Finding Food Plant Solutions: Interview with Karalyn

To say I was excited when I first heard about Food Plant Solutions is quite the understatement. Through Canberra Friends of Dili of which I’m a casual member, I was contacted by a fellow member who suggested I speak to Karalyn of Food Plant Solutions in Tasmania. There were synergies, she explained, with my interests in Timor Leste and its vast edible plant diversity. And it didn’t take me long on this mob’s fascinating website before I was contacting Karalyn to talk more.

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Food Security in Timor Leste

by Sarah Burr

What is food security? To be food secure is to always have access to sufficient, nutritious, and affordable food. Food security covers the dimensions of time, place, quantity, quality, and cost. To be food insecure is to be lacking at least one of these components. Food insecurity can lead to malnutrition, stunted growth in children, and ill-health. In Timor Leste, two-thirds of the population are food insecure.

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Women in agriculture in Timor Leste

by Sarah Burr

Women are incredibly important to agriculture all over the world. In Timor Leste, women in mountainous areas (where 70 per cent of the Timorese population lives) carry out most farm activities including taking care of animals and cultivation of rain-fed crops such as sweet potato, cassava and fruit. Timorese women increasingly took on farm work during conflict as men left towns and villages to fight. Post-conflict, women have continued this work due to men returning from war suffering physical and mental injury. This farm workload is on top of women’s other duties such as child-rearing, housework, caring for elders, and community responsibilities.

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So it’s official!

Last week (Wednesday 15 April), Cooking Circles was celebrated and went public with a launch at local café, The Front Café and Gallery. The event was a chance for attendees to hear all about what Cooking Circles is, the story so far, and why it exists. More than 40 people crammed into the tiny café and snacked on a recipe inherited by the Timorese from the Portuguese, seafood rissoles, and shared platters of tropical fruits. Continue reading “So it’s official!”

Recipe: Seaweed Salad

To get straight to the point — yes, seaweed is underrated. I loved this dish! The seaweed was carted back from Atauro Island where it was sold at the Saturday market for $1. The bag, bigger than the backpack I’d brought for 3 weeks in Timor Leste, weighed enough to topple me when I first picked it up. Nonetheless, I carried it home, just, as I thought about Berta and other friends telling me that seaweed from the Atauro market was a must.

The seaweed is washed to remove some of the salt, given a quick dunk in boiling water, and dressed with chilli, vinegar, onions and tomatoes. Sour, but like the simple Portugese Pasta, a perfect match for the other platters of flavours spread across the table for a festive night.

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Road Trip…

by David Lipson

As I lay on my bed and stare at the corrugated iron ceiling I can almost see the ripples of heat radiating downwards onto my face. I’m sweating. The pigs and roosters (always roosters) just outside my window don’t let me sleep. Somehow though, when I think about paying good money and using up precious holidays to get here, I smile.

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Island time: Atauro Island…

IMG_2900The sun has slipped over the horizon. It takes me a full minute to realise this, even though I’ve been watching the sky change colour. Now the sky is a delicate blue and pink. I’ve done nothing but swim, eat, snorkel and read historical fiction. My skin is dry with salt and my skin is browner than it was three days ago. There are tan marks on my feet from my Birkenstocks and the scalding Timorese sun.

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