Huon Valley News

Eat Well Tasmania joins forces with Huon Valley Food Hub

The Huon Valley Food Hub reference group recently met to vision and plan for a vibrant and sustainable food hub that has the potential to make our local food system stronger and create social, health, economic and environmental benefits in the valley. Carl Saunder from Eat Well Tasmania is on the reference group and we had a chat to him during the gathering at Campo De Flori in Glen Huon.

🌱 Why are you here at this gathering today?

Eat Well Tasmania has been fortunate enough to be asked to be a part of the reference group and our role really is to provide input and advice. Although we’re not directly involved in the community every day like a lot of people in the reference group are, we bring a whole of food system approach, particularly around topics like food insecurity and we work with a lot of stakeholders across the State in areas like that. We have a terrific network of producers, so many of which are located here in the Huon, so yes, hopefully we add value to the amazing project and the work that’s happening.

🌱 Tell us a little more about food insecurity. When you say that, what does that look like, what does that mean for people?

Unfortunately, food insecurity is a massive challenge for us as a State. Based on the latest research out of UTAS, one in five Tasmanians don’t know where their next meal is coming from so, we’ve got some serious challenges around people accessing food but particularly trying to access fresh, healthy food, so we’re working really closely with emergency food relief providers but also with people like the Huon Valley Council on building resilient communities that can respond to the needs of the people within those communities.

🌱 What do you hope to get out of working with this group?

To be a part of the reference group is really exciting for us, we believe in communities, and we believe in the power of food to bring together, not only to enjoy food but get the health benefits from it as well. I think it’s just an amazing opportunity; it’s a project that just has so much potential and so much scope and I think the great thing about it is everyone can be connected to it, whether that’s young people going to school learning about food and healthy eating or whether that’s small producers here in the valley that are trying to make ends meet but also creating business opportunities, education opportunities for young people who want to be involved in the industry, tourism opportunities. It’s really an amazing project and opportunity for us all.

🌱 What’s your vision for food systems in Tasmania?

Eat Well is about creating healthy Tasmanians and that’s a real individual journey because we want everybody to be able to enjoy the power of food and understand how eating healthily can enhance your life and that’s a personal journey for each and every one of us. We want people to feel connected, make their own journey around their own health benefits of how food can impact their lives.

🌱 What about climate change, how does that fit into Eat Well Tasmania’s goals and issues it’s trying to address?

Certainly, climate change is real, and it impacts the work we do. We understand the food system has many different elements to it and climate change is one of those elements so understanding the impacts of it, understanding how we work with it. We’re doing some stuff at the moment around food waste and sustainability and we’re seeing more and more people wanting to understand where their food comes from, what’s the background on it, what are the benefits to them as individuals but also what’s the impact on their environment and their landscapes that they live.

🌱 Can you tell us about your background?

My background is actually through sport, I had two decades working in sport, predominantly Australian Rules Football, most recently with AFL Tasmania. Although it feels a bit different going from sport to food, I see a lot of parallels because it’s about people and it’s about communities and it’s about creating places where people can get satisfaction and enjoyment, but they also get that social connection and food plays such an important part in those communities whether it’s a sporting club, whether it’s a church group or a neighbourhood house. For me it felt like a really positive step and just to be able to have that tangible outcome where you can see the value of what you’re trying to do and enhance people’s lives through food.
🍄 If you’d like to learn more about this initiative please contact Emily Samuels-Ballantyne, Huon Valley Food Hub Project Officer on 6264 0300 or email