Putting aside the fact that I spent eight hours on a bus to travel no further than 130km from the centre of Melbourne to essentially spend 15 minutes walking around a cow paddock and then have a lovely lunch in a far-flung cafe, in what was one of the worst organised events I've encountered, I actually had a fascinating day yesterday!
The bus trip was to Gippsland to visit a variety of innovative food businesses as part of the Agrifood Conference being held this week at Melbourne University. Although it didn't run very smoothly, what we did see was so interesting and the tour was full of people doing all sorts of great work in food sustainability - some in academia and research, some with local communities, some with online businesses. So impressive to see so many people gathered together to discuss innovation solutions to food sustainability.
The cow paddock was at Mountain View Farm, a dairy farm that has converted from "conventional" farming practices to a much more sustainable model, where cows, land and humans are all obviously benefitting.
We also heard a talk from the founders of Grow Lightly who set out to answer the question "Can South Gippsland feed South Gippsland?" They've established a food distribution system that is wholly sourced from local suppliers (60km radius as that is the limit of their electric van!) and builds community as part of the distribution network. They were so full of ideas of how to build the business (now converted into a not-for-profit) and reach more people - farmers and consumers.
Very inspiring, just don't ask me to get in a bus again anytime soon!