Yesterday we held the final meeting (at least in this incarnation) of the Food Matters group that has been running for the past few months, with monthly gatherings of interested people to explore food and the food system together.
We had 4 sessions on different aspects of the food system; the first on food production, then food processing, retailing and finally on taking action on food issues. The final session was originally going to be on food consumption issues, but the energy of activism was strong in the group, and so we went with that. At the end of session 4 we ran out of time to work out what we wanted to do next, so we planned for an extra meeting, which was yesterday.
We had a great turn out of regular attendees, many of them active in the community in one way or another. Food brings out the passion in people, and we had good robust discussions about different aspects of the food system yesterday as in all the previous sessions.
The main purpose though was to see if people wanted to continue to meet, and how that could happen. Again there was lots of conversation and discussion, lots of energy. We had a delicious morning tea (one of the highlights of all the sessions), and heard from a young woman visiting from NSW, who is staying with one of the group members at the moment. She had been to an agricultural conference for young people in Canada, and was full of enthusiasm for action especially around food production. Eventually we got around to the business of the day – what did we want and did anyone have energy to take things forward.
It was very inspiring to see how many people put their hands up to get involved, and to take on tasks. This is a group with skills, enthusiasm and capacity. There are 6 people on the organising group, committed for the next little while, and hopeful of some kind of shared responsibility in the long run.
What I loved about the group was its openness to diverse points of view and its willingness to actively support the local actions that people are already taking or hoping to take in the future. The sharing and the hopefulness and the inspiration of everyone was really a treat. I loved all the sessions we ran – interesting speakers and great discussion, but even more I loved to process of people getting to know each other better, relationships forming or deepening, and ideas and action percolating. It was very (sorry about the obvious pun) nourishing.