Victualis 2 highlights ACT’s food resilience challenges – and the power of collaboration

The second Victualis dinner at the Hellenic Club’s Poseidon Room in central Canberra was an opportunity for the region’s agrifood-sector stakeholders to hear from leaders in the field about forging links from farm to fork; and to explore how government, industry, researchers and community can collaborate effectively to develop robust, sustainable urban food systems.

Organised by FFS partner, Regional Development Australia ACT and hosted by the Canberra Region Food Collaborative, the Victualis 2 dinner brought together key players in Canberra region’s food system, including agrifood producers, manufacturers, distributors, service providers and retailers as well as researchers, investors and policymakers, for an information-packed, inspiring event.

The purpose of the evening was to highlight imaginative solutions that enable regional farmers and agrifood businesses to produce, add value to and distribute more food, sustainably, into the closest markets – via retailers and restaurants, cafes and caterers, food kitchens and farmers’ markets – driving investment, inclusion, jobs and better social and economic outcomes.

Dr Maria Chandra-Hioe asks a question of the panel at Victualis2 dinner in Canberra. Credit: Future Food Systems

The assembled guests heard from a string of movers and shakers, including RDA ACT CEO Michael Claessens – who gave a shout-out to Future Food Systems and its collaborative research efforts around agrifood clusters; keynote and café owner-turned-City-of-Sydney-councillor and small-food-business advocate Angela Vithoulkas; Angus Harris of fresh-produce retail chain Harris Farm Markets (a major sponsor of the event); House of Representatives Independent Member for the Western Sydney seat of Fowler Dai Le MP; Nick Rose from Sustain: The Australian Food Network; Rabekha Siebert from the City of Dallas, Texas; and Professor Karen Charlton, an expert in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Wollongong.

A rousing panel discussion with questions from the audience was a highlight of the evening – along with the handmade chocolates from local chocolatier Sweet Pea & Poppy.

A heartfelt thanks to Michael Claessens and the RDA ACT-Canberra Region Food Collective team for hosting.

Lead image: The Victualis2 panel discussion. Credit: Future Food Systems