curryIn celebration of Fair Food Week, happening as we speak (10th-19th October) why not get creative with your food and cooking and share it on social media.

Fair Food Week has teamed up with Flavour Crusader and are offering over $900 worth of prizes for entries on Facebook, Instagram Twitter using the hashtag #MyFoodStory, that show your magnificent produce (eg. your farm or garden) and dishes (eg. delicious creations you have cooked)

Prizes will be awarded for ‘Best Story’, ‘High Impact’, and ‘Most Creative’

Click here to enter,

Entries close October 19

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A different kind of hero’s journey.

wfdBirtukan Dagnachew Tegegn believes in making a contribution to the world–through farming. “When you collect the harvest … it makes you feel like you are witnessing the wonders of nature,” she said. “[You are] taking care of the most valuable thing, which is the food we all eat.” But making a living this way hasn’t been easy for Birtukan. She comes from rural Ethiopia, where many farmers are battling effects of climate change and challenged by a lack of resources and agricultural training.

In an interview with Oxfam, Birtukan explained that she had been struggling as a small holder farmer all her life, but after losing her husband in 2000, her family’s situation became precarious. Keeping her farm seemed impossible. “Farming is very hard work,” Birkutan says “I do not think there is a right word to express the excessive physical labor small holder farmers invest on their land.”

But what Birtukan lacked in physical strength she made up with smarts. She convinced her neighbors to help plough her plot, and she sought out agricultural training to learn what crops to plant in her drought-prone region. Her training and education empowered her to make bold decisions—such as planting fruit and coffee trees, unheard of in her area—and gave her the motivation to work tirelessly every day to make her farm productive.

12283_Oxfam_GROW“The outcome was beyond my expectation,” said Birtukan. “I started selling these fruits, and for the first time in my life, I had some savings.” With this income, she was able to not only feed her children but pay for their education.

In 2013, Birtukan won national recognition as a Female Food Hero, an award that recognizes the women who often make up the majority of food producers but have the least access to land, credit, and education. The significance of investing in food heroes like Birtukan reaches far beyond Ethiopia. Family farmers manage over 500 million farms around the world, and provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. So when governments invest in these farmers’ skills and productivity, they are ensuring the food security of millions.

This week, Birtukan will speak to leaders at the World Food Prize in Iowa, USA, and in Washington, DC, bringing that message about the importance of investing in family farmers.“If people knew what it takes to bring their food on their table,” said Birtukan, “I think they would start appreciating smallholder farmers more.”

ELFG 2014You can also join the more than 500 community groups, workplaces, schools and Oxfam supporters in Australia sharing a lunch or dinner this October by registering for  Eat Local Feed Global. You’ll be raising money and taking action so that farmers can grow food in the face of changing climates.

With reporting from Ethiopia by Seble Teweldebirhan

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Waiting 75 years for Equal Pay.

140621_Oxfam-798Did you know that:

Women make up two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population. Women own one % of the world’s resources and earn one-tenth of the world’s income. Women occupy only 18% of seats in the world’s parliaments. And women represent 70% of the worlds poor.

Pretty scary stuff, huh? When we think of gender inequality we often assume it’s a poor, black woman. A disadvantages Indonesian farmer, a Bangladeshi garment worker or a single mother. We might assume that gender discrimination only happens to those living in poverty, or women wearing a burqa and is due to cultural, societal or religious factors out of our control. Well gender discrimination isn’t something that only in developing countries or far away places. Gender inequality happens here in Australia pretty much every single day. In fact gender inequality is so rife in Australia that women can expect to wait up to 75 years before equal pay with men will be fully achieved. 75 years man! That’s not even in my lifetime!

g riosing picAccording to a recent report published by Oxfam, women in Australia are not only paid far less than men, they are over-represented in the part-time workforce and actively discriminated against in the household, in markets and institutions which restrict their ability to access fair employment and equal compensation. There are jobs that are traditional male-dominated and a series under-representation of women at levels of higher management and organisation. Because of all this women are effectively subsidizing the economy with an average of 2–5 hours more unpaid work than men per day. Why? Because they are female.

As the G20 looms to be held in Australia next month  Oxfam is calling on the G20 Leaders to put gender inequality on the agenda.  Not only is it good economic sense (hello half the world’s population) but it’s morally and ethically right. If you want more proof head over to the Oxfam Australia site to read the full report  and sign the petition to have gender equality highlighted as a priority in the upcoming November meetings. It would totally suck to have to wait another 75 years to be on the same wages as our boyfriends, so seriously help a sister out and get gender inequality on the G20 agenda.

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So you think you can farm?

It’s 4am. You get up like any other morning with your young baby. Except today is different.

Last night a freak storm flooded your fields and your crops are out of action. You don’t know how you will make a living or feed your family in the coming months.

This is the reality that many of more than 500 million family farms face today because of climate change. Women are at the heart of the global food system, guarding a future where everyone has enough to eat.

Whilst rich Governments and some business are letting 1 in 9 people go hungry, we can stop climate change making people hungry if we work together – and it starts by spreading the word about the need to act.

Take our quiz to find out if you could make it as a farmer.
Share it to help build a movement to feed people and fight climate change!

ELFG could you make it as a farmer








This year, Oxfam supporters successfully called on big food companies like Kellogg and General Mills to reduce their harmful carbon emissions. Then in September people took to the streets to call on world leaders to step up and act on climate change.

As World Food Day approaches this Thursday, thousands of Australians are taking part in Eat Local Feed Global by sharing lunch or dinner with friends, family or classmates throughout October. They’re helping raise money for Oxfam’s work supporting farmers in countries like Vanuatu, Timor-Leste and the Philippines and taking action so that the Australian Government does it fair to stop climate change making people hungry.

It’s all part of GROW week (Monday 13 – Friday 17 October) and here’s a taste of what Oxfam is doing around the world:

  • Oxfam supporters Belgium and the USA are holding hunger banquets to raise awareness and money for food security programmes
  • Female Food Heroes and Oxfam staff are meeting with national governments and regional bodies in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, the USA, Asia and Africa to argue for better food security programmes
  • Thousands of people will attend a music concert in West Africa raising awareness of the need to feed people and fight climate change
  • Supporters in Canada will carry buckets of water and blogging about the experience to highlight the increasing distance in which women are fetching water as a result of climate change.
  • Members of the public in Belgium will take part in lobbying their government to push for a European commitment to renewable energy, to stop feeding climate change
  • Oxfam and partners in Indonesia will launch a Young Farmer Ambassador Programme, and give out a GROW award for best media reporting on food justice
  • A seed caravan will tour Sri Lanka campaigning against the ban on seed banking

There’s plenty going on. While climate change is making hunger worse, we can work together to fix it. Share the quiz above to get your friends engaged with the issue and watch out for more blogs this week with information on how you can get involved!


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Budding Humanitarians Read On

With an English school in the works for refugees and asylum seekers in a life in limbo in Indonesia, Laura O’Neill tells an inspiring professional story that will tingle your toes.



You’re doing some pretty inspirational stuff with your career right now, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Over the last decade I’ve been living, working and volunteering in remote Australia, the Pacific and South East/South Asia. I’ve been a part of co-establishing a child rights NGO in Nepal, teaching English to culturally diverse students around the world, training local communities in capacity building tools, negotiating assistance with heads of government, supporting micro finance initiatives, developing health campaigns and creative charitable fundraising events to list a few! I’ve met countless inspiring and incredible families and individuals who constantly show me the spirit of grace, humility, compassion, patience and resilience.

Did you always have this passion?

My parents are amazing people who educated me from a young age about human rights and justice. Since I was a teenager I have always been involved in promoting social justice. I try to thread consciousness of humanity in all the actions I take and see my purpose in life as leaving this planet in a better state than I found it in.

You’ve dabbled in blogs/ journalism too?

I wouldn’t say I’m heavily involved in this sphere however, I’ve written a few articles as a means to communicate big messages to large audiences. I learnt about film editing recently which has served as a collaborative storytelling tool which I’ve used in Indigenous Australia, South East Asia and with refugee communities.

Did you go to university, what did you study? Best part?

Sure. I completed an undergraduate in Music and Anthropology simply because I was passionate and interested in these topics -completing this degree was a breeze because I loved it. I then completed a Cambridge Certificate in English Language which has been really useful in my travels. This was followed by a Masters in Development Studies (majoring in refugee research) and I’m currently enrolled in a Grad Dip in Education. Best part other than my massive HELP debt? The people, knowledge and spirit of learning.

What has the journey been like?

unnamedI’ve experienced a roller-coaster of ups and downs in my professional and personal humanitarian journey. It is not easy to stitch together experience, education and resources into meaningful projects and actions with beneficial outcomes. At times when I’ve been broke and unemployed from the development sector I’ve questioned why I’m not like other friends with ‘straight forward’ careers. But as my perseverance slowly pays off, I am sure this is the right path for me.

Any hints or tips?

IMG_0413I don’t know why I was so naive, but I honestly thought after I finished my Masters degree I could stroll into a job with the UN! As many people are interested to build a career through helping other people, be aware this is a competitive ‘field’ just as other ‘career industries’ are. If you want to be a humanitarian, find a skill that you are really good at and use this as a platform to help. Being a humanitarian is not all about emergency response teams, what the world really needs is intelligent and dedicated facilitators in really diverse fields. So whether it is engineering, midwifery, speech pathology, curriculum design, law or any other domain; technical skills teamed with a sensitive knowledge of aid and development can reach out to support vulnerable communities to better themselves.

Plans for the future?

I’ve spent many years feeling overwhelmed by the worldwide plight of refugees and asylum seekers and often feel limited in avenues of assistance. With the support of my best friend who is also a Development professional, we are currently working to support refugee and asylum seeker children in legal limbo to access education in Indonesia. We are so excited to facilitate a grassroots project that assists children from within communities and dream that we could expand this project throughout Indonesia and in other root and transit countries of asylum seekers.

To support the project, please check out the campaign running until 20th October @www.startsomegood.com/tomorrowtoday

photos credit Laura O’Neill: 1. Peace in Freedom, Sydney, Australia; 2. Making a health doco-drama with a local children’s group in Rasuwa, Nepal; 3. Teach and learning about disaster risk reduction in Sumatra, Indonesia.


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