Franca Nor­ris

Myrtleford Times - - News -

How long have you been in Myrtleford?

I was born here. My par­ents were on a fam­ily to­bacco farm in Whorouly. They bought the Free­burgh car­a­van park and I did some pri­mary school in Bright.

In 1974 they bought land to build on and Martin’s School Bus Lines in Myrtleford and I now live where I grew up.

Need­less to say, I didn’t move far.

What’s your job?

I have a more than a few. I’m co­or­di­na­tor of the VFMA-ac­cred­ited Tafco Myrtleford Farmer’s Mar­ket.

I do re­tail­ing for two of my cousins in Judd’s Menswear in Wan­garatta and I’m a guide for Maeve O’Meara’s ‘High Coun­try Gourmet Sa­fari’.

What brought you to th­ese roles?

The farm­ers’ mar­ket – I’m pas­sion­ate about all as­pects of farm­ing, farm­ers and their so­cial con­nec­tions with the peo­ple buy­ing their prod­uct.

I en­deav­our to be the bridge for our lo­cals and visi­tors, to sup­port and have a re­la­tion­ship with the pri­mary pro­ducer and spe­cialty stall­hold­ers who work so hard in bring­ing qual­ity, lo­cal, fresh and sea­sonal prod­ucts to the com­mu­ni­ties in which they live.

What do you love about what you do?

They re­ally are just an im­por­tant part of our won­der­ful life­style. I guess that’s how we fell into them, paid and un­paid.

We were re­cently filmed for ‘Food Sa­fari Earth’, Maeve’s other line, which airs on SBS TV in Oc­to­ber. I am re­ally proud that our town and val­ley will be show­cased. We are so for­tu­nate to live in the North East with all its amaz­ing gifts.

It truly is God’s coun­try here.

What do you do in the com­mu­nity?

I have done a few dif­fer­ent things over the years, in­clud­ing free adult classes in the li­brary, but for the past seven years I have been on the La Fiera com­mit­tee which cel­e­brates all things Ital­ian.

We are also able to raise money for the fes­ti­val, for things like entertainment, by hold­ing wild mush­room for­ages. They usu­ally sell out quickly and I wish we could do more.

It is won­der­ful to see peo­ple com­ing from all over the coun­try to en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties, tra­di­tional food, wine and great mu­sic. The fes­ti­val is grow­ing each year – a unique com­mu­nity event to be very proud of.

What’s the most sig­nif­i­cant cur­rent com­mu­nity is­sue for you?

For me the one that is ever present is the sub­stance abuse in and around our town. In par­tic­u­lar, the ‘ice’ epi­demic is alarm­ing.

This ter­ri­ble drug gives a per­son an en­ergy rush and huge con­fi­dence, and can lead to lo­cal crimes such as theft, for the need to feed their ad­dic­tion, and it so ef­fects the whole com­mu­nity.

What’s the most sig­nif­i­cant world is­sue for you?

Food waste is heart­break­ing. Al­most half of the world’s food grown and pro­duced is never con­sumed and about 20 per cent in the home be­comes waste.

This is money hard earned and thrown in the bin when you think about it. Plas­tics waste is just frus­trat­ing.

I don’t see the point of su­per­mar­kets re­mov­ing plas­tic bags when the con­sumer is reg­u­larly buy­ing pro­cessed foods, in­clud­ing ‘healthy op­tions’, in plas­tic food pouches which are most likely never re­cy­cled.

If the per­son you’d most like to meet came to Alpine Shire, or was al­ready here, who would that be and what would you show them?

I al­ready have the plea­sure of guid­ing in the Alpine Shire through my work, so the peo­ple I’d most like to meet would be our fam­ily’s an­ces­tors.

I would show them their (rather large) ex­tended fam­i­lies have grown and suc­ceeded in some­thing they only dreamed of.

They left be­hind their na­tive coun­tries and risked every­thing, in­clud­ing their lives, to come to Australia and fi­nally set­tle in this part of the coun­try.

Some peo­ple aren’t into fam­ily his­tory but, for me, it has shaped who we are to­day and we should be truly thank­ful to them for it.

TEAM­WORK: Franca Nor­ris (right) with her mother Mary Bonacci (left) and Food Sa­fari Earth host Maeve O’Meara.

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