Some additional notes on the conference from John Kenderdine:
After a welcome at the campus marae we moved to a lecture room where most of the conference took place – a pleasant relaxed informal environment with over 80 people in attendance. All the sessions were filmed by Channel Northland.
All the presenters seemed passionate and dedicated to the concept of local, seasonal and fresh food. There was much use of words like sustainable, collaborative, cooperative, sharing, coordinating, effective systems, compelling visions, social and environmental justice. All of which made good sense in the context in which they were used – the feel good factor.
Anne Palmer talked of the North American food movement experience – focusing on Food Production, Public Health, Diet, Climate Disruption and the Ecosystem. The Federal and State level Food Policy Councils (FPC) are considering: farm loss, urban sprawl, consolidation of farms,climate change, production methods, water, health disparities and diet related disease.
Food is everywhere – but mostly bigger portions, more processing, fewer nutrients. There’s a growing response though: FPCs, farmers markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), smaller scale farms, and urban agriculture.
A local food system – growing, harvesting, packaging, transport, retail, consumption and disposal – all needs a local infrastructure. e.g. an organically certified mobile abattoir, co operatively owned??
We need to connect government, academia, growers, food banks, restaurants, retailers, and faith (church) communities.
Policies can have a positive (reward) or negative (penalise) effect. Can be at international, federal , state, local, or institutional level. There are 250 FPCs in the USA.
Priorities – healthy food, anti hunger, economic development, land use planning, food procurement.
Benefits – start thinking, awareness, connections between local/area councils/ central govt.
Reason for failures – lack of resources, different agendas, lack of knowledge, entrenched positions, govt. interference, no community buy in.
How to enforce a regional policy?? Using rates as an incentive??
Call to action – Peter Bruce.
Looking at where we are with 800 million hungry and 1.9 billion obese on a fragile planet. Understanding the issues – co creating systems that work for all – balanced risk regulations (eg raw milk v sugar) advertising, commercial kitchens, the commons, mass medication, energy, scale of operations.
A Food Policy Council is advocated to address issues – but how to create it?
Designing food future – Ruth Marsh
The template for this was the Vermont Farm to Plate Plan. Needed factors are – collaboration, distributive leadership generated from the field (??), long term, measurable, crowd sourced.
25 goals from an image map see http://www.vtfarmtoplate.com/plan/
We need to adapt it to NZ culture and conditions.
Collaborative Tools for a new paradigm – Jeff Griggs
Local food groups are unstoppable because they are leaderless! Local does not mean walling off the outside, but returning power to the community.
Grounded in being sustainable (regenerative??), we need new leaders for new outcomes, collective answers give effective outcomes. We have to get out of the silo to achieve this, through networking, cooperation, collaboration, partnerships.
Tikanga Māori and sustainability:
Existing iwi forum includes Te Aupouri, Ngai Takato, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai, Ngati Whatua – (Ngati Kuri and Ngati Kahu seem to be missing)
Vision – for it to be normal for Māori to be healthy, prosperous, educated, with generational wellbeing.
A social and economic revolution needs an educational revolution.
Food, Health, Medicine – Dr. Melissa Gilbert Smith.
We can create a global boycott from our own back yard by being the role model for the change we want. Today we eat more and get fatter and sicker.
Nutrition is the solution – Organic food : nutrient dense, seasonal, local. Ideally from your own garden to your table.
Magnesium is an essential mineral often deficient at the beginning of our food chain.
Consumption, Pleasure and Politics – comes together through “SLOW FOOD”
An informed consumer can be a major agent for change – to enjoy unpolluted, unbrutalised nature.
S seasonal sustainable, sensible.
L local, logical.
O organic, obvious.
W whole, wisdomatic.
“An environmentalist who is not a gastronome is a sad case –
a gastronome who is not an environmentalist is an idiot.”
Food Forum – from a chef’s perspective:
There is a need for consistency of quality and supply and communication on seasonal variations, a logo for Northland products and a platform to demonstrate local food.
Co-op mobile slaughterhouse for certified organic meat could be one solution to explore.
Food Recovery – closing the loop – Dr Laupapa Va’a
Systems of production and consumption all have people at the centre. Globally there is climate change, population growth, diet change, and resource constraints affecting food resources.
The U.N. has set forth 17 Sustainable development goals One way to tackle goal 2 Zero Hunger is to address food waste. What we see – $1trillion being wasted, with 7 times more we don’t see. The NZ annual house hold food waste – 122,000 tons.
Food rescue study – needs, storage, donors, recipients, transport.
Sustainable Diets and traditional food systems.
Prof, Barbara Burlingame has spent 16 years at Food & Agriculture Organization in Rome.
Present diets not sustainable. 2 billion obese – yet with micronutrient malnutrition.
Environment not sustainable – degraded ecosystems,biodiversity loss.
Agriculture not sustainable – monocultures,water loss, inefficiencies.
Our government has to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals as we have signed up to meet them.
For food, nutrients, diet and genetics, the health model and agricultural sector models have failed.
An holistic model is needed.
How to define a sustainable diet?
We need nutrition driven agriculture.
Food substitutes can lead to major health problems – eg Micronesian bananas have high vitamin A levels, but the replacement imported cavendish bananas don’t causing health issues in that population.
Refined foods are high in carbohydrates and low in micronutrients.
Biodiversity is important for food variety. There are significant differences in varieties – eg Micronesian bananas. Mongolian mares milk from bio diverse grasslands are high in omega3 fatty acids compared to cows milk.
NZ commits many violations of international protocols for exported food – pesticide levels and added bulk. There is no universal attitude to food – specifically NZ Aussie, Canada USA.
Final forum and Workshops
Many ideas flowed –
- Let go of existing paradigms
- No one has all the skills – collaborate through co-operatives.
- Local support systems needed
- Food hubs – mapping exercises
- How to add value in our region?
- How to work collectively?
- Design, construct, certify, co op mobile slaughterhouse
- Interaction between marae and food hubs.
Pulling it all together – Clive McKlegg
Prosperity comes from ownership, production and consumption being connected to place – minimise leakage. Cost of overseas investment is too high.
Identify shared values “A community bill of rights”
Take stock of what is out there and ask ‘Who is leading the way?’
Training and mentoring – community friendly business schools.
Be careful what we ask for – govt controlled management systems are to be avoided!
Personal after thoughts – many challenges – much rhetoric, few concrete answers, people need to realise that Whangarei is not Northland but there are great people there with good energy, with whom we must collaborate.
How sustainable is our concept of business?
How sustainable is our concept of making a profit?
Is profit over and above a living income?
I think the conference stimulated a lot of thinking, from which I hope great things will emerge.
Nancy Gregory reflects on her experience at the Local Food Conference How to summarise such ... Read more