Sneak preview of the speakers at the Local Food event on June 20

Get your hands on some tickets here.

Keynote Speaker: Bruce Pascoe, Indigenous writer – We’re excited to have Bruce Pascoe joining us to set the scene for our event, with his insights into traditional farming practices in the region by local indigenous communities. Bruce is an Indigenous writer of Yuin, Bunurong & Tasmanian heritage. His book Dark Emu Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? was awarded the NSW Premier’s ‘Book of the Year’ in 2016.

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Thanks to Milkwood Permaculture for the image

Local speakers (*some are TBC who exactly will be speaking)

  • Cafresco Organics Farm, Koo Wee Rup – Maurie & Maria Cafra and Brian Edwards will share insights about their successful transition to organic certification and how they target local markets and support other local growers and enterprises.
  • Buckley Park Community Farm, Fish Creek – Hear from Juneen Schultz about this blossoming local community farm and vegie box enterprise based in the Fish Creek community, and what is possible in the future.
  • Prom Coast Food Co-op – Get the low-down on this exciting new local co-op in Southern Gippsland straight from the source. Hear from co-founders Amelia Bright, Sally Ruljancich & Bronwyn Davis – representing Amber Creek Farm & Sawmill (Fish Creek), Colin & Sally’s Organic Lamb & Beef (Dollar) & Fish Creek respectively.
  • Mirboo Farm, Meeniyan Garlic Festival and Meeniyan Store – Kirsten Jones and family tell us about their passion and involvement in the local food system, sharing challenges, successes and how they make it all work!
  • Bass Coast Landcare Network – Joel Geoghegan presents on Landcare’s work supporting new and existing growers and community food projects in the Bass Coast region.
  • Grow Lightly Food Hub and local grower profile, Korumburra – The Grow Lightly team talk about their role in the distribution of fresh, clean, local produce and grower Ray Fallu shares what it’s like to be a small grower supplying the Food Hub.
  • Bass River Dairies & Bassine Specialty Cheeses, Bass – Learn how Glen Bisognin and Kaye Courtney manage a successful dairy farm producing its own milk, cream and cheese, as well as a popular on-farm cafe store.
  • Phillip Island Community Orchard (PICO), Phillip Island – Adrian James gives us an overview of the thriving community orchard and garden and insights into what makes this initiative a success.
  • Wattlebank Park Farm and Farm Education Centre, Wattlebank – Nadine Verboon talks about accessing local markets and the evolution of the education centre on the farm.
  • Oak and Swan Sourdough, Mardan – Betsy Evans shares her inspirational story as a small local producer and her experiences selling locally.
  • Kilmorack Farm (pastured eggs), Ranceby – Jo McLeay talks about her commitment to producing pastured, organic eggs and her passion for regenerative farming, and gives perspectives on free range egg farming across the Southern Gippsland region.
  • Golden Creek Olives, Fish Creek – Lyn Jamieson, olive oil grower and producer, talks about how they have successfully reached local markets, and the benefits of collaboration through the Southern Gippsland Olives partnership.

Bruce Pascoe coming to speak in Korumburra on June 20

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe is coming to speak at Korumburra for the Making Local Food Work: Southern Gippsland Local Food Event hosted by Grow Lightly on June 20. Bruce will speak and then there will be 12 other speakers who will have approximately 6 and a half minutes each to share their stories. Watch out for their profiles being featured here. But for now it is Bruce Pascoe’s turn

Did you know that Aboriginal people built houses, built dams, sowed seeds, irrigated and tilled the land, altered the course of rivers, sewed their clothes, and constructed a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity? No, I didn’t either. How could Australia have missed this information about Aboriginal agriculture?

Bruce Pascoe puts forward a compelling argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gather label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians.  The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing- behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. ‘If we look at the evidence presented to us by the explorers and explain to our children that Aboriginal people did build houses, did build dams, did sow, irrigate and till the land, did alter the course of rivers, did sew their clothes, and did construct a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity, then it is likely we will admire and love our land all the more.’

Born in Richmond, Victoria, in 1947 Bruce Pascoe is a school teacher, deck hand, barman, farmer, Director of Commonwealth Australian Studies project, editor, publisher, and works in Indigenous language retrieval. He published and edited Australian Short Stories quarterly magazine for 16 years, and was joint winner (with David Foster) of Australian Literature Award (1999) and winner of the Radio National Short Story Competition (1998). With 29 books to his name, including the 2013 Prime Minister’s Literary award-winning Fog a Dox, Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu won the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Book of the Year. This is in spite of the fact that, as he says, his family denied their own Aboriginality for a long time.

Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early colonists that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required.

Using early contemporary records and journals as well as other evidence, Pascoe argues pre-colonial Aboriginal people were not hunter-gatherers, but had a democracy that ensured peace across a continent which was extensively farmed, skilfully managed and deeply loved.

According to the judges’ official comments, “Dark Emu reveals enormous Aboriginal achievement in governance and agriculture, and restores these to their rightful place at the epicentre of Australian history”.

I am so excited for this opportunity to hear Bruce. I loved his book and can’t wait to learn more about food that is local to this area and enjoyed by the original inhabitants of this land.

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