Sustainable Table Fund

During our 2019 Sustainable Table Fund (formerly Ripe for Change) round, we received 45 incredible applications. We wish we could’ve funded them all, but that’s not how these things work! It was a challenging review process but ultimately we were able to fund 12 projects a total of $101,500. We’d love to share a snapshot of these projects with you, below.

1: Free to Feed’s Morning Peninsula Food Journeys delivered by Free to Feed
2: Farmer Incubator Co-Farm Feasibility Study delivered by Farmer Incubator Ltd
3: Growing the United African Community Farm delivered by United African Community Farm
4: Growing the Cardinia Food Movement delivered by Sustain: The Australian Food Network
5: Health for the Homeless delivered by Endeavour Ministries (The Andrews Centre)
6: Preying on Pasture Pests the IPM Way delivered by Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA)
7: Local Farms Organic Veggie Boxes delivered by Heritage Farm
8: Southern Peninsula Food Resource Connection Program delivered by Southern Peninsula Community Support & Information Centre (SPCSIC)
9: CWA Cardinia Community Kitchens delivered by Country Women’s Association of Vic Inc. (CWA)
10: Promoting Organic Farming Through a Demonstration Project at our Temple Site delivered by Siri Guru Nanak Darbar
11: Linking Native Pollinators and Sustainable Food Systems delivered by Western Port Catchment Landcare Network Inc. (WPCLN)

12: Mornington Peninsula Farm Gate Excursions delivered by 100 Mile Foodie


Delivered by Free to Feed

Free to Feed is a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides empowering employment experiences to refugees, people seeking asylum and new migrants through the delivery of food events and experiences. Our grant enabled Free to Feed to expand into Melbourne’s outer regions for the first time, providing employment to talented refugee cooks who facilitated engaging workshops in collaboration with local Mornington Peninsula producer, Mossy Willow Farm. The cooks shared their nutritious family recipes and inspiring stories with local community members during the cooking workshops, whilst building their own knowledge of Melbourne’s foodbowl by using produce sourced from the host farm. Mossy Willow ran farm tours as part of the events to talk about seasonality, sustainable food production and supporting the local foodbowl. As part of the grant, Free to Feed will run a free event to engage people who are exclusively from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. This event will build connections with the local food system and between participants


Delivered by Farmer Incubator

Our grant supported Farmer Incubator to undertake a feasibility study into a co-farming model to support new entrant farmers. It is a well-documented problem that significant barriers exist for entry to farming, with costs being a major one for young aspiring farmers. Through this study, Farmer Incubator gathered data for the first time on the regenerative farmer movement in Australia and the key challenges we are facing, through conducting surveys and interviews with over 220 next-generation, new and aspiring farmers across Australia. The insights, knowledge and advice gathered in this survey fed into the next phase of research – to investigate the pathways and resources needed for regenerative agriculture and the structure, resourcing needs, partnerships and key principles for establishing a self-sustaining Incubator Farm. Potential sites in the local region and funding opportunities are also being explored for establishing a permanent co-farm site. Alongside this study, a toolkit will be developed to facilitate pathways into regenerative agriculture once additional funding is secured to do so.


Delivered by United African Community Farm

Our grant provided United African Community Farm with important seed funding to grow their new community farming venture. The farm is run by an African background collective and was originally established on a farm space donated by local farmer Vicki Jones in the Victorian town of Longwarry, 83km from Melbourne. The concept for the farm was to grow crops specifically for African-Australian communities, many of who are from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and to foster the intercultural and inter-generational transfer of knowledge and greater social cohesion in Cardinia Shire. The grant contributed towards employing part-time workers to coordinate the farm and explore opportunities to access additional land and funding to support the ongoing operation and growth of the farm.

See media coverage for more info. At the time of this update, the farm was in discussions to move sites from Longwarry to a location closer to Pakenham to make it more convenient and accessible to the farm members. Sustainable Table’s Fund continues to support the project through connecting them with local landowners who may be interested in hosting this venture in future.


Delivered by Sustain: The Australian Food Network

The Cardinia Food Movement (CFM) is mobilising change across the Cardinia foodbowl region, driving many of the Cardinia Food Circles community solutions. The CFM engages the broader community with food system change issues through initiatives they lead or support, as well as events, workshops, resources, newsletters and social media. The funding secured through our grant provided the CFM with dedicated resourcing for a communications role and strategic capacity building to ensure its ongoing effectiveness, growth, relevance, and to assist them to build broader local engagement with their events, news and initiatives.


Delivered by Endeavour Ministries (The Andrews Centre)

The Andrews Centre Gleneagles Community Garden is situated on the secondary school site in Endeavour Hills and currently produces fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs for the local community, including people in need who access the Andrews Centre’s emergency relief and community meals programs. The garden also hosts regular community gatherings to bring people together and share knowledge about growing organic food. The grant funded the expansion of the garden to cultivate vegetables in 5 additional wicking beds, which are helping to feed people who are experiencing disadvantage through sharing delicious community meals for up to 120 people. Community members actively participate in tending to the plants, harvesting them and learning about them through workshops and garden talks.


Delivered by Port Phillip & Western Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA)

This project brought farmers together to learn about the sustainable management of their pastures by receiving training on the difference between beneficial insects and pests and how to manage them without harmful pesticides, adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a land management tool. IPM can help farmers to transition away from pesticide use and achieve significant reductions in farm input costs, improve productivity and develop more resilient farm ecosystems. As part of the project, demonstration sites were established, and invertebrate monitoring was conducted to record pest and beneficial insect numbers to enhance the practical hands-on learning during the workshops.


Delivered by Heritage Farms

Our grant assisted Heritage Farm to establish a farmer cooperative ‘food hub’ model on the Mornington Peninsula, which aims to help small farmers to sell their organic produce locally through a vegetable box subscription scheme. It also provides a convenient option for residents to source local, organic produce at a fair price, and with zero packaging waste. Specifically, this grant funded the upgrade of a refrigerated vehicle to collect produce from farmers and deliver it to consumers, which has been a significant logistical barrier to getting the project off the ground. This collaboration with local farms is proving to be a successful model and they are looking to expand their delivery area as it grows. The project also cross-subsidises boxes and currently gifts a small portion of vegetable boxes/week to those in the community who are living below the poverty line, working with local community support services, which they aim to increase over time.


Delivered by Southern Peninsula Community Support & Information Centre (SPCSIC)

Our grant provided funding for the Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre to coordinate Emergency Relief (ER) Providers on the Southern Peninsula to improve collaboration and enable the greater provision of healthy food to disadvantaged community members. These programs benefit hundreds of vulnerable people each week by delivering great quality food to our community and the idea for this project was to increase capacity for ER providers to receive and distribute donations from major food rescue organisations, as well as build partnerships with local growers and food producers who produce excess food, and redirect this wasted food back into the local food system.


Delivered by Country Women’s Association of Vic Inc. (CWA)

The Country Women’s Association received a Sustainable Table Fund’s grant to deliver the Cardinia Community Kitchens initiative, which provides hands-on cooking workshops that enhance food knowledge, revive lost skills, teach kitchen fundamentals and foster connection to local food and farmers. This program engages busy working families in Cardinia Shire who want to learn how to cook healthy meals on a budget and aims to support the local community to improve their health and wellbeing through a series of workshops led by the CWA across Cardinia Shire in partnership with an accredited nutritionist and the Cardinia Food Movement. This program is based on the hugely successful CWA Country Kitchens initiative in Queensland.


Delivered by Siri Guru Nanak Darbar

This grant was provided to Siri Guru Nanak Darbar members to establish a community-run organic farm at their new Sikh temple site in Officer. The farm site will demonstrate organic farming principles and grow vegetables which will be used in the onsite community kitchen and shared with community groups in Cardinia and Casey. Food is a powerful connector and it is also hoped that the farm will help to build awareness and understanding of cultural diversity and enhance social cohesion in the local community. The project will partner with local farmers, community groups and educational institutions and aims to offer a range of add-on activities such as community meals, school tours and food donations to local agencies. At the time of this update, this project had been delayed due to another construction project occurring on the site; however, it is still expected to be delivered in a delayed timeframe.


Delivered by Western Port Catchment Landcare Network Inc. (WPCLN)

Local community members are learning about the importance of native bees and other pollinators in sustainable food systems through a series of workshops and community events run by the Western Port Catchment Landcare Network. Native pollinators provide critical ecosystem services and this project aimed to increase awareness among landholders, community members and schools about how to protect and encourage pollinators by expanding their habitat in the local area. Each participant takes home a free native plant or bug hotel to create habitat for these beneficial bugs in their backyards, which will help to increase local food availability and provide valuable habitat for bees to nest and lay eggs.