Over the past couple of years, the evolution of a very exciting sustainable food production and distribution scheme has emerged and itâ€™s called Food Connect. Founded in 2004 by local Kurilpa resident, Robert Pekin, this social business has an ambitious aim to establish a co-operative group of farmers and producers to create a new, more equitable way of distributing local produce in a socially responsible way.
The scheme is based on the principles of Community Supported Agriculture, where city folk support local farmers by subscribing in advance, cutting out big supermarkets and passing the savings on to customers.Â A massive array of seasonal produce is available through the scheme and is harvested from farmers living within a five-hour radius of Brisbane to directly supply fresh food to the South East Queensland community. The producers are paid a fair price for their hard work and for adopting the most sustainable farming methods possible.
Pekin acknowledges that Food Connect has come so far due to the combined efforts of many dedicated people, and in particular a strong group of Brisbane mums. While this is true, Pekin has nonetheless provided vision, leadership and massive inputs of energy to grow the business. He is now being approached by groups all over the country as Food Connect is being replicated in six other Australian locations.
Food Connectâ€™s home base is not a warehouse but a homestead, situated in Salisbury, Queensland, employing more than 30 people, each dedicated to the purpose of connecting food to the community.Â Food Connect sells its produce to subscribers in Kurilpa through two local City Cousins: one household in Highgate Hill and Spiral Community Hub, West End.
Robert and his partner, Emma-Kate Rose, who also works in the business, believe in strengthening the local economy in Kurilpa and try to include the business in many local community activities, such as last yearâ€™s Going Local Workshop, Avid Readerâ€™s book launches, Transition Kurilpa events, West End State Schoolâ€™s Fiesta and supplying Stove CafÃ©.Â They are also one of the sixteen businesses participating in the West End Sustainable Business Cluster programme.Â
This month, they will be partnering with Transition Kurilpa to host an international delegation of peasant farmers from La Via Campesina to celebrate small family farmers at St Itaâ€™s Hall on Gladstone Road.Â The event will bring together 100 local farmers and community food leaders, and will include a Mystica play, with breakfast and lunch by served Food Connectâ€™s wonderful City Cousins.
For more information: 07 3216 7777 || www.foodconnect.com.au