Food systems workshops gather community voice

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Central Goldfields Food Network was established six months ago to kickstart innovative, place-based solutions around food access, food security and healthy eating habits in the region. The network is a collaboration between Central Goldfields Shire Council, the Healthy Kids Advisors initiative, Maryborough District Health Service and Healthy Loddon Campaspe. 

"The network is a great opportunity to strengthen community engagement to ensure that we all remain community-led and galvanise our efforts sustainably.” Ciel Lindley — Healthy Kids Advisor for Central Goldfields

Alongside Ciel, the network is run by:

  • Adam Tarr, Health Broker at Healthy Loddon Campaspe
  • David Leathem, Acting Manager Community Partnerships at Central Goldfields Shire Council
  • Gemma Simpson, Youth Worker at Children and Young People First and VLGP Project Officer
  • Julia Walsh, Sustainability Officer at Central Goldfields Shire Council 
  • Ned Patterson, Health Promoter at Maryborough District Health Service

Recently, local school representatives, businesses, producers, organisations and interested community members from across the shire attended two co-design workshops in Maryborough. The in-person workshops were a chance for aligned parties to join the network conversation aimed at exploring food system strengths and weaknesses and building place-based solutions to local issues.

Representation across both workshops included:

  • Bendigo Food Share
  • Central Goldfields Shire Council executive staff
  • Councillor Liesbeth Long
  • City of Greater Bendigo Food System and Gastronomy Project Officers
  • Central Goldfields Children & Young People First Partnership
  • Castlemaine Community House
  • Dunolly Community Garden
  • Dunolly Neighbourhood Centre
  • Food is Free in Ballarat
  • FoodBank Victoria
  • Healthy Loddon Campaspe
  • Maryborough Community Garden Group
  • Maryborough Community House
  • Maryborough District Health Service
  • Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • Salvation Army
  • Street Harvest
  • Sustain – Australian Food Network
  • Upper Loddon & Avoca Landcare Network
  • VLGP Project Officer and Youth Officer for Central Goldfields Shire

These engaging workshops gathered first-hand stories and lived experiences to enable the community to shape their futures. Tapping into this deep understanding of local issues will ensure realistic and nuanced next steps are taken to bolster local food security, food education and future community and environmental initiatives.

The voices from these workshops will co-author an Issues and Opportunities Network Paper that will be released later this year to inform the development of a food strategy for the shire.

About the Healthy Kids Advisors initiative 

The Healthy Kids Advisors initiative is delivered by the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation and supported by the Victorian Government and Australian Government. 

This community engagement initiative is active in 13 priority communities to spread pleasurable food education and encourage participation in the state-wide Vic Kids Eat Well movement. 

In collaboration with local health promoters, Council and community, our Advisors offer free support and simple ideas to boost healthy and delicious food and drink in schools, sports clubs, after-hours care and council-run facilities. 

Want more information?

Visit the Healthy Kids Advisors news page or contact us at

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