Who we are

Food Fairness Illawarra (FFI) is a community coalition that has worked together since 2005 to make healthy and sustainable food affordable and accessible for all.

Guided by representatives from six key organisations (Healthy Cities Illawarra, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Wollongong City Council, Shellharbour City Council, Kiama Municipal Council and the University of Wollongong), FFI has a wider network of over 1000 individuals, community groups, charities and non-government organisations, who recognise the need for collaboration between community, industry, and governments to unlock fairer food solutions. 

Our work strongly aligns with and supports the following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals:

Make healthy and sustainable food available and affordable for all

Goal - Availability

Grow a vibrant local food culture and economy which supports growers and producers

Goal - Access

Enable Illawarra residents to access affordable, culturally appropriate, nutritious, sustainable and local food

Goal - Use and Utilisation

Enhance food knowledge and skills within our community to make healthy food choices the norm and accessible to all

Goal - Stability

A coordinated, well-structured coalition to enable collective action

What we do

Connection and collaboration

Connection and collaboration

Bring together and support local collaboration between all food system stakeholders.

Advocacy

Advocacy

Highlight local issues and lobby for policy and planning development that contributes to a fair food system.

Empowerment

Empowerment

Provide the tools and highlight opportunities to participate in building a fair food system.

Education

Education

Inform and enable knowledge-sharing to drive the fair food conversation across all levels of society.

Research

Research

Contribute to and utilise the evidence base to build a fair food system.

Governance

Governance

Maintain a coordinated, well-structured coalition to enable collective action.

Our Team

Meet our coalition made up of members from
- NSW Health
- Healthy Cities Illawarra
- Wollongong Council
- Shellharbour City Council
- Kiama Municipal Council
- The University of Wollongong

Karen Tavener-Smith

Founding Member & Chair

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

Alison Mellor & Lauren Peters

Shellharbour City Council

Belinda Gibbons

University Of Wollongong

Brodie Brady

Kiama Municipal Council

Tracy Venaglia

Wollongong City Council

Berbel Franse

FFI Coordinator

Healthy cities Illawarra

Vanessa John

Founding Member

Wollongong City Council

Deanne Condon-Paoloni

Founding Member

University of Wollongong

Robyn Tindall

Founding Member

Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District

Suzy Pickles

FFI Marketing & Communications

Healthy Cities Illawarra

Olivia Panozzo

FFI Communications Intern

Evie Cartwright
FFI Communication Intern

Natasha Katsoudas

FFI Research Intern

Hannah Kotstoki

FFI Research Intern

Leea Carroll

FFI Project Development Intern

Sarah Purdy

FFI Project Development Intern

Our Achievements

2005

Inception of Food Fairness Illawarra

Formed during Anti-Poverty Week, after attendance at a Sydney based food security forum highlighted the need for collaboration to unlock fairer food solutions in the local area

2006

Low Cost & Free Meals Directory

Supported a successful grant for the Community Food Access Project with Wollongong City Council and developed the first edition of the Low Cost & Free Meals Directory.

2007

OzHarvest comes to the Illawarra

Successfully advocated for OzHarvest to expand rescued food deliveries from Sydney into the Illawarra. Held the Food Health and the Environment Forum at the University of Wollongong which brought together key organisations to discuss solutions.

2008

FFI Grows and develops

Membership grew to 100 with a membership survey undertaken which informed the FFI’s first Strategic Planning day. Engagement with the private sector was progressed by strategic actions undertaken with the Illawarra Business Chamber to facilitate advocacy work and promote food donations. Three locals councils lead by Wollongong Council secured the Illawarra Biodiversity and Local Food Strategy for Climate Change Grant. Three major conference presentations were made about local efforts.

2009

Illawarra Regional Food Forum

Partnered with NSW Food Summit to host the Illawarra Regional Food Forum to facilitate regional perspectives on the recommendations made for Food Policy to NSW Government. “Food Production in the Illawarra” a fact sheet was developed including information on local agriculture and farmers markets.

2010

Food Fairness Illawarra goes online

Expanded the fair food conversation across the community, through the development of FFI website and supporting marketing materials including a banner, logo and brochure. A plain English Food Donations Bill was developed with the view to establishing relationships with business sector for food rescue activities.

2011

Advocacy for food security in urban planning

FFI Position Paper: A Safe, Affordable, Accessible and Nutritious Food Supply in the Illawarra presented FFI’s vision for a food system which benefits both our community and the environment. This aimed to support food security actions by local councils.

2012

School gardens and National Food Plan

FFI added its strong voice to national and state advocacy and submissions on the National Food Plan. New local school gardening programs were established and supported.

2013

Illawarra Regional Food Strategy

Supported the development of the Illawarra Regional Food Strategy in partnership with Shellharbour City Council, Wollongong City Council and Kiama Municipal Council.

2014

Stop Good Food Going to Waste

Organised Stop Good Food Going to Waste afternoon tea with community organisations that provide food relief. This initiated the formation of the Food Rescue and Food Waste Working Group and enabled the successful grant application for the Illawarra Food Hub.

2015

Collaboration for access to good food

Hosted a Food Forum Working Lunch that formed partnerships to increase regional collaboration for access to good food by vulnerable communities. Produced the traditional Sub-Saharan and Halal Food Directory for newly arrived refugees to the Illawarra.

2016

Connecting over Fair Food

In partnership with Shellharbour City Council, Wollongong City Council, Kiama Municipal Council, University of Wollongong, ISLHD Health Promotion and Healthy Cities Illawarra an annual community building event ‘Connecting over Fair Food’ was launched and hosted during Fair Food Week.

2017

Environmental Need Assessment

Undertook an environmental need assessment to identify effective engagement activities that grows a more resilient FFI community and build a fairer food system.

2018

Strategy

Informed by the environmental need assessment outcome, a ten-year FFI strategy was developed with support from UOW Business School. The Strategy describes how, in partnership we can work together towards our vision: Make healthy and sustainable food available and affordable for all. The Strategy is supported by an operational plan that is reset each year.

2019

Food rescue augmented

Successfully advocated for the expansion of OzHarvest deliveries in the Illawarra from two to five days per week. This was appreciated by the many community organisations whose resources were stretched by increasing demand.

2020

Food security in the Illawarra during the Covid-19 response

Mobilized local food security stakeholders to provide a rapid coordination response to the acute food insecurity situation caused by COVID-19, including the establishment of food distribution hubs and provision of a regularly updated Low Cost & Free Meals Directory.