Australian Fair Food Forum

Introductions - who are we?

Yep, that’s how I found out about him as well, Curtis stuff is very inspiring.

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Hi Everyone
We are Rod and Kathy O’Connell of Ayton Farm (, 385 acres near Rathdowney in S E Qld.
We are a boutique, family owned farm producing pastured and organic fed meat chickens and eggs and pasture fed beef. We are “beyond organic” and use ethical, holistic and regenerative farming practices in a Joel Salatin ( inspired model. We have owned the farm 10 years, but only commenced the chicken and egg elements after doing the Joel Salatin workshops at Taranaki Farm in Victoria in April 2015, so we are very new.

Our current challenge is preparing a Material Change of Use application to the council and getting a boutique meat processing facility/chicken abattoir approved as we currently have a 560km round trip to an abattoir. I have put a post into the Processing section seeking information to help with that

It is also a challenge for us to achieve more in direct marketing as we need to sell produce very close to retail price to make the farm viable and achieve our strategic aims in terms of regenerating the landscape, gainfully employing a small community on the farm, showing our family a viable potential path back into agriculture etc

Thanks to the organisers of this forum, I find it very hard to extract useful information from the likes of Facebook, so think this concept is excellent.


I hope it all goes well with the council applications. Perhaps incorporate a teaching / farmstay to the application as well to generate more direct marketing opportunities. Regards Russell

Hi All,

I’ve been around the fair food movement for a while, but my current work with The Community Grocer has finally prompted me to get on the OFN. Community Grocer are a Not-For-Profit organisation running weekly markets in Melbourne to improve fresh food access through building community. We are currently looking into sourcing our fruit, veg and eggs directly from farmers. This means both building relationships with growers, as well as changing our storage/transport operations. If you are a small scale-wholesale grower in Victoria interested in supplying us or someone who has experience in this style of food-hubbing I would love to hear from you.
Email me at


Thanks Russell - that is a good suggestion. We will do so. Regards Rod

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I’m too from Adelaiade! I’m not able to find Best Chinese restaurants in Adelaide can you help me in finding some?

Hello…wow…such a great thread and to read everyone’s introduction.
I’m Jen Rae. I’m an artist-researcher and the Creative Lead on Fair Share Fare based in Melbourne. I am also work at Deakin University as the Masters of Creative Arts course director. I’ve been working at the intersection of art and climate change communication for about 15 years in Canada and now Australia. Most of my work over the past couple of years has delved further into issues around food sovereignty, disaster preparedness and indigenous food futures (I am Indigenous Canadian). I’m working on several projects at Arts House this year that may be of interested to some of you: Survival Skills in Desperate Times, The 3 Meals to Anarchy or Revolution Supper Club and Refuge (a 24-hour disaster rehearsal).

Looking forward to meeting more of you in real life and here in these forums.

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Hey Jen

You seem to have an interesting vocation.

I think there is a lot to say about a statement on the site “greater disparities between the rich and poor, food security is of increasing global concern.”
I see you are focusing on storage and disaster scenarios do you canvas other issues such as genetic patenting, decreased crop diversity etc.
Regards Russell

I am Bobby Singh.I am a foodie and I like vegetarian food.Professionally I am a cleaner in Melbourne.I do not cook but want to cook all type of food.i hope I will learn about Food and food system.


My name is Chris Hain and I live in Bendigo. I run the Bendigo Community Farmers market and the Castlemaine Farmers Market and I also sit on the committee for the VFMA and also represent Victoria on the AFMA Committee. I am committed to ensuring a strong connection between our farmers and producers and the communities in Central Victoria so that we can all eat well and ensure that the people that bring the food to us at the Markets can make a viable and sustainable living for their families and for future generations.


Hello I’m Aiesha Grierson,

What a great forum! This year I’ve taken the plunge into market gardening, left my office job to learn as much as I can about growing organic vegetables efficiently. Right now I’m farming with David at Raw Eatables Organic Farm out in Rockbank. I’m into bio-intensive, small scale, minimal till and biodynamic growing.

I’m keen to connect with people supporting Emergency Food Access. I’ve recently come back from a farming trip in North America, feel inspired by some of the programs I’ve seen and would like to support food access, starting with my local community in Moreland. If anyone is working within the area of emergency food access, I’d love to hear about the work your doing.

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I’m Megan Hunt and love this forum… already it is mind blowing the amount of amazing people, work and ventures that have been mentioned on this forum. Food is truly an amazing, diverse and growing industry!

I work in community health, with a formal connection to local government here in Wodonga (and Albury) and North East Victoria. I coordinate a local food network that includes representation from government bodies, producers, farmers markets, food relief agencies, neighbourhood houses, tourism, environmental groups, land management authority and more.
While I guess my experience and time in working in food systems is fairly short, I find my upbringing has really held me in good steed for my role.
I am a Kiwi, from Christchurch, where my family were 4th generation orchardists. We grew so many varieties of apples, pears, stone fruit, berries and more. I was even lucky to have earned a massive $3.50 through thinning season and in working at our family farm gate as my first paid job as a teenager.
I think forward to now, and my role in supporting our local and regional food system and I bring an understanding of my past to the role. My family ended up selling our orchard when I was 16 due to the real takeover of supermarkets driving my family out of an income.

Moving forward and thinking about the future here, there is a lot of possibility in our region to grow more local food, establish more point of sale opportunities and push a focus on local values and connections around all things food in our community.

Health as a sector is a part of the picture and certainly can play a role as a sector in supporting, advocating and linking in with government.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this forum, learn more about food and connect!


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Hi, I’m Alasdair Moodie,

My partner Karen Vincent and I own and operate FarmGate Online. We sell only locally grown organic and conventional produce dealing directly with growers as much as possible.

Our primary distribution network is through a series of ‘FarmGates’ set up in schools and community centres. A crucial part of our model is participating locations receiving a percentage of the sale as a contribution to their fundraising program. A healthy alternative to the chocolate drive…

We are also in the process of establishing a wholesale portal to supply school canteens, food co-operatives, aged care facilities and other businesses who wish to support local producers.

We also work with local councils and health agencies in the outer south-east of Melbourne to identify ways to get the program into more schools and community facilities getting fresh local produce onto families tables while supporting small to medium growers.

One thing that we have become aware of is the difficulty many producers face in finding economically viable local distribution and transportation. We have started working on a logistics tool aimed at producers that would support sharing shipping runs and backloads to provide a way to address this challenge.

Happy to chat about any of the points above with members of the forum!

All the best,


I think its a great concept… I see on your site that you started by selling potatoes online I would be interested to know how you manage your delivery costs.
Regards Russell

Hi Russell,
The majority of the deliveries to FarmGates are for multiple orders so in any one run there may only be six drops for 30 boxes. All our route planning is done by software to find the optimum route.
As for incoming produce, we do some collections from the smaller growers but go to the Melbourne Market Epping twice a week to collect from growers there. We’ve found that for the medium to large producer having us pick up interrupts their days workplan, but we can work in with their existing practices by collecting at the market.

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Hi All
After years of working in not-for-profits around food in Geelong. I’ve up sticks and started my own market garden just on the outskirts of Clunes. Seems like a great community and I managed to score a part time job in a food social enterprise in Ballarat. Always keen to learn more. This site is so interesting

After 18 years in Horticulture, the biggest issue for growers seems to be marketing, how to get the best price for your product and how to sell it all.
Ill be growing all my seedlings except what I get from Boomeroo, but will be happy to grow to order. I leased my land from someone found through facebook !!! Got a good size block with enough land for ducks and chooks and the seedling operation. Also plan to grow Quail on the side.

Hello everyone!

I am Jane O’Brien and I am the Chairperson for the Inverell Community Gardens in Northern NSW

We are not-for-profit community group auspiced by our local Landcare organisation - Gwymac Inc.

Our Community Gardens are run by a 100% Volunteer Management Committee and a couple of Team Leaders. We have strong relationships with a number of local service providers including a high school, an unemployment agency with a work for the dole program, an early childhood service provider and a disability service provider. We also have a small group of dedicated Volunteer Gardeners that run a mini market garden & stall every Saturday and a Chooken Team that care for our chooks. We have allocated plots in our gardens as well as a nature playground, a compost program (Using scraps and waste from local businesses) and a worm farm.

Our mission is to nurture people, plants and the plant by

  • Showcasing sustainable practices
  • Providing opportunities for sharing knowledge, wisdom and culture
  • Creating a space where people can belong and feel connected to both nature and others
  • All contributing to a more self-sufficient community

We envisage a local FAIR FOOD SYSTEM will develop from our Community Gardens space and we have been having conversations with an unemployment agency to expand our mini market garden into a viable market garden that will provide the opportunity for members of the public to purchase local chemical free fresh produce.

Due to unforseen circumstances we need to relocate our gardens in the near future. We have been having discussions with our local Council re this for about 18 months and on the 23rd May 2018 re will be pitching to council requesting funding for infrastructure at our new site (currently a vacant block).

I feel like this will be a critical turning point for our community and I am looking for any information or advise anyone can offer us as we prepare our pitch to Council???

Specifically - Has anyone got a Governance Model for the operation of a Community Gardens (or the equivalent) in partnership with a local Council?

I look forward to linking up with others that are passionate about ensuring Fair Food in our country

Many thanks and happy gardening


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I was just browsing the forum and realised I never introduced myself (I thought I had, so apologies if I’m doubling up here, but I couldn’t see it).

I’m Katie Finlay, and with my husband Hugh we’ve previously been organic orchardists (Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens) at Harcourt in central Vic. From 1 July 2018 we’re leasing the orchard to @Ant and are setting up the Harcourt Organic Farming Alliance (soon to be Co-op) on our little farm. We’re starting with 4 enterprises: Tellurian Fruit Gardens (Ant’s rebranding of the orchard), Gung Hoe Growers (a market garden run by Mel Willard and Sas Allardice), Sellar Farmhouse Creamery (a micro-dairy run by Tessa Sellar), and Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery (run be me and Sas).

The co-op is in very early days, but we got some useful funding through the federal Farming Together program to help us figure out the business model, and through Vic Gov Food Source Funding to build some infrastructure, which we’ve just started doing.

We’re looking for another couple of farmers to join the co-op doing small scale intensive production that will fit in with and be complementary to existing members. We’re thinking maybe berries, native foods, mushrooms, chooks, bees…or any idea anyone comes up with! We’ve developed a process to help people figure out if their idea is commercial (a pre-requisite for joining the co-op), and for us to assess whether we think you’ll be a good fit (very important in our tiny little community. If you want to find out more get in touch at

We’re also members of the ANOO network (Australian Network of Organic Orchardists), and I’m a director of Melbourne Farmers Markets as well.

We’re feeling very inspired by all these wonderful young people that are willing to commit to a lifestyle and lifetime of farming!

Hi! We are a small holding in Wellington NZ called THE ARK… because, yes we have every animal imaginable! We produce free range eggs (chicken and duck), Berkshire pork, and are just moving into vegetable production. I am from Sydney and moved here 5 years ago - planning to move back to the Central Coast in another 5 years and start a similar set up there. Hoping to make contact with folk around that area in advance if there are any? I am employed here in Wellington by Massey University, but not in the area of food - although I would love to be!
Justine & Vicki

Hi all,

I’m founder and designer of - a platform for small batch food production.

I was based in Sydney but moved to Sri Lanka about a year ago to find affordable tech talent as my own circles in Sydney had no knowledge of the world of code. I was inspired by my own struggle with trying to start a food business in Sydney and witnessing the struggles of several friends in their own lives. In particular people who were immensely talented cooks who had no way to begin to work towards their dreams due to circumstance. Long story short, the platform is now ready to begin beta testing.

The way I see it more people need to be empowered to take part in their local food economy. And I think that starts with empowering more people to cook. Because more people cooking means that more decisions are made about where the ingredients come from and that in turn spreads the demand to small holder farms. That seems pretty fair to me.

I would be grateful if any of you here would like to test-drive Grubloop and see if it is of any use to you. It’s fairly simple to get started and the process ensures that you are compliant with regulations. I’ll be available for questions throughout your experience and If this isn’t the right place I’ll setup a new topic.

I’m glad I found this forum!

Kind regards,