The Australian Food Network
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Consulting Projects

We've worked with…

Local Government

  • City of Casey: Food Security Framework for Action (2023)

    Employing a bespoke mix of our mapping, best-practice benchmarking and consultation core services, we supported the City of Casey to measure food insecurity rates amongst its citizens and map their barriers to healthy eating. We then developed a next-step framework for action on food security in the city.

    The work that was undertaken by Sustain during the contract was of high quality and they had strong knowledge of the role local government can play in influencing food security at a local level. The project was concluded in the timeframe provided and within the project quote. I would recommend Sustain as knowledgeable and reliable consultants that can lead work to influence local food systems work.

    Marni Ford
    Senior Health Planner,
    City of Casey
  • City of Port Philip, City of Melbourne & City of Yarra: Building Food Security & Enhancing Social Cohesion in the Inner Metropolitan Region (2023-2024)

    This comprehensive research project for the Inner Metropolitan Partnership produced a set of recommendations to transform food security, food relief and the capacity for social support services to integrate into food system strengthening across the Inner Metropolitan region.

    The study employed a range of methods drawing from our seven core services, including surveys, focus groups & interviews, site visits, geospatial mapping, socio-economic data analysis, participatory workshops and benchmarked case studies.

  • Maribyrnong City Council: Emergency food relief and food security evaluation (2022-2023)

    In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we supported Maribyrnong City Council to evaluate their emergency food relief efforts and assess the underlying state of food security in the city. This work informed the development of Maribyrnong City Council’s Food Inequality Action Plan 2022–2024.

  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council: Food Economy & Agroecology Strategy Action Plan

    We supported the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Food Economy Taskforce with a community consultation and planning package, leading to the development of the Taskforce’s Action Plan for agroecological transformation over the next three years.

  • Central Goldfields Shire Council: Food System Strategy (2023-2024)

    We’re supporting the Central Goldfields Shire Council to develop their first food system strategy. This work will reach across our seven core services, resulting in a plan for long-term positive impact for the people of the Central Goldfields region.

  • Brimbank City Council: World Food Garden (2021)

    The City of Brimbank had a vision for a world food garden – a place where locals from diverse cultural and language backgrounds could grow their cultural foods together. To make this vision a reality, we worked with an ecological artist and local community members to design a process where knowledge-sharing and storytelling could flourish through the planting, tending, harvesting and sharing of plants as diverse as the planters themselves. A short film captured the community's journey.

  • Cardinia Shire Council: Food Circles Project & Community Food Strategy (2016-2022)

    Cardinia Food Circles was a pioneering community engagement and impact project designed to accelerate implementation of the Cardinia Community Food Strategy (2016-2018). In addition to founding the Food Circles initiative, we went on to facilitate the Council’s Food Circles Steering Committee until Council assumed this role directly.

    In 2019, the Cardinia Food Circles project was recognised with VicHealth's 'Promoting Healthy Eating Award' for improving community health. Alongside our allies, we also helped secure $500,000 in funding for local food projects like the United African Farm (2019), Pakenham Community School Farm (2019) and the Cardinia Community Food Hub (2021).

  • City of Greater Bendigo: Food System Strategy Stakeholder workshop facilitation (2019)

    In 2019 we facilitated a stakeholder workshop for City of Greater Bendigo as part of the development of the City’s first Food System Strategy. This workshop followed extensive community and stakeholder consultation conducted by the Council and featured presentations by local food system champions, participatory world cafe roundtables to expand on key themes and a session on priority action areas for the strategy.

State Government

  • VicHealth: Food system transformation: professional development modules (2021)

    To support VicHealth develop and implement their Local Government Partnership flagship, we created three professional development modules to support local government practitioners to step-up as food system changemakers. These modules now support a raft of local government food system policies, coalitions and initiatives across Victoria.

  • Agriculture Victoria (2018-2022)

    Artisanal agriculture report (2018)
    We mapped the breadth of premium food businesses in Victoria and catalogued this sector’s needs through a survey completed by over 250 small-scale producers and premium food businesses. This work informed the launch of the Victorian Government’s Artisanal Agriculture Roadmap and Grants programme in 2018.

    Urban Agriculture in Victoria report (2022)
    We mapped the state of the urban agriculture sector in Victoria and presented a provisional roadmap for growth.

  • Goulburn Valley Public Health Unit: Food system assessment (2023)

    This comprehensive, holistic food system report mapped the current state of the Goulburn Valley food system (encompassing seven local government areas) and provided a framework for future consultation and sustainability planning.

Federal Government

  • Australian Research Council: Strengthening Food Systems Governance at the Local Level (2019-2022)

    This collaboration with the University of Sydney and University of Wollongong created a database of food-related policies across all councils in Victoria and NSW. Through in-depth case study research with leading local governments and civil society organisations, it identified the opportunities and challenges for food system transformation at the local level. The extensive research publications that the project generated are available here.


  • Give Where You Live Foundation: Food for Thought Research (2023)

    This report assessed the state of food security in the Geelong (G21) region. Through a mix of surveys, focus groups and interviews with food relief providers, we mapped the increasing demand and challenges facing communities and delivered the framework for a strategy to address food insecurity in the region.

    This process highlighted Sustain's exemplary dedication and skill in understanding clients’ needs and translating them into actionable strategies. Their team, characterized by their friendliness, approachability, intelligence, and awareness, not only impressed us but also ensured that every aspect of our Food for Thought Research, was executed with precision and foresight. We now have a strategic blueprint that will undoubtedly steer the course of the food relief network in Geelong.