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OCTOBER, 2019
The Scene: A beautiful day in Noosa, Australia, in a beautiful place called Organika

The Drink: Green Juices

The Vibe: Reconnections with old friends on a balmy day

Tammy Fry is a surfer, karateka, plant-based foodie blogger, marketeer for Fry’s Family Foods and a massive advocate for plant-based living.
Tammy, it’s great to see you again! Let’s start with a fun one: What thought excites you the most today?

Seeing the growth of plant-based products around the world is exciting.

My whole life has been dedicated to trying to inspire people to change to a more conscious, more compassionate way of living and finally consciousness is shifting.

We started on this journey 35 years ago. In the beginning, there was such resistance and now people are getting really excited about change and adopting a new way of eating. So for me, it’s excitement all round and the realisation that maybe humanity can change.

How would you describe your relationship with the ocean in three words?

It’s definitely my place of peace, my place for creativity and where you can reconnect with nature.

What is the biggest lesson the ocean has taught you in life?

It’s about respecting nature. Any person who spends time in or on the ocean, whether you are a diver, a fisherman or a surfer, is at the mercy of the ocean.  It’s humbling to feel that you are in an environment so much more powerful than you are.  The animals that live in the water – it’s their environment and you have to respect that. 

“So you’re always at the mercy of the power of the ocean and I think it’s a humbling experience to be in that environment. “
Sometimes the best moments and catch-ups are captured by hazy photos. Here is Kaspar, our Oceaneers Founder and Tammy having one of those perfectly imperfect moments.
How did it all begin? What was the first time you tip-toed into the sea and how did it lead to this version of Tammy who obviously has a strong relationship with the ocean? 

My father, Wally Fry, has always been an “ocean man”, so we would go camping by the beach in South Africa every single weekend. We had a very old, little campervan.  From age 3 onward he would attach my bodyboard to his surfboard and he would paddle me out into some big surf and push me on waves. Later he bought a little beach house in Westbrook (north of Durban).

It was a 160-year-old cottage which we went to every single weekend as we were growing up until the whole kitchen floor fell through one day.

So all my happy memories are from there and that’s why as a family we decided to move to Noosa (East Coast of Australia). It’s all about the beach here – it’s even a national surfing reserve.

Lucky you! What is your happiest memory connected to the sea? Take your time.

No thinking time-needed – that was quite recent. I went surfing in a local spot – a friend of mine is a videographer and he was filming.

“I was paddling near his drone, when all of a sudden a huge creature came out of the water right next to me. I freaked out and thought: That’s it, I’m going to die (assuming it was a great white). However, it turned out to be a mother humpback whale and her calf and they were not even 20 meters from where I was sitting.
That moment is forever engraved in my memory. I didn’t have to paddle to them or try to find them, they just came and spent a bit of time around where I was sitting. It was beautiful. 

The scariest moment you’ve had in the sea? 

Getting caught on the inside when bodyboarding in the Maldives, and nearly drowning. I was getting hammered onto the reef, wave after wave. Most surfers have experienced this at some stage!

Okay. You and Karate. Tell us a bit more about that, how did you get into it? What does it give you? What’s the story? 

 

Wally again. We didn’t have much money and lived in a very small house just outside of Pietermaritzburg with no running water – we had to fetch water from a river. He wanted us to do a family sport and Karate was the cheapest.  So that’s what we did. I was 4 years old at that point. And then I guess I really enjoyed it. 

 

At the age of 12, I started competing and did surprisingly well. I wasn’t naturally talented. It was just determination, hard work, commitment and a lot of training. By age 18, I was competing for the Senior National Team and went to the World Games and many international championships.

 

I ‘ve owned karate schools in South Africa and Australia and really enjoy coaching and teaching.  I’ve also run self-defence programs teaching women exposed to violence on how to defend themselves and empower them to find their own strength and confidence again.

 

Within the Karate community, are there many vegans?

Unfortunately not. Karate contains a lot of really valuable principles, such as respect for others and standing up for what you believe in. But the community at large hasn’t applied these principles to animals yet.

 

Let’s talk Fry’s. What’s the most exciting thing you guys are working on at the moment

Lots!

  1. We have just launched a new quarter-pound burger called the BIG FRY burger, as well as Fry’s Sourdough Woodfired pizzas. 
  2. And the next big one will be complementary products to the burger.

Iggy can’t wait to try the burger! How many countries are Fry’s products available in now?

We’re in 28 countries now. UAE, Indian Ocean islands, not so much Asia, USA, New Zealand and those regions, a lot of European countries, Hong Kong, Singapore…

It seems like everybody in the family is involved in the business, right? What are the up- and downsides of having so many family-members involved?

To be honest, we haven’t had too many downsides. We all have our work area based on our expertise and they don’t cross over too much.
Of course, things can get a bit heated in a family infused with so much passion for the cause. But it helps to know that we all want the best, and we have a strong leader. It’s also important that we don’t take things too personally or are too sensitive. Overall it works well for us.

What’s the impact on Fry’s of the new rise of companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods which are heavily capitalized? Do you see them growing the overall pie? Or do you feel the competition already? 

“All ships rise with the rising tide –  that is true to some degree, as long as you’ve got great products.”
These new entrants raise the bar and it’s given great push to plant-based industry.

But it is tough being just a family business coming up against listed companies that have endless amounts of funds available. That’s the biggest challenge that we face.

 

Allright, about Oceanears. Why did you decide to support Oceanears as an ambassador? 

Anything that has to do with raising awareness about the ocean I am a 100% on board with.

 

 A lot of people don’t even classify fish as meat.  They do see the need to cut back on land-based livestock animals, but see fish as something completely different and keep eating them.
So, I think it needs a lot more work in awareness and education. People think there’s an endless supply of fish in the ocean. They’re not aware of the dire threat the ocean is under because of over-fishing, methods of fishing and the amount of plastics in the ocean (often related to fishing). 

 

That lack of awareness – do you see that only in society at large, or also in the communities that spend a lot of time in the oceans (surfers etc.)? 

In both – there’s a massive disconnect. I spent a lot of time with ocean-dwellers  that have never ever thought about the fish they eat. In the same way they are disconnected from any kind of any other animal product they eat. 

For example, what are the methods of fishing when they catch prawns? What else are they destroying in the process of catching prawns?

  • These fish are being caught in other oceans
  • They are being shipped over in frozen format
  • A lot of them are being thwart on the shelves
  • They are not fresh fish at all
  • Some of them are mislabeled

So you don’t know what you’re buying (and thus supporting with your money). People are very removed from that whole process.

“I think it’s just a lack of education and also a lack of wanting to really know. Because once you know you can’t unknow. And then you have to change and people don’t really want to change. ”
 
“Talking about lack of education – can you tell us a little more about your personal blog?”

My blog, Seed Blog started out as a place for me to help others with the transition to plant-based – sharing recipes, tips for transitioning, how to advocate for plant-based living, bringing up vegan kids and more.  The blog led to the creation of the Seed Workshops where I “seed” the idea of plant-based living by sharing my knowledge and experiences with others.  

 

“How do you deal with or respond to people who show little or no consideration for the planet in their day to day actions, life choices and spending?

It’s really difficult dealing with people that disregard the planet.  I suppose, the journey of consciousness needs to be a personal journey so making suggestions and educating in the most compassionate way is all you can do.  Plant seeds, and hopefully they will grow. Don’t get angry, Mother Nature will always survive, but human beings may not.  

 

Where do you see the biggest potential for Oceaneers?

By collaborating with consumer brands. It’s difficult to bring social awareness campaigns to people, but they are already buying brands. So if they can make the connection through the brand that often has an impact. 

 

Awesome, thanks Tammy. It’s great to have you onboard the Oceaneers tribe, and we can’t wait to share a wave or two with you!

Head to Tammy’s Blog and sign up to her newsletter for some awesome vegan living inspiration.

Check out Fry’s Food the next time you’re in a supermarket and deciding whether just to fill your hunger or make an impact with your food choices.

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Oceaneers

Oceaneers is a community-driven initiative created by two ocean lovers who wanted to inspire others to see that the biggest positive impact they could make to ocean sustainability was to change their food choices.

© 2018 Oceaneers.For.Life 

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