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UAF 2016 Feedback & Review

Henry Crawford, Sustain: The Australian Food Network

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“Loved the venue, loved the tour of the research station, food was more than generous. I am over 70 and conference weary but this was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. Well done!!! It was diverse in speakers and attenders, it was well organised, succinct and generally inspiring.”

“An excellent forum, passionate, committed people doing some sensational work.  A real (and necessary!) antidote to the negativity of the wider world!”

“This was an outstanding forum. Multiple ideas, fantastic attendees, great range of ages and backgrounds. It broke the mold for me. Wonderful.”

- Attendees, 2016

The 2016 Urban Agriculture Forum was held at the University of Melbourne’s Burnely Campus on November 18-19, a collaborative initiative between Sustain: The Australian Food Network, The University of Melbourne, 3000 Acres, Cultivating Community, The City of Yarra, Moreland Food Gardens Network and the Port Phillip EcoCentere.

For its first instalment Sustain wanted to showcase a group of speakers that reflected the diversity of urban agriculture practices both in Australia and internationally. The speakers at this years event represented a mix of state and local government, the education, university and TAFE sectors, designers and urban planners, urban farmers, community and backyard gardeners, chefs and restaurateurs, food social enterprise and retail businesses, health professionals, emergency food relief providers, and food rescue and resource management authorities.

The diversity of speakers and topics was the trademark of this year’s event, and achieved Sustain‘s objective of;

Feedback

When we asked the attendees what their primary purpose was in attending the forum, the majority of respondents were interested in being part of building an urban agriculture movement in Australia (67%). This was very closely followed by networking objectives (to meet like-minded colleagues and build networks), to hear about urban agriculture initiatives in Australia, and to learn about urban agriculture best practice in Australia and overseas.

With future forums in mind, the question was posed asking what particular area(s) of urban agriculture or a specific partner(s) / presenter(s) we should consider? Some popular responses included:

In response to post forum actions, the majority of respondents (40%) want to see an advocacy platform aimed at State and local governments for greater recognition of and support for urban agriculture. Other actions included; Developing a city-wide urban agriculture network / coalition (25%) and Staying in contact with those who attended the Forum (25%). Sustain also asked the attendees to select the forum sessions that appealed most strongly to their areas of interest. With all thirteen sessions receiving a similar scoring, the feedback suggests that the diversity in topics at this year’s event appealed broadly to the interests of the attendees. With that in mind, there were several sessions that appealed across the board, the five most popular sessions in no particular order being:

See here for full list of 2016 speakers.

Sustain would again like to thank The University of Melbourne’s Burnley Campus for hosting the event, all the speakers but particularly those from interstate and our keynote speakers from the Netherland’s Debra Solomon and Henk de Zeeuw, the steering group members, our sponsors, and the fantastic catering from Kinfolk, all of which contributed to make this event possible. We would also like to thank all the attendees who took the time to provide feedback on the event. Sustain looks forward to inviting you to future Urban Agriculture Forums!