On the Edge Forum, 6 months later…
We got in touch with participants from the On the Edge Forum last October, to see what’s happened since then. Here are some of the responses.
Sue Finger, President VFF Horticulture Group is leading a delegation of farmers to Canada to learn more about the Agriculture Land Reserve following the presentation by Dave Sands. We are departing next week and will be having dinner at Dave’s place on Monday 21st May for an updated slide presentation to the one he gave at the forum. We look very much forward to the trip and believe we can achieve some real outcomes for farmers in Victoria on our return.
Manager – Horticulture, VFF
We have just completed the business plan for our community farm, and held our Eco-Food Festival on 28 April which was attended by 2000 people … not bad for a community of 8000, so the buzz is getting louder in our neck of the woods. Hopefully we’ll be inspiring and enabling the next generation of farmers out our way, and building a local food network as we go. Still small change, but watch this space.
Yarra Valley ECOSS
Thanks for the forum follow-up. I was invited to run a workshop and help launch a food hub for Urban Grown in Port Kembla NSW, see:
Social justice and inclusion are the drivers in an area where systemic 3rd generation unemployment is common – youth unemployment is 30%+. Anyway they have secured funding and a site and are going full steam ahead. The plan is to grow, sell, value add and be a distribution and training centre for urban and peri-urban food growers.
Also helping the Canberra City Farm group get their vision in place. Much good will, but they need a driver to make it happen. I’ll be advising them to go down a similar food/community hub route to Port Kembla possibly using a disused school site. Cheers,
Mountain Creek Farm, ACT
Thanks so much for your email and follow up from the forum. A project I’m working on, Sharing Abundance <http://www.sharingabundance.org> , has recently taken a huge development leap which has been really exciting. The project has to date been a proposal of a small scale, community led food program where backyard trees are harvested and the fruit is shared equitably amongst the community (a third offered to the household owner, a third to the volunteers who help with the harvest, and the final third to a local community enterprise such as a school or refuge).
After some furious testing, the program is now ready to spread to empower communities far and wide to take this on. And the response has been overwhelming. Initially this will role out to 5 suburbs across Melbourne however there is demand in Sydney and Adelaide and so these locations will follow shortly too. The project is really exciting as not only does it empower locals to get in touch with their communities and develop a resilient system of sharing food but it also brings to light the amount of food that is available and how sharing can be faciliated and executed in a modern day world. Check out the website and should you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Great initiative – I’m looking forward to reading the updates! Here’s ours:
The Locavore Edition launched The Field Guide to Victorian Produce earlier this year, profiling Victorian growers, producers and providers to help consumers reconnect with the people behind their food. We’ve also launched our website, www.locavored.com, which acts as a platform for discussion of issues affecting the food sector. Sign up to our monthly e-news for interviews and commissioned writing – Robert Pekin and Glenn Albrecht have shared their philosophies with us. Guides to NSW produce and SA produce are now in the works. If you’re interested in writing for us, partnering with us or getting involved, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers,
Here’s what I have been up to on the local food front since On the Edge last October:
1. Development of a Regional Food Strategy to “enhance the identity of Mornington Peninsula as a quality, fresh and innovative food region”. This project is currently being undertaken to pull together multi-sectoral opinions and experiences that will be incorporated into strengthening the networks within a local food economy context in terms of awareness, education, access, distribution and branding of local produce. It is an exciting project to be working on!
2. I have developed a local fresh produce campaign within the Mornington Shire and have staff at the Mornington office being encouraged to purchase local fruit and vegetable including apples, avocados, potatoes and pumpkins etc as seasonal produce becomes available. The response has been fantastic with people commenting they have never had a taste or crunch experience from an apple!!! There is pumpkin soup conversations happening all around the office and the talk of local food in the kitchen hub as people collect their potatoes from me is awesome.
3. I recently spoke at the Bendigo – Growers and Eaters forum about Local government action and local produce and delivered a poem (in an apple suit) to get the message across:
Where did that apple come from, as I bit in it I say?
Why it’s from the local supermarket, much to my dismay
There was no crunch, the taste so bland but perfect was its shine
So what is going on with it when it fails to cross the line?
Of crunch and sweet and flavoursome, delicious I do crave
But how so can I do so when it weaves a tiresome maze
From tree to crate, to truck along a road so long and straight
Further it must travel far away from its farm gate
To a fridge so cold for how long, nobody really is quite sure
So when I bite that piece of fruit it nearly breaks my jaw
But listen close, a chant is heard, it’s building strength in droves
The demand to purchase local apples from back on apple groves
The bite, the taste, the crunch can be heard from twenty paces
As people start to think what this concept really embraces
Where did that apple come from as I bit in it I say?
Why picked so fresh and local..hip hip, hip hip hooray!!!
Rural Business Officer,
Mornington Peninsula Shire