Feature

Ride on lunch

Green Lifestyle Magazine

The Youth Food Movement shares a lesson on the importance of slow, local food within communities with a movable feast on bikes.

Ride on Lunch

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Ride on Lunch

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Ride on Lunch

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Ride on Lunch

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Ride on Lunch

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

Ride on Lunch

Credit: Caitlin Howlett

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If the current food system is anything to go by, the future of our food is heading towards more mass-produced fast food and microwave meals sooner than you can make two minute noodles. One in four Australian children is either overweight or obese, and unhealthy childhood habits carry on into adulthood. How can we be sure that the 80 per cent of food advertisements that are for kids’ junk food don’t raise a generation that have no idea what an eggplant looks like?

Food doesn’t get much more slow and local than if cycling to where it was made, and that’s exactly what the passionate crew from the Youth Food Movement (YFM) are encouraging. After developing their own knowledge about slow food and local food made with love, the Aussie group realised the best way to share it with others is through events such as leisurely weekend bike rides.

“We want to build community and culture around sustainability and food,” says Sally Hill, part of the YFM leadership team who also helps co-pilot the events. “We don’t want to ram messages down people’s throats… we present ideas to them which then sparks their own inquiry and eventually changes in their lifestyle and behaviour.”

Guests on a sold-out ride in Sydney in October 2012 were treated to a five-course meal on wheels. It was the third consecutive year the ride has been run, with a tasting of local honey during a talk by rooftop beekeeper, bike-blended fruit smoothies with locally foraged mulberries, and a selection of preserves and passata served after a talk by a passionate permaculturalist. Check out some delicious recipes provided to us by permaculture farmer Rosie McDonell on the day here.

“This movement is not just for young people, it’s for anyone who eats food,” says Hill. “That’s at the core of YFM’s philosophy for change… that people feel welcome and have a good time, so that their experience is a positive one and they’ll do more things like it in the future.”

“We see real behaviour change as a result of the Ride On Lunch – we’ve had people who haven’t ridden a bike in ten years become regular cyclists, people decide to grow their own food and people change their purchasing habits to support the local businesses they meet. Most of all, we hope it’s a memorable day that lets people see their city in a different light, have fun on a bike, eat tasty food and make new friends.”

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Keep an eye on the YFM blog for more events and info: www.youthfoodmovement.org.au.