03 December 2013

"Haven't we been past that tree/ shed/ road already today...?!"

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!


4 comments:

  1. Im glad that you found the trip informative and met some good contacts. Dont you just hate being part of something poorly organised. Makes you want to put your hand up for next time and do it properly. Oh and i so agree with not going on a bus. It not so bad if you are travelling with friends but unknown people? Even worst when a cheap bus has been hired and it no doubt breaks down on a hot day and you are stranded on the side of the road... Arhhh memories....

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    1. The trip was so bad that everyone on the bus actually bonded, so that was quite good! But I'd rethink something similar in the future, or at least try to find out more about it before going. My main problem, as my friend who went with me pointed out, is that I'm a terrible backseat driver and just want to be in control of my destiny, even from the back of a bus!!

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  2. Thanks for this post. How interesting. I will look at the links you've supplied.

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    1. Yes the trip was frustrating partly because the places we did see were really interesting and I know there was more to be uncovered in the area that we didn't get to see!

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