The fight goes on!

Working with Liverpool communities was enlightening. There was so much willingness to partake, embrace the kookiness of the event and trust the honest aim of the artists to create a loud and bold statement about such a grim and disenfranchising reality. - Diego Bonetto, artist

The Food Fight team would like to extend their warmest thanks to the more than 150 participants and 2,000 people who joined us on Saturday 30 April 2016. The spectacular live art event included cooking demonstrations, night markets, DJ sets, and costumed performance - culminating in a frenetic food fight inside an inflatable arena!

The event opened with night food markets while the Food Heroes demonstrated their signature dishes, including Laotian green papaya salad, Ukrainian borscht, five spice pork belly, and Anzac slice. Following this, the Food Warriors, in costumes reflecting their causes, were carried through the crowd by their teams, chanting slogans such as, ‘No one hungry!’ and ‘Healthy soil! Healthy life!’. The Food Warriors then led the audience to the Food Fight arena. As the Diners took their places at the banquet table, the arena - a large transparent inflatable structure gradually rose from the ground. Throughout the night, Food Fight host, performance artist Mish Grigor, led the event and interviewed participants about food security.

Over three rounds, the Food Warriors’ teams entered the inflatable arena, taking part in a fight with rotten tomatoes, beans and strawberries - a spectacular enaction of food waste.

It was an enormous effort by all involved. We’d especially like to thank the participants - Warriors, Heroes, Security Guards and Fighters - as well as the people of Liverpool for making it such a fun night, and for raising awareness about this very serious issue.

The battle for food security continues. You can help by donating your time, money or food to any number of organisations which work every day to ensure that everyone has access to fresh, affordable and nutritious food. CLICK HERE to find out more.

All images: Branch Nebula and Diego BonettoFood Fight: The Battle for Food Security, performance documentation, 2016, Bigge Park, Liverpool. Design support from Genevieve Murray, Director of Future Method Studio. Co-commissioned by Liverpool City Council in collaboration with C3West on behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Image courtesy and © the artists.

Thought going organic was as easy as growing your own? Hear this:

Dr Jason Reynolds is a senior Lecturer in Biogeochemistry at the University of Western Sydney and was a "Food Warrior" at last Saturday's FOOD FIGHT event. Jason conducts research in the areas of aqueous geochemistry, protocell formation and the geochemical fingerprint of climate change. What does this have to do with food security? People can move toward food security through sustainable food practice including growing your own pesticide-free fruit, vegetables and herbs. But what if we told you that the soil in your own backyard might prevent you from doing so? Jason enlightens us on the truth about our soil and going organic.

The mighty amaranth is a whole grain. It was a major food crop of the Aztecs, and some have estimated amaranth was domesticated between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago. Image source: henryehooper.wordpress.co

The mighty amaranth is a whole grain. It was a major food crop of the Aztecs, and some have estimated amaranth was domesticated between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago. Image source: henryehooper.wordpress.co

 

Hi Jason, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Help us understand: what makes something organic?

This is something that provides much discussion and many divided opinions especially as the term ‘organic’ can be applied to many different things. By definition, organic food should be considered as grown ‘naturally’ and is free of synthetic additives and artificial fertilisers. Some people may take that further to limit genetically modified organisms as well, and this certainly is a matter for debate. You and I can implement these practices in our own backyards and community gardens with the aim of providing ourselves with healthy food that does not impact the surrounding environment. 


And why is it important for us to eat and buy organic? How does this affect food security?

It is a very important issue and one which we all need to be aware. Organic food choices not only ensure we maintain healthy contaminant free diets but they help ensure a broad range of ecological and environmental benefits including animal welfare, preservation of soil, water, and even efficient energy use. These principles link closely with food security as we are improving our nutritional intake, decreasing land degradation and soil fertility decline, and decreasing our reliance on food production inputs. The way I think of it, we are taking ownership of the issue by lifting our standards of food production - think globally, act locally.


But you found out that our soil is not so unadulterated

Well, we have investigated soils from backyard vegetable gardens, community gardens, and peri-urban agricultural areas in Australia and through Europe. As you would expect, increasing costs of food and ever-expanding urban development has resulted in an increase in urban farming practices. These practices are tempered by increasing concerns over potential contaminants existing within the surrounding environment and within the soils themselves. Contamination ranging from historical land pollution in inner Sydney to increased urban development of our peri-urban agricultural areas impacts our soils, which ultimately may impact the fruits and vegetables we source from these areas. And we are not just talking about heavy metals, we are interested in the behaviour of pesticides, insecticides, and even plastics in our soils. 

The grains in your cereal this morning were probably grown in the soils around Tamworth, the sugar in your coffee may have come from the soils along the Tweed River, and your steak dinner tonight may have grown on the rich soils in the New England region


Yikes! We want to help. How can an individual make a difference to the state of our soil?

Soil by itself can take thousands of years develop. We should look to protect our broad-scale agricultural areas including the mighty Liverpool Plains in central western NSW. Locally, we should support our local environmental organisations and look to apply the principles of organic farming to our own patch of land. And of course, you should consider supporting the Soil Science Society of Australia, some great research is being undertaken in this space.

When and how did you first get interested in the chemical makeup of our soil?

It first started as a child when I could not understand how carrots grew in dirt. It wasn’t until I studied at university that I realised how much we truly do not understand about soils. Soils truly are an amazing interface of biology and chemistry that have supported humans in so many ways. 


Why was being involved in the FOOD FIGHT so important to you?

Being involved in the FOOD FIGHT is really about raising people’s awareness that majority of their food is deeply connected to the soils around them. The grains in your cereal this morning were probably grown in the soils around Tamworth, the sugar in your coffee may have come from the soils along the Tweed River, and your steak dinner tonight may have grown on the rich soils in the New England region. If you are like me, perhaps you have even sourced some of your food from your own backyard. The FOOD FIGHT to me is a celebration of soils as a remarkable resource. 
 
Do you grow your own fruit & veg?

Absolutely, I grow as much as I can at home and work with community garden projects including Earthcare in the Hawkesbury region. There are few things better than appreciating nature and watching something grow before your eyes. 


In your opinion, what is the king of all vegetables?

At the moment I am fascinated my amaranths and the history of their use. 
 
As a Western Sydney local, please tell us, where are some of your favourite places to eat in Liverpool?

You can often find me at Ristretto & Co looking for a caffeine boost. 

Thanks for local tips and for sharing your soil wisdom with us, Jason. And thank you from C3West, the MCA and Liverpool City Council for supporting the fight against food security.

Presenting the Food Warriors: Pastor Mick Agius

An incredible number of people work tirelessly within organisations to provide respite to those in need. These people exemplify the value of giving and humility. Pastor Mick Agius is one such person.

Pastor Mick Agius at the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub. Photo: Anna Kucera.

Pastor Mick Agius at the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub. Photo: Anna Kucera.

As the CEO of Inspire Community Services he works with a team of volunteers to provide one of the most used services in the Liverpool area, the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub.

Every week, the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub serves more than 600 meals – but it’s not just about feeding those in need. Pastor Mick speaks often of the need to provide a welcoming environment for those experiencing hardship:

“As I go about my daily life enjoying the blessings of living in such a great country, I know that not everyone is experiencing the same thing for many varying reasons. I believe that for those of us who are blessed, it is for a reason - and that is to be a blessing to others! We are told 5% of the world's population control 95% of the world’s wealth. I want to be a person that is conscious of the other 95%. 

“The disadvantaged are all around and feeding the hungry and homeless is something anyone can do. The Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub is our way of doing something about this need and I am absolutely passionate about it. I love being in a place where we can make a difference for those in need."

As a Food Warrior, Pastor Mick will be a champion for feeding the homeless. He advocates not only for the provision of food but also for the creation of safe hubs, were disadvantage people can come, feel welcome and have the chance to talk with other service providers. Many clients return to the kitchen to help others, creating a space of comfort and understanding. The aim of the Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub is to provide holistic services for people who experience social disadvantage and exclusion. The model incorporates hot meals, social and recreational activities, case management, advocacy and support, and avenues for referral.

Win a seat at the FOOD FIGHT banquet

Fancy dining at a table designed by artists and plated with culturally diverse, homespun recipes of locals?

We have 5 x double tickets to the FOOD FIGHT banquet in Bigge Park, Liverpool on Saturday 30 April at 6.30pm. Surrounded by live art and local “Food Heroes” advocating for #foodsecurity, you’ll be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience for a good cause.

TO ENTER: Post a picture of your healthy meal with #FoodFightLiverpool to social media before Thursday 28 April.

Photo by @studio_neon

Photo by @studio_neon

 

Winners chosen Friday 29 April.

Share your healthy meal and help us start the conversation on #foodsecurity and #FoodFightLiverpool

Presenting the Food Warriors: Paniora Nukunuku

Paniora is a young man of Cook Island and Maori heritage living and working in Western Sydney. He is passionate about empowering young people with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare healthy meals. 

Food Warrior Paniora Nukunuku. Photo: Anna Kucera.

Paniora laments that we live in a world where it is more expensive to buy a bottle of water than to buy a bottle of Coke. Affordability and access to nutritious food is a serious health issue for young people. Many lack the skills and the role models needed to create rewarding experiences around buying, cooking, eating and storing of fresh produce.

He says “young people are conditioned to believe the food can last for weeks, simply because they purchase packets of noodles or cans of fruit or cans of meat, but when it comes to fresh food they don't know that does not have the long shelf life that process meat have. That comes down to knowledge too, and discipline”

There is the need for new role models for young people about food practice: increasing knowledge, advocating for affordability and addressing accessibility.

“I educate, I let people know about myths and fact. We lack common practices of cooking. Through the OzHarvest NEST program, we teach that. I get more and more people to come to the program and they have a very good chance to connect with other people in the process. It creates safe a atmosphere to learn without being judged.

“I mentor people at NEST, keep the order, keep people focused. I enjoy it a lot and the reason why I enjoy it is because I became my own solution. When I was growing up I never had that role model, someone to teach me about healthy food practice, and through the NEST program I became that solution, filling the void.”

Paniora joined the team at OzHarvest by chance. “Years back I was doing a placement at Granville Youth Centre, where the food supplies for young people were donated by OzHarvest. I was so impressed by that act of generosity that I said that I wanted to meet the person responsible for this and say thank you on behalf of the young people benefiting form it.”

The opportunity to do just that presented itself later in the year at the National Youth Leaders Day, where OzHarvest CEO Ronni Kahn was one of the speakers. At question time he seized the chance and thanked Ronni  for the continuous work OzHarvest  to support young people in need.

"Ronni was very moved by my speech and, from that point on, I stayed in contact with her and the team behind OzHarvest. And that's how it started.

"I am 22 now and I'm eager to use my time to be an advocate, bring forth the issues that young people are facing to the general public. I have the courage to speak in front of a crowd and that is what I strive to do. Bring forth change and understanding for the needs of the youth."

Courage is exactly what is needed to tackle the growing issue of food security in Australia.

Presenting the Food Heroes: Vi Girgis

Food security comes from having the confidence to cook your own meals from fresh ingredients. For some migrants, local ingredients are foreign, and the foods that they are used are not accessible in their new home. Food Hero and Liverpool local Vi Girgis moved from Vietnam when she was a young girl:

Food Hero Vi Girgis. Photo: Anna Kucera

Food Hero Vi Girgis. Photo: Anna Kucera

I migrated to Australia from Vietnam at the age of five and have lived in Western Sydney, mainly Liverpool, since my arrival. Growing up in a large migrant family (I’m the oldest of four, with a huge extended family), food was central to all our gatherings. It was also a way to introduce us to Australian culture, as every family gathering consisted of a spread of Vietnamese and ‘Australian’ food (kebabs, burgers, pasta, etc.) However, I was only ever interested in eating the food, rather than learning how to cook, until I moved out of home and realised that if I wanted to eat yummy food, I’d have to cook it myself. Since then, I’ve discovered a real love of cooking – introducing my family to new cuisines that they’d never known about. But I don’t cook Vietnamese food – that’s what my parents’ house is for!

Food Hero & Liverpool local Vi Girgis. Photo: Anna Kucera

Food Hero & Liverpool local Vi Girgis. Photo: Anna Kucera

As an arts worker, I see cooking as another creative outlet, where I can experiment with flavours, make the food look and taste great, and share my creations with family and friends, both at my table and through my Facebook page, imaginatively titled Vi’s Kitchen. Part of having food security is being able to cook delicious meals with simple, easily accessible ingredients. I am looking forward to being a Food Hero and sharing some of my recipes which use such ingredients, to show people that it can be easy to make a delicious and affordable meal at home.

See Food Hero Vi will be doing live cooking demonstrations at the FOOD FIGHT event in Bigge Park, Liverpool on Saturday 30 April. She will be working with chef Aaron Teece to develop her dishes as affordable, healthy options. These same dishes will then be served to the Banquet guests at FOOD FIGHT. Join the Facebook event here

Honest Food: Anzac Slice Recipe

'When visiting Liverpool Community Kitchen and Hub you get served a meal. Doesn't matter where you're from, why you're there, or what your story is. People listen if you want to talk, but no one asks questions. The food served there is simple, nourishing and unpretentious. Good 'ol comfort food. Many of the recipes will be featured at Food Fight on Saturday 30 April. Here's an example: ANZAC cake. And it is yummy.'  - Diego Bonetto, project artist

Anzac Slice

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups of plain flour
  • 2.5 cups of rolled oat
  • 2 cups of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups of shredded coconut
  • 300g of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
  • 4 tablespoons of boiling water

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degree.
  • Grease and line a 13”x 9” tray with baking paper allowing 2 cm overhung at long end.
  • Combine flour oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Place butter and syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 mins or until smooth.
  • Combine bicarb soda and boiling water in a jug.
  • Remove butter mixture from heat and stir into the bicarb mixture.
  • Add flour and stir.
  • Transfer to prepared tray.
  • Using the back of a spoon, press mixture evenly into the tray.
  • Bake 20-25mins or until golden.
  • Cool in pan, cut into squares.