Sustainable food

Encouraging our residents to make healthy and sustainable food choices with initiatives, events and information.

We encourage our residents to make healthy and sustainable food choices.

There is a growing interest in creating local food systems which respect the limits of natural resources and improve the health and wellbeing of communities. Local Food Systems can also help improve food security by increasing the availability of and access to diverse food options.

We host regular Sustainable Food Leaders Forums which are open to anyone in the Darebin community involved in or interested in sustainable food initiatives or improving food security.

To find out when the next Forum is or to keep up to date with the latest Sustainable Food news and events, visit the Darebin Food Harvest Network website.

Backyard Harvest Stories

This year we launched our new online food growing and sharing project, Backyard Harvest Stories. Council partnered with 3000acres to encourage social connection and engagement online through the world of food gardening.

Backyard Harvest Stories has now come to an end. A great big thank you to all our backyard gardeners who tagged and shared stories of their backyard food growing adventures. We saw hundreds of gardening photos, videos, chicken selfies and garden tours, which captured and celebrated Darebin’s fantastic food growing culture for all to see. Two lucky gardeners won some fantastic prizes.

Even though the main part of the project is over, we’d still love you to continue sharing photos of your backyard harvest using our hashtag #darebinbackyardharvest to inspire and connect with other local growers!

Through Backyard Harvest Stories we grew a fantastic collection of gardening tutorials from local food gardeners and experts:

Keeping Chickens


Fruit Trees



Community Groups involved in Sustainable Food

There are a range of organisations and community initiated activities that support sustainable food across Darebin and neighbouring municipalities:

  • Transition Darebin is a local community group that is aiming to help transition to a low energy economy. Food is a priority issue for the group and current initiatives include Urban Food Harvesters Food swaps in Northcote and Reservoir, ‘Our Apple Tree’ in Herbert Street, Northcote, and ‘The Convivial Kitchen’
  • Darebin Information Volunteer Resource Service (DIVRS) is a not-for-profit volunteer driven organisation that delivers free services and programmes for vulnerable populations in Darebin. DIVRS’s Urban Food Programme aims to use existing urban food resources (public and private) to create a more sustainable community by re-localising food production, distribution and consumption. It includes the delivery of the Darebin Fruit Squad and Backyard Basics Project, as well as leadership of volunteer positions in Fresh Food and Food Sourcing to augment the Emergency Relief Foodstore. Founded by Transition Darebin and with funding from Darebin Council, the Fruit Squad project involves volunteers gathering surplus fruit from private fruit trees for redistribution to those in need. Horticultural knowledge and experience is also shared to help maintain Darebin’s fruit tree stock.
  • Melbourne Food Hub is a collaboration between Sustain: The Australian Food Network and Melbourne Farmers Markets. Located on the site of the Melbourne Innovation Centre in Alphington, the MFH aims to create a place where the community can meet to engage with food through learning, growing, making and sourcing fresh local produce. It is also being developed as a place where local food enterprises and social businesses are supported and incubated to encourage the co-creation of local food systems.
  • CERES is a not-for-profit educational organisation located in East Brunswick. It has an urban orchard food swap, produce market, nursery, and a bulk unpackaged food store. They also run cooking and other sustainable living workshops. CERES Fair Food is their ethical on-line organic grocery delivery service.
  • Cultivating Community work with diverse communities to create fair, secure and resilient food systems. They provide services in public housing community gardens, food waste and composting, food systems and school food gardens.

Food Security

Council coordinates the Darebin Emergency Relief Network to assist local emergency relief providers and other community agencies meet the needs of Darebin residents experiencing financial or material disadvantage, including problems accessing food.

Sustainable Food Events and Workshops

We host the Darebin Backyard Harvest Festival each year which celebrates home food growing and preserving traditions across cultures and generations through tours and workshops held by passionate and knowledgeable local food experts

Sustainable Food Policies and Strategies

Council's role in supporting food security and sustainable food in Darebin is outlined in these documents:

Sustainable Food Resources

Interested in reading about how to make healthy, sustainable and affordable food choices and to successfully and sustainably grow food at home?

Darebin Backyard Harvest
Now part of the Darebin FUSE Festival