Sustain has coordinated several major conferences, forums and summits. We are involved with events on a regular basis throughout the year. In this way we shape and lead the sustainable and healthy food systems conversation in Australia.

Upcoming Events









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. 


Friday October 9

In this webinar, we are excited to highlight the important policy and program implications of the National Pandemic Gardening Survey. 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. Find your tickets here.



Wednesday September 16

In this month’s webinar, we are excited to present our findings from the recently-completed Pandemic Gardening Survey. The national survey was conducted in the hopes of understanding how COVID-19 and its restrictions have impacted people’s attitudes and actions towards growing their own food. Speakers include Costa Georgiadis, Naomi Lacey, Kelly Donati and Nick Rose. Find out more and grab your tickets here. 


Wednesday August 19

This webinar will highlight the importance of building social inclusion and justice into our urban and peri-urban landscapes and community agriculture projects, catalysing empowerment, knowledge sharing, training and employment opportunities as well as improving food security through the production of culturally appropriate foods. View recording here.  



Wednesday July 15

Join Tanya Massy and Julia Laidlaw of Farmer Incubator, Joel Orchard of Young Farmers Connect and Sam Marwood of Cultivate Farms for a conversation with the new wave of farmers and connectors to discuss new models and opportunities for the next generation – and we can apply these innovations today. See the recording here.


Watch Recording 

Join Michael Buxton (RMIT), Andrew Butt (RMIT) and Nick Rose (Sustain) to discuss the pressures on Australian peri-urban areas – practice, protection, policy and development.

The urban fringe holds 50% of Australia’s biodiversity and most urban water source, but land use decisions are jeopardising critical natural resources. What can we do to protect farming in the food bowl as demand for subdivisions and dwellings grows and climate change continues to take its toll? Watch Recording


We regret to announce that all face to face events, including the Food for Thought Festival and Jake Claro Australian Tour will be postponed until February 2021 as a result of the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. Please see more here.

Postponed to 2021

The annual Food For Thought Festival will celebrate its fifth year with the theme – Courageous Leadership enabling System Change Environments. Galvanising the local communities’ vision for a sustainable and resilient food system throughout the Great Southern, supporting local food producers, improving market opportunities of regeneratively produced produce, promoting ecological functions and regional food security.





Postponed to February 2021

Jake Claro, Director of the Vermont Farm to Plate Plan is extending his stay after the Food For Thought Festival to tour Australia, discussing how to change local food economies through a whole of system approach, backed by state government.





2018 Events 


Friday October 19 – Sunday October 21                       

The 2nd national New Economy Network Australia conference in partnership with the Australian Earth Laws Alliance attracted approximately 250 people. This year’s theme was “Strengthening the New Economy for the Common Good”, inviting people to come together to share stories of success, address challenges and join the broader movement.




Saturday October 20

Attended by over 50 people from the NENA conference and beyond, Higher Ground showcased the produce their chefs grow in their very own market garden and discussed their collaborations with Farmwall, who supply organic mirco-herbs and greens, and Wormlovers who supply vermiculture solutions to divert kitchen scraps from landfill.






Tuesday September 18 – Friday September 21                   

A multi-disciplinary four-day event held at William Angliss Institute, in partnership with the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Transition Hub for Australia involving national and international keynote speakers and panellists, with a strong focus on sustainable food systems.





Friday February 23 – Saturday February 24               

  The 2nd national Urban Agriculture Forum, held at William Angliss Institute was attended by over 250 people, with more than 60 local and national speakers and presenters, including international keynote Lenore Newman. The forum was followed by a national speaking tour, reaching more than 1000 food system stakeholders, and supporting the formation of a statewide Food Futures Alliance in WA being led by Perth NRM.




2017 Events


Wednesday November 15                                                   

The first Cardinia Food Forum, featured international keynote speaker Devita Davison of Foodlab Detroit as well as several state and local speakers. Attended by 100 people, this Forum was both a celebration of the wonderful work being done across the Shire as well as a call to action to work together to tackle serious food system challenges.





Friday May 4                                                                                 

The Melbourne Knowledge Week Design Sprint for a Sustainable Food System, was a whole-day workshop attended by 90 people to explore the issues facing Cardinia Shire Council and co-design solutions held at William Angliss Institute.

2016 Events


Friday December 2 – Monday December 5                     

The 21stSymposium of Australian Gastronomy, held over four days across Melbourne, featured dozens of artisanal agriculture and premium food producers, chefs and food businesses from around Australia and internationally.





Saturday November 19 – Sunday November 20              

The first national Urban Agriculture Forum  held at The University of Melbourne, Burnley campus, featured two international keynote presenters and more than 40 local presenters and panellists, followed by a mini-national speaking tour.





Monday August 8 – Tuesday August 9                             

The inaugural Australian Community Food Hub conference and national speaking tour was held in lively regional centre, Bendigo, with international keynote speakers from the United States and Canada and consisted of 13 events involving more than 1500 people with partners including several local governments, universities and TAFEs.