There is a growing interest in creating local food systems which respect the limits of natural resources and improve the health and wellbeing of communities. Local Food Systems can also help improve food security by increasing the availability of and access to diverse food options.
We host regular Sustainable Food Leaders Forums which are open to anyone in the Darebin community involved in or interested in sustainable food initiatives or improving food security.
To find out when the next Forum is or to keep up to date with the latest Sustainable Food news and events, visit the Darebin Food Harvest Network website.
Community Groups involved in Sustainable Food
There are a range of organisations and community initiated activities that support sustainable food across Darebin and neighbouring municipalities.
- Transition Darebin is a local community group that is aiming to help transition to a low energy economy. Food is a priority issue for the group and current initiatives include Urban Food Harvesters Food swaps in Northcote and Reservoir, ‘Our Apple Tree’ in Herbert Street, Northcote, and ‘The Convivial Kitchen’
- Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service (DIVRS) is a not-for-profit volunteer driven organisation that delivers free services and programmes for vulnerable populations in Darebin. DIVRS’s Urban Food Programme aims to use existing urban food resources (public and private) to create a more sustainable community by re-localising food production, distribution and consumption. It includes the delivery of the Darebin Fruit Squad and Backyard Basics Project, as well as leadership of volunteer positions in Fresh Food and Food Sourcing to augment the Emergency Relief Foodstore. Founded by Transition Darebin and with funding from Darebin Council, the Fruit Squad project involves volunteers gathering surplus fruit from private fruit trees for redistribution to those in need. Horticultural knowledge and experience is also shared to help maintain Darebin’s fruit tree stock.
- CERES is a not for profit educational organisation located in East Brunswick. It has an urban orchard food swap, produce market, nursery, and a bulk unpackaged food store. They also run cooking and other sustainable living workshops. CERES Fair Food is their ethical on-line organic grocery delivery service.
- Cultivating Community work with diverse communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems. They provide services in public housing community gardens, food waste and composting, food systems and school food gardens.
Council coordinates the Darebin Emergency Relief Network to assist local emergency relief providers and other community agencies meet the needs of Darebin residents experiencing financial or material disadvantage, including problems accessing food.
Sustainable Food Events and Workshops
We host two popular events each year which celebrate home food growing and preserving traditions across cultures and generations. Be inspired at tours and workshops held by passionate and knowledgeable local food experts at the following Darebin Food Festivals:
Sustainable Gardening and Food Workshops are also held as part of the Sustainable Homes and Communities Program
Sustainable Food Resources
Interested in reading about how to make healthy, sustainable and affordable food choices and to successfully and sustainably grow food at home?
Sustainable Food Policies and Strategies
Council's role in supporting food security and sustainable food in Darebin is outlined in these documents:
Food Know How - Avoiding Food Waste
Food Know How, a food waste reduction program, was run in 2015 and 2016 across five Councils (Darebin, Yarra, Moreland, Whittlesea and Maribyrnong).
Food waste is costly to households, and a serious environmental concern. Recent audits show that 38% of the average Darebin waste bin is food waste which may have been avoided or recycled. It is estimated that this food waste costs the average household approximately $2200 per year, and we know that when food breaks down in landfill, it produces methane which is a more toxic greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
The aim of the Food Know How program was to educate and encourage households to avoid and recycle food waste using methods such as meal planning, cooking with leftovers, tips about smart shopping and food storage, as well as composting, worm farming and using a Bokashi bucket.
The program also included cooking workshops with a previous Masterchef finalist; composting and worm farming workshops; online engagement; participant support and advice; food waste movie events; prizes and give-aways; and much more – all geared to help Darebin residents reduce their food waste.
Interested in reducing your food waste at home? You can find more information, toolkits and handy tips at Food Know How