Archive for 'Sydney – Eastern Suburbs'

Illawarra, Central Sydney & Blue Mountains put food on the map

Posted on 31. Aug, 2009 by .

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An initiative organised by the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance (SFFA)

Report on regional events

Particpants at Illawarra

Particpants at Illawarra

Over 110 people gathered at the University of Wollongong on July 1 for the Illawarra lead in event to the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance (SFFA) NSW Food Summit Hungry for Change.  Coordinated by the local peak organisation Food Fairness Illawarra,  this was the first of a series of public forums during 2009, culminating in the Summit in October, to prepare the groundwork for developing a NSW Food Policy.

The mood was buoyant, with organic growers, academics and school garden experts chatting with folk from the big NGOs and various State and local government agencies. People had a shared purpose – to develop an equitable, sustainable food system in the Illawarra, one that is inspired both by successful local projects and commitment to create a healthy food future.

Rosemary Stanton

Rosemary Stanton

Keynote speaker Dr Rosemary Stanton OAM highlighted the need to balance nutrition and health with environmental sustainability and food literacy. Dr Susan Thompson, UNSW, unlocked the mysteries of planning for health and food security. Jenny Norman from HCI and Karen Tavener-Smith from SEIAHS explained the role of Food Fairness Illawarra in enabling access to healthy food by supporting community-based networks. Many local projects were represented on the day including community and school gardens, seed saving organisations, a community food coop, and a commercial organic farm.

Sandra McCarthy, Mayor of Kiama

Sandra McCarthy, Mayor of Kiama

Everyone strongly supported the need for a state Food Policy and were enthusiastic that local events were being held, to build on the existing local food actions. A range of practical policy strategies were identified, at local and state levels, to provide the supports needed for a sustainable food system:

  • Nutrition and food literacy education in schools and community
  • Clear and understandable food labellingFood safety regulations that do not inhibit small-scale diversified production
  • Support access to local food and local food production
  • Planning tools that enable urban food production on public land
  • Urban design to support access to healthy food
  • Integrated planning for sustainable food systems and food security
  • Protection for local agricultural land and incentives for sustainable local food production

Report of lead up event in City of  Sydney

On 2 July at Sydney’s Customs House a total of 160 people attended afternoon and evening sessions to hear Michael Shuman, an American local economics advocate, give an inspiring address about local and food-based social enterprises across the USA.

Participants then moved between ‘World Café’ style tables to consider 10 aspects of food security, fair food access and sustainable food futures. Much lively discussion ensued and a number of policy ideas will be forwarded to the Summit.

These included:

  • Support for alternative food distribution systems, especially medium-size businesses
  • Developing planning protections and agricultural zoning to maintain and preserve peri-urban agriculture
  • Development Applications to include food production
  • Local Environment Plans to include food production
  • Offer tax or other incentives to farmers to move to organic production
  • Provide training and other support to farmers
  • Support for local procurement policies in government institutions
  • Maximising opportunities for, and removing barriers to inner-city food production
  • Developing risk management strategies for food supply in case of disaster
  • Support for food projects in disadvantaged areas
  • Supermarket chains encouraged to reserve aisles for local producer

Blue Mountains

Professor Bill Bellotti

Professor Bill Bellotti

More than 60 people attended the Forum at Lawson on Saturday 18 July to hear
Catherine Beaver from the upper mountains St Vincent de Paul, Bill Bellotti, Vincent Fairfax Chair of Sustainable Agriculture, UWS, Sam Stratham, Rosnay organic producer,and Sally James., nutritionist.

Catherine spoke of the growing demand for emergency food relief in the Upper Mountains, Bill addressed the complex issues re the competing demands for the peri urban land around Sydney, Sam described the issues facing organic producers and Sally described the links between food and health.

Participants identified key issues in a world cafe forum and then addressed these issues in detail in three discussion group.   The groups then listed the strategies for  NSW and then strategies most relevant for the Blue Mountains.

A kitchen garden in every home

A kitchen garden in every home

These results can be found on the BM Forum site.
The results from these three events and the other local events to follow will be fed into the NSW Food Summit process, as well as used as briefing for local MPs, business leaders and other stakeholders.

Lead in events also include the regional areas, Central Coast (29th August) and Macarthur (15th September), prior to the Food Summit, 22nd-23rd October, Surry Hills. Further information on the Food Summit is at: http://www.sydneyfoodfairness.org.au/

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Central Sydney regional forums

Posted on 17. Aug, 2009 by .

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Work on developing a food policy for NSW has started in earnest with the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance’s (SFFA) Hungry For Change Public Forum at Sydney Customs House, Circular Quay, on 2 July.

Keynote Speaker Michael Shuman, a US economist and attorney working with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, linked his proposals for economic reform with research, funded by the Kellogg and Gates foundations, that he has been conducting into local food systems in the USA.

Local food systems part of viable local economies

Local economics advocate, Michael Shuman, was keynote speaker at Hungry For Change.

Local economics advocate, Michael Shuman, was keynote speaker at Hungry For Change.

A man in his early fifties who lives in Washington DC, Michael brought enthusiasm and passion to his presentations. He believes that locally owned business has a key role in making regions more resilient to the impacts of fluctuations in global markets and to other disruptive events affecting them from outside.

He produced evidence that trading in locally produced and consumed goods and services – including food – extracts more value per dollar for local communities, and this strengthens regional economies.

Michael appeared at the end of his Australian tour that had earlier seen him appear at successful events in Brisbane, northern NSW, Melbourne and Hobart.

His ideas add an economic dimension to the conversation around sustainability, one illustrated by the numerous examples he provided in his talks and one largely missing from the sustainability conversation. The success of his appearances made clear the value of organisations, individuals and local government forming partnerships to share resources and expertise for a common endeavour.

Michael’s Sydney visit was via a collaborative partnership consisting of the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance and Randwick/ Woollara/Waverley’s 3-councils ecological fooprint program in cooperation with Leichhardt Council, City of Sydney, the NSW Early Childhood Environmental Education Network and TransitionSydney. It demonstrated the effectiveness of the create > share > collaborate approach.

World Cafe harvests ideas

Participants fill the room at Customs House for the Hungry For Change Public Forum.

Participants fill the room at Customs House for the Hungry For Change Public Forum.

Following Michael’s presentation and a break for coffee and nibbles, a process based on the World Cafe model of participatory ideas development enabled Forum participants to produce ideas to be taken to the SFFA’s October Food Summit.

Themes that formed the focus for generating ideas were set up on different tables and participants moved from table to table to contribute to the different themes. The table themes included community food systems, ensuring Sydney’s food supply, keeping our food fair, urban planning, getting food to people, sustainable agriculture and food health and safety.

One or two SFFA members or supporters remained at the tables to familiarise new participants with the theme and with what had been done already.

Table experts and facilitators:

Presenting the results of a World Cafe theme table to paticipants.

Presenting the results of a World Cafe theme table to paticipants.

  • Ensuring Sydney’s food future: Table expert & facilitator: Peter Driscoll, TransitionSydney
  • Urban planning: Table expert: Dr Susan Thompson, UNSW School of the Built Environment Facilitator: Ruth Wallsgrove, TransitionSydney
  • Future food for future health: table expert: Liz Millen, Sydney Food Fairness Alliance (SFFA) Facilitator: Celia Busteed, Woollahra Council
  • Getting food to people: Table expert: Julian Lee, Food Connect Sydney Facilitiator: Michael Neville, City of Sydney
  • Creating community food systems: table expert: Russ Grayson, SFFA, Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network Facilitator: Lauren Michener, Waverley Council
  • Feeding Sydney locally: Table expert: Dr Frances Parker, University of Western Sydney, who has carried out extensive research into Sydney’s urban fringe agriculture Facilitator: Annie Walker, City of Sydney
  • Keeping our food fair: Table expert: Jill Finnane, SFFA Facilitator: Julie Gaul, NSW ECEEN
  • Real food for Sydney: Table expert: Catriona Macmillan, SFFA Facilitator: Cheryl Walker, Leichhardt Council
  • Closing the loop on food: Table expert & facilitator: Richard Wilson, Randwick City Council, 3-council ecological footprint project manager
  • Creating a food policy for Sydney: Table facilitator: Fiona Campbell, Randwick City Council

SFFA’s growing capacity

Participants discuss topics at the World Cafe tables.

Participants discuss topics at the World Cafe tables.

The professional, organisational and geographic diversity of those gathered around the World Cafe tables demonstrated that the SFFA has the capability to communicate with and appeal to a broad milieu, and that over the few years of its existence the Alliance’s capacity to reach out to the public and to social decision makers has grown.

The recommendations to the October Food Summit from Hungry For Change participants will be written up by the table facilitators and passed on to the Food Summit.

 

Hungry For Change was organised by a team that included:

  • Fiona Campbell, project manager of the event and sustainability educator, Randwick City Council
  • Annie Walker, community gardens and volunteer coordinator, City of Sydney
  • Celia Bustead, environmental educator, Woollahra Council
  • Cheryl Walker, waste educator, Leichhardt Council
  • Lauren Michener, environmental educator, Waverley Council
  • Julie Gall, Early Childhood Environmental Eduction Network
  • Peter Driscoll, TransionSydney
  • Russ Grayson, SFFA.
The SFFA'a Hungry for Change Public Forum was held in the Sydney Customs House at Circular Quay, thanks to support from the City of Sydney.

The SFFA'a Hungry for Change Public Forum was held in the Sydney Customs House at Circular Quay, thanks to support from the City of Sydney.

The City of Sydney had generously made a grant available to support Hungry For Change, the competent services of the its communications department and educators as well as the excellent Customs House venue. Contributions in kind came from Randwick City Council, Woollahra Council, Waverley Council and Leichhardt Council.

Michael Shuman’s visit to Australia was organised by Ken McLeod of the Wollumbin Institute.

Michael Shuman works with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies in the USA. He was the second local economics advocate to visit Australia from that country whose visit had been organised by Ken McLeod. Judy Wicks had been the first. Proprietor of the Black Dog Cafe in Philadelphia and local economics maven, she attended Brisbane’s Go Local conference a year ago and made an appearance in Sydney.

Michelle Margulis, published of the Permaculture Diary and calendar, contributes ideas to a table theme.

Michele Margolis, publisher of the Permaculture Diary and calendar, contributes ideas to a table theme.

Ideas produced through the World Cafe participatory process were documented on mindmaps.

Ideas produced through the World Cafe participatory process were documented on mindmaps.

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