OUR SAY: All good initiatives start with a good idea

A push to support local producers and encourage the consumption of food that’s produced within the region is fast gaining momentum and that’s a good thing.

Schools, universities, hospitals, aged care homes and disability services are being encouraged to buy local food under a unique scheme launched in the Central West.

It’s hoped the scheme will be rolled our across the region.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has partnered with the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Central West to support local food producers and have the backing of Cadia Valley Operations which has provided $120,000 toward the project.

Now comes the hard part, how does it actually happen?

While once hospitals and universities produced their own food in-house, now much of what’s eaten on site is produced elsewhere in large metropolitan centres such as Sydney and transported to the region.

Of course there are lots of reasons why the food we eat is not locally produced.

Economies of scale mean it’s cheaper to buy in bulk and offset the cost across many customers.

To decide to consume locally-produced food takes a certain amount of dedication and in some cases a willingness to pay a little more.

This choice to pay a little more is one we ordinary consumers make everyday when we shop for our weekly groceries. 

When faced with the choice of locally-grown produce or produce from interstate or overseas many of us choose to support local producers, but it’s not always the cheapest option.

For this scheme to be successfully implemented there’s still a lot of work to be done on how it will work and budgetary implication to be factored in.

RDA projects manager Amanda Haigh said working groups would be established to determine how major institutions could comply.

However Ms Haigh is a realist and admits while this initiative won’t appeal to everyone the aim is to at least see an increase in the consumption levels of locally-produced food.

The dreadful drought which has rocked the state has hammered home just how important it is to support our producers and by consuming their food we’re putting our money where our mouth is.