It’s been called the worst dry spell Australia has seen in the past 50 years. All of New South Wales and almost two-thirds of Queensland are affected. Pastures have dried up and many farmers had to slaughter their animals or watch them die, unable to feed them. While the federal and state governments have provided financial support, the situation remains dire.
Numerous relief funds are working hard to assist – and restaurants across the country are doing their part to help farmers, the backbone of their industry.
Parma for a Farmer
“I’ve been watching the news and was seeing all the appalling pictures of those poor farmers and the drought and the animals and everything they are going through. It’s so upsetting. Just like everyone in Australia, it played on my mind,” Amanda Kinross tells SBS Food.
The Bendigo resident posted on Facebook about Parma for a Farmer, suggesting that pubs could donate a dollar out of every parma they sell. After it was picked up by the local radio station, her idea snowballed and hundreds of venues joined in.
“The actual parma itself is so Aussie and it’s sold everywhere. Everyone has heard of it, it just resonates with the people. And it’s sold in pubs, which are at the centre of the community,” explains Kinross.
Raise A Fork For Our Farmers
As part of their new Raise A Fork For Our Farmers campaign, The Rockpool Dining Group will donate all the profits of The Bavarian and The Bavarian Beerhaüs venues in New South Wales and Queensland on 26 August to Aussie Helpers.
“Agriculture and farmers are often described as the backbone of Australia. We believe they’re the backbone of the hospitality industry: they supply our kitchens, they inspire our chefs and they help us feed thousands of customers daily,” says Rockpool CEO Thomas Pash.
“They are a key part of our supply chain and our company’s success is dependent on them. Without their sheer hard work, we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do today.”
The group will also do more fundraising as part of their new Raise A Fork campaign, with more details to be announced soon.
Top chefs are joining forces
Some of the country’s most celebrated chefs, including Duncan Welgemoed (Africola) and Mat Lindsay (Ester, Poly), Clayton Wells (A1 Canteen and Automata), Monty Koludrovic (Icebergs Dining Room ＋ Bar and The Dolphin), Matt Stone and Jo Barrett (Oakridge Wines), Shannon Martinez (Smith & Daughters), James Viles (Biota Dining) and Andy Bowdy (Saga) will be joining the team at Three Blue Ducks Rosebery for a collaborative dinner on 4 September. The $220 ticket will get you a four-course dinner and drinks.
Three Blue Ducks Byron Bay is also holding a similar event on 5 September.
The money raised at both dinners will go to Rural Aid.
More ways to help
It’s not only the farmers, but also the people living in drought-affected areas who are suffering financially. They’re asking people to come visit, for the weekend or a longer holiday. By spending money in local hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, you will help boost the economy of the region.
Supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles have also made donations with the latter matching customers’ donations made at checkout during the month of August.