Do food cultures define a place or the other way around?
Edible Bendigo - Reclaiming Foodscapes and their role in the Future of Gastronomy
The challenges of environmental and climate breakdown have broader impacts on our food system and health. An opportunity exists to identify ways to better align ecology and health via re-linking food to our landscapes and also to provide an aesthetic impact.
UNESCO contributes to gastronomy heritage and the universal value of cultural landscapes, including foodscapes, by promoting gastronomy as a category of the Network of Creative Cities.
This includes making creativity a lever for urban development and developing new solutions to tackle common challenges.
Gastronomic aspects of aesthetic experience can expand the notion of foodscapes beyond culinary frameworks to include productive sustainable landscapes.
A new approach to ‘foodscapes’, via creation of edible landscapes in public places, can reverse the community disconnect that has occurred with food growing, increasing awareness of and participation in food production. Redesigning streetscapes and aesthetic edible precincts creates more resilient and environmentally sound food systems.
As Australia’s newly and only designated UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Bendigo’s focus includes creative approaches to tackling the challenges of climate change, in the process ensuring fair access to health and wellbeing via a focus on sustainable local food systems.
Our gastronomy story is about innovating and adapting to new landscapes, while learning from our Dja Dja Wurrung heritage, to celebrate environmental aesthetics by new approaches to growing, sourcing, cooking and sharing food in the community. Our foodscapes represent our culture and provide a fundamental focus for gastronomy of the future.
Jennifer is a consultant with three decades experience working to improve health and wellbeing in the community. She is a City of Greater Bendigo Councillor for Lockwood ward and was Deputy Mayor in 2017/18. She has a Doctorate of Public Health with a special interest in agenda setting and food policy, a Masters in Women’s Health and an Honours degree in Science, plus a Diploma of Natural Therapies, is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne. A former board member of Bendigo FoodShare, she is chair of the Bendigo Regional Food Alliance and a member of the Public Health Association of Australia. In 2002 her book Liberated Eating was published. Her most recent role was as CEO of urban agriculture not for profit, Cultivating Community. She has undertaken consultancies for local government in the past and organised the inaugural Australian Community Food Hubs conference. Her work on Council has included working for food policy that supports health, environmental and social outcomes, localising our food system and supporting widespread establishment of community gardens and food hubs. She has a long standing interest in global food security, sustainable food systems and eating well. In 2018 she was awarded the Municipal Association of Victoria’s McArthur travelling fellowship for international local government research, travelling to Italy to research Creative Cities of Gastronomy. This assisted the successful designation of Bendigo in 2019 as Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.