Last week on Tuesday evening Woolworths’ fresh produce aisles bore a striking resemblance to some of my imaginings of what would happen in a remote town like Alice Springs if the food transport system failed. The whole section was eerily empty aside from a few disorientated staff wandering about attempting to look busy. The explanation, as I later found out, was that cooling systems in the Monday trucks had been faulty and when the fresh produce arrived it was all frozen and could not be sold.
While the Fresh Food People’s shelves were bare, my fridge shelves were brimming with heads of lettuce, shallots, basil, rocket and other fruit and veg. My housemate and I get a $30 fresh box of produce once a fortnight through Food for Alice. The box is stocked with locally grown fresh fruit and veg sourced from the Steiner school garden, back yard vegie patches and the Alice Springs Market Garden. Shortfalls are made up with produce from Adelaide. But what would it take for us to grow all that we need and not have to depend on trucks bringing it in?
I found five wheelbarrows over these last three days. Five! That’s ridiculous. And it’s one thing to see old wheelbarrows by the side of the road and another to put them in the back of your van, take them home and then proceed to obsess over them. But I can’t help myself. Maybe I am carting about a heavy load and maybe these barrows are meant to be a help? Either way and evidently enough, I am quite obsessed. It feels like someone is putting them directly into my path. That'd be right. Just like me to conjure a conspiracy plot or concoct some deeper meaning. But what’s it all about. What do all these wheelbarrows mean?