Months back I attended the EcoCity Food Lightning Talks and looked at people’s fingernails as they reached for the free felafels. Most of them were office worker clean. I wondered if I was looking at the future of urban food. I didn’t know who any of the guest speakers were except for Ben Falloon but as I bit into a felafel I pointed to a man in an unusually patterned spearmint milk coloured shirt and said to my erstwhile companion, ‘That guy.’
Great speakers. Ben Falloon came straight from Taranaki Farm noting, ‘I’ve still got shit on my boots.’ His is an inspirational story of rejuvenating the family farm and mentorship with Joel Salatin. Tammi Jonas used to grow vegies in a Fairfield backyard and now she is a pig farmer exposing the merits of social media in farmer direct sales. ‘That guy’ turned out to be Robert Pekin, my favorite speaker of the night who kicked off with this quote from Buckminster Fuller:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Robert Pekin from Food Connect refers to himself as an ‘actionist’ and uses words like ‘chutzpah’. He spoke about getting into ‘a bit of mischief…but in a professional way” Everything he said was fantastic, my favorite quotes being: “The final frontier for humanity is to get fucking along…We’re actually getting close to a tipping point” and “Coles and Woolies own 80% of the market,” (he smiles like Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet) “That’s 80% for us to take…because they’re doing a pretty shithouse job.”
A few days later I went on a road-trip with a cynical friend who had also attended some of the talks. He had post forum depression that comes from being someone with dirt under the fingernails listen to people brainstorm and mind map in preparation for the peak oil collapse. Its hard to figure out what to do about any of this.