By EHM Editor Jade McKenzie
Yoko is one of those people that you meet who has the most beautiful presence. Don't let her gentle nature fool you though, she is a quiet force who has changed a whole community. Yoko had no idea when she was studying Macrobiotics and Holistic Nutrition at the Kushi Institute of Japan, that opening the door to raw and living food cuisine would lead her to a vibrant life in Melbourne opening and running the well-renowned raw food café Shokuiku in Northcote.
After the huge success of the café, which uses 100% organic or chemical free and seasonal ingredients, Yoko saw the huge upswell of interest that the local community was taking in her food and philosophies around wellbeing and sustainability. After hosting numerous holistic health and wellness events within the cafes doors and hosting visitors from all across Australia and beyond, Yoko come up with the idea of the Wellness Foodies Expo specifically for people who have an interest in nourishing foods that are made holistically and ethically.
With wellbeing, holistic health, organic food and healthier food choices being such a consistently hot topic across Australia, Yoko has deliberately created the Wellness Foodies Expo to provide an opportunity for consumers to come face to face with the producers to be inspired and empowered to make educated food choices.
The Wellness Foodies Expo, being held on Saturday 7th November 2015, at The Abbotsford Convent will host stalls from businesses such as Loving Earth, My Goodness Organics, The Australian Super Food Co and Grateful Harvest and have intimate workshops from some of the best producers in the industry. I am so proud to know Yoko and be working with her on this incredible event and I wanted to learn more about how it has all come about so I got the inside scoop on the Wellness Foodies Expo just for you!
Where did the idea for the Wellness Foodies Expo come from?
I opened Shokuiku, (the first and the only raw organic cafe in Melbourne) which was something that I wish I had when I was on my health journey. Wellness Foodies Expo is something that I wish I had when I was growing my business. Many small businesses start with their own unique stories and try to share their passion through different means. I wanted to create an opportunity for them and consumers to see the real faces behind a label. I believe that us, as a consumer has the power to influence with our everyday choices. I hope this expo can help producers and consumers bring together.
Why did you think that an expo setting was the best setting for this event?
With what I wanted to achieve and people to feel after attending the expo it would have had to be relatively large, so that I can create worth a while event for everyone involved.
How is this expo different to other food based expos and festivals across Australia and what can people expect on the day?
There are some amazing expos and events happening in Australia. Even though they have been moving towards or at least including more healthier options there are no events like WFE currently. You can be sure that the businesses which are at the expo are all genuine and run their businesses with passion for healthy food. The expo will also be an inspiration for people who want to start and already running their own businesses, seeing others doing what they love doing and share their experiences.
You have chosen to donate part of the proceeds towards Action Aid which is fabulous! Why have you decided to do this?
I have always supported Action Aid through Shokuiku and personally. I would like to use as many opportunities as possible to give back in some ways.
And at the end of it all, what do you want people to walk away with?
I would like attendees to feel connected to what they are buying. Not only with the businesses they saw at the expo, but every time they are making a buying decision. With the amazing line up of businesses involved this year I am sure that concept of healthy food equals boring food would totally be wiped out!
For those who are thinking to start their food businesses as well as ones who have been running theirs, I would like them to feel that they are not alone. I hope they can take away practical and mindset tips from the expo.
I would like this expo to be an opportunity for the stallholders to tell their own stories and connect directly to the attendees. and also build a solid relationship with other entrepreneurs and creative people who are spreading healthy and ethical messages.