Business plan helps the Alphington community to create and connect to a healthy, flourishing local food system.

We advised the City of Darebin on the development of a multi-stakeholder and multi-functional community food hub. We also supported the City of Darebin’s successful grant submission to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. Our work included:

  • establishing an evidence base to guide the development and implementation of future strategies aimed at strengthening the local food system
  • exploring the existing and anticipated market demand for local, fresh food products in the City of Darebin and adjacent municipalities, both retail and wholesale
  • identifying business and governance models, and
  • identifying effective strategies for linking customers and local fresh food in Darebin.

Our research and analysis found that:

  • the Darebin food hub is feasible under the proposed business model
  • the initial business plan will require ongoing refinement as costs and revenue streams become more certain
  • the presence of two committed parties is a significant factor (the Melbourne Farmers Market and Sustain), and
  • performance indicators can be used for ongoing assessment.

Sustain was granted $300,000 from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to help set up the Melbourne Food Hub in Alphington. The initiative has a dual impact:

  1. supporting the expansion of sustainable food networks and producers, and
  2. nurturing social cohesion by connecting people to their communities through food and innovative urban agriculture projects.

Launched in April 2018, the multi-functional site:

  • provides learning and employment opportunities
  • hosts a weekly farmers’ market and kitchen garden
  • can be shared by small-scale social enterprises who are working on developing more sustainable food systems, and
  • aims to address food insecurity in the inner and northern suburbs by increasing the community’s access to healthy, affordable, and in-season produce.
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