Our existing Food System is not sustainable

A food system is all the steps from growing or raising food to when it arrives on your plate.

A flow chart that is made up of a straight line of rectangles. Each rectangle represents a step in a linear food system.
Click on the spots to read more about each step

We need an alternative local food system

When more food is produced and consumed locally, each step in the system works closely with the next, conserving resources and supporting the health of people and the environment.

A flow chart that goes in a circle. Each spot represents a step in a circular food system.

Council has built momentum, capacity and networks through the community-led actions to establish an alternative local food system under the Food System Strategy 2020-24.

A further three years of the Strategy is required to continue to address food system issues and build community resilience in the face of challenges such as growing inequality and the food related impacts of climate change.

Join the conversation

We want to hear from anyone who is involved and interested in creating a sustainable, just and vibrant food system in Merri-bek.

We will be contacting local community organisations / groups, food relief agencies and other service providers and offering to meet with them during February and March 2024.

Your contribution will inform the priorities and actions that will be included in the Draft Food System Strategy 2024-27.

  • Merri-bek Local Food Forum

    Reynard Street Neighbourhood House.
    Thursday 29 February

    • See first-hand an inspiring example of a Neighbourhood House local food program.
    • Provide your feedback on the strategy
    • Update and next steps on the Community Food Hub project.

  • Get in touch

    If you can't complete our online survey or join us at the Local Food Forum, please feel free to provide your feedback in the following ways:

    In person at Coburg Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg (printed survey is available at the counter by request)

    Email to urbanagriculture@merri-bek.vic.gov.au

    Or call Lee Tozzi on 9240 1111

How can the community influence this project?

What can be influenced?

  • Identification of the food system priority areas to focus on over the next three years.
  • Programs, services or community initiatives that Council could support to improve the food system in Merri-bek

What can't be changed?

  • The strategy vision - the current vision of a food system which is sustainable, just and vibrant aligns with Victorian Food Systems Consensus Statement, ‘Towards A Healthy, Regenerative and Equitable Food System in Victoria’ which Council formally endorsed in September 2023
  • The strategy principles - these are based on best practice for a healthy, sustainable local food system and are:
  1. Address the full breath of a closed loop food system (growing, processing, distribution, access, consumption and disposal) to deliver multiple social, environmental and economic benefits
  2. Build on existing community strengths and initiatives and take a Collective Impact approach, delivering long term community benefit through collaboration and partnerships between committed community members and Council
  3. Apply human rights and equity principles to all actions and initiatives, recognising that access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food is a fundamental and universal human right
  4. Ensure a cross-council response, collaboration and advocacy with research institutions, peak bodies and other levels of governments
  5. Ensure the strategy remains flexible, responsive and relevant without compromising the long-term strategic intent and goals

What happens next

Following this stage of community engagement, the findings and insights will be incorporated into a draft Food System Strategy 2024-27 and tabled with Council in June 2024.

The final strategy and action plan are due to be presented to Council by early 2025.