Some might think that four days of gastronomy related learnings, paired with eating and drinking is excessive, to them I say not true. Four days seemed like just enough. Our morning took place at The Old Church on the Hill a beautiful old property that supports more than 30 local communities. The Hazara community from Afghanistan are one such cohort, on this morning, we were treated with a homemade Hazara breakfast.

Hazara migrant Bibi started her day at 4.30am picking silver beet from her own garden and making us the most exquisite flatbread, this was then topped off with a to-die-for date and tamarind syrup and herb yoghurt. As a group we shared a meal, robust conversation, and plenty of coffee before heading in to our first talk of the day. 

Hannah Moloney filled the room with her high energy and optimism for the future of regenerative food. She spoke of radical hope. “Imagination is the key ingredient and hope for the future. We invest in our home in the hope that future generations will continue the dream”. And dream we did. Those discussions saw us dreaming big. Hannah encouraged Bold ambitious thinking, combined most importantly with Bold, Ambitious ACTION! 

Sandra Clark provided insight into Food cooperatives (Co-Ops). They are growing in popularity as interest in food, organics, eating local and knowing where your food comes from becomes a priority for many. 

Bridget from Foodshare spoke of Sharing a Growing Thing. Bridget introduced local food relief agency Foodshare to our symposiasts, a community owned and operated organisation supported by over 200 volunteers and 260 partner organisations to reduce food insecurity across central Victoria. The organisation started in 2013 and support more than 13,000 people in the Bendigo region each week. They have developed some great local initiatives, working with farmers on a ‘Grow a row’ program, growing a row of vegetables specifically for Foodshare. They also do a lot of gleaning in Harcourt for fruit. In addition to delivering food relief, Foodshare have a youth program called You Foods that works to decrease youth food insecurity.  

Foodshare are currently raising funds for a community food hub, with a target of $1.8 million dollars, they have already hit $1.4 million and hope to reach their target in the near future. 

I haven’t talked about eating for a while. Morning tea was scones with jam and cream by none other than the CWA, we were also treated to a bit of mid-morning shopping with a CWA stall set up purely for our pleasure, comprising of all types of deliciousness. 

After a wrap up discussion, a chat about a possible Symposium legacy project and voting on the next location for the 25th symposium (Launceston, new City of Gastronomy put up their hand for that) we then bid our farewells and a small selection of symposiasts made their way to Bridgeward Grove for a very personal olive oil tasting, grove tour and lunch. 

Julie and Millie from Bridgeward Grove are two of only a handful of olive oil sommeliers in Australia. We were handed the paperwork that one would receive when professionally tasting and rating olive oil and after some instruction on how best to warm the oil by holding the glass in the palm of our hand and rubbing the bottom slightly, whilst covering the top with our hand, we went about tasting, swooshing and then swallowing said olive oil before rating like professionals. After tasting and rating we shared a lunch of pasta topped with Julie’s own homemade passata (sprinkled with olives off the tasting plate), we then walked that off with a tour of the grove.  The four days were truly a lot to digest (no pun intended 😊). The symposium covered so many elements of gastronomy, it is impossible to discuss it all in this forum, however If you would like to learn more or are keen for a trip to Launceston next year, head to

Photo credit: Liz Martin