Last year, after completing a Food Hub Feasibility Study for the City of Greater Bendigo, followed by one for Wangaratta, and with one for Wyndham Council in our sites, it seemed that now may be the time to have a conference in Australia about food hubs – community food hubs in particular.

As our research had shown, there are over 300 Food Hubs in the US, plus multiple food hubs of a different kind, called Community Food Centres, in Canada. After visiting Canada I am a convert to the concept of combining programs and services under one roof, creating a one-stop-shop for all things to do with healthy eating, at the same time transforming the bandaid food bank charity model to one of empowerment and food literacy, with programs and services designed to improve people’s nutrition and prevent ill health, especially in communities that most need it. The best of preventive medicine.

Sustain. The Australian Food Network has led the conference process and along with a group of organisations, local government and academia, philanthropy, education providers, producers, emergency food relief and enterprise owners we have put together an Australian first. To inform our conversation about what is a Community Food Hub in Australia we have Kathryn Scharf from Community Food Centres Canada and Anthony Flaccavento from SCALE in Virginia, US, coming to add their vast experience to our discussions.

Exciting times!

In addition we have a local food feast planned for the conference dinner and wonderful guest speaker in Bruce Pascoe, prize winning author of Dark Emu, who will speak about our Indigenous food heritage – an event not to be missed! even if you don’t attend the conference. Tickets are available here

Interest in the conference is building – and in addition Sustain has developed a national tour. Information about the full conference program (that will have a couple of small additions soon) can be found here. See you there!