The Australian Food Network
Toggle User Menu Display

Cultivating Health and Wellbeing: An Action Agenda for Edible Gardening in Australia

Presented by Sustain

In August, we completed the first analysis of an inaugural Pandemic Gardening Survey that received over 9,000 responses from across Australia. The survey was conducted with the goal of understanding how COVID-19 and its restrictions have impacted people's attitudes and actions towards growing their own food.

In this webinar, we are excited to highlight the important policy and program implications of this work. Our detailed analysis and presentation, the result of weeks of work, will focus specifically on the role of local government, health services and other key stakeholders in supporting and enabling edible gardening and urban agriculture. Guest speakers from city councils will also be highlighting their ongoing initiatives in this space.

Join us to learn more about what the future of edible gardening and urban agriculture could look like in Australia—and how you can be part of shaping that future.


Dr. Nick Rose - Sustain: The Australian Food Network

Nick has been the Executive Director of Sustain since its establishment in January 2016. With a background in law and community development, Nick brings more than a decade of working at the grassroots and institutional level in several Australian states in food sovereignty and sustainable food systems.

He is the editor of Fair Food: Stories from a Movement Changing the World (2015) and the co-editor of Reclaiming the Urban Commons: The past, present and future of food growing in Australian towns and cities (2018). Nick is also a lecturer in the Bachelor of Food Studies and Master of Food Systems and Gastronomy at William Angliss Institute.


Sustain works for the transition to a food system that supports flourishing communities, individuals and ecosystems. Sustain’s mission is to catalyse meaningful and powerful connections to enable the emergence of a flourishing and healthy food system, realised through food systems events, research, network-building and consultancy services.

Dr. Kelly Donati  - Sustain, William Angliss Institute

Kelly developed and lectures in Australia’s first Bachelor of Food Studies and Master of Food Systems and Gastronomy in the Faculty of Higher Education at William Angliss Institute. Her doctoral research developed the concept of multispecies gastronomy, which explores the convivial and lively co-productive collaborations between humans and nonhumans in small-scale farming practice. She has published widely in the areas of multispecies gastronomy, community gardens, farmers markets, the politics of Slow Food and the development of food studies pedagogy. She is also the Chair of the Board at Sustain.

William Angliss Institute

William Angliss Institute is the specialist training provider for the foods, tourism, hospitality, events and hospitality management industries, delivering a range of courses within Australia and internationally.

Pete Olds
ReVerge - Community Verge Garden Projects

Pete Olds is a verge garden advocate living in Perth. He  founded community group ReVerge - Community Verge Garden Projects on Facebook to help share positive stories of people's verge adoption experiences across Australia and beyond

He’s passionate about helping people transform verges into ‘living green spaces’ that encourage native biodiversity, encourage growing/sharing of produce and provide a vehicle for community capacity building  to help build stronger sense of community.

Chris Martin
Community Connections Coordinator, City of Onkaparinga (SA)

Chris coordinates a team of community development officers who focus their work on a diverse array of place placed and issues based projects and initiatives.

With 11 years’ experience in the community development team, Chris observes that food growing initiatives have and continue to be a regular theme through consistent interest from community groups and residents.

Chris will share the work the team contribute to in relation to food growing, community gardens as well as Magic Harvest.

Adin Lang
Councillor, Fremantle’s City Ward (WA)

Adin was elected councillor for Fremantle’s City Ward in 2017.

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management, Adin joined the Department of Environment and worked on projects across Western Australia. Following this, Adin started, built and sold a handful of small businesses before entering the private sector; and during this time, completed a Masters of Business Administration at Curtin University.

In his first term as councillor, Adin will focus his energy on projects that beautify Fremantle; make the city a thriving economic centre; increase foot traffic; and ensure residents young and old have safe places to stay active and healthy. Since being elected to council, Adin has joined the Planning Services Committee (where he assists on decisions related to city planning and development), and the South West Reference Group (where he will help implement the regional Natural Resource Management Strategy for Fremantle).

Chris Cornish
Former councillor, City of Bayswater (WA)

Chris Cornish was a Councillor at the City of Bayswater, in Western Australia, between 2011 and 2019. During this time he led the City to become the most progressive municipality in Australia with regards to edible plants on public land. Chris was equally passionate on tree management and during his time on council he initiated a range of policies in order to better protect trees and ensure many more are planted.

Heather Johnstone
Urban forest advocate

Heather relishes advocating for the urban forest, sharing with all why they should love urban trees. In the last three years she has volunteered over 5,000 hours of her time to a number of initiatives that support the Town’s Urban Forest management and stewardship. She co-authored the Town of Victoria Park’s Urban Forest Strategy; including overseeing marketing, social media and education, and developing content for workshops as well as coordinating the 40 volunteers that supported the project.

Heather has become a recognized leader in Australian grass roots Urban Forestry and has made numerous presentations locally and internationally. Heather is continuing to volunteer with the Town’s Urban Forest Implementation Working Group, Millennium Kids Inc and the Vic Park Urban Foresters to support greening initiatives that both increase urban tree canopy and build stronger communities.

Lee Tozzi
Food System Officer, City of Moreland (VIC)

Lee Tozzi has led sustainable food programs at inner Melbourne Councils since 2013. Currently Food System Officer at Moreland City Council, she has collaborated with community stakeholders to implement Moreland’s first Food System Strategy since it was launched in October 2017. The Strategy was a product of several years of community advocacy, discussion, negotiation and exploration.

The Food System Officer is a facilitator and enabler for the Council / community relationships and partnerships. These are essential to achieving the shared goal of a healthy and diverse food culture and making nutritious food socially and economically accessible to all. In three years the community and Council have achieved some significant outcomes together, including 6 new community food growing sites.

Janet Willoughby
Open Space Community Planner, City of Charles Sturt (SA)

Janet has worked in Local Government for over 30 years in a variety of roles including, Bushland Management, Arboriculture, Parks and Gardens Operational management, Strategic and Community Planning and is employed by the City of Charles Sturt in the role of Community Planner – Open Space.

With a passion for collaborating with community to create successful gardens (including Community Gardens) of all sizes and shapes and to empower and enable community to do amazing projects in areas of public open space (really….their neighbourhoods and streets), she has recently developed the Community Verge Development Policy, Guidelines and Checklist, removing much of the bureaucracy from the process and encouraging edible streetscapes.

About The Future of Food Systems: Transition & Recovery Series.

In the face of extraordinary challenges and hardships, Australia's food systems organisations have rallied in 2020. While restrictions ease, we know we will never return to where we once were - nor do we want to. Since our establishment in January 2016, we have said that so much of how we manage our landscapes and feed our communities is unjust and unsustainable. The major challenge we face going forward is how to keep the momentum up, grab the increased interest in sustainable and resilient food systems with both hands and transition in such an unstable context. The 'Transition & Recovery' Series will bring together food systems experts to discuss how we can work collaboratively to achieve these goals.

About the Pandemic Gardening Survey:

The Pandemic Gardening Survey is an initiative led by the Urban Agriculture Forum and Sustain.

The Urban Agriculture Forum Steering Committee includes: Sustain, Community Gardens Australia, Sustainable Gardening Australia, 3000 acres, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, Yerrabingin, Pocket City Farms.

Our Events:

Sustain is proud to host interactive events - we welcome you to introduce yourself and what you do at the start of each webinar and will ensure you have time to ask questions at the end. If you have a question you can't wait to ask, or a particular area of interest please send it to [email protected] in advance.

Please note webinars will be held over Zoom and will be recorded, so please ensure your settings reflect what you are comfortable with.

Sustain members are able to attend this series for free! Click here to learn more and sign up to become a member.

More information:

This event has already taken place.

For more information about this past event, visit