About 2017-06-14T12:53:11+00:00

Southern-Harvest-region-square

Southern Harvest Association is an educational and marketing non-profit incorporated local food association at the forefront of supporting and promoting local and regional food production and consumption in South East NSW and ACT. 

Southern Harvest organised the highly successful Bungendore Harvest Festival in April 2017 which attracted between 3000-8000 visitors and showcased the region’s food, wine, fibre and farming enterprises.  The event had a positive impact on stallholders and the local business community, and will become a major annual event on Bungendore’s calendar.

The Southern Harvest operates the Southern Harvest Farmers Market in Bungendore, which is one of very few truly regional farmers’ markets in our region, with all market produce sold being grown or made by the stallholders.

Last year Southern Harvest merged with Palerang based Permaculture eXchange, to form Southern Harvest Education and is delivering permaculture education, food growing and back yard self-sufficiency classes to meet consumer demand.

The Southern Harvest region is a vibrant bio-region supplying everything you need to enjoy a rich diversity of seasonal produce. It incorporates the following local government areas (listed from North to South):

Temora, Upper Lachlan, Boorowa, Young, Wingecarribee, Cootamundra, Harden, Junee, Yass Valley, Goulburn Mulwarree, Gundagai, Palerang, Tumut, Australian Capital Territory, Queanbeyan, Eurobodalla, Tumbarumba, Cooma Monaro, Snowy River, Bega Valley, Bombala, Bega Valley.

The Southern Harvest Association continues to grow and adapt to the demands of supporting our local food industry. We cannot do this without the support of our region’s food producers, suppliers and, of course, consumers. Southern Harvest invites you to JOIN SOUTHERN HARVEST to help grow our local food community.

Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

AFSA-Peoples-Food-PlanIn July 2012, the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) developed their own food plan in response to the federal government’s National Food Plan Green Paper.

Stimulating the initiative was the government green paper’s heavy bias towards corporate agribusiness, large-scale food manufacturing, big retailing interests and a flawed public consultation process. AFSA knew these things did not truly represent the aspiration of ordinary Australians nor would they move the nation towards securing its supply of basic, essential foods and creating opportunity for smaller businesses and farmers, entrepreneurs and community initiatives in food systems.

AFSA called their policy directions document the Peoples’ Food Plan because, in contrast to the government, theirs would be developed as an authentically open, inclusive and democratic document reflecting the aspirations of eaters, farmers, community organisations, small to medium size food businesses and nutritional, health and other advocacy organisations.

Southern Harvest is proud to be a member of AFSA, and supports The People’s Food Plan.

Click the image to download a copy of the final working paper.

The Australian Capital Region Food Hub story so far

The Australian Capital Region Food Hub events were borne out of research findings from the Local Food Initiative project.

The Local Food Initiative project aims to identify barriers to local food production and consumption in order to develop practical solutions for producers, retailers and consumers. Research is ongoing. Please help by completing a brief survey on our home page.

The results overwhelmingly identified that producers want to sell locally and consumers want to purchase locally produced food; however there are severe failings within the supply chain. Distributors (retailers, restaurants, etc) said they don’t know where to find local food and commented on inconsistent supply. Consumers didn’t know where to purchase local food, liked to purchase “out of season” and found local food too expensive. Detailed results can be found in Food Hub #1 and Food Hub #2 Presentation Slides.

Mamma Rita's Farm

The Australian Capital Region Food Hub event #1 occurred in June 2014. Its purpose was to gain an indication of support for setting up an Australian Capital Region Food Hub, establish a network of like-minded people, and raise awareness of the Local Food Initiative surveys. Refer to Food Hub #1 Session Notes and Post Event Feedback from attendees. The outcomes of Food Hub #1 were a desire for:

  • Easy access to information about producers and suppliers
  • Improved communication network
  • A common brand for the region
  • A focus on tourism opportunities
  • Business development programs for start-ups and current businesses

The Australian Capital Region Food Hub event #2 was held in October 2014 to report back to interested parties on progress and further investigate forward progress. Key insights from this event included:

  • The immediate need for a regional brand
  • The establishment of a truly regional farmers market that did not accept re-sellers or food from outside the region.

At this meeting a decision was made via group consensus that Southern Harvest would become the regional food brand for the Australian Capital Region (ACR) and assume responsibility for progressing the Australian Capital Region Food Hubs for the following reasons:

  • Southern Harvest Association was an existing self-sufficient regional food association that encompassed most of the region and agreed to change its boundaries to incorporate the whole ACR.
  • Southern Harvest had existing infrastructure that was a public resource for ACR regional food, including a website, regional food directory and map, food event calendar and monthly regional food newsletter.
  • Southern Harvest had member support and resources to establish farmers market that only sold regionally produced food, directly from those who made it.

Refer to Food Hub #2 Presentation Slides and Session Notes for more detailed information.

Since the Food Hub events, Southern Harvest has progressed awareness for regional food via the following actions:

  • The Southern Harvest Farmers Market in Bungendore commenced fortnightly markets in January 2015, and in July 2016 became a permanent weekly market. The market only accepts stallholders who produce food within the Southern Harvest region, and no re-sellers are permitted. This market will be used as a model to establish other markets across our region.
  • In 2015, to raise public awareness for regional fair food, Southern Harvest co-hosted the premier of Fair Food: The Documentary in Canberra, Bungendore and Braidwood and organised a panel discussion to follow which included prominent local farmers, food activists and a chef.
  • The Southern Harvest Association Committee is now completely industry and community lead. Concerns were raised via Food Hub events that the committee did not have adequate business and community involvement, so this was addressed.
  • Southern Harvest prepared a submission for the ACT Conservation Council’s ACT Region People’s Food Plan Working Paper.  Southern Harvest highlighted the need for the whole ACR to be included, the need for more abattoirs, better retail opportunities for our local food producers, and support for the promotion of a regional food brand.
  • This year Southern Harvest merged with Permaculture eXchange to create Southern Harvest Education, which will continue to provide permaculture and backyard self-sufficiency courses to meet consumer demand. This broadens Southern Harvest’s brand awareness and membership base.
  • Penny Kothe of Caroola Farm hosted the Fair Food Producers Gathering to raise funds for Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance Legal Defence Fund and identify issues and infrastructure pressure points that are limiting the production of Fair Food in our region.  The main issue was abattoirs, although a number of other issues were raised including zoning regulations, ‘intensive’ agriculture, transport and access to markets.
  • In 2016, Southern Harvest combined with other like-minded organisations to bring Polyfaces to Canberra as part of a public awareness campaign for Fair Food.  The ACT Conservation Council released the ACT Region People’s Food Plan Working Paper Number One, and Tammi Jonas, President of Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, launched their Legal Defence Fund, a crowdfunding campaign set up to help small scale farmers fight unfair and inconsistent regulations that have had detrimental effects on their businesses.
  • Southern Harvest developed this new website in response to industry and consumer demand for information about regional food. The website incorporates an event calendar and local food directory.  This was an important element of discussions at Food Hub events.
  • Southern Harvest recognises the need for like-minded groups to work together to improve our local and regional food communities.  We have formalised partnership agreements with Slow Food Canberra, Canberra City Farm, Urban Agriculture Australia, Canberra Organic Growers Society, SCPA-South Coast Producers, The Food Co-op Shop and SAGE Farmers Market to help promote regional food via cross promotion of events and working together on projects where possible.
  • Southern Harvest continues to publish monthly regional food newsletters for members and free subscribers.

The Southern Harvest Association continues to grow and adapt to the demands of supporting our local food industry. We cannot do this without the support of our region’s food producers, suppliers and, of course, consumers. Southern Harvest invites you to JOIN SOUTHERN HARVEST to help grow our local food industry.

Australian Capital Region Food Hub Partners