Inaugural Australian Community Food Hubs Conference and Local Food Economies Speaking Tour

Community Food Hubs in Australia – Creating healthy and fair food distribution enterprises for the future

Inaugural Australian Community Food Hubs Conference, 8th & 9th August 2016


Sustain: The Australian Food Network, in collaboration with Growing Change, the City of Greater Bendigo, La Trobe University, the Open Food Foundation, Melbourne Farmers Markets and the Australian Food Hubs Network, are organising the inaugural Australian Community Food Hubs Conference to take place in Bendigo on 8th and 9th August 2016.

The inaugural conference will:

  • provide a thoroughly-researched overview of this rapidly emerging sector, foregrounding the benefits, opportunities and challenges of establishing and operating Community Food Hubs in Australia
  • clarify the many different forms that Community Food Hubs take, and the diverse variety of social and economic purposes that they serve, including enhanced health and wellbeing, increased net regional product, expanded employment and training opportunities, food enterprise development, , and environmental sustainability
  • showcase approaches in establishing Community Food Hubs in Australia and internationally; with an emphasis on lessons learned from both successes and failures
  • explore the historical and present experience with Food Cooperatives in Australia, and opportunities for linkages and mutual support between Food Coops and Food Hubs
  • identify the types of partnerships, skills, experience and capacity, infrastructure, governance options, funding requirements and financing options that are needed to commence a Community Food Hub operation

Participants will hear from leading international and Australian Community Food Hub managers and social entrepreneurs. The program will include sessions covering:

  • the health, economic, social and environmental impacts of Community Food Hubs,
  • the role of financing, impact investment and philanthropy in the establishment and operation of Community Food Hubs,
  • governance and ownership options, with a particular focus on co-operatives
  • logistics and infrastructure,
  • undertaking feasibility studies and business models,
  • partnerships, networks and support systems, and
  • policy development and the role of government in supporting food system initiatives such as Community Food Hubs in Australia.

The Conference will have a practical focus, with outcomes geared towards those who wish to embark on the establishment of a Community Food Hub.


Monday 8th August 2016

8.30 a.m.  Registration, coffee

9.00 a.m. Welcome –  Councillor Rod Fyffe, Mayor City of Greater Bendigo and representative of Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development (invited – yet to confirm)

9.15 a.m. Keynote Presentation
Food Hubs in the US: Lessons, Enablers, Opportunities
Anthony Flaccavento, SCALE

10.00 a.m. Keynote Presentation

Community Food Centres in Canada: Beyond Foodbanks:  Kathryn Scharf, Community Food Centres, Canada

10.45 a.m. Morning tea

11.15 a.m. Panel Session 1: Food Hubs in Australia: The Experience to Date: Emma-Kate Rose, (Food Connect Brisbane), Chris Ennis, (CERES Fair Food), Jodi Clarke, (South East Food Hub), Leanne Malek, (Foodbank SA) 

12.15 p.m. Lunch

1.15 p.m. Panel Session 2: Food Co-operatives in Australia: Lessons and opportunities: Les Cameron, (Goulburn Valley Food Co-op), Emma Kerin (National Union of Workers), Jade Miles, (Beechworth Food Co-op)

2.15 p.m.  Panel Session 3: Policy, financing and support for Community Food Hubs: Current directions, options and future possibilities: Tim Ada (Regional Development Victoria), Kerryn Jones, (Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund), Amanda and Quentin Miller, (Impact Generation Partners)

3.15 – 3.45 p.m. Afternoon tea

3.45 – 4.30 p.m. Food Hub Training and Skills Needs: The role of TAFE & training providers in pathways to a future career in food: Genevieve Kelly, (Kangan Bendigo TAFE Food & Fibre), Rob Fenton, (National Environment Centre), Nick Rose, (William Angliss Institute)

 4.30 p.m. The Australian Food Hubs Network. Opportunities, roles and next steps: Bringing the sector together – the next phase in Australia (Facilitated plenary discussion)

5.15 – 5.30 p.m. Review and Close

 7 pm – 10 pm Conference Dinner. Local Food Feast catered by Growing Abundance. Speaker – Bruce Pascoe ‘ Indigenous agriculture – community and food 

Tuesday 9th August 2016

9.00 a.m. Welcome and review of previous day

9.15 a.m. Keynote Presentation

Community Food Enterprises in Victoria: Models and practical tools for local enterprises. Serenity Hill, Open Food Network

10.00 a.m. Concurrent Session 1:
A. Food Hubs and Local Government: Placemaking and the role of government in supporting growing communities Trevor Budge, (City of Greater Bendigo) , Annemaree Docking, (City of Whittlesea ), Christy Spier, (DEWNR SA), Andrew Butt (La Trobe University)

B. Food Hubs and Community Participation: Partnerships and engagement for community food security Nerida Hyett (La Trobe University), Dave McNamara (Foodbank Victoria), Nikki Valentini and Ellen Madigan (Growing Abundance)

11.00 a.m. Morning Tea

11.30 a.m. Concurrent Session 2:
A. Optimising Local Infrastructure: Hub potential through a different lens Mark Bassett (ISPT), Carolyn Wallace (Regional Director Anglicare Victoria), Joe Ciccarone, (Community Chef), Peta Christensen (Cultivating Community)

B. Local Produce Networks and Food Hubs: A changing climate for producers Katie Finlay, (Mt Alexander Local Produce Network), Miranda Sharp, (Melbourne Farmers Markets), Samantha Grover, (La Trobe University), Sonia Anthony, (Food Fossickers)

12.30 p.m. Lunch

 1.30 – 4.15pm Workshops

  1. Early and Emerging Food Hubs Development Workshop with Anthony Flaccavento
  2. Building Hope, Health and Connection with Community Food Centres Workshop with Kathryn Scharf

4.15p.m. – 4.45 p.m. Overview: ‘What next?’ and close

We have secured the participation of two high-profile international speakers, Anthony Flaccavento from the United States and Kathryn Scharf from Canada. They will be in Australia for a further week following the national Conference, for public events in a range of locations around the country (see below.).

Keynote Speakers

Anthony Flaccavento, President, SCALE (Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies)

Anthony is an organic farmer near Abingdon, Virginia, in the heart of Central Appalachia. He has been working on community environmental and economic development in the region for the past 27 years. In 1995, he founded Appalachian Sustainable Development, which became a regional and national leader in sustainable economic development. Anthony left ASD in December, 2009 to found SCALE, Inc, a private consulting business dedicated to catalyzing and supporting ecologically healthy regional economies and food systems. SCALE works with community leaders, farmers, foundations, economic development agencies and others in Appalachia, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico the Arkansas Delta and other communities. Anthony speaks and writes about sustainable development, economics, food systems and rural development issues extensively, with some of his pieces appearing in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Solutions Journal and elsewhere. His new book, Building A Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change will be published in June 2016.

Kathryn Scharf, Chief Operating Officer, Community Food Centres Canada

Kathryn worked for six years as Program Director at the Stop Community Food Centre where she helped to develop the Community Food Centre program model and the strategy to take the model to a national scale. She has worked for 17 years in the community food security sector in Toronto on everything from grassroots work in community food programs and alternative food distribution systems to program development, communications and initiatives aimed at changing systems through food policy and action. She is the co-author, with Nick Saul and Charles Levkoe, of the Metcalf Solutions Paper, In Every Community a Place for Food: The Role of the Community Food Centre in building a Local, Sustainable and Just Food System.


Conference dinner with special speaker Bunurong elder and writer Bruce Pascoe, author of the acclaimed Dark Emu

Dark Emu poster resizedThe conference dinner will be catered by Growing Abundance – pioneers of community food projects and enterprises in Castlemaine for over 6 years – will showcase delicious local produce. Our very special dinner speaker is Bruce Pascoe, a Bunurong, Tasmanian and Yuin man. His book, Dark Emu, won the NSW Premier’s Book of the Year in 2016, and describes the extensive agricultural practices of Aboriginal people which calls into doubt the description of the land as ‘empty’ and the Aborigines as ‘hunter gatherers.’

National Community Food Hubs Speaking Tour, 10th – 16th August 2016

  • Tasmania: University of Tasmania Sustainable Food Systems Flagship, Burnie, Wednesday 10th August (Anthony Flaccavento)
  • Victoria: Melbourne, Right to Food Coalition, Wednesday 10th August; Goulburn Valley CMA, Seymour; City of Whittlesea, Whittlesea, Saturday 13th August (Anthony Flaccavento)
  • Queensland: My Local Feast Farmers Market and Tilma Group, Toowoomba; Food Connect Foundation, Brisbane (Anthony Flaccavento and Kathryn Scharf)
  • NSW: Tweed Shire Council and Santos Organics, Murwillumbah (Anthony Flaccavento and Kathryn Scharf)
  • WA: Margaret River and Witchcliffe: Augusta-Margaret River Shire Council, Witchcliffe Ecovillage, Sunday-Monday, 14th and 15th August (Anthony Flaccavento)
  • WA: Perth, Curtin University, 16th August (Anthony Flaccavento)
  • ACT / Capital Region: The University of Canberra, Wednesday 17th August and Thursday 18th August (Anthony Flaccavento)
  • Melbourne: End-of-tour reflection evening and dinner for conference and tour organisers, Thursday 18th August, Open Food Network / Melbourne Farmers Markets / Sustain (Anthony Flaccavento)

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