Fair Food Week 16th October - 25th October 2015 is a self organising national event established in 2013 to provide communities to showcase how farmers, gardeners, chefs and community based food enterprises are working hard to ensure access to fresh, local and affordable produce to all Australians.
Ethically raised pig from Tarna Valley
Ballarat Food is a network of of individuals in our community who are committed to supporting food in our region, we appreciate the quality of life in our area and want to work towards a healthy and sustainable future for the Ballarat region. We became involved with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance early this year and were honoured to have Dr Nick Rose and Tammi Jonas attend our local produce dinner and help us launch Ballarat’s first screening of the documentary Fair Food.
Dr Nick Rose from The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is a collaboration of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people have the opportunity to choose, create and manage their food supply from paddock to plate. Their purpose is to is to cooperate, to create an equitable, sustainable and resilient food system for all Australians.
We were so excited to learn from such a switched on and organized group of people, who were already looking at the implications our current method of producing and consuming food were having on the health and well being of us and our planet. The Australian Sovereignty Alliance are actively setting out to remake Australia’s food system secure, fair and of benefit to us all.
Spending time with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance helped me to understand more about the problems pertaining to our our current food system and delving into the topic of world food security I felt overwhelmed at the scale of such a task as the remaking of our food system. How I could make a contribution to such an undertaking? I have physical and economic access to all the food I need and want, but many people do not.
It seems pretty clear that we’re all waiting for someone else to take charge in order to come up with a solution, after all how can one person effect meaningful change? I often think about the things I can do to help remake our food system, and I’ve decided it starts in really little ways, so small and insignificant that unless you continue to make additional changes they may not be substantial enough to hold your attention or interest in the goal of achieving improved food security.
We need to keep asking the questions, what is threatening our food security and why? I am fortunate to be able to talk about the security and fairness of our food system with everyone involved with Ballarat Food. We have more questions than we have answers, and we have so much to learn, but we all offer our unique perspective on the subject and we know that if we continue to support each other and challenge the processes that are unfair or unsustainable, we can at least start to make a difference to our local food system.
I believe that’s how the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance affect change. They take the time to visit a lot of communities across Australia, they spent the weekend with us, the Ballarat Food group. They meet with a lot of other community groups, they spend time with individuals; farmers, gardeners, chefs, producers, small business owners and they meet with governments. They share their knowledge with us and we are inspired by their commitment to work towards change, small incremental steps.
Spring Creek Organics
Here’s a list of the little things I do that I believe are steps towards a secure food system to benefit myself and my community.
- I try to source local seasonal produce and whole foods as often as I can, it’s healthier for me and supports the local economy.
- I try to buy food from the people who have grown or produced it themselves.
- I try to cook from scratch, it tastes better and it saves money.
- I focus on a vegetable rich diet and when I do eat meat, try and source ethically raised meats.
- I buy food in smaller quantities to minimise waste.
- I usually walk to buy my food, it’s good exercise, and ensures I only buy what I need.
- I grow most of my own herbs, it’s easy to do and makes a lot of the dishes I prepare taste wonderful.
- I eat at local restaurants and cafes who support our local quality producers.
- I spread the word about all the great produce I find in our region to family and friends and others via ballaratfood.com.
- I love to talk about what’s in season, and what recipes and cooking techniques others have for seasonal ingredients.
- I have google alerts on Food Security and other related topics to help me learn more about this important global issue.
- I help support the Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market to encourage others to experience the abundance of wonderful quality produce and food being made in our community and to help support our local producers.
There’s so much more I could do, it’s a start. I’d love to grow more of my own food and implement more sustainable energy and water systems in my home, I’d love to make a bigger impact. If only one person reads this blog article and finds out about the Jiggety-Jig I’ll be happy. I will be at Jiggety- Jig again this Saturday (3rd Saturday of every month). We have a growing number of locals who come along every month and they are buying fresh food and they love it, and we know that as the word spreads more people will see the benefits of supporting local fair food, for themselves and the community.
Jiggety-Jig Farmers Market at the Ballarat Showgrounds
There’s lots of events going on across Australia. Checkout the Fair Food Week Website to see what other communities are doing for Fair Food Week and in the spirit of keeping the fair food conversation alive, what are some of the little things you do in the spirit of fair food?