Shared Learning Days
A sectoral need
The small but emerging sector of Community Food Enterprises – across the country but more specifically across Victoria – are a disparate group of passionate but mostly disconnected and non visible (particularly to funding bodies) enterprises which are heavily reliant on volunteer support, community goodwill and are united by their desire to implement change to the industrial food system and increase access to good food for all. The groundswell of desire to see these enterprises succeed is more vocal than ever before which is encouraging. However, in order to ensure these enterprises are viable, genuine support is needed to fill the gaps in capacity, funding and knowledge which is faced by each of the enterprises in varying degrees.
Building networks and shared solutions
The most effective way to build this support is to bring these enterprises together to allow for connection, sharing of knowledge, identification of challenges and opportunities and to minimise the endless recreation of wheels.
Together these food enterprises can stand stronger than if alone and regardless of their individual objectives (social inequality, agricultural diversity, rural resilience, environmental impact, health, fair price to farmers etc) they can enjoy a supported and empowered environment in which to grow their enterprise and in turn the sector as a whole.
Open Food Network’s role
Since 2016, the Open Food Network has been delivering shared learning days. The first days were part of the Thrive healthy Food Connect project, but we have gone on to deliver one to two shared days each year since. Key learnings from these workshops are shared broadly.
Open Food Network facilitates these days to match sectoral needs, and designs each event differently based on attendees and the current challenges the sector faces. Past examples have included focused design days, skills workshops being incorporated into the day, and facilitated discussions.
Do you think your region needs help getting the best out of bringing food enterprises together? to find out if we can help.
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