Transition Shire Wingecarribee has received seed-funding from Wingecarribee Shire Council to carry out a survey of locally grown and produced food that is available either at farmgate, local markets or other local retail outlets. This is a collaborative project with the team coordinated by Sandra Menteith, partnered by Jill Dyson, Convivium leader of Slow Food Southern Highlands and Jill Cockram, Coordinator of Moss Vale Community Garden. Tourism Southern Highlands is also supporting the project, as it is anticipated that the mapping of local food outlets will provide the basis for a ‘Southern Highlands Harvest’ Food Trail guide.
The benefits of such a project are many:
- improved access to fresh local food for consumers (both residents and visitors alike) and increase direct sales of produce from farms and sales of retailers stocking local produce;
- increased food security for our region by supporting local farmers and encouraging them to diversify with potential for expansion of jobs in this field;
- contribute to the local economy of the region by making it easier for people to buy local produce from local producers, ensuring that money spent stays in the region;
- a more resilient and self-sufficient Wingecarribee as we face increasing prices of fresh food and transport costs associated with peak oil and climate change;
- decreased carbon emissions as residents increase purchase of locally produced goods;
- improved health and well-being as people eat more fresh, in season food; and
- increased networking and knowledge exchange among local growers and producers.