GREAT Southern residents are being challenged to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables throughout September after a national survey discovered only five per cent of Australians met their daily quota.
As part of the LiveLighter Fruit&Veg September Challenge, the Cancer Council WA and the Albany Farmers Market are joining forces to encourage Albany locals to incorporate more fresh produce into their diets.
Albany Farmers Market Coordinator Ruth Speldewinde said bringing more local produce into people’s cooking not only provides essential health benefits, but also supports the local economy in a meaningful way.
“By supporting the producers you’re keeping the local economy boosted up and that allows the farmers to keep bringing that fresh produce back to the market,” she said.
“It’s made a big difference for local producers. They are an absolute wealth of information when it comes to their own produce.
“They can give people lots of tips on what’s in season, how to cook and prepare it and that sort of thing, and it also has encouraged the producers to become really invested in offering a great range to the customer.
“So, the more we support it, the more opportunity we give producers to bring back something different.”
Ms Speldewinde said if more people visited their local market, concerning statistics around Australians daily fruit and veg intake would slowly turn around.
“I think one of the reasons why people don’t eat enough fruit or veg is because of the convenience of fast food and pre-prepared foods, but also a lot of the fruit and veg you buy in the supermarket is not of the same quality that you would find at the market,” she said.
“I think people discover the taste of fruit and vegetables again when they buy such fresh produce.
“We’re just about to hit strawberry season again and people are so excited for those local strawberries to arrive because they just taste so much better than the little ones you get at the supermarket.”
Cancer Council WA’s Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish said the Fruit&Veg September Challenge is designed to make increasing the consumption of healthy foods more fun and accessible.
“In celebration of Fruit&Veg month, and to help Great Southern residents to eat more colour throughout September, we’ve created a handy downloadable Fruit&Veg challenge card,” he said.
“It has 12 fruit and veg challenges spread out over the month, plus plenty of tips and fun facts to check out between challenge days.
“Once downloaded, simply click the links in the boxes to access additional information, resources and recipes.