My friend Rich Humphreys is often found behind a camera. We met (what feels like) a million years ago when he was living in Auckland. Over the years he has called a few places home including Wellington, Lyttelton and these days, Australia but we always seem to catch up every year or so, no matter where he is based.
Creative, free-spirited and well traveled, his enthusiasm for story telling and community developed early on. I vividly remember viewing parties for his personal travel videos, featuring our friends. I don’t know if they ever saw the light of day but they were gold.
“A quiet revolution is growing in communities across Aotearoa-New Zealand, seeding long-term, multi-generational solutions for our food.”
Edible Paradise captures the birth of the food forest movement in New Zealand that is about much more than sustainability. It is ‘he tangata’ – the people. Coming together to connect & share both this abundance and the intangible social benefits that are at the heart of community food development.
After almost 6 years in production, Rich is showing his new work, Edible Paradise as part of DocEdge Festival in Wellington (15 and 17 May) and Auckland (1 and 3 June). Rich will be doing a Q&A at the 15, 17 May and 1 June screenings. Tickets and more info here.
Also the big “green carpet” premiere will be at Lyttelton Arts Factory on Saturday 19 May. More info here.
A random food memory
A few years ago, we caught up with Rich when he was visiting Auckland, I think he was actually here for something related to Edible Paradise. We had a few drinks and he offered up a plastic baggie of dried green stuff. Yeah, it’s probably not what you are thinking. It was dried korengo, a native seaweed that was “harvested during a full moon in September”.
A tasty smoky snack packed with umami. The first time I’d ever tasted korengo. I fell in love instantly. We devoured the stash.
Tasty questions with Rich Humphreys
I posed a series of questions to Rich on the eve of his film debut. Enjoy!
You must have come across a few unusual foods in your travels. What sticks out?
I was completely blown away by the vast array of heritage fruit that was brought to Aotearoa, New Zealand by our Ancestors from the Old World. Scion wood and other root stock lay dormant in the six-month journey from Europe before being planted out in new fertile soils. To nourish and sustain life in a new colony. What I learnt in the making of Edible Paradise is that these fruits had specific properties that made them worth keeping – great cookers, early-mid-late seasonality, good keepers etc…but what stuck out was the taste! OMG sweet, bitter, crunch all in one tasty apple. SO two stand out – Peasgood’s Nonsuch…the mega size, mega delicious cooking apple…yum PIE> and Monties Surprise a bonafide Superfruit with beneficial chemical compounds that have shown very real results in the reduction of colon cancer cells.
What is one way the average person can celebrate diversity in food?
Search out a Heritage Harvest festival near you and get involved..find out details at localisingfood.com. As part of filming for Edible Paradise I visited the Riverton Heritage Harvest in the deep south of the South Island. The event is put on by Robyn and Robert Guyton who are kind of legends in the Forest Garden and heritage food movement. In the film they share an amazing story of saving the heritage trees and connecting with council to grow an edible paradise.
What are we as New Zealanders not eating enough of?
We need more trees planted back in our own properties – fruit is pretty sexy really and it used to be everywhere in our 1/4 acre pavlova paradise, but then the supermarkets came in and big business and brands started to control the food supply. Yes sure there is convenience but when you realise that heritage varieties can nurish you far far more that the fruits in the super market you begin to realise that it is a gift from our ancestors and our responsibility to plant community food projects around the country for the benefit of all – and particularly for our children.
You’re going to a potluck tomorrow, what are you bringing?
I have just made a Panang Curry stacked with Veges and Smoked Emu served with Organic Brown Rice – so that sounds kinda nice 🙂
What is your most memorable meal?
Anything cooked by my beautiful partner-in-life with a glass of wine as the sun sets over the Indian ocean down the road from our house in Western Australia.
Hey, it’s so good to hear from you! What a great shot of you and your friend, Rich. Have fun at those green carpet events.