I spent the last Saturday in July at the South East Harvest Regional Food Festival in Moruya, it was a great day which concentrated on gathering local producers and creating a family friendly event. As usual I managed to leave the camera at home and had to rely on the mobile phone for photos which made life a bit difficult as it was a really bright sunny day and as a result I was shooting blind. It was a perfect day for the solar panels that grace so many of Moruya’s rooftops, the winter sun was warm but not hot and there was no wind, a great day for pumpkin rolling and sack races, for drummers drumming, choirs singing and dancers dancing all of which happened through the day.
ABC TV Gardening Austraia host, Costa interviewed stallholders, directed the childrens’ games and put in a word on behalf of small producers, many of whom are struggling with regulation changes that seem almost designed to put them out of business.
I was there to help with the SCPA South East Producers stall which showcased information about Bega Seed Savers, sold seedlings from NoDig Gardens and bushfood flavours and preserves from Karibara Bushfoods. The day was an interesting mixture, on one hand the rediscovery of the value of food grown locally for local consumption, a sense that maybe producers need to stand together, to use cooperatives or maybe community owned formats to claw back the autonomy that has been ceded to multinationals. A desire to end the “get big or get out” mindset which has turned food into a commodity, flooded the world with chemicals and given us an obesity epidemic that is undermining our health. On the other hand there was also a gentle nostalgia with seating near the food stalls and randomly located straw bales that made for a very relaxed atmosphere. The requirement for the bulk of the food sold at the event to be locally sourced helped this because suddenly everyone was eating real food well cooked and well flavoured.
A week later the election was called and now there is frenetic action by politicians with the two major parties trying to persuade us all that the other side are dangerous lunatics. Tony Abbott about to destroy renewable energy and Kevin Rudd trying to win the gold medal for being horrid to refugees and asylum seekers. Oh the joys of democracy. I just hope the Greens manage to keep the balance of power and bring some honour back into politics.