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May 022011

The Tran children sharing a fresh mandarin. Image credit: The Tran family

You may have already heard of Food Connect. A quick rundown: Seasonal food is provided by about 80 farmers around Brisbane. It is then delivered fresh to the Food Connect Homestead in Salisbury each week by the farmers and small freight companies and then packed into boxes. “City Cousins”  act as delivery points for Food Connect and pick up points for city folk.

There are City Cousins here in Carina, Cannon Hill and Holland Park. I’ve been intending to write something about Food Connect for a while now as they are such a brilliant example of communities working together for sustainable, positive and healthy outcomes.  With the news of Carindale getting its own City Cousin (starting Wednesday May 4), I was triggered again to explore it.

Susan Tran has lived in Carindale for about 8 years. She has been a customer of Food Connect for about 6 months, collecting from a nearby City Cousin. When Food Connect put the call out for another City Cousin in the area Susan was keen to take up the role to provide a pick-up point for subscribers.

Growing up with her father having a vegetable garden is a factor that she says shaped her attitude towards good food, although she described, with some amusement, her own “struggling” vegie garden.

The community aspect and the ethos of Food Connect as well as health and nutritional benefits are some of the factors Susan told me she values highly.

“I want my children to grow up appreciating the world around them,” she said.

“The quality of the produce [of Food Connect] is great, it lasts a lot longer than most of the vegetables in the shops.”

Food Connect says:

At Food Connect we all share the risk. Our farmers jump out of bed excited, city folk get great produce, and that creates real community.

Based on the principles of Community Supported Agriculture, our delicious, seasonal produce comes from local farmers living within a short radius of our city Homestead, packed into boxes, and collected by our subscribers from a network of City Cousin pick-up points.

Franco Cencig. Image source: Food Connect


Franco Cencig, Birkdale, says:

Food Connect is truly the best thing that has happened to me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be in the farming business any more. It’s so good not to be forced to go to the central market any more, not to have to use unnecessary packaging and to come in and meet the beautiful people in the Homestead instead. It makes it all worthwhile

Food Connect was founded in 2005 by Robert Pekin and has continued as a network of some really interesting and inspiring people. Mel Kettle, for example, is part of the great movement that is Baked Relief. Explore more about that in Mel’s post here.

The approach of Food Connect really highlights the role of communities in the food industry and attitudes towards food. It reminds us of the processes, enjoyment and challenges involved in food, farming, transportation and consumerism.  Their site profiles the farmers, putting a face behind the product. There are also farm tours which are a great way for suburbanites to understand more about what’s involved in getting food on to our plates.

You can contact Food Connect about becoming a subscriber here.

So are you already a Food Connect customer? Thinking about trying it out? Share your thoughts about food and farming with us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gen is the Founder of Carindale Connect (started in 2007). She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Queensland University of Technology and an internship from ABC Online. She's involved in a number of web projects, was the Website Manager for Chamber of Commerce and Industry QLD and the Editor of Wotnews (Australian news aggregator and search engine start-up). She also spent some time as a volunteer Community Correspondent for 612 ABC Brisbane. Born in Hobart, Tasmania, Gen now lives in Carindale. She loves her bicycle (but doesn't do lycra), the environment and art.
Genevieve Robey

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