Wondering what you can do to support regional South Australian communities affected by the current bushfires in Australia? It’s simple – visit and spend!
While there’s always plenty going on in the world to distract our attention, the recent bushfires in Australia have been making international headlines. As predicted by many, the bushfire season has been coming earlier and earlier, and this season has seen our country, and my own community, endure some of the very worst fires we’ve ever seen – and certainly the most widespread and uncontrollable.
The Australian news cycle is dominated by the heartbreak and tragedy of the ongoing and seemingly never-ending emergency. Most of us feel helpless and want to know what we can do to help. Aside from donating cash, we can certainly offer support to damaged local communities in other ways.
Here in South Australia the impact on the Adelaide Hills cool-climate wine region has been significant, with a large percentage of vines lost and some wineries losing everything, so switching your favourite tipple to one of the local winemakers is an obvious – and happy – way to offer immediate support.
The impact on the artisan food producers has varied. The local food growers who can, are still showing up every Saturday at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market. Many of the artisan food production businesses in the Adelaide Hills are in Mt Barker and Hahndorf, which are not areas affected by the fire. However, local cheese makers Udder Delights and Woodside Cheese Wrights both lost almost all of their stock as a result of smoke damage and because of extended periods of lost power.
Having had to dispose of huge amounts of product was heartbreaking for both of these well-known and respected cheese businesses, but both are now back in production with stock on the shelves of their respective stores – which, like the wineries, are in the Adelaide Hills.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Of course you do. Get a bunch of friends together, get in your car and head to the hills. Spend some time soaking up the authentic country atmosphere at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market, do your weekly fresh shopping, then spend an afternoon enjoying the local wine and cheese, support other locals by visiting local business, filling up your car and buying some apples and pears – you have fun, while supporting our community. Win/win!
The situation in the other gravely affected South Australian bushfire region, Kangaroo Island, is still very fluid and less clear, largely because they are still on fire and still under threat. Much of their artisan food production is conducted on the eastern side of the island, which has escaped fire – so far.
Kangaroo Island is home to the most unique bee colony in the world, and local apiarists have lost a significant percentage of their stock. Honey production will be affected, but hopefully the hives can be regenerated. Because the fire is still very much an issue, it’s difficult to fully assess losses, but it’s already known that several small producers have lost houses and crops, or had crops affected by smoke taint.
However, the eastern side of the island is still definitely open for business and local operators are begging for tourists not to cancel their visits. There’s still lots to see and do, and plenty of accommodation and, with weeks left of the summer school holidays to enjoy, visitors can be assured of a warm welcome from Kangaroo Island locals.
If you can’t actually get there, you can still help by buying up big from Kangaroo Island Online and at their stunning Kangaroo Island Central Market stall. They offer an extensive range of KI-produced food products, spirits, wine, and health and beauty products. It’s easy to find something you can’t live without – and with each purchase you’ll be making a direct contribution to a Kangaroo Island family, not a large corporation.
Bushfires in Australia are nothing new. Aside from wringing our hands in front of the television each night, we CAN have a role in assisting local communities to recover from them – don’t just talk the talk, get into these regions and walk the walk.