, go on - ask me a question.
Yours in veg,