Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Summit Generates Hope

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Summit Generates Hope

Article excerpt

LIKE wowa[degrees]with our powers combined.

These were the sentiments from one of the participants at the end of the Food Summit hosted by the City of Hume on Tuesday, July 15, and facilitated by the social innovation team, Doing Something Good (DSG).

DSG's mission "is to build the capacity of organisations and individuals in government, business, not-for-profit, social enterprise, community and academic to solve society's greatest challenges and work together to build better futures for all". They are specialists in facilitating interactive, engaging and enjoyable large group events, through processes such as asset mapping and open space technology.

The Food Summit brought together about 70 individuals working within the council, local community health centres, social enterprises, community gardeners, and local food businesses. Commercial food producers were notable by their absence, with only two attending - although that percentage is consistent with the dwindling number of Australia's farmers.

I had been invited, as keynote speaker, to offer some thoughts about opportunities for a food policy for Hume, and to highlight some sources of inspiration from around the world.

It was very encouraging to hear the political support from local state Liberal MP Craig Ondarchie and City of Hume Mayor Casey Nunn. Both spoke warmly of their support and endorsement for a fair food future for Hume and the building of a strong regional food economy.

It was inspiring to hear from lightning speakers such as Melbourne community gardening legend Basil Natoli, pioneering fair food farmer Tammi Jonas, food technology innovator Kirsten Larsen, Food Alliance co-ordinator Kathy McConell, local Sunbury fair trade cafe owner Lee Palumbo (Just Planet), and food waste researcher Sarah Gorman.

A main focus of my keynote was around The Stop, a foodbank-turned community food centre in Toronto, Canada. I had just finished reading the inspiring story of its transformation from a traditional charity model of handing out poor quality and discarded food to needy people, to a centre of inspiration and empowerment, building the food literacy of its members and visitors and showcasing a range of projects and initiatives that changed lives and built community. …

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