Food as feast

19 Jun

I am well and truly overdue for a blog post, and I really have no excuse, except that work has been busy, life has been social, and there have been Game of Thrones episodes to watch! Don’t worry, there will be no leaking of spoiler-like information for those who haven’t seen the finale of the current season… except to say that there were a few surprises, as always :O.

This blog is about food as a feast or a celebration. I am currently working in Community Development. This is a new area of work for me and I am learning all kinds of exciting things. This is the best kind of work for me, as I thrive when I get the chance to be a little learning sponge, soaking up new information left right and centre. It’s a refreshing change from my previous role which was, shall we say, quite sedentary, a little monotonous, and very administrative. In my current role, I get to go out and visit community groups, go to workshops and seminars, and interact with people who I would not normally have the chance to meet. The role involves giving advice and support around the governance and organisation of the group, their financial obligations, funding streams, meeting other groups, discovering resources, etc. Basically we are there to help groups set themselves up properly and function effectively. There are sooooo many great groups out there doing wonderful things. Did you know that in New Zealand alone there are over 97,000 not-for-profit organisations? Pretty amazing, eh?

In my workplace, the mantra is to focus on strengths rather than problems, which has affected everything else in my life too. I like to think that I am a pretty positive person anyway, but the stuff I am learning really makes me reframe everything in a positive light. The basic idea is that, instead of focusing on the issues a community has, you instead work with the strengths that are already there and build on those. I love this idea. It seems pretty obvious, but it’s amazing how much of our news, our politics, our funding and beneficiary schemes are around deficit: focusing on what is lacking. But, so many community groups have proven that concentrating instead on what is good in their community and building on that is so much more effective.  Another vital part of this is that change is community-led, which means that the people in the community lead change, instead of getting outsiders to come in and make changes or relying on hand-outs. Accentuate the positive, etc etc,

Anyway, that’s my short blurb about what it is I’m doing just now. The reason I bring it up is because FOOD is a massive part of community development. It’s amazing how food can bring people together in all kinds of situations. It’s present at weddings, meetings, conferences, christenings, funerals, parties, markets… Again, this may seem pretty obvious, but it was really brought home to me when I attended a recent Food Hui as part of my work. The event was held at an amazing yoga/health retreat nestled into the North Shore bush. It was a whole day of learning about community markets, composting, community gardens, seed exchanges at libraries, school gardens, community facilities as food hubs, marae programmes, food festivals, food waste reduction programmes (like the one on Waiheke Island) and more . It was fascinating. Over 200 people attended and shared a delicious vegetarian meal between workshops. Food is not only fun and delicious, but it’s a social tool, a celebration, a bumping place, an excuse to have a gathering. Food is a gift, an apology, a sorry for your loss, a welcome to the world. Food brings people together. And I think that that is one of the many reasons why I love it, and why I love to write about it :).

Before writing this, I was casting my eye over some previous posts.  I looked back at a post on running and read about doing last year’s Tough Guy and Gal challenge. Well, guess what is coming up this Saturday? This time we’re competing in our own city rather than travelling for the event, so it will be a different course and therefore a new challenge. But the BFG and I still want to beat last year’s times! If anyone is keen to spend an hour or so clambering through mud, wading through water, climbing over walls, crawling under electric wires and skidding down hills, check it out. There are still spaces left for some of the events and it’s muddy good fun!

This means that it must be almost a year since I started writing this blog. Well, this is my 12th blog post, according to WordPress, meaning I have one per month to show for the last year…. just! I am starting to get into the habit of writing more regularly, so maybe I’ll be able to bump it up to one a fortnight soon…

In the meantime, let me astound you with some of my culinary creations :). Ok, so the first one isn’t mine. It was the yummo dessert the BFG and I shared at our anniversary dinner at this place in Russell, Bay of Islands. Then there’s some soft, fluffy date scones, recipe courtesy of the Edmonds cookbook, and finally an amazing raw fudge slice that contains no processed sugars, thanks once again to the amazing Chocolate Covered Katie. I can’t believe how many awesome recipes she has on her site. And while they may not be classed as entirely clean eating, these cakes/slices/biscuits, etc are certainly a lot healthier than most out there. I can’t recommend this one enough. It was YUM! Like the scones, it too contained a heap of dates… Can you see a pattern? One guess as to what the next post will be about … See ya then :).






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