Locale: n3, 2013

  1. Cover
  2. Copyright Information
  3. Contents
  4. Post-organic? The cultural dimensions of organic farming in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales
    Hazel Ferguson and Mike Evans, with the Northern Rivers Landed Histories Research Group
    Abstract

    Organic food is enjoying increased mainstream acceptance, and the market growth that comes with that, but as a consequence has been subject to scrutiny over its ability to deliver the environmental and social benefits it is sometimes seen to embody. This article responds to the limited space thus far afforded to farmers’ voices in the literature on this topic. Using an innovative case study approach and focusing on four farms in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, each with their own experiences of organics, we explore how farmers understand both the growth and nature of organic farming systems. We discuss organics as ‘generative metaphor’ in these farmers’ narratives, operating at the intersections between farmer agency, local places, culture, and forms of social organisation, and global discourses of alterity, ecology, and sustainability. While their stories describe a considerable opening of organic farming in recent years, contrasting this with earlier defenses of the classification standard in the face of cultural and economic marginalisation, providing an alternative to conventional food remains central to farmers’ descriptions of their place in the food system.

    Keywords
    Alternative food, organic farming, food movements, community resilience, narrativity
  5. Backyard and Community Gardening in the Urban Philippines: A case study from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan
    Ty Matejowsky
    Abstract

    This paper examines recent efforts to promote fruit and vegetable consumption within a provincial Philippine city. In August 2009, the municipal government of Urdaneta launched a comprehensive backyard/community gardening program to address ongoing problems related to community health and household self-sufficiency. Paying particular attention to the sometimes complex interplay between the political objectives of municipal government officials and the subsistence and economic needs of everyday citizens, this work adds ethnographic depth to current understanding about (1) how issues of hunger, food insecurity, and inadequate diet are addressed in developing urban areas, and (2) how these responses variously figure into matters of household self-sufficiency and well-being. Such analysis not only provides new insights into problems now increasingly encountered in cities across the Global South, it also elucidates the efficacy of those strategies that encourage grassroots participation in getting local urbanites to produce and eat more fruits and vegetables.

    Keywords
    Urban gardening, Philippines, Global South, nutrition
  6. Bangalow Baskets: An image enhancing case study
    Peter Wynn-Moylan
    Abstract

    The article explores destination image brand building and maintenance processes in a case study of Bangalow village. It describes Bangalow’s transformation from a shabby highway drive-through to a successful heritage tourism destination and desirable residential village through a long term Mainstreet project led by Professor Henry Sanoff supported by dedicated local organisations. The resultant evolution of the village to heritage status with a global reputation for high quality food produce is related to its destination image creation. The case study examines how an unusual link between art and a Farmers’ Market enhanced the image of both the food producers and the village for the visitor demographic sought by the village’s retailers and producers.

    Keywords
    Bangalow, destination image, farmers’ market, art, tourism
  7. Invasive Opportunities and Eco-Culinary Activism: The harvesting, marketing and consumption of Tasmanian sea urchins
    Philip Hayward
    Abstract

    Since the 1960s the Heliocidaris erythrogramma (purple sea urchin), which has been observed to be endemic to the Tasmanian coastline since the earliest stages of European visitation and settlement, has been joined by a second species, the long-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii). The new, invasive species has been significantly disruptive of Tasmanian marine environments and has been the subject of numerous research projects and, more recently, ventures aimed to limit its spread. This article addresses the role of the sea urchin in 20th-21st Century cuisine, fisheries and aquaculture in Tasmania and the manner in which consumption of the invasive sea urchin has been promoted as a strategy to control its spread in coastal waters. The article discusses some of the complexities of such eco-culinary activism with particular regard to the Tasmanian Museum of Old and New Art’s ‘Eat The Problem’ event in Summer 2012–13 and, in parallel, evaluates the extent to which sea urchin consumption might be developed as a facet of culinary tourism in the state.

    Keywords
    Sea urchins, Tasmania, invasive species, eco-culinary activism
  8. Capital Region Farmers’ Market: Navigating the local
    Cathy Hope and Joanna Henryks
    Abstract

    The rise of interest in local food has led to the proliferation of a range of food distribution alternatives including farmers’ markets within which ‘local’ is often embedded in market governance and practice. A review of the literature demonstrates that local is a highly contested and nuanced concept through which multiple economic, social, environmental, political and psychological criteria intersect (La Trobe, 2001). Farmers’ market managers juggle these many and, at times competing criteria. This paper explores the link between the governance of the Capital Region Farmers’ Market (CRFM) and the way in which the management committee enact the local through operational practices. The CRFM, located in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), is the largest farmers’ market in Australia, generating AU $20 million per annum for the local economy as well as a range of direct and indirect benefits for producers, consumers and the ACT community. The results indicate that the CRFM management committee understood the value of local as a point of differentiation from competitors and ensured that local was embedded in market governance and practice. However, the manifold criteria of local also provided the committee with the flexibility to meet competing needs of all three guiding ‘pillars’ of the CRFM: farmers, consumers and community.

    Keywords
    Farmers’ market, local, Rotary International, non-profit.
  9. Food Waste in Australian Households: Why does it occur?
    David Pearson, Michelle Minehan, and Rachael Wakefield-Rann
    Abstract

    Food waste has become a major issue, adding to environmental degradation, economic impoverishment and social tensions around the world. This article examines what is currently known in the literature about why food waste occurs at the household level. After reviewing what is known about the relevant demographic characteristics and broad behavioural drivers, these findings are applied to examine the potential causes of, and solutions to, household food waste in Australia. This research suggests that high levels of food waste may emerge from the interaction of activities associated with planning, shopping, storage, preparation and consumption of food. The literature also indicates the significance of behavioural drivers such as: lack of awareness; lack of negative economic impact; high quality standards; insufficient purchase planning; over-purchasing and cooking; lack of kitchen skills; high sensitivity to food safety; and changing meal plans. Although many of the findings presented have emerged from studies across numerous cultural and economic contexts, and are therefore necessarily general, they provide a valuable indication of some common drivers of household food waste. As such, this article provides a basis for the development of other more context specific investigations and interventions into the prevention of household food waste.

    Keywords
    household food waste, behavioural drivers, consumers, Australia
  10. Bibere Vinum Suae Regionis: Why Whian Whian wine
    Moya Costello and Steve Evans
    Abstract

    Bibere vinum suae regionis, to drink wine from one’s own region, attempts to match the neologism ‘locavore’, local eater, with one for wine. We compare drinking in two regions: the surrounds of Adelaide, South Australia, an area of international repute for wine-making, and the subtropical Northern Rivers, on the far north coast of New South Wales—not a diverse wine-growing area because of high rainfall and humidity that produce grape-destroying mildew/fungus, but bordering a number of ‘new’ wine areas. Issues under consideration include distribution and access, choice and cost. We also survey the reasons for consuming wine in particular, and consuming it locally, including sustaining economies, environments, societies, cultures and identities, and investigate the idea of the local per se.

    Keywords
    wine, local, terroir, Adelaide, Northern Rivers
  11. About the Authors

Locale: n2, 2012

  1. Cover
  2. Copyright Information
  3. Contents
  4. Introduction
    Susie Khamis
  5. Tasting Territory: Imagining place in Australian native food packaging
    Charlotte Craw
    Abstract

    One aspect of the contemporary interest in ‘local’ foods has been the appearance of products based on Australian native plants. In this article, I explore the place identities presented in the packaging of these products. How are the intimate connections between land and ingredients implicit in the idea of native foods represented in contemporary commodity culture? And how are these relationships between food and place situated within larger discourses of national identity and territory? While native foods present a unique and potent way of engaging with local foods, I argue that the consumer culture of native foods reinforces a naturalised conception of place that un-reflexively conflates the local with the national. Place is conceived of in largely natural terms, ignoring historical and social factors, including, crucially, the Indigenous Australian traditional knowledge on which native food production rests.

    Keywords
    Food, place, local, nationalism, native Australian, terroir
  6. Sotetsu Heritage: Cycads, sustenance and cultural landscapes in the Amami islands
    Philip Hayward and Sueo Kuwahara
    Abstract

    This article addresses the cultural heritage and, thereby, socio-historical perception of the sotetsu plant (cycas revoluta) in Tokunoshima, the Amami islands and the broader Ryukyu archipelago of southern Japan. The article addresses the plant’s function as an emergency/resilience food resource, a field windbreak, a defining feature of a particular ‘cultural landscape’ and a potent symbol within Ryukyu history. While the Amami islands are (now) part of Japan, the article views them from a Pacific history viewpoint, as an underdeveloped archipelagic annex to a major, densely-populated regional power and whose use of botanical and other primary resources has much in common with the islands of Oceania, not the least in terms of the “derivative vulnerabilities” (Lewis, 2009) arising from Amami’s history of colonial disruption and economic exploitation. The discussions advanced in the article engage with the sotetsu’s nature as a food source, a progenitor of related ‘foodways’ and its complex role in the cultural landscape and heritage of the Amami islands and, in particular, southern Tokunoshima. The concluding section considers the heritage value and context of the plant and of the distinctive hedged 'fieldscapes' within the context of contemporary economic development.

    Keywords
    Cycad, cycas revoluta, sotetsu, Kanamizaki, Tokunoshima, Amami, emergency foods, resilience, foodways
  7. Coles, Woolworths, and the Local
    Sarah Keith
    Abstract

    Australia is home to one of the most concentrated supermarket sectors in the world, and the practices of the ‘big two’ supermarkets have far-reaching consequences on food production and retail at the local level. This article surveys key issues in Coles and Woolworths’ effect on the food retail and production sectors, and looks at how these supermarkets have adapted in recent years to concerns and criticisms, as well as recent moves towards addressing these criticisms. Over the past decade, several important shifts have occurred which suggest an evolving consumer consciousness and increasing discontent with the corporatised supermarket sector. A primary concern is lack of competition, which reduces incentives to keep prices low for consumers; furthermore, these supermarkets have also been charged with wielding substantial buyer power, resulting in lower prices paid to suppliers. Quality of produce is a further issue, while the rise of private label goods such as milk is concerning for both suppliers and retail competitors. This discontent has led to an ideological opposition to these supermarkets, resulting in public campaigns to prevent their entry into towns and suburbs. Finally, new developments by Coles and Woolworths to improve their reputations, although still at an early stage, are examined.

    Keywords
    retail, supermarket, local, Coles, Woolworths
  8. Exploring the Market Potential of 'Local' in Food Systems
    David Pearson and Alison Bailey
    Abstract

    Local food initiatives create a niche market in many developed countries where consumer choice is being met with an expanding offering in both conventional as well as complementary retail outlets. Supermarkets in conjunction with the food service sector currently dominate food sales and consumption, and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future. However, the local food sector offers an opportunity for implementing niche marketing strategies for many businesses. Local food activities tend to be relatively independent activities and a clearer definition for “local” food would assist in consolidating this important component of the food system. Related to this, consumers would benefit from the establishment of some form of assurance system for the ‘localness’ of food. In the UK, with its well established local food market, farmers’ markets, farm shops and box schemes are currently having the largest impact in terms of total sales. Hence further research is required to confirm that support for similar business ventures in Australia would be a viable strategy for strengthening its local food systems.

    Keywords
    Local food, food production, food consumption
  9. A Pie Cart Story: The longevity of a vernacular fast food eatery
    Lindsay Neill, Claudia Bell, and Nigel Hemmington
    Abstract

    Roadside caravans selling hot meals—'pie carts'—originated in New Zealand during the Depression era of the early 1930s. They were popular providers of fast food in small towns between the 1950s and 1970s. Auckland pie cart the White Lady still operates, and has been continuously in business since 1948. It may now be regarded as a culinary institution. This ethnographic study examines the endurance of the White Lady pie cart against intermittent opposition by city authorities, and vigorous competition by American-style fast-food chains. It survives as a successful business, as well a focal point for citizens' affectionate nostalgia. In a city where the average timeframe of a hospitality operation is just 18 months, to many residents the White Lady has achieved the status of city icon. Its longevity is attributed to its location, convenience, reliability, authenticity, quirky charm, and its operation as a family business. The proprietors take pride in their long-standing and dogged tenacity against the dynamics of a changing city.

    Keywords
    Fast food, longevity, hospitality, pie cart, streetscape
  10. From Bananas To Biryani: The creation of Woolgoolga Curryfest as an expression of community
    Lisa Milner and Mandy Hughes
    Abstract

    Since the 1940s, a Punjabi Sikh subculture has been a part of the community of Woolgoolga, just north of Coffs Harbour in northern coastal New South Wales (NSW). This began with their relocation to Woolgoolga to farm bananas. Today the area boasts the largest regional Sikh settlement in Australia, and although banana farming continues to be an important aspect of Sikh life, these original families and other newcomers have diversified and branched out into other aspects of community existence. In an area with a growing regional population and an economy largely centred on food production, services and tourism, the 'regional festival culture' has been embraced as a way to reflect and create notions of community, as well as attract interest from visitors drawn to the multicultural township. This article considers the festival as not only a case study in the expansion of regional food cultures, but also identifies Curryfest as a conduit for the promotion of Woolgoolga as a unique and diverse community. It is important to note that definitions of 'community' will always be contested, as will issues over who has the right to represent a particular community. Understandings of multiculturalism can also be visited here but we suggest that it is important not to dismiss the official project of multiculturalism in Australia as being superficial and of limited value. The social significance of food demands that any exchange of culinary practices should in fact be given recognition as an important and potentially powerful social force.

    Keywords
    Woolgoolga, Community, Sikh, festival, food
  11. Make Or Break: Building chefs in Sydney food media
    Nancy Lee
    Abstract

    The Sydney dining community is joined in a number of ways—through food, through the online information-sharing portal Twitter and through the food media. This article discusses these connections within the dining community and the ways in which they contribute to the industry’s perception of dining and of Sydney chefs. In particular, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and weekly pullout magazine Good Living are significant indicators of the direction of Sydney dining and Sydney chefs. I assess the methods through which these titles contribute to the evolution of Sydney dining. Food critics also act as ‘gatekeepers’ to this scene. While they do not direct what goes on in Sydney kitchens, the influence of Sydney food critics affects how diners perceive Sydney chefs. Certain chefs are seen in contemporary culture as celebrity figures built by the media. As a result, the ways in which we understand food and chefs are changing. In one-on-one interviews with notable chefs in Sydney and through considering the effects of cultural capital amongst the dining community, I present a discussion on the impacts of Sydney food media and how they build the profiles of Sydney chefs in order to fuel what I call the ‘chef economy’.

    Keywords
    Sydney chefs, identity, food, media
  12. About the Authors

Locale: n1, 2011

  1. Cover
  2. Copyright Information
  3. Contents
  4. Introduction
    Susie Khamis
  5. When do Regional Dishes Give Rise to a Regional Cuisine?: Some thoughts from Southern New Zealand
    Helen Leach
    Abstract

    Confirming the status of certain dishes popularly accepted as ‘regional’ proves particularly difficult when hard evidence is sought from localised cookbooks. Attempts to track the recipes for such dishes back in time add a further dimension to the problem. Because regional cuisines are necessarily founded on regional dishes, their status becomes problematic in turn. This article considers the criteria by which certain dishes are deemed ‘regional’ (by regulation, professional judgment or popular association); and, by examining several dishes widely associated with New Zealand cuisine, shows how such labeling can conceal (or at least obscure) more culturally nuanced and complex histories. The examination of dishes through their proxies, recipes, shows that an evolutionary approach, combined with the concept of the culinary tradition, offers a clearer perspective on the phenomenon of localisation than the ahistorical concept of a regional cuisine.

    Keywords
    regional dishes, regional cuisine, cultural evolution, culinary tradition, Southland, New Zealand, Euroterroirs
  6. A Universal Comfort: Tea in the Sydney penal settlement
    Jacqueline Newling
    Abstract

    John E. Crowley opens his paper ‘The Sensibility of Comfort’ with an observation of the English from Spaniard, Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella. Writing in 1808, Espriella notes:

    There are two words in their language on which these people pride themselves, and which they say cannot be translated. Home is the one, by which an Englishman means his house… The other word is comfort; it means all the enjoyments and privileges of home; they have enjoyments which we never dream of (1999: 1).

    As far removed from ‘home’ as an English person could ever imagine, one form of ‘comfort’ for the first settlers of New South Wales could be found in something as simple as a cup of tea. The First Fleet arrived from England in 1788 with a two years’ supply of salt provisions but tea and sugar were not included in the government rations. Among the native vegetation around Port Jackson (now Sydney) that was deemed edible by the European settlers, one species in particular stood out from the others, according to extant records from the time: smilax glyciphylla, a native sarsparilla, which the colonists named ‘sweet tea’. By 1788 tea was entrenched in British culture and rather than being the luxury item it had previously been, was regarded by many as a necessity. More importantly, for the early colonists, in an unknown place in uncertain times, sweet tea provided a necessary ‘comfort’ and was regarded as a health-giving restorative. According to First Fleeter, Captain Watkin Tench, this indigenous tea alternative “was drank universally” (1793/1998: 18).

    This article began as a gastronomic investigation into ‘sweet tea’ from the colonists’ perspective. That is, with an interest in why we eat what we eat, or in this case, drink. It documents the Europeans’ attitudes towards this native resource as a tea. By examining contemporary letters, diaries and journals that refer to sweet tea, several key points in the broader gastronomic context emerge. First, the investigation provides fresh insight into the colonists’ engagement with their new environment, exposing differences across the social tiers. Second, the importance of tea as a cultural entity is evident, as a marker of civility among the higher social orders and a necessary comfort in the lower social stratum. In this context tea is indicative of the extent that colonists, including convicts, maintained a right to ‘comfort’, despite Port Jackson being a penal settlement, in providing themselves with at least one enjoyment and privilege from home: drinking tea.

    Keywords
    Convicts, First Fleet, comfort, native food, tea
  7. Resisting Ages-Old Fixity as a Factor in Wine Quality: Colonial wine tours and Australia’s early wine industry
    Julie McIntyre
    Abstract

    A leading Australian wine writer agrees with wine scientists that it is possible to make wines “that taste of where they’re from” but argues that Australian growers focus more on regionality than the micro-sites of terroir (Allen, 2010: 19–20). It is ironic, then, that the most successful Australian export wines are cross-regional blends with consistent taste rather than aroma, bouquet or flavour discernable from discrete places (Banks et al., 2007: 33). Some Australian fine wine producers see this subversion of the perceived value of regionality as a barrier to greater industry success and are focusing on connection to soil as an indicator of wine quality; identifying family links with “patches of dirt” to emphasis the heritage of their wines (Lofts, 2010: vx). But my argument here is that the Australian industry is still so young compared with Old World wine regions that a seemingly natural balance of wine and place—exemplified in the notion of terroir—is still taking shape. The genesis of the Australian wine industry lay in movement rather than fixity as colonists brought plant stock, and vine growing and wine making knowledge, from the Old World to the New.

    Keywords
    wine history, Australian colonial history, Australian agricultural history, environmental history
  8. Unearthing Paradox: Organic food and its tensions
    Joanna Henryks and Bethaney Turner
    Abstract

    Consumer behaviour in the organic market has been the focus of numerous studies. However the research does not produce consistent results and fails to explain why around 60% of consumers switch between organic and conventional food on a regular basis. This article explores this ‘switching’ behaviour and identifies the need to look beyond reasons such as cost and availability. It then highlights inconsistencies that exist in this market and explores these using the concept of paradox. The aim is to provide insight into the complexity and ambiguity of consumers’ experiences in the arena of organic food. This is done through three studies exploring different perspectives on consumers and organic food in Canberra.

    Keywords
    Organics, Canberra, consumer behaviour, ethical consumption
  9. Salmon Aquaculture, Cuisine and Cultural Disruption in Chiloé
    Philip Hayward
    Abstract

    La Isla Grande de Chiloé, located off the southern coast of Chile, is the second largest island on the Pacific coast of South America. 2002 census figures identified the population of the island and its smaller outliers (henceforth referred to collectively as Chiloé) as close to 155,000, representing approximately 1% of Chile’s overall population. An undeveloped regional ‘backwater’ for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Chiloé has risen to play an increasingly prominent role in the national economy since the establishment of commercial salmon aquaculture in the region in the early 1980s. This article examines the environmental, social and cultural impacts of the salmon industry in Chiloé with particular regard to regional food culture. Assessing these impacts, the article also analyses the manner in which local artists and writers have deployed traditional folkloric figures and motifs to critique the industry. In these regards, the article addresses the tensions and intersections between two contrasting impulses: the modernisation/industrialisation that has resulted from the region’s incorporation within a global salmon aquaculture enterprise; and a more cautious local engagement with modernity that attempts to value and sustain aspects of pre-modern Chilote culture in contemporary contexts.

    Keywords
    Chiloé, salmon, aquaculture/mariculture, cuisine, tourism, folklore, visual arts
  10. Putting Down the Hangi: Upholding the mana of the marae
    Tony Whincup and Ross Hemera
    Abstract

    A hangi, or traditional method of underground cooking using steam from heated stones, is historical and contemporary, symbolic and utilitarian, communal and individual; and reaffirms cultural values and beliefs. It is a central and vital component in the maintenance of tikanga (Maori cultural customs and practices). Within the ever-changing technologies of contemporary life the hangi adapts and survives while maintaining its core cultural meaning. This photo essay records the established practice on an urban marae. Although traditionally procured materials of wood and stone were not available the ‘waste’ from contemporary life—old sheets of corrugated iron, wooden produce palettes, the couplings of discarded railway lines and yesterday’s newspapers—were brought in as alternatives in order to carry on the practice of ‘putting down the hangi’. This adaptation speaks much for the cultural significance of the hangi and its dialectical relationship in establishing and maintaining a sense of identity for both the individual and the community.

    The pleasure and pride experienced in producing a hangi is not so much about individual involvement but rather in contributing to the community. The hangi is a part of an encompassing practice of upholding mana (the supernatural force in a person, group of people, place or object) and manaakitanga (prestige through hosting and hospitality) that is inextricably a part of an underpinning Maori worldview. This article focuses upon the hangi as a part of the powhiri process in which manuhiri, or visitors, become one with the tangata whenua, ‘the people of the land’, with reference to a particular hangi that took place in Maraeroa Marae, Porirua in December 2009.

    Keywords
    hangi, tikanga, marae, marae atea, tikanga, mana
  11. ‘Paradise’, Euroa: Australia’s first frog farm
    Bernadette Hince
    Abstract

    In the 1930s Henry Willson and Sydney Jacka, two young men from Euroa in central Victoria, imported some live specimens of Rana catesbeiana (the American bullfrog) to farm for edible frog legs. Despite the arrival of two separate batches of frogs from the United States, efforts to establish a farm were unsuccessful. Only the year before, another anuran—the cane toad (Rhinella marina)—was imported into Queensland as a biological control for native beetle pests on sugar cane. The cane toad was overly successful in adapting to new surroundings. This article gives a brief history of the biology and use of frogs, especially when used as food, before exploring the impetus for Australia’s first frog farm at Euroa. Today, wild or farmed frog legs are an important diet item in many countries, but not in Australia. Extinctions and diseases of frogs and toads in some parts of the world—including Australia’s rainforests—are of great concern to biologists and ecologists. Introductions of the American bullfrog and cane toad have been linked here and elsewhere with the spread of disease and with frog population declines. The article concludes with some historically informative recipes for frog legs and related dishes.

    Keywords
    Euroa, food history, frog legs, frog farm, Rana catesbeiana
  12. About the Authors