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Sustain: The Australian Food Network and partner organisations announce it will postpone 2020 Food for Thought Festival events due to COVID-19 and risk to public health.Food for Thought Festival organisers announced today that it will postpone its 2020 Food for Thought Festival, scheduled for March…

Meet the Food for Thought Team

Meet the Food for Thought Team

Evelyn Lee Collin (Ev) Evelyn Lee Collin2020 Steering CommitteeEv is a creative community builder and facilitator, dedicated to supporting the transformation of the West Australian food system. Ev founded Community Food Events in 2014, a social enterprise focused on placing food systems issues front and…



innovation studios
Those involved with food, in any capacity, have been urged to bring their voices to 2020 Food for Thought Festival Innovation Studios in the south of Western Australia so they can help create a healthy and energised food production system, one that distributes delicious and nutritious edibles---sustainably. The quest to develop a system that provides everyone access to locally produced and sustainably grown food while meeting the highest nutritional goals, is the vision encompassed in the Food for Thought Festival. The event brings food to the forefront of thinking in the Great Southern Region. In its fifth year, the festival will be held in March and is run by Community Food Events in partnership with Sustain: The Australian Food Network. Inspired by the theme of Courageous Leadership Enabling System Change, the 2020 festival recognises those helping to transform the food production system through their efforts in regenerative food and agriculture systems.
This year’s festival gives people the chance to be inspired by food production projects in Australia, the United States and Europe, with two Innovation Studios intended to stimulate cross sector collaboration and collective action. The studio presenters are global industry innovators and courageous leaders: Jake Claro, Farm to Plate Network director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund; Dr Nick Rose, Executive Director Sustain: The Australian Food Network and Dieter van den Broek from Commonland.

"We’re not just doing this from a dollars and cents perspective. We’re doing this because it gives meaning to people’s lives. And it’s a critical connection into our past, and also a really important road into our future." Jake Claro, Director - Farm to Plate Plan, Vermont.

These presenters bring together experience and knowledge gained from work on different aspects of the food system but all aimed at making it healthier in many ways. Over the last 5 years many smart and motivated people have shared their ideas and passions over forums, workshops, long table dinners, field days, community events and last year’s Dialogue Studios. This year the festival is responding to a shared desire from across the food system - the desire to turn ideas into actions. The Innovation Studios will provide an opportunity for West Australian leaders to come together and participate in creating change.
2019 Dialouge Studios
During the studios participants will reflect on what’s already done and what is currently known about the food system in the South West land division - just enough to bring everyone to a good level of awareness to join in. Initiatives that are working well for people here and elsewhere around the world will be explored. Organisers encourage participants to attend both innovation studios, the studios will galvanise commitment from food system stakeholders to embark on a longer journey together into 2020-21.

"We will only meet the challenge of the climate emergency by working together, united in a shared vision of a transformed food and farming system that supports flourishing people, ecosystems and country.

The Vermont Farm to Plate Plan is one of the very few examples anywhere in the world where this process has been underway - since 2009. Come and hear about it first-hand from the Director of the Farm to Plate Plan since 2012, Jake Claro, who is visiting Australia for the first time." said Dr Nick Rose.
LISTEN NOW: RadioWA in conversation with Dr Nick Rose about the 2020 Food for Thought Festival
Jake Claro - Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Farm to Plate Director

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and Farm to Plate Network - Jake Claro.

Established in 2009 - these partners are working to create quality jobs, open additional markets for locally produced food, improve economic development in the farm and food sector, and improve access to healthy food for all Vermonters. The Vermont Farm to Plate Plan is widely regarded as the most comprehensive food system program in the United States, and the only one with full government engagement. It’s completed its first decade, and gearing up for the next with a growing global reputation. The Plan takes a coordinated, long-term and collaborative approach with all parts of the food system, far beyond a simple focus on agricultural output.
What’s possible – Vermont Farm to Plate Plan Highlights

Cardinia Food Circles Project - Dr Nick Rose. Sustain: The Australian Food Network.

This ground-breaking, multi-year collective impact food systems project continued to make major advances in 2019 as it concluded the third year of Sustains partnership with Cardinia Shire Council. A key achievement including the Community Food Strategy - one of the first of its kind in Australia, was endorsed by Cardinia Shire Council in December 2018. With an ambitious 8-year action plan encompassing 67 actions across five key strategic areas, and involving commitments from 20 local organisations, the next phase of transforming Cardinia’s food system is well underway.
Sign the Australian Urban and Regional Food Declaration
Dr NIck Rose - Sustain: The Australian Food Network
Dieter van den Broek - Comonland

Commonland For Tomorrow's Harvest - Dieter van den Broek.

For Tomorrow’s Harvest is an Innovation Lab or multi-stakeholder platform. It brings together 95 change agents from across the food system including business, non-profits, farmers, entrepreneurs and government. Through a facilitated leadership journey these change agents are creating a better understanding of the current food system (system blockages, challenges), observing and sensing into the current possibilities and key leverage points and developing strategies including rapid prototypes. The aim of the prototypes is to have a strong systematic change project with key leadership and resources.
Watch For Tomorrows Harvest
With Western Australian stories to be explored over both days and announced soon. The speakers have been invited to tell-it-like-it-really-is. So while these successful initiatives have been proving themselves, they’ve not come without challenges, failures, tensions, changes along the way. The opportunity at the Innovation Studios is to reflect, ask and learn from these examples and relate them to our own country here in Western Australia. Together participants will determine leverage points to enable our own actions, and how we might scale these to overcome our current challenges.
Food for Thought Festival 2020 is coming!

Food for Thought Festival 2020 is coming!

Community Food Events in partnership with Sustain: The Australian Food Network is delighted to announce the 2020 Food for Thought (FFT) Festival will be held in and around the Great Southern region of Western Australia (WA) on 19th to 23rd March 2020. The 2020 theme…

Fair Food Systems

Fair Food Systems

A complex and necessary task. In today’s society we are increasingly disconnected from where our food comes from, how it was grown and the farmer who grew it. More and more is being asked of our landscape. It must provide food, contribute to water storage,…

Healthy Active by Design Case Study – Food for Thought Festival

Healthy Active by Design Case Study – Food for Thought Festival

We are excited to say that the Food for Thought Festival has been recognised as a case study for the Heart Foundations Healthy Active by Design Program! Once again the Great Southern is leading the way when it comes to designing healthy, sustainable and liveable cities. See our case study online here.

“The Heart Foundation is committed to making it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives.  For more than 20 years we have worked to support the creation of healthy built environments and help planners, developers and communities work towards creating healthier streets, towns and cities. We are pleased to launch our new National website for Australians concerned with, or working in the creation of, liveable places and spaces. The website provides the best available evidence, practical advice, checklists and case studies to assist with the development of healthy neighbourhoods that promote walking, cycling and public life. We trust the Healthy Active by Design website will be a useful tool to enable urban planners to consider principles that make it easier for people to make healthier choices and encourages all Australians to eat well and be more active.


Planning for food recognises the importance of food and improving the availability and accessibility to healthy food through built environment characteristics. This includes considering retail types and locations, transport infrastructure to food retailers, food advertising, and potential for public open space to be used for food production and education. It also includes the provision of community amenities, such as water fountains, community gardens and breastfeeding facilities.

Defining ‘healthy food’ environments

The built environment can support healthy eating if healthy food (both availability and accessibility) is incorporated as part of the planning and design of a community. Food availability refers to the adequacy of the food supply within a community, such as outlet density and varieties. Food accessibility refers to the location of food outlets (proximity) and ease of getting to the food outlet.

A built environment that supports healthy eating:

  • Ensures access to a range of affordable healthy food and beverages via supermarkets/fresh produce within close proximity to residences ;
  • Creates healthy food environments around schools to encourage healthy eating behaviours;
  • Ensures healthy food is accessible through a variety of transport modes such as public, community and active transport.
  • Makes use of existing facilities/spaces (e.g. schools) for local food production/provision of fresh produce such as through farmers’ markets.
  • Safeguarding local healthy food access and economic viability of local producers through peri-urban agriculture.

‘Healthy food’ environments and health

Availability of and accessibility to healthy food is influenced by the neighbourhoods we live in.  Unfortunately, in Australia, there is unequal access to affordable, good quality healthy food, with access largely influenced by socio-economic profile. Governments, town planners and other built environment professionals are well placed to facilitate the creation of an environment that is supportive of good health, through increasing access to healthy food.

Poor diet and inactivity are key contributors to the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australia. At the individual level, overweight, obesity and resultant health problems are the outcomes of over consumption of calories and a subsequent energy imbalance. The environment in which an individual lives affects energy balance by providing opportunities for energy output through physical activity, and encouraging energy input that is within the limits of dietary recommendations.


 Healthy Food

‘Healthy foods’ are those contained within the five food groups promoted by the Australian Dietary Guidelines. These include grain (cereal) foods; vegetables of various types and colours, as well as legumes and beans; fruit; lean meats, poultry and fish, nuts and tofu; and reduced fat dairy foods including milk, yoghurt, cheese and their alternatives. ‘Unhealthy’ foods are classified as those described by the Australian Dietary Guidelines as ‘discretionary choices’ and include sweet biscuits, pastries, processed meats and foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

Food retail outlets

Food retail outlets include supermarkets and smaller stores such as delicatessens. ‘Healthy’ retail outlets vary in their definition, however, a WA study defined healthy food outlets as “supermarkets, general stores, fruit and vegetable stores, and butchers, as these premises provide significant options for the purchase of healthy food” . Key influences of location or placement of food retail outlets include the density of the population, transportation routes and land use zoning.

Pre-prepared food outlets

Prepared food outlets include fast food outlets, convenience stores and takeaway restaurants, food service (i.e. catering) and other services such as Meals on Wheels. The Western Australian Planning and Development Regulations 2015 defined fast food outlets/lunch bars as “premises, including premises with a facility for drive-through service, used for the preparation, sale and serving of food to customers in a form ready to be eaten – (a) without further preparation; and (b) primarily off the premises” . An Australian study by Miller et al (2014) expanded on this definition, adding “all of the well-known multinational fast food chain outlets and also all takeaway establishments, which included, for example, locally owned Chinese, Indian, and Thai restaurants; fish and chip shops; burger bars; and pizzerias”.

Farmers’ markets

Farmers’ markets are regular markets that involve farmers selling fresh produce in key community locations, directly to customers. Farmers’ markets can operate in community facilities such as school grounds or public ovals.

Food hubs

Food hubs are facilities that purchase, store, distribute and market locally produced food.

Urban agriculture

Urban agriculture has been defined as “the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around (peri-urban) a village, town, or city” .

Community gardens

Community gardens include shared development of productive gardens in reserved land.

Urban orchards

Urban orchards involve the growing and sharing of food by a local community within an urban municipality.

Verge side and residential gardens

Verge gardens include food production on nature strips and are often maintained by local residents, while residential/domestic gardens are defined as “private gardens associated with residential areas” .

Food freight

Food transport includes food distribution, with key influencers including transport systems, regulation and taxation.”

Hire the Smoothie Bike for Fundraising

Hire the Smoothie Bike for Fundraising

The Fender Blender Pro Smoothie Bike is for hire to local community groups for fundraising. Possibly one of the most innovative ways to raise money, the Fender Blender Pro Smoothie bike can be hired and be your community groups next fundraiser. The Fender blender Pro…