“You Can’t Afford Me” Says Hot Potato

Written by Bexy McFly

Move over, Miranda Kerr. Cabbage is the new supermodel.

It’s no longer just humans dealing with image issues and feeling as though they’re ‘not good enough’. Less than perfect produce that doesn’t make the cut on Supermarket’s Next Top Model are sent back to the ground they came from, or turned into livestock feed. This means that 30 to 40 per cent of vegetables grown in Tasmania don’t even make it to the shelves. And the ones that do are so expensive that maintaining a healthy diet would cost Tasmanians almost half of their household budget, a University study has found.

Promoting Tasmanian Vegetables to Tasmanian Adults, commissioned by Eat Well Tasmania, has found that even where vegetables are harvested and partially washed, many are being graded-out and fed to stock. Sorry, Carrot. You did not receive a rose, it’s time to go.

So why is there an issue around access to produce and affordability, when there are so many vegetables that don’t get the chance to go on sale? Why aren’t they being offered up as cheaper alternatives? Surely a tiny bruise or spot does not a rotten tomato make.

Leah Galvin, from the Heart Foundation, says the two figures don’t add up, adding that farmers have an opportunity to sell produce that’s been graded out through less exacting outlets than the two major supermarkets.

“Sometimes I talk about supermodel food. You’ve really got to be gorgeous to make it into a supermarket.”

“So if you don’t make that grade, and that’s the big aim for producers to reach that market, then they might not see the opportunity for them to sell through other channels.”

“That’s something we actually really want to explore,” she said.

The Heart Foundation Healthy Food Access Tasmania program is offering $480,000 in grant funding for community groups to make ‘nature’s grade’ produce available.

Galvin says the heart foundation want to look at ways of making stronger connections between what’s grown and what’s being made available, with more localised operations like small neighbourhood-type initiatives, food co-ops and even using the urban environment to produce more food.

So you see, there’s hope for all you wilted lettuce and limp cucumbers out there – you’re still beautiful, and with The Heart Foundation’s help you might just achieve that coveted place on the dinner plate after all.

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