For the first blog of our Slow Route Food Journey, we paid a visit to” Green Road “(situated next to the Mosaic market in Sedgefield) which serves as a non-profit central hub for a wide range of healthy, free- range, organic and organic-in-conversion produce. Everything they do at this humble food fare gem is guided by the fundamental principles of the Slow Food movement and truly epitomises that which we are seeking to explore and promote on this journey.
The Green Road has a wonderfully understated charm about it. The majority of the fresh produce available comes from local small-scale farmers, some of which are accredited organic farmers, while others are undergoing what is termed 'organic-in-conversion'.
Fruit and vegetables are not wrapped up in copious amounts of plastic and styrofoam and they are based primarily on seasonal availability. So you won't find fresh guavas in summer nor asparagus in winter. The fresh produce available for purchase was most likely picked fresh from a local farm earlier that morning or within days before. Because much of the produce is farmed organically, it isn't always unblemished as is the produce found in many large supermarkets. It may not always look perfect, but it is gloriously untainted by harmful chemicals. They sell a wide range of healthy snacks made by local home industries, which we will feature individually on our journey. They also stock organic pulses and legumes and grains, free range and grass fed meats as well as biodegradable household and beauty products.
Green Road is a food system from seed to plate that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability. There is a serious disconnect in our modern world between the food we eat and where it comes from. When you buy cheap produce from a profit driven supermarket, have you ever considered what hidden costs are involved? Was the farm worker compensated fairly for his or her work, was the environment respected during the process, was the animal's welfare taken into account and if the produce is laden with harmful ingredients, what is the future cost in terms of your health?
The Green Road concept allows us to take back our power as consumers; where we can be fully mindful of our food consumption and where the consumer and the farmer have a direct and meaningful relationship. In a nutshell, the concept strives towards a symbiotic relationship whereby the farmer takes responsibility for the health of the consumers and the consumer takes responsibility for the livelihood of the farmers. Through direct trade via an open supply chain, farmer development, participatory guarantee systems and a common economy, we as consumers can start to take responsibility for healthy soils, plants, animals and people. It is that simple.
By linking conscious consumers directly to local organic farmers Green Road is helping to build healthy and sustainable communities. 'Know your farmer, know your food'. It will be to the benefit of all - The farmer, the consumer and our precious Garden Route environment. This is food that does not cost the earth!