Connect with Food Connect: Awatif
Have you ever wondered how your fruit and veg find their way into your Food Connect box? The packing of our boxes is an incredibly important part of our work in delivering the produce that is fresh from local farmers! Meet Awatif: one of our packing all-stars.
As the most experienced member of the team, she has worked for Food Connect for 1.5 years. She greatly enjoys packing and can always be seen smiling at the warehouse: “I love the Food Connect community so much; we are like family. When we’re together, it’s not like we’re at work. When I come here, I find myself at home.”
A mother of 5 beautiful children (ranging from 13 to 5 years old!), Awatif cares deeply for health and wellbeing and firmly believes in the importance of fresh chemical-free food. Originally from the plains in the Nuba Mountain region in Sudan, Awatif, her husband Bolis, and her children came to Sydney six years ago. Although they lost many relatives and friends due to the ongoing conflicts in their region of Sudan, they were able to immigrate via Egypt to Australia as refugees.
In Sudan, Awatif and Bolis were farmers, who grew corn, okra, and a variety of traditional Sudanese grains and vegetables like sorghum and molokhia. Awatif speaks fondly about farming in Sudan, where they could produce copious amounts of food using just seeds, sun well-nourished soil, and rain: “We would only grow food naturally using compost, not chemicals.” It wasn’t until coming to Australia that she heard of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides being used for growing food. Since coming to Sudan, Awatif’s husband Bolis has been able to carry on his own passion for chemical-free farming while working at Mamre Homestead in St. Marys.
A big factor of settling her family into life in Australia was the difference in food! When she and her family arrived, many kind people from her church community helped her to learn new ways of cooking food. They took her shopping at a grocery store and showed her all the different foods here that she wouldn’t know what to do with otherwise. She encountered a lot of new types of vegetables, such as silverbeet, beetroot, coriander and green zucchini (they only had yellow zucchini in Sudan!). “Now, we’ve learned how to make and eat Australian meals.” Clearly Awatif and Bolis’s passion for healthy food is contagious: their children happily enjoy lots of fruit and vegetables and even dislike fast-food restaurants because they know the food isn’t healthy.
Awatif wants you to know how important it is “to support organic produce through Food Connect and elsewhere. The food is very healthy for the farmers growing the food, as well as for the people eating it… and it tastes better too!” She is committed to chemical-free farming because “it is a better way to grow… it really can solve some of the biggest problems [in this country].” Awatif would also like to thank Food Connect’s farmers, who work hard to grow the produce, which is “a great gift for us and Australia.” She shines a big smile, cheering on the farmers: “Keep going!”
If you’d like to see Awatif and other members of our packing team in action, we invite you to join for a tour on our next Rozelle warehouse Open Day on 31st January at 11am!
Every Tuesday, the Food Connect team shares goodies that they’ve made. One of our favourite dishes is this Sudanese recipe that is filling but delightfully refreshing on a warm summer day! (We really are all hooked!)
Awatif’s Famous Fruit Salad
- Fresh Avocados
- Mango Juice
- Caster Sugar
- Various fruits (use rockmelon, nectarines, oranges from this weeks box! Add in others.. grapes, strawberries, berries, peaches)
Cut all the fruit into small pieces and place in serving bowl.
Cut and scoop out avocado flesh.
Blend the flesh with mango juice (and some fresh mango if available) until smooth and well mixed.
Pour the blended mango avocado juice over the fruit.
Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve up into bowls!