Recipe to a stronger community

November 5, 2015

Studies have shown that Australia’s cookery skills and habits are in decline, with the least well-off consumers increasingly turning to a diet of calorie-laden convenience foods and fatty ready-made meals.

Home cooking has declined most among those whose food budgets are under the most pressure, poorer consumers opt for cheap and “filling” prepared foods on offer in supermarket price promotions rather than fresh produce. However, The Inverell Rural Outreach and Support Services are trying to change this trend and have been running free “Purse Strings Cooking” classes throughout Inverell and the Gwydir. The first of these classes held in Bingara took place at the Roxy Trade Training Kitchen this week.

Participants in the class learned skills in cooking, nutrition, food storage, food wastage and how to shop on a budget.

The aim of the class was to increase confidence, trust, self-esteem and empowerment of participants, improve financial management ability to develop and monitor food budgets, increase awareness of minimising food waste, and develop skills for preparing low cost nutritional meals.

The class was run by qualified chef Bill Floyd who has a passion for good food and nutrition and imparting that knowledge.

“I have been a chef for over 40 years and running these classes are a career highlight for me. I love having the opportunity to pass on my skills teach positive eating habits to the participants of the class and in turn their families,” said Bill.

Coordinator of The Inverell Rural Outreach and Support Services Kerrianne Anderson was delighted with the success of the first class and plans to run more in courses in the future.

“We were extremely happy with the turn out for this first class in Bingara and hope to do more classes in early 2016. Our service not only provides budget cooking classes but a range of other workshops covering topic such as relaxation, healthy and unhealthy relationships, mental health awareness, and anger management,” said Kerrianne.

These classes are not just for low income earners, they are for the whole community.

“We encourage anyone and everyone to participate. People don’t have to identify as low income or homeless to join in, it is really about creating stronger and more resilient communities and giving everyone the opportunity to access services that help them make positive changes to their lives for the future,” said Kerrianne.

Participants in the class were supplied with all the materials necessary to replicate the dishes at home, including recipes and a fee apron. Based in Otho Street in Inverell, The Rural Outreach & Support Service Rural has been established to assist with homelessness issues in our community. They strive to provide families, women, men and young people a safe, secure and supportive environment.

For more information on future cooking classes please phone Leeanne or Kerrianne on (02) 6721 0855.