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"Sunshine has a taste, you know": Using regional food memoirs to develop values-based food practices
journal contributionposted on 06.07.2018, 00:00 by Donna BrienDonna Brien, Margaret McallisterMargaret Mcallister
Alongside providing a source of entertainment, the growth in food media of all kinds reflects a genuine consumer interest in knowing more about food. While there is culinary information available that serves to educate in relation to food-related practices (shopping, food preparation, cooking, eating out) in ways that can serve to build confidence and enthusiasm, we propose that, in order for new food practices to be not only adopted, but sustained, consumers need to hone and develop personal values that will complement their technical and practical knowledge. This is the marrying of evidence-based and values-based practice that makes for sustained change in personal habits and practices (Fulford 2008). This discussion proposes that regional food memoirs – and specifically those by food producers – can arouse interest and curiosity, build knowledge in regional food systems, and connect consumers to food producers and production. This, we propose, can activate consumers to develop and embed the kind of learning that reinforces a belief in the need to be an ‘authentic consumer’. An authentic consumer is one who knows themselves, their own needs and desires, and makes choices consciously rather than automatically. It follows that an authentic food consumer is engaged with their local food systems and aware of the challenges that confront these systems. A small, but indicative range of memoirs of Australian regional food memoirs, are profiled to examine values, such as being empathic, respectful, compassionate and altruistic, which enhance the possibility for a person to become an authentic consumer.