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Workshop outcomes from the recent Sustainable Cities Round Table

Posted in Sustainable Cities Round Tables by Ferne Edwards on September 3rd, 2008

The workshop that was presented at the recent Sustainable Cities Round Table on Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation was titled “New Urban Food Businesses“, presented by Prof Chris Ryan, Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab. This material for the workshop was based on the outcomes from the VEIL Hub and Studios work. VEIL works to bring public research and designers from public institutions (university design schools) into the conceptual market to provide a radical alternative set of visions of possibilities that extend beyond incremental change. The aim is to shape both consumer and producer expectations at the same time. The focus for this recent work was based around food. More information about this project can be found at Those future visions are used to ‘seed’ ‘vision-driven’ projects for short-term development.

The audience was shown the images from the workshop (soon to be uploaded here) and asked to write a possible business name, description (what it does; how it works) and to provide a newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text) or a poster advert for the business that related to the presented images. The outcomes from this workshop are below.


BUSINESS NAME: Vegetrax/ Feudal Fruits
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Market garden along suburban railway lines
Selling/ trading point at stations
Trade network for home growers
Local community advisors giving suggestions and recipes on seasonal fruit and veges
A website to connect veggies and people of recipes

BUSINESS NAME: Think global, eat local
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
A community café which operates entirely on donated food. Based in a community facility like a hall. Fosters community as well as sustainable food distribution. Price of entry is a donation, meal costs minimum.
Newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text). Or (over page) a poster advert for the business.
“Give food, get a feed”.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Neighbourhood network which provides:
Integrates information, education and practical skills and action,
Information on growing, harvesting, storing, cooking, preserving food
Exchange between neighbours (food, compost, duties)
Neighbourhood feasts
Exchange of diversity of cultured food and recipes
Gardening club
Database / website to facilitate Food Watch
o Current crops
o Local tools
o Working bees
o Recipes
o How to….
o Design
o Contacts
o Events
Identify areas for food production – backyards, nature strips
Urban design – communal gardens
Newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text). Or (over page) a poster advert for the business.
“Eat your neighbours!”

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
We will create 2 types of bench top bins – a hard bin for fibrous materials and a soft bin for additional food waste. Hard bin supplies will go to products such as packaging, clothes, carpet, etc. Soft bin supplies will go to pet food and compost. Urban homeowners and urban dwellers can use these at home. Goal is to reduce greenwaste to landfills.
Newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text). Or (over page) a poster advert for the business.
“World compost shortage thanks to the success of ReFood!”

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Bus stop that distributes and delivers food to small communities
Small growers – supply
Some tracker pick up foods, others take it places

BUSINESS NAME: Google Food – Foodle
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Sourcing excess food from supermarkets, bakeries, community gardens, etc to those who need it/ want it. Problems of distribution ie. getting it out before it spoils and knowing where to access it. Social stigma of ‘discarded food can be overcome by locating places/ sources of excess food on Google Maps with an expiration date. After this date it becomes marked as organic waste available to gardeners and other groups. Big marketing angle for Google and supermarkets, etc that donate food – great social service and environmental effort. Eliminates massive food waste, good for source for needy and community building.
Newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text). Or (over page) a poster advert for the business.
Google has evolved from the worlds largest search engine to providing the solution to one of the worlds largest problems. Utilizing the technology that linked the world via Google Maps, Googles latest installation – FOODLE – links people in need and food providers. Foodle is an online resource that live updates every hour to highlight active food depots with the same technology used in Street View.
Website based on Google Maps
Sellers can enter surplus food as a map reference and quantity
Buyers enter their address and food type and are shown closest source
Business model – who to charge? Sellers monthly subscription to list goods, buyers monthly subscription to list requirements which sellers can search against, delivery people can search buyers and sellers locally to arrange efficient delivery
“Search for food goes online”

BUSINESS NAME: Home on the Range
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Prefab indoor gardens for apartment rooms and balconies – horizontal and vertical: encourages food production for those who have no gardens – come with expert periodic advice on management.

BUSINESS NAME: Crunch and Munch – School lunches
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
o Preparation and distribution of pre-prepared meals
o Cooking lunches in a warehouse
o For communities/ schools
o Get food orders within community
o Food preparation is inefficient and many people dont want to do it
o Pay by what you put it – eg. You are good at growing certain things, others contribute their own speciality
o You could participate whenever you like or opt out
o LETS system – concentrate on seasonal foods
o But you can pay for meals if you want
o Food can be delivered to schools daily to feed children
o Different menu – sourced locally
o Parents pay some money – including fees
o Food can be grown at school or at peoples gardens
Newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text). Or (over page) a poster advert for the business.
Do you want a healthy menu for your children?

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
o Municipal councils – within which growers trade
o Very localised – 20 to 30 houses
o Technical/ organisational advice on the ability for local veggies/ fruit
o Knowledge in hydroponics?
o Garden-based and in ground
o Small backyard/ balcony systems
o Weekly trade system
o Facilitating the weekly swap mart between residents
o Also providing:
o End-of-life servicing – composting
o Project managers – run the annual program
o Opening export markets – providing inputs for processing to other communities
o Growth opportunity – advocating/ consulting on inclusions of appropriate growing spaces in new housing developments
o Advertising via edible rice cakes
o Hydroponic – educating, installation
o Weekly swap market
o No hard cash changed between the community
Newspaper clipping – (Headline + one paragraph of text). Or (over page) a poster advert for the business.
“Grow a Share”

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Gadening and composting bins for apartments
Selling equipment to help people grow their own food in small spaces eg. Mushrooms, climber beans, and the compost system to feed them.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
1. To provide storage for excess food, cellaring below homes and businesses could provide a cool environment. If it was located in workplaces, for example, people could bring excess food into work to store and redistribute. Any fermenting fruite and veg could be harnessed to provide more cooling.
2. Have a central agency to control leasing of government or private land for growing food on and consultants and equipment to get you started.
3. Something to do with water and it reuse and composting toilets and septic tanks.

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Welcome to the Fruit Swap Site
Look whats growing around you

Search – suburb harvest
Adding harvest – suburb harvest price payment method
Feedback page – ie. worm farms
Producer profile with photo gallery – ie. wind power
Recipes featured celebrity chefs – local harvest restaurant
Local restaurant listing with local produce restaurants

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION (what it does; how it works)
Non-profit, funded by State Government ($60,000 per year) – essential service
Similar to tram tracker – subscription based service
Send sms to people based on postcode
To notify a subscriber that there is a surplus food box available for them at a pick up point

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