Australian Fair Food Forum

Introductions - who are we?

Introduce yourself to the community here. If you don’t know where to start, try answering some of the following questions:

What is your name and where are you based?

How are you trying to build a fair food system? For example, are you working on a food enterprise that connects people such as a co-op or hub, are you processing food, are you a farmer, or are you doing something else?

What’s something you’ve learnt about fair food, or running community food enterprises, that you think will help others, or a topic that you’d like to share knowledge about, or something you’d like to ask questions about?

If you just want to dive straight in and start chatting about one of those topics, check out the various categories that your topic might fall under.

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Hi all, my name is Jen, I work as a sustainable food systems researcher and communications strategy person (mostly in Melbourne), and live in central Victoria.

As a researcher I most recently worked on the Foodprint Melbourne project looking at the impacts of feeding Melbourne, and what’s needed to build a fairer, more sustainable and resilient food system for the city.

I also work in communications strategy, helping sustainability and food researchers communicate their work to policy-makers and media, and working with community food enterprises on how to make the most of their comms with (almost invariably!) limited resources. I’m doing some work with Open Food Network to help develop more resources to support community food enterprises - check out the Learn site:

Hi gang, I’m Rob.

I am a founding member of the Baw Baw Food Hub, a non-profit community food enterprise based in West Gippsland.

I also spend a bit of time in the small-scale market garden at Mannagum Farm, which my mum runs, also in West Gippsland.

The rest of my time I spend working at the Open Food Network in Melbourne, where I do web development.

Hi I’m Jo and I am from South Gippsland. We are an organic egg producer and very new to the business. We are very lucky here in South Gippsland to have the Grow Lightly Food Hub that puts customers and producers in touch with each other, emphasising clean fresh and local food. They also run workshops and film nights and discussions. The other night we watched The Market Gardeners Toolkit which was very interesting.


Hi, I’m Kirsten

I got interested in food systems about 10 years ago, and then got obsessed and now I’m stuck! I started with sustainability, climate and food policy in state government, and coupled this with food systems research at the Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, most recently part of the Foodprint Melbourne team with @Jen and Rachel Carey. About 6 years ago I started to see ‘community food enterprises’ as the key to change, and started Eaterprises Australia (with my partner @serenity), which then was part of starting the Australian Food Hubs Network, South East Food Hub and the Open Food Network. We’ll be drawing upon and discussing the ‘learnings’ of these experiences so far here!

In the last year we had a baby which has been really fun, and we are now also starting farming as family farm succession gathers speed in Warrenbayne (North East Victoria, near Benalla)

Look forward to lively discussions :slight_smile:

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Hello all,

I’m Julian and I’m currently based in Fitzroy.

I’m involved with Youth Food Movement as co-leader for the Melbourne chapter. One of my passions is supporting school food education in Australia through the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program. I’ve previously volunteered in their Collingwood office and on Tuesdays I help out at the Collingwood College school kitchen.

It’s one of my goals to set up a school market enterprise whereby the children who are participating in kitchen garden programs can take home fresh local produce directly from school to home. I hope the proceeds from this can support the expansion of school food education throughout Australia.

Looking forward to some interesting and productive discussion on fair food. :slight_smile:

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Fabulous Thread! My name is Carolyn Suggate, with multiple hats!

We run a farm as Eat Local, Eat Wild, organic lamb (and beef) from North East Victoria on a really small scale. I also work for the Organic Federation of Australia (peak organic body - not a certifier).

Most importantly (to me anyhow!) is we are on the cusp of launching an Australian first, the Organic Investment Cooperative. An initiative that will enable investment, prosperity, security, and longevity into the organic farming and business sector.

Incredibly exciting, and look forward to seeing these threads grow as more folks get involved in fabulous local food systems!




Hi there, I’m Jade Miles, and I am based in Beechworth in North East Victoria where I work as an industry developer and advocate for a strong local food system.

I founded the Beechworth Food Co op in Jan 2015 and have worked with a whole stack of incredible folks who are keen to do something similar or who have already embarked on their journey. We are currently in the process of rolling out our third year of “activation events” which aim to engage a really broad range of the community to enhance education and understanding around the value of a local food system.

In Feb we delivered the inaugural Fair Food Farmers and Followers gathering in Stanley where we heard from 12 inspiring locals who are doing big things to bring about reconnection to our food, our people and our place.

My husband and three kids have also embarked on our own farming journey and are in the process of building a permaculture poly orchard which will one day son be open for pick your own, own farm tours, education workshops, seed saving produce swaps etc.

This movement invigorates me and has managed to seep into every corner of our lives…I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

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Hello! My name is Sophie and along with @sophie.anne.jackson I run the Fair Food Challenge with an aim to create healthy, fair and accessible food environments on Australian university campuses.

You can learn a bit more about what we’re up to by checking out our report _What Could a Fair Food University Look Like?_ We’re interested in talking to this community and seeing how we can link your work into local universities.

Cheers! :blush:

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Hi all, my name is Christy Spier and I live in Radelaide - I work as an Urban Sustainability Officer with Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges. As part of this role, one priority is to look at ways to increase urban food production and build local food systems, with a few things in the pipeline I will share links to soon - namely a vision from our two events last year for an “Edible Adelaide” (this event was coordinated in partnership with Sustain, CQUniversity and Adelaide Sustainability Connect).

I’ve jumped in as the SA Rep on the Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network and am reviving our local network in Adelaide.

I get my hands dirty when I make time at the Goody Patch Community Garden in Goodwood.

A number of years ago I researched churches using their spaces to grow food and some links and resources can be found @ Edible Churches although it has not been kept up to date.

I am keen to learn from you all


Howdy all nice to meet you, I’m Charlie Showers

With my partner in crime @jademiles2 and kiddo’s we run Black Barn Farm in Stanley, where we are in the throws of establishing a commercial permaculture orchard, nursery and learning space.

I have worked in agriculture, soils and natural resource management for a long while however something started niggling away at me about 15 years ago and I knew I had to be an orchardist, the niggle became an itch and led to me really researching our whacked out food system, the itch became a heart beat and took me to New England in the USA for a research tour of orchards, food co-ops, food hubs and general awesome fair food system exploration inspiration. The heart beat then manifested into the tangible and with @jademiles2 and a few other awesome Beechworth crew we founded the Beechworth Food Co-op.

I have also recognised the importance of food policy so got involved with the development of a North East Victoria Food Policy Disucussion Paper and continue to work with some others to advocate for food policy development in our patch however I’d much prefer to be grafting fruit trees!

I am now where I am meant to be, doing what I am meant to be doing and I love it. It is hard work and I wish my mind would stop sometimes, that the wallabies would quit eating my trees and that westerners were happy with less but hey life’s good and I love growing and working to build a fair food future. I am super grateful to Serenity, Kirsten, Jen and all the OFN crew for bringing us all together in this forum.

Look forward to nattering away in here for years to come. :apple::green_apple::pear:

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I’m Fraser and I’m a market gardener in Moruya a small town of about 7000 on the sth coast of NSW. We have taken interns in the past, half a dozen of which have their own enterprises now. I was involved in the formation of the SAGE Project in Moruya and following from that the formation of the SAGE Farmers Market also in Moruya. I’m a member of our local council’s Rural Producer’s Advisory Committee although I’m not sure why yet as it’s only new. I guess I’m hoping to get a Dept of Ag in the council but I may be aiming high there. I have run courses on many different aspects of market gardening and formed a Market Garden series which ran consecutively with the season so practical tasks were performed at the appropriate time for the season. I am not a qualified teacher but am mulling it over as it would be useful to kick off the next project- a student farm in the region. I’m nervous about engaging with yet another digital platform but it looks good and so I’ll stay and play a while if you’ll have me. Thanks.

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Hi and welcome Christy - you are likely already connected with @pippa from 3000 acres, but pinging just in case and also @candys who is running a project to gather data on urban food production in Melbourne at the moment. Let us know if the categories make sense for you to post updates about what you’re working on, of if you think a sub-category under Farming for Urban would be helpful

Hi @Charlie_Showers and welcome :slight_smile:

If you had a couple of sentences on what’s worked so far in the North East Food Policy Discussion Paper process that you wanted to post in the Food Policy and Regs discussion that would be great. I will then check whether Peter Kenyon is here yet and invite him in . .

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Hi everyone!

My name is Pippa and I’m based in Melbourne where I’m interested in supporting people to grow some of their own food.

I have two roles:

:tomato: Manager at 3000acres (with Ellie Blackwood), where we help people start their own urban food gardens, these can be community gardens, urban farms and anything in between. We just launched a garden starter program which you can sign up to if you’re working on starting an urban food growing project.

:tomato: Urban Agriculture Facilitator at the City of Yarra, where I support the community to grow edible food in public and private spaces.

Looking forward to being part of this forum! :relaxed:


Hi Christy,
Love the sound of what you’ve been up to!
3000acres might be of interest to you for people wanting to start new gardens. We are Melbourne based, but have a handy toolkit on our website and are happy to help with individual advice over email :slight_smile:

Hello folks!

I’m Justin Russell - you might have come across me around the organic gardening, fair food and small scale farming traps. I’ve been writing about gardening for close to two decades but late last year, I decided to really put my money where my mouth is and start a market garden. My family and I sold our 10 year old smallholding at Hampton in the southern Qld high country and bought a 3.5 acre property five minutes up the road with frontage to the New England Highway and access to the local park, which is frequented by grey nomads and other tourists.

Our plan is to grow a wide range and fruit and veg (including avocados from a mature orchard) which we hope to sell mainly through an on-site farm stand and perhaps at farmers markets in Toowoomba or via a box scheme.

I also volunteer on the organising committee of the Hampton Festival, my village’s annual celebration of food and art that’s been running for 14 years, attracts around 4000 visitors to our little town of 500, and is helping to reconnect farmers and foodies.

Big thanks to the organisers of this forum…hopefully I can contribute something worthwhile to the group!


Hello all,

I’m happy to be part of this forum. My name is Susie and currently I work for FareShare a food rescue / relief organisation based in Abbotsford. I’m the garden manager and work at two sites mainly, Abbotsford and the Baguley farm. We also have another garden at Moorabbin airport.

I look forward to seeing where this all goes.




Hello! I’m Cath and run Tiny Trowel

When I heard about increasing demand for food relief from churches in Melbourne, I enrolled in Local Food Launchpad with the simple idea of encouraging faith communities to use their land to grow food. Some wins so far - so keep going.
Would be interested in talking to Christy from Edible Churches.
Also, looking for a point of difference in the field, TT evolved to use social media to source back yard produce towards food relief NFPs. Tiny Trowel is a crowd sourcing set up with a difference - I look to the crowd to source food plants, services and produce to contribute towards NFPs helping folks in food crisis.
Using social and traditional media, I communicate events to the wider public, encouraging the crowd to contribute food seeds, plants and fresh produce to food relief agencies and NFPs.

So Tiny Trowelers collectively aim to harness the power and generosity of the wider community - ‘The Crowd’ - in an effort to address food security issues through:

  1. Crowd Harvests
  2. Crowd Sharing
  3. Crowd Farming
  4. Crowd Talks
  5. Crowd Partnerships

Currently running ‘Crowd Autumn Harvest: Mother’s Day’.
Bless and Opa!


Hi I’m Glen Chapman from Armidale/Guyra in NSW. We (with my wife) run Southern Blue Regenerative which has three components. Farming, Tourism and Education

We are expanding our farming operation and buying our family’s farm near Guyra. This will include our sustainable Eco Cabin concept launch linking guests to food in the region. We have also just released our new Regenerative Farming Tour in September this year which is the first part of our education program.

I have been involved with regenerative farming my whole career since I did my university research project on keyline farming practices and then worked in facilitating and consulting in sustainable farming and grazing, holistic management and benchmarking.

I love helping people explore the opportunities in regenerative farming and showcasing the potential.