Bobbi Lewin: Learning to Eat Local in Sydney

5th April, 2015 —   


I’m not sure what I was thinking when I signed up for a feast sized, 100 Mile Trial back in early February.  I had just moved to Sydney from the United States, and while I knew what it meant to be a locavore in Salt Lake City, Utah, I was still pretty naive about what that meant here in Sydney.  After thinking it all through, I’ve determined that I will need to adjust my challenge and my expectations.

I first started pushing my husband’s and my diet toward a local focus about 10 years ago, and by five or six years ago, 80-90% of our daily diet came from within a 100 mile radius.  Certain things like wine, bananas, citrus fruits, olive oil, peanut butter, and cheese generally came from farther afield.  Coffee obviously is not grown in Utah, but we were committed to buying that from local roasters.

Since coming to Sydney, I’ve gotten a little lazy in my shopping.  Not knowing the geography, where the growing areas are, or what foods are in season, I was making my best guess, which was just that – a guess.  Signing up for the Local Harvest Challenge is pushing me to learn more about the local food systems and get serious about my commitment again.

Although I still don’t have the map of Australia memorized, and people tell me that there really are no growers within the 160 km radius, I’m doing my best to source food as close as possible.  I did talk to some growers and producers at the Orange Grove farmers market yesterday, and I got the impression they hadn’t traveled too far.  Those are the folks I bought the groceries from for the week.

I will be making a couple exceptions to my Feast Sized Challenge.  I still can’t give up coffee, but am using coffee from roasters within NSW, and have recently discovered that there is coffee grown in Australia.  I’ll be learning more about that.  Also, because food costs too much to waste it, I will be using that last banana in my kitchen, and a couple lemons and passion fruit that I have left over from last week.  And I have to confess; I may have already blown it.  I was out sightseeing with friends and ate at a cafe.  I hadn’t planned on eating out this week, because it’s really hard to know where the food comes from then.

Throughout the week, I’ll be posting about what I’m learning about sourcing local foods here in the Sydney area.  I’ve learned a lot already, and hope to continue down that path.

~ Bobbi Lewin

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Name: Bobbi Lewin
Suburb: Balmain
State: NSW
Size: Feast-sized

Bobbi Lewin's Challenges

  • Don't use the supermarkets this week - shop at local independent grocers, butchers and delis
  • Shop at a farmers' market
  • Source local meat & cheeses
  • Buy cruelty free eggs (laid by happy chooks!)
  • Source free-range or organic meats
  • Cook with seasonal produce
  • Sip on local milk or juice
  • Enjoy local beer or wine
  • Make your own ferments (ie. fetta, sauerkraut, ginger beer, kimchi, pickled foods)
  • I'm going to try very hard to stick to the 100 mile trial, with the addition of locally roasted coffee.