With the holidays right around the corner, Australians are getting into the festive spirit and are looking to go greener than ever – and we aren’t just talking about the tree.
New research from the National Farmers Federation revealed that the coronavirus pandemic and the rise in panic-buying has led to more Australians caring about exactly what ends up on our plates.
NFF president and Liverpool Plains farmer Fiona Simson said Australians are fortunate the vast majority of food on our shelves is homegrown, particularly given this year’s restrictions on importing and exporting.
“Inquiring consumers will have been pleasantly surprised to find that up to 96 per cent of the food on their supermarket shelves is homegrown,” Ms Simson said in a statement.
“Supply chain disruptions and a return to home cooking brought Australians back to basics and, in effect, closer to farmers.”
Buying produce grown Down Under is a great way to make your holiday season a little healthier and a little greener.
And since many of us are now looking at ways to give back to the community and the planet, there are a few easy tips and tricks to ensure your Christmas is as eco-friendly as possible.
Giving greener gifts …
Buying a loved one the perfect gift can be one of the most rewarding feelings, especially if it’s something they’ll treasure for years to come.
When looking for a gift, try to buy locally where possible and avoid things that have a limited life span, or are made of plastics that will end up in landfill.
For grown-ups, consider buying an ‘experience’, like a spa retreat, coastal getaway or a five-course degustation at a trendy restaurant that will help pump a bit of money back into our hard-hit economy.
If you’re looking for something smaller, consider a house plant that your loved one can grow and nurture for years to come.
Wrapping it up …
If the best part of Christmas is exchanging your thoughtful gifts with family and friends, then the worst part of Christmas is wrapping them.
Even if you manage to keep your green goggles on and find sustainable and eco-friendly gifts for everyone, be careful not to cancel out your hard work by using plastics elsewhere.
Things like sticky tape, ribbon and even wrapping paper, which is often coated with plastic, can be harmful to the environment and difficult to break down.
But there are a few greener alternatives that can enhance your gifts.
Biodegradable and recycled brown paper is available from places like Kmart, Officeworks and Bunnings – luckily, the ‘rustic’ look is in too.
Using a fabric ribbon or one made from string can also enhance the look.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can do away with paper entirely and try your hand at the Japanese furoshiki method that uses fabric.
Cool, unique gift-wrapping and you’re also saving the planet? What a holiday hero.
Swapping the stuffed ham …
Over-cooking, over-eating and the time-honoured Christmas Day nap is as festive as it gets.
But if you’re looking to make an easy, eco-friendly change that will allow you to stuff your face without feeling as sluggish, consider making your menu a little more plant-heavy.
Since the animal agriculture industry is responsible for more emissions than all the planes, trains, cars and boats combined, swapping the cheese board and roast ham can make a big difference.
In fact, Woolworths have reported a 32 per cent yearly increase in the demand for meat-free meals, so now is as good a time as any to try out some of the plant-based alternatives.
There is a ton of delicious meat-and-dairy-free recipes available (and yes, they include more than just salad variations), so why not try something new this year?
Woolworths even have a new plant-based Christmas roast available for those looking for something a little closer to what they’re used to.
If you end up with Christmas leftovers (which you will, because it’s not the festive season unless you’re eating the same food until New Year’s Eve), make sure you send them home with your guests to avoid wastage.