Food in the Capital: helping to reposition Canberra as a sustainable agrifood hub

The Food in the Capital conference, part of Regional Development Australia ACT‘s drive to help Canberra become Australia’s first truly sustainable city, was a resounding success. 

The event, held in May 2021, and supported by the CRC, FIAL and other and government, research and industry entities, attracted a national group of experts and industry stakeholders.

Speakers included ACT Government Chief Minister, the Hon. Andrew Barr MLA; ACT Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Rebecca Vassarotti; RDA ACT Chair Ross MacDiarmid; Barry McGookin from the Commonwealth Growth Centre for Food and Agriculture, FIAL (Food Innovation Australia Ltd); Dr Hermione Parsons, Industry Professor and Director in the Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics at Deakin University; Professor Priti Krishna, Foundation Chair of Sustainable Agriculture at Western Sydney University; Will Schmitt, co-founder and principal of Open2Innovate; Dr Rachel Carey, from the Food Policy Research Group at University of Melbourne; Maxine Cooper, Chair of ACT Landcare; and the CRC’s CEO, David Eyre.

Conference sessions explored practical solutions to food production, transport and sales that policymakers could use to develop a unique city region agrifood initiative’ in and around the national capital; the new skills, technologies and business models that would be required to implement sustainable, profitable urban food production systems in the region; and the wealth of business opportunities that could open up if current food supply-chain issues including ‘last-mile’ transport and logistics could be solved.

It is hoped that the Food in the Capital discussions will inform the development of a replicable city-region food initiative in Canberra and surrounding areas.

Lead image: Food in the Capital audience. Credit: Regional Development Australia (RDA) ACT