31 Jan The University of Sydney and its partners tackling food insecurity by creating resilient local food economies
Lack of access to affordable, healthy food is a national problem. According to the City of Sydney Council, an estimated 17,000 residents do not have reliable access to nutritious, affordable food, with more than 3.6 million Australians experiencing some kind of food insecurity each year.
To contribute to the creation of inclusive and resilient local food economies, the University of Sydney’s Sydney Environment Institute has developed the Australia Research Council-funded initiative, FoodLab Sydney, in partnership with the City of Sydney, TAFE NSW and FoodLab Detroit.
Inspired by the highly successful FoodLab Detroit model, FoodLab Sydney’s vision is to increase widespread access to healthy and affordable food through participation in a vibrant and sustainable food business ecosystem. Participants in the incubator – accessible to people from all education backgrounds – receive custom-designed business support on their entrepreneurship journey, including pathways to qualifications, mentorship, and access to the kitchen spaces and skills to package, market and sell their products.
“This project is about bringing more people into the local food system and providing them with the opportunities to create a livelihood in that system” explains Professor David Schlosberg, Director of the Sydney Environment Institute, who is co-Chief Investigator on the project with Dr Alana Mann, Chair of Media and Communications in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
The City of Sydney has embraced the project as an innovative way of providing both employment pathways for Sydney residents and economic stimulus in local communities.
“FoodLab Sydney is a fantastic example of how collaboration between academics, businesses and residents can produce new ideas and opportunities.” – Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore
Participants in the FoodLab Sydney program © The University of Sydney / Stefanie Zingsheim