Tag Archives: local food systems

City-fringe farms crucial for food security

Posted on 14. Sep, 2012 by .


Safeguarding farms from urban sprawl and mining is crucial to minimise shortage-induced price hikes and to ensure we know our food is local and safe, a forum in Sydney’s premier food producing region will hear next week.

The forum will call for integrated state planning, a more inclusive national food plan and overseas purchase of land be subject to a national interest test.

It has been organised by the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance (SFFA) and NSW Farmers’ Region 7 which covers the greater Sydney metropolitan area and hinterland, accounting for almost all the farms and market gardens providing fresh food for the city.

NSW Farmers’ spokesperson and Sydney farmer Fred Haskins says: “Australia is currently experiencing a fruit and vegetable shortage and will have to rely on imports for at least another couple of months because of frost in Queensland and flooding in Victoria. This brings increased  biosecurity challenges such as foreign crop diseases. Our city is increasingly less able to feed itself and unless the metropolitan strategy plans are reversed and we give more support to our farmers, we can expect more price rises as half of the numerous small Sydney farms disappear to make way for houses within two decades.”

Water system pioneer Peter Andrews, who created Natural Sequence Farming will headline the panel just weeks after the . Andrews, who will give insights into water retention and purity using natural processes says it is crucial that research into the long-term effect of mining and drilling into aquifers be mandated before mining operations commence. “As a result of the Hunter and Bylong Valley mining, I believe we will see a toxic plume through the groundwater all the way to Newcastle because it is connected. With deep groundwater changes could disrupt systems that have been in place for 10,000 years or more,” he says.

Department of Primary Industries’ Murray Spicer will detail extensive survey work by the Department on agricultural lands in NSW. “Because of urban expansion and consumer demand for unseasonal food, Sydneysiders are increasingly eating food from north Queensland down to Victoria and South Australia as the season progresses rather than from Sydney Basin farms, “ says Spicer, who is the Department’s horticultural program leader.

Biodynamic farming consultant/ex-CSIRO scientist Maarten Stapper, from Canberra, will highlight the environmental and health imperatives for moving to a more sustainable farming model with less reliance on finite resources such as fuel, chemicals and synthetic fertilisers in a climate-affected and carbon pricing environment.

AusBuy CEO Lynne Wilkinson will stress the importance of knowing where our food comes from and supporting Australian agriculture and our relatively high food standards and land management. “There are chemicals still used overseas that are banned here which Australia no longer tests for because of budget cuts. So, increasingly we have to rely on the word of the people selling us their food. We are also diminishing our ability to produce our own food because of sales of agricultural land overseas. In Western Australia for example, Chinese interests are producing milk for their domestic consumption.”

For more info go to the event page and download the flyer with the details.

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Taste Food Tours in South West Sydney Creating employment and training in social enterprise

Posted on 24. Jun, 2012 by .


Food lovers looking for a taste of Sydney’s hidden secrets are in for a treat, with The Benevolent
Society Taste Food Tours.

Taste Food Tours are not your typical food tour, but a social enterprise designed to strengthen
community connections, bridge cultural divides and develop local employment and training

The tours shine a light on some of South West Sydney’s hidden food treasures, with the added bonus
of having a real social benefit.

All tours are led by local guides, giving visitors some real inside knowledge of local hidden gems,
giving residents an opportunity to gain qualifications and local employment and giving the region’s
businesses a bit of a boost at the same time.
Tours are offered in nine locations throughout South Western Sydney:

Bankstown, Greenacre, Panania, Fairfield, Bonnyrigg, Campsie, Lakemba, Belmore Strathfield

A typical walking tour takes 4 hours, costs $80.00 and includes in store tastings, a sit down lunch and
a shopping bag to fill to bursting with goodies you collect along the way.

All profits are reinvested into community-building projects, so by celebrating with a Taste Food Tour
you’ll not only have a unique peek at some of Sydney’s best food, you’ll also be supporting the
broader community.

CustomTaste Food Tours can be developed for groups larger than eight, for anything from corporate
team building functions to groups of friends who are after a cultural experience tailored to their
interests and budget.

Local guides run walking tours, cooking classes and progressive dinners that show off the best places
in the local area to eat and shop for authentic food from around the world.

Taste Food Tours cater for groups on anything from a walking tour, to a hands-on cooking class, to a
progressive lunch or dinner with entertainment.
Gift vouchers are also available – a great gift for foodies with a taste for adventure.

Visit www.tastetours.org.au or call Zizi on 9707 0802 for more information

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Benevolent Society introduces new mobile kitchen

Posted on 02. Jun, 2012 by .


A 6.5 tonne shipping container that converts into a mobile kitchen is being used to break down cultural barriers and increase community cohesion in south west Sydney. The kitchen is the first of its kind in Australia.


The Benevolent Society’s “Taste Mobile Kitchen” will be based at Banksia Road Public School in Greenacre, where it will be used to teach kids to cook produce that they’ve grown in their own school garden.


Manager of Growing Communities Together, Cathy Quinn explains that students and their families will learn how to prepare simple, healthy and affordable meals. “Good nutrition is so important for these kids and their families, but the Taste Mobile Kitchen goes further than that and bridges cultural divides. We take one ingredient, such as a vegetable, herb or spice, and show kids how its used in a variety of different cultures.”


The reason for making the kitchen mobile is that it opens up opportunities for it to be used elsewhere. When it’s not being used by Banksia Road Public School the Taste Mobile Kitchen will be available for hire, with the income generating funding for community initiatives and subsidising the cooking classes at the school. “We’ve designed the kitchen so it can neatly fold into a shipping container and be transported to events like festivals and food fairs,” explains Cathy.


The mobile kitchen has already made its successful debut at the Campsie Food Festival in June 2012, and its next outing will be at the Bankstown Bites Food Festival on Saturday, 14 July.


For information please call Zizi Charida on 9707 0802

or visit www.tastetours.org.au


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Food for Life Market – Warwick Farm

Posted on 24. Dec, 2011 by .



In 2004 a telephone survey of 1100 households in WF showed that 21% households were food insecure – that is, they had run out of food and been unable to buy more, within the last 12 months.

WF is a low-income suburb near Liverpool in NSW, with few fresh food outlets, poor transport, and a high proportion of people living in social housing and people from non-English speaking background

Community food co-op

In 2006, the Health Service started working with local residents and with the Salvation Army to explore ideas to improve food access. Many people voted for a food co-op. Community Builders funded the project for three years ($300,000) to get off the ground, and Housing NSW provided a 3-bedroom house.  After many delays for planning approvals, refurbishment and modification (eg wheelchair ramp), the market  opened in 2009.

Food is sourced from Foodbank and donations from local businesses, with a focus on healthy foods and fresh fruit and veg.  The market  opens three mornings a week.

Over 600 residents have signed up as members, and 80-100 shop regularly at the market, where for a weekly membership fee of $10, they can access a ‘green bag’ full of groceries and some household items. In just over two years, there have been 8,000 visits  with  more than 200 tonnes of food provided. The market is staffed by community volunteers who have been trained through TAFE.  After two years, the market is making a modest profit.


Evaluations carried out in 2009 and 2010 showed that the market was being accessed by the ‘target’ group, ie people on low incomes. Furthermore, among those interviewed, the rate of food insecurity reported was lower than the previous year.  Access to food  and ease of getting food home had both improved.  45% of respondents reported getting all or 50% of their weekly food from the market.

A great sense of community has developed around the market, and many volunteers have gone on to other training courses and jobs as a result of their involvement .

For more information, ring Food 4 Life on market days only (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 1pm) on 02 8798 5928.

DOWNLOAD…  Food for Life  (pdf.545KB)

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When Food Systems Collide – Response from Woolworths Ltd.

Posted on 14. Jul, 2011 by .


As part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, SFFA hosted a Q&A “When Food Systems Collide”.

The panelists were Myles Bremner, head of Garden Organics in the UK and a member of the London Food Board, Ed Biel, an orchardist from the Sydney Basin; Cate Faehrmann , Greens MLC member; Julian Lee from Food Connect in Sydney and Catriona Macmillan, founder of the Organics Directory
They debated ideas about our current and possible future food systems – and how we might get
Unfortunately an accident on the day of the forum prevented the Woolworths representative from attending, but audience questions to Woolworths were collected and forwarded to the company after the event.

Woolworths’s response is now available.

DOWNLOAD…Answers from Woolworths Ltd to questions from SFFA members. (pdf. 150KB)

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Building Effective Partnerships with Councils

Posted on 16. Mar, 2010 by .


Workshop presentation by Nick Rose at the SFFA Food Summit, Hungry for Change October 2009.

DOWNLOADBuilding Effective Partnerships with Councils, Coffs Harbour Food Alliance (pdf 1.55 MB)

Nick Rose is the coordinator of the Bellingen Local Food Network and Bellingen Community Gardens Association. He is an active member of  the Coffs Coast Local Food Futures Alliance, which was formed in May 2008. The Alliance is an innovative and expanding partnership involving local food and other community groups, including the Coffs TAFE, local councils and the North Coast Area Health Services.

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Good Things Come in Small Parcels

Posted on 16. Mar, 2010 by .


Workshop presentation by Jane Adams at the SFFA Food Summit, Hungry for Change October 2009.

DOWNLOADGood Things Come in Small Parcels (pdf  1.66MB)

Jane Adams is the principal of a marketing consultancy specialising in food, wine and hospitality. She is also an award-winning food writer. Jane has been instrumental in introducing farmers? markets to rural, regional and urban communities and believes they provide a permanent and powerful alternative link in Australia’s food chain.

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