Waste of the Top End

Wate of the top

2013 These photographs explore the world of the food forgotten in fridges in Darwin. All subject matter is genuine finds in friends’ fridges and of the photographer and her house dwellers.

The once wonderful food items are arranged as delicious delights that maybe found in a food magazine with romantic light and wholesome composition. Although the decomposing food is in fact visually intriguing, this ironic stance highlights the Western world’s excessive attitude towards food and energy.  The wealth and complacency of the everyday person in our region, our friends, and ourselves is underpinned in the photograph and exposes the devaluation of food. This is especially true in such a place such as Darwin, so removed from many of its food sources, which increases the embodied energy in most food, from transportation and refrigeration

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Recipe for the cooled and cured cucumbers-

Buy a few cucumbers with a delicious salad in mind, from the market- or better still grow them for 2 months, put the cucumbers in the veggie tray of the fridge

Leave the cucumbers in the veggie tray for a few days

Think about making the amazing cucumber salad, but go out somewhere instead/ make something else instead. Leave the cumbers in the veggie tray for a few more days

Forget about the cucumbers

Clean out the fridge and find the cucumbers at the bottom

Arrange on a plate and sprinkle with equally off sprouts, allow to stew in their juices. Enjoy with a glass of wine (white is recommended!, maybe a riesling)

Complement with a side dish of carrot, driven 3000kms, sold in a supermarket and then prepared with a similar technique to the cucumber dish, garnish with some slimy lettuce lingering in a refrigerated plastic bag…. ENJOY..

So it’s all very well making all this beautiful local food to reduce food miles and energy (and be in tune with our surrounding environment), but really this needs to go along with doing all kinds of things on a household level, especially not wasting food. An estimated 20% of all purchased food is discarded by the consumer! That is even after the waste in the rest of the chain from farmer to food outlet to consumer. That food chain needs to be shortened and all the mass waste of supermarkets and suppliers (wrong shaped banana anyone?) reduced; but legislation and lobbying is needed for that change.

We can at least start at home right now and carefully buy the the things we will cook, don’t buy too much and store our dry goods in air tight jars- especially important in Darwin and particularly the wet season. Most food is probably wasted in the fridge, and I have been a shocker for this when too excited at our only once weekly local market. Inspired by the many “monsters” our beautiful housemate Gianna would find and highlight the craziness of wasting all this (mainly local) food, I decided to embark on a photography project ironically entitled “Waste of The Top End”. I asked for friends to look out for those all familiar ‘monsters’ and notify me so I could collect them and photograph them, and of course mine- with a twist!

Check out these great Australian websites about food waste-

Love food Hate waste- http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au/

Lunch a lot- http://www.lunchalot.com/foodwaste.php

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