Locale n5, 2015

  1. Cover

  2. Copyright Information

  3. Contents

  4. Community Gardens And Farmers’ Markets: Exploring representations of food culture in the Illawarra

    Paula Arvela

    Over recent years, farmers’ markets and community gardens have increasingly become a feature of the urban landscape and a popular representation of food culture. In endorsing the increasingly popular paddock-to-plate ethos, they purportedly promote sustainable food systems thus contributing to the reduction of food miles, increase of food security and building of strong communities. For these reasons, farmers’ markets and community gardens have become significant mechanisms for the expansion of local food systems, regional socio-cultural development, and local economic revitalisation. The Illawarra, in regional NSW, has embraced them wholeheartedly. Since the 1980s the region has experienced a transition to a post-industrial knowledge-based economy, which has been accompanied by profound demographic changes. Using mixed methods of research, this study evaluates how the Illawarra’s recent socio-cultural shifts find expression in the local food culture by examining how community/school gardens and farmers’ markets have impacted on local food systems. The overall findings are suggestive of a socio-economic rift between the Illawarra’s northern and southern suburbs, which are represented in the way social agents enact practices of food consumption and production. In the affluent north, farmers’ markets cater for foodie communities favouring practices of stylised consumption of food; by contrast, the ethnic-diverse south pragmatically uses community/school gardens as sites of food production and social empowerment.

    Illawarra, region, community gardens, farmers’ markets, food culture, food systems, social change
  5. “Sunshine Has A Taste, You Know”: Using regional food memoirs to develop values-based food practices

    Donna Lee Brien and Margaret McAllister

    Alongside providing a source of entertainment, the growth in food media of all kinds reflects a genuine consumer interest in knowing more about food. While there is culinary information available that serves to educate in relation to food-related practices (shopping, food preparation, cooking, eating out) in ways that can serve to build confidence and enthusiasm, we propose that, in order for new food practices to be not only adopted, but sustained, consumers need to hone and develop personal values that will complement their technical and practical knowledge. This is the marrying of evidence-based and values-based practice that makes for sustained change in personal habits and practices (Fulford 2008). This discussion proposes that regional food memoirs – and specifically those by food producers – can arouse interest and curiosity, build knowledge in regional food systems, and connect consumers to food producers and production. This, we propose, can activate consumers to develop and embed the kind of learning that reinforces a belief in the need to be an ‘authentic consumer’. An authentic consumer is one who knows themselves, their own needs and desires, and makes choices consciously rather than automatically. It follows that an authentic food consumer is engaged with their local food systems and aware of the challenges that confront these systems. A small, but indicative range of memoirs of Australian regional food memoirs, are profiled to examine values, such as being empathic, respectful, compassionate and altruistic, which enhance the possibility for a person to become an authentic consumer.

    Values-based knowledge, food memoir, food writing
  6. Myanmar To Coffs Harbour: The role of food in regional refugee settlement

    Mandy Hughes

    This paper is based on preliminary findings from research focusing on the sociocultural food experiences of Myanmar refugees (settlers) in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. This qualitative, ethnographic study draws on ideas from anthropology and sociology to examine the factors that influence food choices for this particular group. The idea of ‘food as memory’ is well established and this is especially relevant for refugees who have fled their homelands with little more than ‘stories’ and ‘experiences’ from the past. Growing and cooking food (‘traditional’ foods in particular) can allow a settler to reconnect with their past and reassert their cultural identity, which is highly significant for a population experiencing extreme cultural dislocation. Initial interviews with key informants have revealed some of the food challenges faced by this group, but they have also highlighted the special role of food in fostering ‘community’ and how this is connected to attaining a sense of well-being. Gardening has also been identified as significant in promoting and strengthening identity, as well as providing a means of income and a form of ‘therapy’.

    Myanmar, Burma, refugee, food, Coffs Harbour
  7. Manaakitanga And Māori Food: Theoretical perspectives of advancement

    Lindsay Neill, David Williamson, and Tracy Berno

    This conceptual paper proposes a theoretical framework designed to enhance the reputation of Māori food within the culinascape of Aotearoa New Zealand. We consider the politics of edibility and identity, especially how edibility and acceptance of cuisine confers acceptance or not of New Zealand’s tangata whenua “local people, aborigines, natives” (Ryan, 2001: 274), or Māori. In this regard, we write cognisant of Morris’s (2010) The Politics of Palatability: On the Absence of Māori Restaurants, but theoretically extend Morris’s (2010) position recommending how Derridean, Gadamerian and Māori constructs of manaakitanga (“hospitality”; Ngata, 1993: 209), can coalesce to provide a new way forward for Māori food in Aotearoa New Zealand. Specifically, and alongside these theoretical positions, we promote that history provides Māori with a valuable template via La Varenne and the emergence of French cuisine during the reign of Louis XIV, as a way forward to recognising the importance of Māori food. We believe that the indigenous food of Māori could ultimately gain United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) heritage status. Our paper promotes this possibility.

    Manaakitanga, Māori, food, Pākehā, palatability, politics
  8. The Many Meanings of Curry: Australian constructions of Indian food

    Ian Simpson

    While curry has been constantly in the Australian consciousness, its identity has altered. First seen as a fashionable dish by the well-to-do, curry became a popular commodity taken up by middle class housewives as a practical, economical meal and then by workingmen as a hearty staple. More recently, curry restaurants have become common in suburban shopping centres and Indian cuisine is increasingly promoted as a fine dining option. Yet curry has also been viewed at times with caution and suspicion. The story of curry in Australia not only provides an illustration of the transnational flow of goods and cultural practices, but its local adaptation serves as a case study of what happens to these practices when they intersect with and respond to a local culture.

    curry, India, Australia, globalisation, transnational
  9. Community/Industry Forum: Contemporary Culinary Education and Food Systems Thinking

    1. Mary Allan
    2. Julian Bond
    3. Bernard Casavant C.C.C.
    4. Roger Haden