Tammi Jonas is quite an extraordinary person! Coming from a background in academia, 5 years ago Tammi got tired of choosing between saving the world or savouring it, so figured out a way to do both.
Tammi and her partner Stuart farm rare breed Large Black pastured pigs in Central Victoria, running a community supported agriculture (CSA) model that more effectively connects them to the people who purchase and eat their food.
Tammi is the past president of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance and the current chair of the Fair Food Farmers United. Tammi is widely published on a diverse spectrum of fair food topics, from food ethics, multicultural foodways, feminism and food, and has a regular speaking spot on RRR's Greening the Apocalypse.
We caught up with Tammi to talk about life, love and farming the future.
What do you love the most about doing what you do?
Philosophically, I love that I'm contributing to a better, fairer world. Physically, I love the labour of my work, especially in the boning room where I also love the creativity of crafting meat. And socially, I love the diverse, genuine, like-minded people who come and work with us or just visit and share their insights and passions on a daily basis.
What is your favourite tool or appliance in your kitchen?
It's a tough call between my beloved knives and my two butchers' blocks - one in the house kitchen and one in the boning room, both custom built to my height (I'm on the tall side).
Where can people buy your food?
Most of our produce goes to our wonderful community-supported agriculture (CSA) members, and we have a 12-year waiting list for Melbourne! But you can also visit the farm, meet the happy animals, and shop at the farm gate while you're here - though availability is pretty limited!
What motivated you to do the work that you do?
Marx helped us see that those who control the means of production control the world, and I'm very driven to wrest that control back into the hands of real people and communities, and out of the hands of distant shareholders and faceless corporations. Injustice makes my blood run hot, and there's so much of it in the food system I can't help but try to do my bit to improve it.
Has there been a time where you have mistakenly innovated on your farm?
Honestly, I reckon most of our innovations have been mistakes or simply invention born of necessity, and I think that's true of most farms.
What are you plans for the future?
Keep doing what we're doing but constantly do it better. Maintain our no-growth philosophy and help grow more growers! Get better at taking Sundays off. ;-)
Who is your sustainable food hero?
I have way more than one! There are the obvious candidates like Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, and Dan Barber, but then for me it's mostly the farmers I admire across the world - Greg Gunthorp of Gunthorp Farms in Indiana, Will Harris of White Oaks in Georgia, Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont... and then evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace who wrote 'Big Farms Make Big Flu', one of the biggest thinkers on agroecology in the world Miguel Altieri, and former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter... and of course an all-time favourite activist is Vandana Shiva!
Recipes inspired by Tammi's produce.
This blog is a collaboration between the Social Food Project, Ian Parish Creative and Matt Houston Photography.