Food in the Capital

16 May & 21 Nov 2021, 9am-4.30pm

The focus of the inaugural Food in the Capital conference, now rejigged as three day-long events, is on the critical role food production, consumption and new technology must play in helping Canberra become a fully sustainable city.

RDA ACT’s Food in the Capital conference is the ‘first of its kind sustainable food event for Canberra and the surrounding region’.

​Now split into three day-long ‘events’ to take place over the next 12 months,  the conference will bring together thought leaders and business, research and government representatives from the ACT and South Eastern NSW, and new city/region food initiatives from across Australia to discuss sustainability options and strategies for the region.

It will feature more than 95 speakers from around the world discussing innovations in rural and urban farming and practical solutions to food production, transport and sales, as a precursor to developing ‘a unique city region agrifood initiative’.

The Food in the Capital conference is a part of the ambitious agenda of Regional Development Australia ACT and Regional Development Southern Inland to help build a unique and replicable city-region food initiative, and will contribute to Canberra becoming Australia’s first truly sustainable city.

It will provide a platform for several food-related announcements by the corporate sector and government relating to local emissions targets, economic diversification and agrifood export/investment objectives.

With a packed program featuring targeted presentations and topical, thought-provoking panel discussions, it promises to be time and money well spent.

Food in the Capital ‘webbite’ series

Initially scheduled to run over two days in April 2020, the Food in the Capital conference was re-scheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions. In the intervening six months, RDA ACT hosted several online webinars – short sessions with speakers and panellists –  to give delegates a taste of the upcoming events and keep everyone in the loop.

You can watch all seven of these webinars here.

Event one: Tuesday 17 November 2020

This combined online and face-to-face event will examine what the future of food will look like in Canberra and the surrounding region. Discussions will explore:

  • the potential for selling more locally produced food in the nation’s capital and other markets – and what needs to be done to make this feasible;
  • how urban food production differs from farming further afield, and what new business opportunities urban farming opens, as well as the new skills, technologies and business models needed to implement sustainable, profitable urban food production systems in the region; and
  • how understanding the interaction of clean energy, food, water and soils is critical for creating a resilient food system. 

Event Two: 16 May 2021

‘The message is clear,’ state the event organisers. ‘Prepare now for more climate change, pandemics and other threats to our food supply chain.’

Discussion in Event Two will focus on how best to manage our complex and dynamic food supply chain, bearing in mind that that in order to plan effectively, policymakers must take a system-wide perspective. It will explore the wealth of business opportunities, in Canberra city and in surrounding regions, that could open up if current food supply-chain issues, including ‘last-mile’ transport and logistics, can be solved.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about food provenance (where their food comes from), and in eating ‘ethically’ (consuming food produced with less environmental harm and more positive social impact) – the massive increase in investment flows to ‘urban ag-tech’ , including innovative urban and sustainable farm production, are indicators of this. Catering to this demand effectively means securing and streamlining our supply chains.

To view the updated program for both events, click here.

A program overview for Event Three, scheduled for November 2021, will be posted here closer to the date.

Why attend?

For food businesses, farmers, manufacturers:

  • Get insights from experts on the latest in food markets and consumer trends.
  • Sell more of your product for a good return in Canberra and elsewhere.
  • View new technologies that could help you generate more revenue and new markets.
  • Connect with restaurateurs, supermarket managers and decision-makers from across the food service industry.

For policymakers, community groups, thought leaders, foodies:

  • Learn how to make system-wide urban farming a reality, in Canberra and other cities of Australia.
  • Help build the food industry as a vehicle for reducing emissions, utilising food waste, and fostering greater social inclusion, food security and improved nutrition.
  • Consider how best to promote the region’s growing reputation for fresh, clean and green local produce, driving tourism and exports.
  • Discuss the immense potential of food as a driver of economic diversification.

When and where?

Food in the Capital will now take place on Tuesday 17 November 2020, then on 18 May and xx November 2021, with sessions from 9am to 4.30pm daily.

The main venue is Canberra’s Thoroughbred Park, 1 Randwick Rd, Lyneham ACT 2602.

Get directions.

Registration and more information

For further information, phone (02) 6173 7000, or visit the event web page or Facebook page.

To register for the conference, click here.