The Wheeler Centre
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Discussions around eating meat tend to gravitate quickly towards polar positions. We often talk in terms of total abstinence – vegetarianism or veganism – or unexamined, carnivorous abandon.
But this conversation, hosted by Sam Cooney, dodges both finger-wagging and caveman-style chest-beating. Our panellists – including food writer Richard Cornish, author of My Year Without Meat, ‘ethicurean’ pig and cattle farmer and food blogger Tammi Jonas, and Sam van Zweden, who is currently writing a creative non-fiction book about food, family and memory – instead explore the rich middle ground of this issue, focusing on degrees of eating meat. They discuss the cultural, environmental and health implications of our dietary choices. Should we eat less meat? Why and how could we do it? What would a more mindful approach to eating meat look like and how might it alter our social lives and our identities?
Join us for a nuanced discussion about an issue that cuts close to the bone.
Sam Cooney runs the literary organisation TLB, which houses the independent book publishing press Brow Books and quarterly literary magazine The Lifted Brow, as well as running a website, writing prizes, events, and more. He is publisher-in-residence at RMIT, teaches sessionally at several universities, and is a freelance writer and literary critic.
Sam van Zweden is a Melbourne-based writer interested in memory, food, mental health and the body. Her writing has been published by the Saturday Paper, ABC Life, Meanjin, The Big Issue, The Lifted Brow, Cordite, The Sydney Review of Books, The Wheeler Centre and others. Her debut book, Eating with my Mouth Open, won the 2019 KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award, and is available now.
Former vegetarian academic Tammi Jonas is resident Mistress Meatsmith at Jonai Farms, where she and her family of 'ethicurean' farmers raise pastured rare breed Large Black pigs and cattle on 69 acres of volcanic paddocks just outside Daylesford, Victoria.
Tammi has been writing about food since 2006 at her blog, Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics, and has been widely published in both academic and popular texts, including a recent chapter detailing her journey from mindless industrial eater to vegetarian to ethical omnivore and mindful meatsmith in the anthology Fair Food: stories of a movement changing the world, published by UQP in 2015.
She is also the current President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) where she advocates for everybody’s right to access nutritious and culturally-appropriate food grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways, and their right to democratically determine their own food and agriculture systems.
Richard Cornish is an award-winning food writer who penned the much loved and irreverent Fairfax Media column Brain Food for more than seven years. He has co-authored the bestselling MoVida cookbooks with Frank Camorra, and Phillippa’s Home Baking with Phillippa Grogan. My Year Without Meat was published by MUP in 2016.