The words Janella Purcell and nutrition, sustainability and fresh go together like chickpeas and tahini – completely symbiotically. Janella lives sustainable food to the core; through what she grows, to the books she writes and of course the luscious food she cooks and shares. Sustainability for Janella is both planetary and personal. And that’s really what it’s all about isn’t it.
I became a fan of Janella’s when I saw her blow the mind of lard-lovin Adrian Richardson with her sumptuous gluten-free-vegan-biodynamic-seasonal-mouthwatering deserts on their show, Good Chef Bad Chef. She brings freshness and quality to every recipe she cooks, and is now the nutrition expert for Lifestyle Food.
Janella is also deeply connected to social justice issues, and Oxfam Australia is fortunate to have her support this year’s Eat Local, Feed Global initiative. The United Nations has themed this year’s World Food Day (October 16): Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition. It’s great to see that sustainability and nutrition are now seen as inextricably linked, and mentioned in the same breath. Approximately 60% of the world’s ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably, which poses serious threats to food security and nutrition. This is why the seasonal, vegetarian, nutritious and diverse foods that Janella cooks and advocates for are integral to fixing the “broken food system”.
I asked Janella if she thinks we are on the path towards more sustainable food choices here in Australia. J: “Absolutely, but it’s slow. There is now so much more awareness about waste, why we should be buying local produce, and checking labels for GMO products, and other totally unnecessary additives. And we’re making our own stock out of our veggies scraps – this is just wonderful. I love hearing that more and more people are choosing to shop at Farmers’ Markets if they can, rather than shopping at one of the two main supermarkets we have in Australia. We are making decisions about sustainability, nutrition and food security with our wallets – and more and more of us want to leave as light a footprint as possible.”
I also asked Janella what she would suggest people cook for their Eat Local Feed Global dinner in support of Oxfam’s World Food Day initiative. Here is her suggested menu plan:
“As it’s Spring then the meal needs to be light, include lots of green leafy veggies and use plant-based protein. I think it could be a meal that is more of an everyday meal rather than ‘sometimes’ food, because ‘sometimes’ food isn’t usually sustainable. These recipes are fool proof, and ones that you’ll want to make again and again.”
Here are three of her recipes she has shared with us that will fit the bill beautifully:
Spinach, Lentil and Lemon Soup
Tabouli with Quinoa and Brown Lentils
So there you have a menu which is sustainable and nutritious and will impress your guests without a doubt. Now all you have to do is sign up to Eat Local, Feed Global and host a lunch/dinner/arvo/morning tea with your mates between 12-20 October and drum up awareness and support for ending world hunger.
By Melita Grant, Oxfam’s GROW Team
Find out more about Eat Local Feed Global and how you can GROW a better food future.