10 Questions With Bondi Food Collective

10 Questions With..., Sydney / 2 April 2014

Bridgette and Shann of the Bondi Food Collective have a passion for all foods natural, fresh and diverse. The girls share with Eat Drink Play their advice for a healthier diet, why farmers markets and co-ops are better than the supermarket and their BIG plans for 2014.
1. What inspired you both to start Bondi Food Collective?
We are both foodies and environment advocates and were struggling to find not only chemical free produce at a reasonable price Bondi retirees could bond together and participate in. Bondi Food Collective was conceived after meeting each other over dinner (of course!) one night at Transition Bondi (a local sustainability advocacy group). Shortly after, we learned of a proposed redevelopment in Bondi Beach that would contain a ‘ColesWorths’. Working with the Rescue Bondi campaign team together we raised awareness of the importance of good food and thriving local business in the community. Despite thousands of objections to the development, it was approved by one vote!
Our response to this defeat was the opportunity to set up a membership based food collective, run by the community for the community, that would support our food system, local farmers and producers. We have strong beliefs in supporting the local economy, small scale farming and local artisan producers.  And the rest is history so they say…
2. What has been the most challenging part of starting Bondi Food Collective?
The two most challenging things to start the Bondi Food Collective was finding Australian farmers that were produce great chemical free fresh and dry produce who a) weren’t going out of business and b) hadn’t fallen victim to the price pressures of our mega retailers. Also finding a space in Bondi that we could run our little grass roots movement out of. But we’ve managed to find incredible farmers who love supporting us and an oasis in North Bondi, a 1950s garage, that we love going to every Monday.
3. If you could describe your food philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?
We believe in providing local foodies and families with access to Australian, chemical free, diverse & plastic free produce at fair prices, education of sustainable food practices (eg. conserving) and a platform for the local community to collaborate & connect via the Real Food Movement.
4. The idea of local and organic produce is in such high demand now, what do you think has fuelled this food trend?
Dissatisfaction with the lack of variety, taste and freshness of produce in the major retailers, the flood of inferior quality imported food, especially dry produce and the disconnection with the source of our food is the reason why the Real Food Movement that BFC advocates is booming. Food should be fresh, honest  and people should know exactly who grows it and how. Once you’ve eaten walnuts that we provide our members from Goulburn Valley Victoria that has been cracked just the week before you will never go back to the store bought, imported walnut cracked 20 months before.
 5. What is your favourite produce that is in season at the moment?
There’s so much great produce at the moment. Edamame, it is fun and easy to cook, extremely fresh and bursting with flavour & the purple stripe & lebanese eggplants are so tasty in just about any autumnal dish.
6. What advice can you give to people who want to incorporate more local produce into their diet?
Shop at farmers markets, find your local food co-op, ask your local fruit and veg store where they source their produce from. Don’t be afraid to ask questions you have the power to eat well and support locally grown, chemical free produce just by voting with your dollar.
7. What exciting plans and developments do you have for 2014?
We’re thinking big. Urban Retreats, our own  BFC restaurant, more education on making breads, pastas, jams, kefirs and much much more.
8. Favourite place to EAT in Sydney?
Henley’s Wholefoods, the quinoa and kale with poached eggs is to divine. The Hill Eatery, Sunny the head chef creates food that makes your taste buds come alive.
9. Favourite place to grab a DRINK in Sydney?
Shann loves Gertrude and Alice do a fantastic dirty Chai but for Bridgette it’s the Aperol spritzers at Aperative time at hole in the wall local, Mamma Mia India on Wairoa Ave North Bondi.
10. When you’re not busy, where do you like to PLAY?
We both love the beach and try to get down for a swim as often as possible. We also love a good reconnaissance mission to discover new farms, new foods and up and coming artisan producers.
To find out more about Bondi Food Collective visit www.bondifoodcollective.com