On 8-9 August 2016, Sustain coordinated the inaugural Community Food Hubs Conference in Bendigo with Dr Jen Alden of Growing Change. Over 170 people attended two full days at the Capital Theatre in Bendigo, with a delicious locally-catered dinner on Monday 8th August, featuring Castlemaine social enterprise Growing Abundance, and a wonderful dinner address by Aboriginal scholar and author Bruce Pascoe.
Feedback from post-Conference Surveys
This is a summary of the feedback received via the Survey Monkey we distributed over 4 weeks from late August to late September to 140 of those who attended the Conference, with 31 detailed responses:
Which Conference session was the most valuable? 17 (55%) said they enjoyed the whole conference, with the 15 (49%) and 12 (39%) saying they found the keynotes from Anthony Flaccavento and Kathryn Scharf (respectively) the most valuable. Comments included:
Networking during breaks was invaluable
Actually just enjoyed the whole conference, I came away overwhelmed but inspired
Why did you come to the conference and were your expectations met?
Respondents told us that they came wanting to know more about food hubs and the sector, to learn from and network with others working on food hubs and similar projects. Their expectations were met and / or exceeded. Comments included:
We are working towards creating a food hub in the northeast/Wangaratta region. This conference was well scoped out and covered off on a comprehensive range of elements. I went wishing to know about food hubs. I came away with a lot more clarity about the differing components of what a food hub can be and the challenges that lie on the road ahead. The conference booklet was/is a terrific resource to have on hand.
I am excited by the brave steps that have already been taken locally and in overseas systems in food and hope to follow without stumbling. Happy to see that we were able to share the muddy boots reality of food production and distribution. Expectations met. Well done team!
Attended to better understand the nature and current state of the food hubs movement Expectations exceeded as insight gained into the role of food hubs in community development and support.
I came to get a better picture of the food ‘scene’ in Australia, which I certainly got. Met a lot of people who I had heard about, great opportunity to network and make connections. Amazing how practical and grounded all the speakers were (except for the politician talking about food and fibre!). Got a lot of ideas on how to improve what I do, felt very inspired.
What ideas or suggestions do you have for follow up actions from this conference?
Respondents had many suggestions for follow up, many of which provided about sharing of resources and contacts. Comments included:
It was great to hear about the current and upcoming changes in educational opportunities, I hope this info gets broadcast widely
It’d be great to get a copy of the presentations.
Policy development, mapping / collating of core activities that can give direction for best outcomes.
We need to solve the funding problem: governments should be subsidising this like they do with the arts. … Not sure how though
The Open Food Network is providing resources for community food enterprises via its Learn and Connect platform. Sustain is currently developing a Food Systems Directory which will address the policy and research mapping comment above.
Would you be interested in attending a similar event in 2017? 70% of respondents (21) said Yes, with a further 8 (27%) saying Maybe.
Other comments and feedback
Thanks conference team. It was so encouraging to be a part of a burgeoning movement wanting to put good food back in the hands and on the plates of local people.
Really well organised and executed.
Well done, it was the best conference I have ever been to. Amazing presentations, panels and workshops.
Great first food hubs conference with good speakers.
It was excellent. It would be great to also have field visits connected to the conference. I also felt like some of the issues were not fleshed out- for example there seems to be wildly differing views relating to programs/organisations that attempt to develop or contribute to sustainable food systems- it would have been great to discuss economic/social/environmental sustainability/un-sustainability of various programs/organisations.
Pulling together all the conferences information to gain an understanding and overview / pathway for the many models, dialogue, Q&A on How Will this work for us, our state/region, many variables to consider.
Here we make available the presentations of the majority of the speakers who presented over both days.
Presentations: Monday, 8th August 2016
Presentations, Tuesday 9th August 2016