Kiama Council has been putting on a series of focus group workshops this week, on topics such as health, community, waste, and environment. Last night I participated in the Food workshop.
What an awesome experience!
The room at the Harbourside Brighton was packed with people passionate about all aspects of food – there was a chef, someone from CWA, backyard gardeners, “greenies”, community group members, someone from the Hospital auxilliary, Kiama Councillors, the Mayor, business owners, a home economics teacher, people involved with Seedsavers and the Slow Food Movement, and more. It was great to meet the lovely ladies from the new Green Box cooperative, too.
Some of the big issues that came up included preservation of rural land (and removing the effects of development speculation on farmland prices), the need for education and resources on growing/cooking/eating healthy food, the lack of supermarket competition, the encouragement of local food production, and proposed new food labelling laws (particularly the lack of GM content labelling). There was more, but I can’t recall it all right now!
There were a lot of great ideas in the room, and the facilitator did a good job of recording everybody’s thoughts and giving everybody an opportunity to speak. I think Council will have a large body of information to work with for some time to come.
We also got to take home some beautiful local produce from Michael, whose family has been farming in the Kiama LGA since the 19th century, and some parsnip seeds from Janet.