National and other food organisations


Local Seeds is a Melbourne-based website where you can buy seeds. They describe their mission as “to encourage more people to save seeds, to help preserve genetic diversity, and to give people access to seeds that are adapted to their local environment.” Although it is not immediately apparent, you can also register to sell your seeds by going to the registration page. (posted August 5 2020)

I was visiting a local community garden the other day and someone asked me to identify a particular plant. So, I got my phone out, took a picture and voila: Sambucus nigra (European black elderberry). Some free plant identification plant apps for smartphones really do work! The two that I have found to be the most effective are PlantNet and PlantSnap. (posted October 23 2019)

Sustainable Table is a Melbourne-based not-for-profit that “provides Australians with the tools and information to make ethical eating easy“. They have recently launched the Ripe for Change program which “offers community grants of up to $10,000, to improve our local food system and deliver health and sustainability outcomes for the population and environment“. This program is currently focused in Casey, Cardinia and the Mornington Peninsula. (posted May 15 2019)

The Vegetable Orchestra, from Vienna, play music using instruments made of fresh vegetables. (posted May 15 2019)

VegeSafe, a program run by Environmental Science staff at Macquarie University, offer a very cheap ($20 donation) say of getting your soil tested for metal and metalloid contaminants. Read more. Submit sample. (posted October 31 2018)

RetroSuburbia is David Holmgren’s new book, to be published on 10th February. Click here to read about the book or here to buy the book.

The book discusses a number of case studies from around North East Melbourne, including: Alistair and Christine’s (Northcote); The Plummery (Northcote); Saba and Matt’s rental property (Lilydale); and Sharehouse (Preston). (posted February 7 2018)

Sustainable Table is a Melbourne-based organisation that aims to provide Australians with the tools and information to make ethical eating easy. Their website has recently had a facelift. (posted March 22 2017)

Australia’s Right to Food Coalition: “Australia’s Right to Food Coalition (RTFC) exists to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians by working to ensure equitable access to nutritious food. We are a coalition of organisations, practitioners, researchers and community workers united in our cause.” They have a Victorian branch and they would welcome new members. Click here to join. (posted November 16 2016)

The Youth Food Movement (YFM) organised an Urban Forage and Feast event in Brunswick on 2nd December 2016. The event involved conversations around food sustainability, guest speakers and quality food. They sought donations of produce, seedlings, seeds, vouchers etc to be used in their cookup, given away as prizes or sold to fundraise for YFM.

In passing, YFM has one of the all-time great sentences on their home page: “Australia’s appetite for organic food is at crazy-milkshake levels.” (posted November 9 2016)

Some food-related apps for your smartphone: food-related apps that I have on my Android smartphone/tablet include (in alphabetical order by category, where the categories reflect what is available rather than where my interests necessarily lie!):

  • Bars and pubs: Melbourne’s Bars and Pubs.
  • Personal recipe database: My CookBook.
  • Planting guide: Gardenate.
  • Vegan food: Happy Cow.
  • Eatery finders: Yelp and Zomato.
    And, of course, there is the free app that I wrote myself: Local Food Connect. In passing, as well as the Android version of the app above, I also wrote an IoS version (the two operating systems use different languages). But Apple demanded that I pay them $100 a year before I could even put it onto my own phone! Obviously, on principle, I’m not going to do this. If you have an Apple smart device and want my free app, blame Apple not me. (posted May 4 2016)

    Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: whilst most of their events are based in the CBD, some are more local to us. For example, in 2016: Regional World’s Longest Lunch, Coldstream; Garden Vineyard Table, Dixons Creek; The Family Block, Coldstream; Finding Our Place, Eltham; and Farmer Wants a Knife, Coldstream. Whilst on the subject of non-local events, Sustainable Living Foundation’s Great Local Lunch takes place in the CBD. (posted February 3 2016)

    Melbourne good food month: although not local, this interactive graphic is, in some ways, quite cool. (posted November 11 2015)

    Open Food Network: This is a group of local people who have been working for a few years on providing an online marketplace, a way to distribute and hence buy direct from the farmer. It provides the tools and information to make it easier to run ‘food hubs’ (i.e. independent retailers and wholesalers and small social enterprises/coops/buying groups) of all shapes and sizes to work together to reduce distribution costs. See the current hubs at (posted July 17 2014)

    The Growing Food Project: A lovely and inspiring local glimpse into our wonderful community food projects, The Growing Food Project is a short documentary exploring Melbourne’s local food movement and community food initiatives, where people are coming together to build local, fair and sustainable food systems. Written and directed by Rasha Tayeh, visit to watch this lovely local film. (posted June 12 2014)

    The Localising Food Project: Read about this New Zealand project which aims to facilitate the enrichment of local food resilience and the empowerment of communities. (posted May 29 2014)

    The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas. (posted January 16 2014)

    GMO-ID Australia: A great opportunity for non-GMO labels in Australia – Australia now has a company that can analyse, monitor and certify non-GM food. It is called GMO-ID Australia and they also list non-GM suppliers. (posted April 4 2013)

    Pick your own: Even though it is lovely to grow and pick your own produce, sometimes you need more for preserving. There a number of ‘pick your own farms’ around which you may want to visit over the holiday period. See this site for details. Not all are organic, but many are. (posted December 12 2013)

    Seed bank website plugin: New software for the Cleveland Seed Bank, a seed saving initiative, has been released to the public as an open source website plugin that can turn any WordPress site into a community seed bank. The software, called WP-Seedbank, was conceived by Marilyn McHugh, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Hummingbird Project (THP) and developed in collaboration with Cleveland GiveCamp. (posted October 10 2013)

    Eaterprises is connecting Victorian farmers and eaters via its website. On a fortnightly basis various seasonal foods are offered for sale. At the moment most of the distribution points are around inner northern Melbourne. (posted November 1 2012)

      One Response to “National and other food organisations”

    1. Thank you so much for supporting Welcome To Eltham. I re-posted the beautiful welcome photos of facebook.

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