Welcome to Our Food System. Together, let’s build a community of conscious citizens and strong advocates for a better food system in Australia. A food system that prioritises health. A food system that nurtures the environment. A food system that is fair, resilient and viable.
The next few posts will be a series of conversations with people who are doing extraordinary things in our food system in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Here is the first conversation in a series of three with remarkable people making a difference to the way food is grown, supplied and consumed. It’s with the inspiring Joel Orchard: a small scale farmer and big future thinker.
Hi, I’m Kylie and I’m passionate about food. Where it comes from. How it’s processed and sold. Why we choose the foods we do. How food gets to us. The impact it has on our health, the environment and our social systems.
I’ve always had an interest in learning about food. I vividly remember how much I enjoyed the ‘food’ component of year eight Home Economics (sewing on the other hand was another story!), and how I subsequently chose to study Food and Nutrition, which evidently became one of my favourite subjects. Throw in a passion for wanting to work with people; it seemed like a logical choice to study Nutrition and Dietetics at university. After graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), I’ve worked for many years in the field. Starting out in the clinical setting, I soon realised how challenging it can be for individuals to change their behaviour (this applies to any behaviour) and how unsatisfying I found this. I made the move over to public health because I felt that if we focused our efforts in promoting good health and nutrition, this could have a much greater impact on the population’s health rather than just one individual at a time. I have worked for over ten years as a Public Health Nutritionist in both the public sector and in universities, on numerous projects and settings, in both Australia and the UK.
I later went onto study a Masters in Food Policy at City University in London. It was definitely one of those moments of the stars aligning when I learnt about this course. I chanced to be at a conference where Tim Lang (a well-regarded food policy researcher and academic) was one of the keynote speakers. I distinctly remember one of his key points was “Nutritionists say eat two serves of fish for good health; Environmentalists say eat less fish because world stocks are depleting”. This deeply resonated with me and so over a brief chat at lunch, he told me about the Masters course he and his colleagues delivered in London. I happened to be flying out to live in the UK days later and as the saying goes, the rest is history.
My studies culminated in writing a dissertation which analysed national food policy integration in Australia, and the architecture required to facilitate a food policy council. Fast forward five years and after growing and raising three small boys, it’s time to focus my energy on creating a wave of change in food policy in Australia towards a food system that is healthy, sustainable, resilient and fair.
On a personal note, I’m also a lover of live music and a hippy at heart. I love going to the movies by myself, usually watching an indie film or something subtitled; reading, mostly non-fiction, wandering around a gallery or drinking wine with friends.
If you’re interested in learning more about Australia’s food system you’ve come to the right place. So let’s embark on a journey unearthing what our food system is, why it needs to change for the better and ways in which this could happen.
What started out as an aspiration to be self sufficient, has evolved into a vision to grow and support young farmers into a profession that has enormous reward, alongside huge risk, immense challenges and a great deal of fulfillment. What’s more Joel can see the future in small-scale farming and has a vision for how …
The air was cool and crisp, as I set out for Deep Winter just after sunrise, eager to meet some farmers and foster a connection with those responsible for one of the most important duties on this planet, feeding people. As I drove south to Bangalow, the winter sun warmed the car and my soul, …
There is a complexity and fragility of our global food system that is hard to comprehend for most of us in the Western world. When we walk into a supermarket we are spoilt for choice. We have pretty much anything and everything available to us in a convenient location, at an affordable price, at almost …
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