45 YEARS OF ACTING UP! FOOD JUSTICE and FOOD CO-OP COMMUNITIES

Friends of the Earth podcast history series made in collaboration with 3CR 855 AM community radio show Acting Up! 
Monday 2:00pm-2.30pm.  Ratbags, peaceniks and agents of change, resistance radio that explores the movements that made us. 

45 years of Acting Up! Pesticides, permaculture, organics & food co-op audio episode

Listen up mp3
Presenter: Em Gayfer
Guests: Beth Cameron, Leanne McLean, Esala Liyanage, Peter Podolinsky, Alex Bhathal


FOE Melb Food Co-op

In the 1970s and 1980s Friends of the Earth campaigned on food justice, agricultural pollution, and the politics of food. In 2020, Friends of the Earth continues to champion food safety and sovereignty, building relationships with Indigenous and local growers and producers, and promoting fair trade.  FOE Melbourne’s Food Co-operative & Café is 45 years strong, offering biodynamic vegetarian and vegan fresh and bulk food.  The Food Co-op & Café is leading the way in sustainable food practices, waste minimisation, giving space to FOE fund-raising events, supporting activists and growing community, powered by 1,000s of volunteers from across the world.  Continue reading about key moments in FOE's food justice and food co-operative communities from 1975 - 2020.

Key moments in Friends of the Earth’s food justice & food co-operative communities

1975 FOE Melbourne’s first Food Co-operative is established.

1980s FOE Melbourne establishes a Food Justice Centre (FJC) around plant variety rights as patenting seeds poses a threat to subsistence farmers globally.  FOE FJC’s raise concerns about the use of harmful chemicals and corporate ownership and control of food sources.  FOE hosts the Politics of Food conference in Melbourne.  FOE Adelaide starts a slow food café in Torrensville. 

1983 Fruit and vegie co-op is established in Melbourne as a project of the FJC. 

1988 FOE campaigns against food irradiation and organises a national tour by irradiation expert Tony Web. 

Mid-1990s FOE Melbourne’s Food Co-op Café opens in Collingwood offering an organic, vegetarian menu, and locally sourced fresh fruit and vegetables, and dried goods.  The Food Co-op & Café creates community engagement with the City of Yarra’s health projects, supporting public housing Cubbies kids’ activities, and gaol trainees in transition program.  The café offers a space for FOE fund-raising events, film nights, book launches and Japanese cooking classes.  The Food Co-op & Café caters for local music and arts festivals, protest gatherings and Confests, teaming up with FOE collective actions. 

1996 FOE Brisbane campaigns against genetic engineering and food irradiation.

2008 Mukwano Australia joins FOE Australia as an affiliate member working with organic farming communities in rural Africa to help establish health care facilities.

2010 FOE Adelaide coordinates a food convergence, ‘From Plains to Plate: the future of food in South Australia’, bringing together 750 participants.  FOE helps to establish the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, a network of small farmers, community, environmental and health organisations, social and business enterprises, asserting the need for sustainable food policy for Australia.  An international delegation from La Via Campesina, hosted by FOE Adelaide, includes farmers from Korea, Japan, Timor-Leste and Indonesia meeting with local farmers and community groups to strengthen Asia-Pacific alliances for just and sustainable food systems.

2011 FOE affiliate Mukwano Australia supports Katuulo Organic Pineapple Co-operative to build, staff and maintain health care centre in rural Uganda.

2012 FOE’s Pesticides and Melbourne’s Drinking Water report released.

2014 Beth Cameron, Co-ordinator of FOE Melbourne’s Food Co-op & Café celebrates 25 years on the job, and is acknowledged at the City of Yarra Sustainability Awards.  FOE publishes a report on the high levels of chlorine disinfection by-products in water supplies from Westernport Water to Phillip Island and surrounding southern Victoria.

2019 The Melbourne FOE Food Co-op & Café receives a grant to upgrade, and continues to build community, provide delicious meals, and campaign on food justice issues.

2020 Friends of the Earth Melbourne: mobilise - resist – transform

FOE Melbourne’s Food Co-op & Café
The Food Co-op & Café is a social enterprise of Friends of the Earth Melbourne, a not-for-profit community-driven environmental organisation that advocates and campaigns for a safe, clean and socially just environment.  Our products and meals are palm-oil and GMO-free.  Our organic food store and café supports the community’s health and well-being, sourcing and preparing local fresh produce, and we've been plastic bag free for over 40 years. 

Volunteer at Friends of the Earth Melbourne Food Co-op & Café
You can volunteer and a 4-hour shift will earn you a scrumptious organic meal and a 15% discount on your purchases at the Co-op.

Volunteer at Friends of the Earth Melbourne

Shop online FOE 45 years of resistance merch

Like FOE Melbourne’s Food Co-op & Café

Read about Friends of the Earth Australia – Food and Technology campaigns