Meet Mellisa Silaga, Community Engagement Facilitator for Shepparton Culture Kitchen, Samoan cultural leader, Director of Know Your Roots and Pasifika Festival and Co Founder of Point of Difference Studio.
Mellisa says, “Shepparton Culture Kitchen is quite powerful in the sense that you have women from eight different backgrounds who are sitting together, conversing and reminiscing on what it was for them growing up and their journey to Australia and how that has changed – most importantly around food – how it gets to their plate and into their systems.
Thus far the project has identified for many that what was a very organic diet is so not the case today; what was a relaxed and ‘enjoyable’ time to come together and feast is now dependent on everyone’s schedule and what suits who and when.
For other women, the hustle and bustle stops when it comes to the table and that is the most sacred time for them today in their homes. For others is exploring other flavours in the community through food restaurants.
One thing is for sure, this project is enabling women from diverse backgrounds to find common ground around food and sharing that story as they enjoy each others’ company and that is something to take in and you have to be really there to experience all their treasures while tasting too.”
Shepparton Culture Kitchen is a new project co-produced by MAV and Greater Shepparton City Council, to explore the diverse food cultures of Shepparton’s diaspora communities and the vital role they play in addressing issues of health inequity and disadvantage facing the region.
Shepparton Culture Kitchen is proudly supported by VicHealth, Greater Shepparton City Council, Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria.
Image credit: Mellisa Silaga. Courtesy Liz Arcus.