Interview: MKRNZ winners Neena & Belinda

the-green-kitchenWhen Neena Truscott & Belinda MacDonald won MKRNZ last year, I was happy. From the moment I saw their approach to healthy living the way they approached the world as a supermarket I thought there was a lot of potential for great things. The gimmicky label, the modern day hippies, may have worked from a TV perspective but in reality, the two women are simply living and eating as many of our grandparents and great grandparents did, dining off the land.

When watching Survivor, I often chuckle to myself as the castaways wander around the jungle hoping to find a cheese burger growing on an undiscovered tree, completely overlooking the wealth of edible plants surrounding them in abundance. Instead, they suffer from hunger pangs. The fact that we’ve lost so much knowledge around what weeds litter those annoying lawns that need to get mown each week is part of the inspiration for what Neena and Belinda are doing.

Since winning the show, the pair have been working on building a business and last night, launched their new website: The Green Kitchen.

Here at The Green Kitchen “wellness through awareness” is what we are all about. It is our desire to educate and encourage people of this day and age to take a moment to reflect and look back over the centuries before us in regard to what we eat. We cannot stress enough the importance of bridging the ancestral gap between the whole foods of yesteryear and the packaged society we live in today. As Parents we are at the centre of our families’ wellness, and it is up to us to teach our children the importance of living a more conscious sustainable lifestyle. Our passion is to encourage and educate about healthy nourishing food and practises which are deeply wholesome, simple to prepare, seasonal and delicious!

To know that there is a collective out there who are not only engaging in a growing new food revolution, but who are also ready to take the power back and have a conscious approach to what enters their body is so heart-warming. It is common and understandable to feel completely overwhelmed and alone at first when dealing with the health of ourselves and our little ones, we just want you to know from the bottom of our heart, there are options and people out there who are ever so willing to help. Reach out and take your families wellness to new levels. Here at The Green Kitchen we are dedicated to leading the way in this new food revolution and helping others to understand the importance of ancestral eating.

Getting back to the basics and having a more ancestral approach to eating, and medicine, and being more conscious of what we’re putting in our mouths is the central focus of much of what they’re doing, something that was quite prevalent in their time on MKR. But while many chefs and amateur cooks turn up on these cooking shows with their organic approach, these foragers of natural goodness have taken a far more sustainable approach to food.

“As mums, in this hard society we now live in, financially it’s just too expensive to be always eating out of cool organic shops all the time. Lots of things are really good for you but it’s just unsustainable. We just need to look at what’s around us and educate ourselves as to what is available and discover what was food and medicine a hundred years ago.”

I remember as a boy, visiting my grandparents massive vege gardens. Growing our their own fruit and vegetables was common practice a hundred years ago, even 50. My grandparents also seemed to have plenty of knowledge around what plants had medicinal value.

That sentiment is quite aware with them both. “It’s been so rewarding for us and our kids to learn about our food and if we don’t carry them down, they’ll be lost. If we don’t grab on to these traditions now, we may lose them forever.”

Educating ourselves about what is available is a truly fascinating exercise and the resurgence of interest in this is seeing urban households turning their quarter acres into what looks like a set from The Good Life.

The women are currently meeting with a publisher which should mean we’ll get to see some interesting recipes that include our native flora and fauna, something I suspect there could be good demand for.

They’re also working hard on launching a secret product for later in the year and hope to unveil it around July.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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