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.