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Monday 4th November saw our fifth annual hui in Auckland - our biggest yet! Over 300 people came together from all aspects of our food. Nature's most resilient systems are biodiverse, and if we want a resilient food system then there has to be room for a huge diversity of ideas, backgrounds, people and thinking. So we brought activists, financiers, researchers, farmers, restaurateurs, chefs, futurists, growers, community builders, tourism experts, and enablers onto the stage. It was confronting, enlightening, empowering and thought-provoking and the conversations and the connections made between ideas and people was amazing.
Our MC Daniel Eb wove together a beautiful summary of what was undoubtedly the most important food conversation in NZ...
Day 2 of the #FoodHui2019 was a journey through the pillars of the New Zealand Food story...
We started with inspiration from our Tangata Whenua food system. Our panel of Māori food heroes first reminded us of the visceral beauty and uniqueness of the Māori worldview. In a world desperate for authenticity and connection, it will resonate deeply. Then, they offered us an opportunity – a chance to see the struggle of Māori food sovereignty as inspiration for unbreaking the wider food system. The solutions will be the same – rebuilding local food communities, inspiring and reconnecting our tamariki, healing each other and the land through a deep commitment to biodiversity. Our great opportunity is to ground our food story in the richness of our Aotearoa, and embrace the dignity of our Tangata Whenua heritage. They also offered us a challenge – are we ready for a partnership with Māori? We have to earn the right to tell the Tangata Whenua story. That means having the courage to honestly confront the failures of the system that got us here - the drive to dominate people and land, colonialism, social breakdown. Our great food story journey will fail unless we start from a place of humility.
Our 'Future Food' panel then told us what our global customers want. They posed the question – what will ‘good’ food mean in the future? They issued another challenge - to be an extraordinary food-producing nation, to sell extraordinary products, we have to do extraordinary things.
Our 'Food Resilience' panel told us why schools need kitchens; an analogy for our lack of food resilient infrastructure nationally. We never thought about putting kitchens in schools, just like we never thought of building social networks centred around food, education platforms to inspire health and connection in our tamariki or localising food production to make us stronger in crisis. The great challenges ahead compel us to come together and build a new and better system.
Our 'Culinary Tourism' panel gave us confidence in our food story. They gave the outsiders perspective on how our ingredients, rituals, hospitality, environment and sense of Kaitiakitanga mesh to create something special. They challenged us to truly articulate what we celebrate, so that the world can celebrate it with us.
Our 'Taste the Regions' panel showed us how pride in our regions will be the engine that drives our food story. It's the place that brings it all together. Our original food stories, our farmers, establishments, events and food experience heartland. The future comes from this place.
Finally, our 'Regenerative Agriculture' panel painted a vivid picture of what the solutions will look like. We heard from dyed-in-the-wool Kiwi farmers who have chosen to confront the failures of our system with optimism, enthusiasm and action. They are embracing a new and better way of growing that places our environment and he tangata at its core. They left us with a deep sense of hope, that positive action and regeneration is not just possible, but inevitable.
Day 2 of the 2019 Food Hui was about a team coming together. We all feel, innately, the power and pull of food as a force for positive change. Our communities, country and world need us now, to stand up and lead the way.
To see more action from the day check out our November newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/0a1e6af816d5/eatnzinnyc-1178767
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