Recently Peter and I attended a Food Forum organised by our local council. The purpose of the forum was to invite members of the local community to come together to learn about what the council has found to be food sustainability needs and issues for the local community.
The attendees were then asked to contribute their thoughts and ideas on how best (as a community) we can find solutions to aid these problems.
It was fun and informative and we got to meet like-minded people, make new acquaintances and have our say about what we believe would be beneficial to the community in meeting their food requirements and educating the community on sustainable food choices (that are healthier for us all too!)
They say 2 heads are better than one and it was lovely to see so many people interested in sharing their ideas and working with others to make everything more achievable by starting with the right approach – planning! Topics of discussion included Cooking, Growing, Sharing and Sourcing.
Guest speakers from the food industry also attended and shared their experiences with us to help us get the most out of working together and educating people on how ‘fresh is always best.’
Δ Andrew from Backyard Harvest is a Permaculturalist who started out small and is now part of many projects working with people and communities wanting to grow their own produce.
Δ Sarah from Eat Local Month is actively working with the local community in setting up special days where communities get together to use there produce in local restaurants and show people what real food taste like!
Once the guest speakers had finished everyone sitting at the tables got to have their say to initiate new ideas on what they felt would be a good community projects such as community gardens, running a local food festival, and having food swap days. There were also suggestions for cheese making days and bread making days, the lists grew and grew with ideas.
Each attendee then got to place a vote on what they thought would be the most advantageous for the community and what we could apply for as far as funding to make them happen.
This information would then be taken back to council and collated and we’d meet again in one month’s time to discuss findings and implementation strategies. Everyone involved agreed that the night had been worthwhile! Council also made the point that if there was an independent project that a group of people were working on for the community, they could assist with applying for funding.
So, why am I sharing this?
This is how change happens – small steps to bigger things.
Working with others who are like-minded and proactive is a sure-fire way to get a project off and running! More hands make light work, so they say.
Sustainable food is important. Our food source needs to be as local as possible to keep produce fresh and cost effective for everyone involved – a win for your health and for your back pocket.
When we purchase overseas produce we often pay through the nose because of all the ‘middlemen’ involved ie. transport, overseas farmers, etc. Add to that, Australian produce is better quality anyway – so why miss out?
We often think that as an individual we can’t do much but action starts with just one person and grows from there. Why? Because like attracts like and together we can make a huge difference.
Ask yourself what is one step you can do today to take one step closer to wards being more self-sufficient and support local producers?
To help you here’s a few awesome resources that you may be interested in having a look at:
Δ Local Food Loop – An app that puts local food on the map, supporting local businesses in your area.
Δ GMHBA Healthy Community Grants program – This program is about supporting and empowering local communities to be healthy. Note: This program is closed for 2015 but it’s a great one to put on your radar for the future!
Δ Ripenear.me – A team on a mission to increase the quantity and availability of urban and sustainably grown foods.
Stay tuned as this ‘Food Forum’ adventure unfolds! We will keep you posted.