Sustainable Table Fund

During our 2020 grants round (formerly Ripe for Change), we received 42 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 funded 17 projects for a total of $132,600. We’d love to share a snapshot of these projects with you.

1: Young Farmers Connect delivered by Young Farmers Connect
2: Growing future farmers in Melbourne’s foodbowl delivered by Farmer Incubator
3: Community coolroom – improving local food distribution delivered by Edithvale Community Greengrocer
4: Traditional wellness workshops delivered by Wattleseed Nutrition and Dietetics
5: Big Mob community garden delivered by Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association
6: Grow it Local delivered by Grow it Local part of the Garage Sale Trail Foundation
7: Regenerative agriculture training program delivered by Western Port Catchment Landcare Network
8: Seeds of change delivered by The Food for Change Foundation
9: Circle of friends – a cookbook for Koo Wee Rup and surrounds delivered by Koo Wee Rup Regional Health Service
10: Seeds are free AU delivered by Peninsula Edible Landscapes
11: Future seeds nursery delivered by Living Learning Pakenham Inc.
12: Collect, cook and consume: Cardinia farmed food delivered by Sustain: The Australian Food Network
13: Victoria’s most unwanted pest insects delivered by Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network
14: Mt Martha House community garden delivered by Mt Martha community garden
15: Greening the food bank delivered by Doveton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

16: Farm to fork delivered by The Function Group Australia
17: What’s bugging you? Delivered by Cesar


Delivered by Young Farmers Connect

Funding will help Young Farmers Connect (YFC) build a community of peer-support in the Melbourne region to engage young farmers and foster a culture of collaboration, to share lessons learnt and nurture successful enterprise. By providing an informal network, opportunities to learn through field days, and by profiling farmers and developing case studies, YFC will complement the work of Farmer Incubator (also a grant recipient) and help to build a support network of young farmers with a focus on regenerative agriculture.


Delivered by Farmer Incubator

Farmer Incubator is being supported to develop and pilot an innovative farmer incubation model that facilitates access to land, regenerative agriculture learning, and markets for new generation farmers who do not yet have access to land. It also fosters localised food distribution networks and the model can be replicated across Australia. This will build upon the feasibility study we supported last year.

Farmer Incubator’s work is vital because if we’re not attracting new farmers who have embedded philosophies and training around regenerative agriculture, and if we don’t find ways to increase land access beyond inheriting farmland or having significant money to invest, then we have a serious problem. This project aims to address all of this in a replicable way.


Delivered by Edithvale Community Greengrocer

Infrastructure is not a ‘sexy’ thing to fund, but we recognise this coolroom is a vital and tricky-to-finance piece of the local food distribution puzzle. Edigrocer will purchase this coolroom to increase their capacity to service their local community and network of over 40 local farms who they buy direct from, whilst reducing contact with farmers in response to COVID-19. Edigrocer has an ‘open source’ policy which sees them wholly committed to collaboration, not competition – this coolroom will facilitate their role in helping to grow a distributed network of community led food-box programs across the region.


Delivered by Wattleseed Nutrition and Dietetics

Led by Tracy Hardy, a proud Gamilaroi woman and tertiary qualified Nutritionist and Accredited Practising Dietitian, two workshops will be delivered by Wattleseed Nutrition and Dietetics that combine nutrition science, traditional foods and mindfulness to foster strong connections and support healthful and sustainable changes in the way participants cook, eat and live. One of the workshops will be held in partnership with Willum Warrain as part of their Big Mob Cook-up, the other will be a women’s group workshop. Both will fuse contemporary and traditional foods – modelling ancestral Foodways to sustain health and wellbeing.


Delivered by Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association

Willum Warrain (‘home by the sea’) Aboriginal Association is a gathering place on the Mornington Peninsula that provides connection and belonging for Aboriginal people; providing culture-based programs, community events, and charitable support to members experiencing distress. Sustainable Table funding will enable Willum Warrain to employ someone to reinvigorate the community garden and unite their diverse community through gardening and monthly community cook-ups. Participants will share produce through meals whilst building gardening and cooking skills.


Delivered by Grow it Local part of the Garage Sale Trail Foundation

Grow It Local is on a mission to get more Australians growing, sharing and eating locally grown food. It encompasses a website, community-led events and workshop program, content & programming, communications campaigns, and data & impact reporting. The website, enables local growers to register their patch or farm, highlight what’s under cultivation and how they’re interested in connecting with other local community members i.e. to share knowledge and swap seeds, trade produce, etc.

Grow It Local is building a national platform, in a place-based way, similar to what was done with Garage Sale Trail. Our funding will enable them to activate Grow It Local across the Mornington Peninsula.


The team at Grow it Local have launched their virtual Grow It Local Festival, running throughout Spring from September 1 – November 30 and featuring free weekly live digital sessions designed to help educate and inspire both aspiring and experienced growers alike. The live sessions are hosted by River Cottage Australia host Paul West, Costa Georgiadis, The Diggers Club, The Urban Bee Hive and a whole lot more…

Tickets can be reserved at but hurry, although they’re free, they’re limited capacity! Get your digital tickets now.


Delivered by Western Port Catchment Landcare Network

A first for the region, Western Port Catchment Landcare Network (WPCLN) will support farmers with training in identifying and implementing regenerative agriculture practices that are relevant to this highly productive, higher rainfall region (many regenerative agricultural practices currently in existence have been developed in lower rainfall cropping, rangeland situations and tropical north Australia, which aren’t as transferrable to this region). WPCLN is partnering with Mornington Peninsula Shire, Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority, and SESL Australia to deliver this integral project.


In a first for the region, Western Port Catchment Landcare Network (WPCLN) is delivering a 7-week Regenerative Agriculture training program for farmers during October and November 2020. This program will focus on the key principles of regenerative agriculture delivered by experts in the field. It has been specifically tailored around practices that are relevant to this highly productive, higher rainfall region.

Demand for this training is huge – with 46 landholders submitting an expression of interest for the 25 positions available, within days of being announced.

Missed out on a place?
Good news is, given the very strong interest, WPCLN plans to run another program in 2021. You can also continue your regenerative journey by looking at this series of regenerative agriculture videos that were recently created by WPCLN.

WPCLN is partnering with Mornington Peninsula Shire, Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority, and SESL Australia to deliver this project.


Delivered by The Food for Change Foundation

Food For Change will expand their growing program by providing free seeds and expertise to community organisations, including:

Open pollinated seeds for organisations to grow their own food and for them to pass onto those in need who would like to grow their own
Training on how to grow each variety
Simple nutritious recipes based on the seeds provided
Food waste avoidance tips
Sustainable Table funding will enable them to expand this program and roll it out to community organisations in Casey, Cardinia and Mornington Peninsula. The program aims to provide hundreds of packets of seeds each year to produce thousands of kilograms of food for the region to help tackle the increased demand on food relief organisations.


Delivered by Koo Wee Rup Regional Health Service

This community cookbook will encompass local stories from farmgate to plate, capturing seasonal recipes (designed with a dietitian) to promote locally grown produce. Led by the Koo Wee Rup Regional Health Service, this beautiful community initiative celebrates the local food system and will use the cookbook as a launchpad for other community engagement activities including cooking workshops and promoting local farmers.


Delivered by Peninsula Edible Landscapes

Seeds are Free AU is a tiny but incredible enterprise run by Julie Bennett, a passionate organic market gardener on the Mornington Peninsula. Julie is delivering a free heirloom vegetable seed-saver-and-sharer program, whereby participants send a stamped, self-addressed envelope and Julie then sends back season-specific seeds to grow, accompanied by a little bit of history about the variety and instructions for growing and seed saving. In return, Julie asks that participants grow these free seeds, enjoy eating them and let one plant go to seed, then share these seeds on. Seeds are free. Pass it on!

Did you know? From one tomato you can save up to seventy seeds!


We were thrilled to see Seeds are Free AU recently featured in The Age and ABC Organic Gardener.

The Age

“There has been an unprecedented surge in seed-buying since the first lockdown in March, which is when Julie Bennett … hatched an idea. When seed nurseries started freezing sales to keep up with orders, Bennett began casting her eye over all the saved seeds she had filling her fridge and crowding her shelves… (and) started wondering how she might share them.” Read full article

ABC Organic Gardener

… “Disturbingly, now four large agrochemical firms control more than 60% of global sales of seeds. More people are now wanting to know where their food is coming from and in many cases to gain control of this again by growing their own.” Read full article

We are so proud to have supported this project, not only because of the beautiful way it helps people to connect and share their love of growing food, but because our seed supplies are vulnerable and cannot be taken for granted.

Great work Julie. Seeds are free. Pass it on!


Delivered by Living Learning Pakenham Inc.

Living Learning Pakenham will establish a social enterprise seedling nursery and seed bank designed and built to meet the rising demand for affordable, culturally-appropriate, organically-grown seedlings for schools, farms and multicultural communities. Future Seeds Nursery will also provide technical support, training, and explore opportunities to scale operations to become a commercial nursery after the pilot. Located adjacent to the community garden at Living Learning Pakenham, this seed nursery already has the support of regenerative farms in the region who currently travel long distances to meet their seedling needs.


Delivered by Sustain: The Australian Food Network

Sustainable Table funding will support dedicated resourcing of the Cardinia Food Movement (CFM), which is the grassroots, community driven and public facing platform of Cardinia Food Circles. Funding will enable a part-time communications role to be appointed for CFM, which will build upon the wonderful engagement outcomes achieved from funding received last year. One of the key aims of this funding piece is to develop and share visually engaging and compelling stories of local food actions, initiatives, people, places, producers and groups.


Delivered by Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, between 20% and 40% of global crop yields are reduced annually due to damage caused by plant pests. Climate change is likely to result in altered distribution of insects, exacerbating food insecurity.

‘Victoria’s Most Unwanted’ will support fruit and vegetable growers in the Mornington Peninsula, Casey and Cardinia regions and beyond to recognise and organically control insect pests, through the creation of an online and hard copy illustrated guide. By helping farmers and the community to identify these threats before they become locally established, Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network will improve resilience in a changing climate, secure Melbourne’s local food supply, and help to protect our soil and water by encouraging non-chemical pest control.


Delivered by Mt Martha community garden (auspiced by Sustainable Table)

Our grant provides seed funding to establish Mt Martha’s first community garden. Located at the historic Mt Martha House Community Centre, the garden will be a community hub to promote health, wellbeing, education on sustainable living and gardening practices and resilience.


Delivered Doveton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Greening the Food Bank is a program run by Doveton Neighbourhood Learning Centre that will host free monthly workshops and working bees with beneficiaries from the food relief program to impart skills around growing fruit and vegetables. Produce from the existing community garden will also be used to supplement the food relief program with fresh produce – it’s been identified that 90% of beneficiaries of food relief, request fresh fruit and veg (and demand is increasing during COVID-19 due to higher prices); however these items are the exception in food donations due to their high perishability and the limited storage capacity at the centre. This project will also establish an irrigated micro-nursery to provide vegetable seedlings and fruit tree cuttings to existing beneficiaries to encourage food production at home.


Delivered by The Function Group Australia

Farm to Fork will be led by an experienced chef and restaurateur to connect local Peninsula farmers and primary producers with local Peninsula businesses (restaurants, wineries, food stores) by creating a food produce hub, delivery and logistics system that provides transparency around where the produce comes from. The Function Group Australia’s pre-existing infrastructure, including coolroom and warehouse, will be utilised to deliver this important pilot program to increase local food distribution and reduce transportation emissions. Farm to Fork will also explore opportunities to provide local charities with distribution support, where possible.


Farm to Fork has launched on the Mornington Peninsula! Farm to Fork is led by experienced chef and restaurateur, John Ward (Function Group Australia), who came up with the idea after experiencing first-hand the difficultly in accessing high-quality, fresh produce grown just minutes from his kitchen.

This new enterprise will fill a gap in the local food supply chain, by better connecting local Peninsula farmers and primary producers with local Peninsula food businesses.

This model is initially launching as a delivery service until the hospitality industry opens up more widely as restrictions ease. It ultimately seeks to create a local food produce hub, delivery and logistics system that showcases local produce, provides transparency around where produce comes from, reduces food miles and supports small and medium-scale growers to access new local market opportunities.

Farm to Fork will also explore opportunities to provide local charities with food distribution support, where possible.

For more information, visit or contact John:


Delivered by Cesar

This project will result in a pest and beneficial insect identification fact sheet for home and community gardeners in south-eastern Melbourne, with tips on how to manage them and a list of key resources for where gardeners could learn more. This online and print-friendly document will be distributed with assistance from Sustainable Table and its partners to relevant networks and community gardens within the Mornington Peninsula, Casey and Cardinia regions. Cesar will also collaborate with Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network to support their farm-specific pest insect guide (above).