Today I found real food at a Motorway rest stop at Officer, on the outskirts of Melbourne - typically junk food only zones. What a total surprise!
There snuggled calmy and with complete ease between the major two junk food outlets was Oliver's selling fresh natural and organic food - taking on the unhealthy giants at their own game with aplomb. For Melbournians, this might be normal now - but I found it absolutely incredible - another example of the huge shift that is taking place in our relationship to food and our food system.
|Organic fresh food from a socially responsible company - at a Motorway rest stop!|
I hadn't gone in the rest stop to buy food - we always pack sandwiches, fruit and some other little snacks for a road trip with the kids - but I was drawn over to the shop to take a closer look. It was all organic and a lot of fresh food. On the counter were chia-coconut taste-testers. No coke or fried food in sight. I couldn't leave empty-handed, so I ordered a couple of organic coffees - they were actually quite delicious and issued in compostable cups.
The signs around their store said things like "Would you like beans with that?" - a complete take-off from the usual fries, but the offerings here were steamed green beans of edamame (young soy beans in their pods). Apparently in the first month that they offered this, they sold 1000kgs of beans.
Their snacks too included things like bliss balls, raw chocolate, dips with fresh crudités, and raw organic nut mix. I really couldn't believe my eyes - it was like being in a health food coop!
Beside me on the counter wall was their statement of philosophy talking about healthy food, wellbeing, nutrient density, organics and so on - the heading being Hippocrates statement from 400BC "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food".
Looking into Oliver's a bit more this evening I discovered that they have just become the world's first certified organic fast food chain. It seems they are planning to open many more franchises around the country and abroad - even a couple up my way. Oliver's actually started in 2005 at a truck stop in Wyong, just north of Sydney, by Jason and Paula Dunn. Over the past decade they have gone from strength to strength. I am surprised that it has taken me so long to discover them - but I suppose I am not a big highway traveller around the country.
I also found out in my research of Oliver's that they aim to be a socially and environmentally responsible company. For example, their 'Share the LOVE' program supports many orphaned children through ChildFund. Their staff too are encouraged to meditation.
Healthy fast food, is of course not going to solve the problems we have in our current food system, but this enterprise certainly seems to be making a positive contribution towards change in the right direction. I feel happy to have happened across it today - things like this make me realise that positive change is happening all around us all the time, we just need to keep our eyes open to see these little things, and be prepared to spread the positive news.