Our vision is to establish a healthy, delicious, sustainable and fair local food system in Cardinia Shire that:

  • promotes the health of people
  • strengthens the local economy
  • enhances the natural environment

This is reflected in our Community Food Strategy and the many food initiatives we deliver or help to deliver.

We recognise and value the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri people as the traditional owners of this land. Underpinning any discussion of food and agriculture are the natural systems that sustain the diverse range of people who call this place home.

Download the Liveability Plan food domain factsheet

Increase access to affordable, nutritious food.

We will do this by:

  • protecting and utilising fertile land as a source of fresh food for current and future generations
  • growing a vibrant local food economy that supports growers and enables people to access locally produced food
  • enhancing food knowledge, skills and culture within schools, workplaces, clubs and the wider community
  • reducing and diverting food waste from landfill and reusing water to grow food.

The Cardinia Shire Community Food Strategy 2018–26 aims to establish a healthy, delicious, sustainable and fair food system for all residents of Cardinia Shire and was the first of its kind for the Shire.

The strategy:

  • Was formed through extensive community consultation, known as kitchen table talks’ which took place between February to September 2018
  • Provides an integrated and strategic direction including actions to focus and align all of Council's existing and future work across the food system and wider municipality
  • Identifies the issues facing the municipality and sets out an action plan for how we can work together as an organisation, and with the community, to ensure future generations have access to affordable, nutritious food

The strategy's 5 key areas 

  • Protect and utilise fertile land as a source of fresh food for current and future generations. 
  • Grow a vibrant local food economy which supports growers and enables people to access locally produced food
  • Enhance food knowledge, skills and culture within schools, workplaces, clubs and the wider community
  • Reduce and divert food waste from landfill and reuse water to grow food 
  • Build capacity across the community to lead, participate in and support food system work



The Cardinia Food Circles collective impact project aims to establish a healthy, delicious, sustainable and fair food system for all Cardinia Shire residents. The project has been running since November 2016.
The Cardinia Food Circles project’s core partners, Cardinia Shire Council and Sustain Australia facilitates the implementation the Cardinia Community Food Strategy which is governed by a steering committee, and in partnership with many local industry, business, community and resident groups.

Project’s strategic steering committee members

  • Council facilitates the Community Food Steering Committee to oversee the development, delivery, and evaluation of the Community Food Strategy.
  • Organisations represented around the Community Food Steering table:
  • Sustain: The Australian Food Network
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia
  • Garry White Foundation
  • Hopeworks Community Solutions 
  • Kooweerup Regional Health Service
  • Monash Health Community
  • Monash University
  • Rural Food Industry
  • Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • The Community Grocer


  • Build a shared understanding of the Cardinia Shire food system, and its challenges and opportunities, amongst a diverse and representative group of stakeholders
  • Establish a shared and widely understood definition and basic understanding of food literacy with shire residents and council officers
  • Raise food literacy levels across the shire, particularly amongst young people
  • Bring food systems-thinking into the decision making process of Councillors and Council staff, and into key Council plans and strategies
  • Diversify food distribution and consumption in the shire, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal and, where possible, local produce
  • Support business innovation and local job creation in the shire’s food system
  • Advocate to other levels of government for planning policy changes to better control the density and proximity of fast food outlets to vulnerable communities

Key activities

  • Background mapping report of the Cardinia Shire food system
  • Creation of a food system profile for Cardinia Shire
  • Extensive community and stakeholder engagement
  • Formation of the Cardinia Food Movement
  • Inaugural Cardinia Food Forum with 100 participants and an international keynote speaker
  • Kitchen table talks and Ideas harvest to generate the Community Food Strategy
  • Launch of the Community Grocer, an affordable pop-up fruit and vegetable market, in Pakenham
  • Distribution of food literacy survey to 2,000 households in partnership with Monash University
  • Farming: The Next Gen film screening
  • Partnering with the Foodprint Melbourne research team to advocate for a resilient city foodbowl

More information



The Cardinia Food Movement was formed by the Cardinia Food Circles collective impact initiative.
It's a grass roots movement for change, driven by local people, seeking to support and develop local solutions to the challenges we face in food, farming and health.
Communities across Cardinia regularly experience several social and health problems that are linked to the food system across the Shire.  We are uniquely equipped to tackle these issues, with our strong and diverse communities and abundant local agriculture and ecosystems.
We have a network of local food system’s advocates and ambassadors, that are the local leaders in the wider Cardinia Food Movement, that includes the community, schools and local events.

Our objective

This Movement hopes for a vibrant, connected local food region that fosters pride in residents, nourishes people, nurtures country and provides fair food for all.

Visit the Cardinia Food Movement website


Healthy Bites helps you find healthier food options at participating cafes and restaurants around Cardinia Shire.
These cafes have at least 3 items on the menu that are marked with a red apple which are:

  • low in saturated fat
  • low in salt and
  • high in fibre

Current statistics from Cardinia Shire residents show that:

  • 95% don’t eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables
  • 14% eat take-away meals or snacks more than once per week
  • 16% drink sugar-sweetened beverages daily

Healthier food options can reduce the risk of diabetes, tooth cavities and heart disease.
We partner with Monash Health Community to work with participating cafes.

Find a Healthy Bites cafe on a map

More information

Contact the Healthy Bites Officer for more information or to sign up your café or restaurant.
Call: 5941 0560


Urban agriculture, urban farming, or urban / community gardening is the practice of:

  • cultivating
  • processing
  • distributing food in or around urban areas

They allow for the creation of social ties and build a greater feeling of community.
We are creating many community gardens across the shire which provide many opportunities for residents to become involved. 

Find your local community garden or search our community gardens directory.

Related documents

Contact the Healthy Communities Coordinator on or 1300 787 624.

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