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Film Festival a Breath of Fresh Air for Launceston


Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Tags: Arts, Local Food

Ms DAWKINS (Bass) - Madam Speaker, I too am rising to speak about the Breath of Fresh Air film festival. This year's BOFA kicked off for me with the Sprout's Cross Pollinate conference. The theme for this year was people, place and provenance. A number of speakers came together to continue to explore the agribusiness sector and the role of the small artisan producer.   Grant Hilliard from Feather and Bone began a series of lectures discussing his business and the requirement to visit every farm that his sought after produce is sourced from to be able to paint a crystal clear picture of the provenance of his produce. He spoke of the importance of rare breeds and the need to retain ownership of the genetic code of animals that are farmed. Feather and Bone are committed to farmers who maintain connections and chains in the farming communities which have ethics and sustainability at their heart. From there a highly sought-after world class product is produced. Grant maintains it is no small thing to kill and eat an animal and takes the approach that a farmer must be responsible to offer dignity in their practice.   Sprout has been supporting an e-commerce website and system called Fork to Fork, which is very close to launch. The platform offers consumers a direct link to producers with a long-term vision to deliver interstate and overseas as well as locally.   A representative from the Primary Industries Education Foundation, PIEFA, spoke about the opportunities being presented through their program which are not currently being implemented in Tasmania to their fullest. PIEFA is the national peak body for primary industries and education whose vision is an Australian community which understands and values its primary industry sector through the provision of resources and support to Australian schools.   Nysha Munro from the 24 Carrot project at MONA spoke about the incredible success of the school kitchen garden program. She spoke with delight at the natural engagement of the children and their connection to urban farming. The project is another brainchild of Dr Bridgette Watts in addressing some of the challenges of social disadvantage, health and the availability of fresh food.   Caitlin Saunders from the local food supply project made an insightful point that we produce food for many, many more people than reside in Tasmania and there should be no reason why we cannot direct enough fresh produce into our communities. Following on from that idea, it is often touted in forums like these that our advantage is in our high-end artisan products and ensuring that people who come to Tasmania for those products are able to access them freely. It was suggested that if we promote Tasmania as the place to source artisan foods, our tourism industry would benefit even further, rather than sending them offshore making sure people travel to them for access.   Peter McGlone, Luke Martin, Natalie Fryar, Natasha Niewhoff, Carol Bracken, Frances Bender, Dr Stephen Cahoon, and Sally Legotz, all shared wisdom from the sectors of the Tasmanian landscape they inhabit, prosecuting opportunities and innovations within the agritourism and agribusiness sectors with great passion.   Kim Seagram and Tom Lewis spoke of the enormous potential in fermentation, looking to the areas of agribusiness doing well in Tasmania. It seemed there was an opportunity to do more in the fermentation space. As well as wine, beer, cider and whisky, our cheese industry has enormous potential to grow. There are currently only 12 artisan cheese producers in Tasmania and with the enormous amount dairy lost to the milk power market, questions arose over the value in powdered milk export. Turning the highest grade Tasmanian milk into powder was like turning Tasmania's native forest into woodchips, turning a potential high value product into a low value output, missing vital opportunities along the way.   There was a conversation around the success of Bellamy's Organic baby food and the ongoing shortage of organic milk and the rationing of the product in Australian stores. With the restrictions around organic dairy supply, we are missing out on opportunities in Tasmania which relate directly to the clean and green image we have been marketing. The marketing has been heard and has now been oversubscribed. The difficulty with shortages of organic baby formula is that it is not an interchangeable product. Once a family has settled into using a certain recipe of formula, it is not something simple we can replace. Babies have delicate digestive systems and for many changing formulas can bring on health issues. If we, as a parliament, were to put as much energy into organic products as those with pesticides and herbicide use, we could start to be the clean and green island we claim to be.   I also attended the session creating innovative regions, where we heard from Dr Anton Kris, Robert Woolf and others on their assessment of meaningful innovation in the region. From an action at last year's BOFA the regional innovation survey was undertaken. The results were clear; 90 per cent of respondents want regional change but only 30 per cent can see vision. Robert Woolf spoke on the international perspectives to create positive change in regions using MadeOpen, the digital sharing platform now being used by more progressive LGAs in Tasmania.   There was a strong environmental theme to the festival this year as well as the focus on food and social justice. The Family Violence Forum was a promo of the new documentary to be aired on the ABC,Call Me Dad. The film followed a men's group in their journey to achieve clarity on the behaviours which had pulled their families apart and left terrified partners and children in the wake of their abusive behaviour.   We have begun a national conversation on family violence but we at the nascent stage. So much work to be done in bringing equality and security to Australian families. BOFA has done substantial work as an art space organisation engaged with social change. Owen and Helen Tilbury have created a little bit of magic with their festival from Frackman to the innovation awards, live music and good food, BOFA never fails to impress.