A NEW project with the aim of promoting fresh, healthy, local food in Baw Baw kicked off [in June].
Above: ABC Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis joined volunteers at the Warragul Community Garden for the Baw Baw Food Initiative launch.
First published in the 26 June 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. All dates relative to then.
The Baw Baw Food Movement was launched on Monday [15 June] with well known ABC Gardening Australia host Costa Georgiadis touring the region as part of a day-long community consultation.
Starting at Longwarry Primary School, where Costa talked to students about healthy eating, the launch team travelled to the Growing Together Baw Baw Warragul Community Garden.
There, Costa spoke of the importance of locally grown produce and floated the idea of a more regular farmers’ market in Warragul.
Next it was off to the Fairview Retirement Village where Costa planted a dwarf mandarin tree, and then on to Warragul Regional College to inspect the students’ gardens.
Above: Costa easing stick insect suspicions at the Warragul Community Garden. All photos by William PJ Kulich.
After visiting a number of local primary producers and retailers, Costa joined a panel discussion at Vin Rowe Farm machinery with Vicki Jones of Mountain View Organic Dairy, Tamsin Carvan of
Tamsin’s Table, and Liz Clay and Lynda Hoare of Baw Baw Organics.
The forum discussed local food efforts and ways Baw Baw can be best developed into a food bowl for the region.
Nick Rowe of Vin Rowe Farm Machinery told event organisers his business supported the movement because “we are all a part of the food chain.”
“Although we deal mainly with large food producers, as our business evolves we have an increasing involvement with smaller operators as well as with organic farmers such as Baw Baw Organics.
“We have a role to play in helping communities access high quality, fresh produce from their local growers with the best suited, best serviced agricultural equipment.”
Above: speaking on food health at the Warragul Community Garden.
A large number of people packed the Warragul Community Garden for Costa’s visit. After speaking to much of the crowd individually, Costa delivered a speech in which he advocated for more local food consumption, especially given the rich farming soil of West Gippsland.
“You have soil down here so good, if I stood in it my beard would triple!” he said.
“Our food is a living thing and we need to turn [ourselves] around. We need to eat less out of packaging.
“We still call packaged food ‘food,’ and I don’t think that’s right.”
Costa suggested a twice monthly farmers’ market – twice as frequent as the Warragul Farmers’ Market is at the moment – would allow people to choose locally grown food that would last two weeks.
“We drive our food choices every time we open our mouths,” he said.
“Support your local farmers.”
Above: juggling lemons for a fan at the Warragul Community Garden.
Costa also touched on chemical exposure, taking aim at cosmetics as much as pre-packaged food.
“We eat not just with our mouths, but with our bodies,” he said.
“You coming [to this community garden] is a massive vote for the future of food.”
Costa told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the support for the Baw Baw Food Movement was impressive and a good sign of engagement.
“For me this is something of national significance,” he said.
“The undercurrent is bubbling to the surface, and something like the Baw Baw Food Movement is saying ‘hey, let’s look at our food and ask the real questions and get to the bottom of local, fresh, living produce.’
“To see all these people turn up today at the community garden [is fantastic].
“I think what I love most is that everyone is here. There’s little toddlers, there’s seniors, there’s handicap and disabled kids being given the same access and privilege as every other person in the community.
“When a movement drags everyone with it, you know it’s not just got ticker, but real integrity.”
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