The 2023 Urban Agriculture Forum was the fourth that Sustain has coordinated since 2016, but the first time that Sustain has held its signature 2-day event outside of Sydney. It was also the first time we partnered with Community Gardens Australia (CGA) to deliver the Forum alongside the CGA National Gathering.
In hosting at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, we were reminded that Australian cities and towns have always been, and always will be, Country.
Redfern’s rich legacy as a centre of Aboriginal intellectual culture, political leadership and activism provided a fertile ground for exploring how urban agriculture can honour Country and support Indigenous self-determination.
Held on 17th and 18th November 2023, we welcomed 71 speakers to the event across the two days, with sessions on international urban agriculture plans, local government, community food growing, composting, community garden governance, urban food, multi-functional urban agriculture, food forests, Indigenous wisdom, education, careers in agriculture, and more.
Speaker highlights included Brenden Moore from Community Greening, Sharon Windsor from Indigiearth and Rabekha Siebert from the City of Dallas on Day 1; and Hannah Maloney from ABC Gardening Australia, and Linda Appel Lipsuis from Denver Urban Gardens on Day 2. Sustain ambassador Costa Georgiadis was our MC for both days.
But the real highlight for both Sustain and Community Gardens Australia were the people who attended - who came to make new friends, share ideas, learn new skills, be inspired, be challenged and who went away feeling part of a community of kindred spirits.
We received some fabulous feedback from our participants, here are just a few of our favourites!
"I had no expectations but I was super impressed by the focus on First Nations food sovereignty and the venue was so cool!" - Sydney Forum attendee
"I thoroughly enjoyed the range of speakers from town planners, lawyers, worm farmers and regenerative growers." - Sydney Forum attendee
"Just fantastic to see so much optimism and action happening all over the world. Great motivation!" - Sydney Forum attendee
"Great atmosphere of sharing through shared values. Learning about initiatives that would have been hard to learn about elsewhere." - Sydney Forum attendee
"The 2023 Urban Agriculture Forum held in the historical Redfern on Gadigal Lands was a most grounding, hopeful and connecting experience! The venue National Center for Indigenous Excellence was spectacular and welcoming and being able to hear from many local and proud First Nations People and from those all over the world on their work maintaining cultural connections to land and waters and the importance of this for First Nations, Climate and Food Justice for everyone was vital. Thank you Sustain and Community Gardens Australia for hosting this event and bringing us all together." - Sydney Forum attendee
"My cup was definitely filled right up again hearing & talking about how many amazing programs there are around the country." - Sydney Forum attendee
Whilst the 2-day Urban Agriculture Forum won't be back again until 2025, Sustain is always running smaller events through the year. You can be the first to hear about the latest opportunities by following our Humanitix page.