After a series of hot days here in North Canterbury, my blue-tacked 2020 calendar fell off the wall yesterday. I’m taking it as a sign. We’re done! Well actually, not quite, but so close I can taste it.
In an extraordinary set of events the world has completely uprooted the premises upon which Eat New Zealand stands - from food production, local food networks, food resilience to hospitality and tourism.
By throwing everything in the air it has allowed the space for re-imagining as things land again.
You can be damn sure we’re going to be proactive in that re-imagining. What is our food story? Who gets to tell it? Who should be involved? How can our food sustain us environmentally, socially, culturally and economically? How can we rebuild what has been diminished? How can we address the inequality that has been created? How can we feed ourselves, ALL of us, to create better physical and mental health outcomes? What is it that makes this little South Pacific Island Nation truely unique on a global stage?
It was our biggest year yet.
It was a year in which we had put on hold our dreams to further a national food celebration through Feast Matariki.
But it was a year in which we created the Kaitaki; a collective of next generation story-tellers. We had our biggest Food Hui to date, we bought together our regional food legends, and initiated the first regional food tourism project with Southland. We launched Slow Fish & the idea of a Local Grain Economy for Aotearoa. We found a partnership with our government agency, MPI. We started a conversation about a National Food Strategy and launched a series of webinars and podcasts. We're still working on the opportunity to pull our food story onto a common platform where we can collect together to encourage our neighbours, citizens and visitors to truly experience New Zealand food.
I need to acknowledge the Eat New Zealand executive. Their 'day jobs' have been some of this year’s most disrupted - events, tourism, hospitality, social development. Despite this they’ve stayed the course and contributed to our biggest year yet.
We couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you for contributing, listening, spreading the word, joining the movement, being open to seeing a better food future, or simply not hitting the ‘unsubscribe’ button!
After years of 'paddling out’, it feels like momentum is creating an almighty wave upon which we can stand. Time to ride….bring on 2021.
In the meantime we wish you all a peaceful Christmas, with full plates of kai and love.