Challenging the hunger myths around Victoria

Campaigning for change article written on the 13 Jun 2012

With ABC’s 774 Drive Show host Rafael Epstein. Photo: OxfamAUS

By Oxfam Australia’s Cara Bevington and Clancy Moore

Currently in Australia are three women from Oxfam partner organisation ‘Women on Farms Project’, which is based in the Western Cape of South Africa. The women, Colette, Roseline and Gertruida, are in Australia for two weeks to speak at a series of public events as part of Oxfam’s ‘Challenging the Hunger Myths – Land is Life’ speakers’ tour.

‘Women on Farms Project’ supports women farm workers and small-scale farmers to realise their rights, and to have access to training and tools so they can grow enough food to feed their families and communities.

They’ve only been here one week, but we’ve managed to fit a lot in!
Here are some highlights of their first week.

With local community gardener, Ko In Chia. Photo: OxfamAUS

With local community gardener, Ko In Chia. Photo: OxfamAUS

On Tuesday we visited Richmond in central Melbourne, to visit one of the community veggie gardens supported by ‘Cultivating Community.’ Colette, Roseline and Gertruida got a tour of the 120 veggie plots tended by local community members and swapped tips about mulching, raising chickens and the best ways to grow mushrooms!

Enjoying a cup of tea and discussion after the event. Photo: OxfamAUS

Enjoying a cup of tea and discussion after the event. Photo: OxfamAUS

Mid-week, the women spoke about their work to a group of academics, development practitioners and students at RMIT University. It was such a lively and engaged discussion that it continued well past the scheduled finish time.

Gertruida viewing herself in the exhibition. Photo: OxfamAUS

Gertruida viewing herself in the exhibition. Photo: OxfamAUS

On Thursday evening, the women spoke at a public event to a packed room in the Melbourne Town Hall. Featured at the event were images from Oxfam’s ‘Land is Life: South Africa’ photo exhibition.

On Friday, we visited food rescue and redistribution organisation, SecondBite. As well as learning more about the obscene levels of food wastage in Australia and how people are redistributing food to those in need, we also had the chance to meet Senator Christine Milne to discuss the challenges facing women farmers around the world.

On Saturday morning it was out to Collingwood Children’s Farmers’ Market, which gave us some excellent ideas about accessing local markets and selling our produce to local communities.

In between all these meetings Colette and Roseline have shared their story even further by doing interviews with 3CR, Triple R, and ABC radio.

You can learn more about the work of Colette, Roseline and Gertruida and Women on Farms Project via this short video or come along to one of the events happening around the country — visit our website for more information.