A surging interest in growing, making and preserving food is continuing after pandemic lockdowns as people realise their desires to be more self sufficient and learn traditional practices.
Empty supermarket shelves and rising food prices has forced many to adopt new ways and learn new skills for more DIY food production and storage.
Mara Ripani and her family have established a six hectare permaculture garden at their property in Blampied, in the central highlands of Victoria, and run workshops to share knowledge with others.
She said there had always been an interest in gardening and methods to store food like fermenting and preserving, but she had seen interest explode as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“People were spending more time at home but also realising how dependent on others they are for food and wanting to be a bit more independent of big supermarkets,” she said.
Ms Ripani said kimchi, a traditional Korean side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, was her favourite fermented food.
Fermentation promotes the growth and life cycle of good bacteria to transform the flavour and shelf life of ingredients.
Ms Ripani grew up in an Italian family that migrated to Ballarat when she was nine-years-old.
She said her mother had always preserved and fermented food, but she only began herself after leaving home in her 20s.
I think the supermarket shelves being bare and price of food going up has forced many to adopt new ways and learn new skills to more DIY food production and storage.
Lou Ridsdale, Food Is Free founder
“I was living in shared households and I found often there was a real lack of food culture among young people and I really wanted to bring my own cultural experience in,” Ms Ripani said.
“I spend so much time in the garden and I get a huge harvest. I want to maintain the harvest through the seasons.”
Volunteer-run organisation Food Is Free hosts workshops sharing skills and knowledge on gardening, food and lifestyle.
Food Is Free founder Lou Ridsdale said fermenting was the perfect skill to learn to become a food waste warrior.
“It’s something that in a post-lockdowns era of the pandemic, many more people are embracing, especially a younger demographic who are exploring more into the world of fermenting and preserving what is commonly referred to as ‘granny skills’.
“It’s been really great to have conversations with younger visitors at Food Is Free Laneway, with many wanting to know what they can do to preserve and ferment the food in our baskets.
“I think the supermarket shelves being bare and price of food going up has forced many to adopt new ways and learn new skills to more DIY food production and storage.”