More than 200 people learned about food loss and waste reduction at REAP Sapphire Coast’s free lunch and information session at Twyford Hall on Sunday.
The Think.Eat.Save event saw celebrated local chef Paul West of River Cottage Australia and REAP volunteers work together to serve up a delicious vegetable curry made from donated food that would otherwise have gone to landfill.
Also on the menu was a delicious starter made from foraged food by local up and coming chef Will Wade and to top it all off was a scrumptious bread and butter pudding.
Think.Eat.Save events run by OzHarvest were held across the country, but REAP Sapphire Coast was one of only three regional branches to host an event, the others were in Cairns and Armidale.
Aside from the fantastic free meal, the highlight of the event was an interesting discussion between the event’s brains trust about ways to reduce waste and encourage people to eat traditional Australian foods.
Award winning indigenous author Bruce Pascoe spoke passionately about the uses of kangaroo grass and Mr Pascoe, along with John Newton, food writer and author of The Oldest Foods on Earth; A History of Australian Native Foods, spoke about the ways in which Indigenous food sources were ignored when the British invaded.
"You can’t eat our food if you can’t swallow our history,” Mr Pascoe said to applause from the audience.
In what could have been a disheartening discussion, one thing that was agreed upon by the panel was that food has the power to bring people together.
“The best times of our lives is sitting around a table eating great food. You can have 100 per cent satisfaction and fulfillment by good food and good company,” Mr West said.
Other panelists included John Walker of Palarang Organic Meats – an organic farmer and butcher with a passion for the environment, sustainability and the use of native grasses. John is also a partner in Crowd Carnivore which aims to bring small farm, grass-fed beef delivered straight to the consumer’s door; and Will Wade, a young local chef recently returned from an internship at Noma, named the world's best restaurant. Will is passionate about Indigenous and foraged foods.
An idea, suggested by Mr Pascoe, was that instead of the normal Australia Day celebrations, that here, on the Sapphire Coast, the community does something a little bit different.
He wants to start an Invasion Day, or Together Day feast, where Indigenous people bring their traditional food to sit down and share with non-indigenous Australians who will also bring the food of their culture.
This idea was so positively received that REAP co-founder Christine Welsh put her hand up to help facilitate and upon leaving the Think.Eat.Save event everyone said they were looking forward to the Together Day feast.
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